You may not have heard of William Banks-Blaney this side of the pond, but you are definitely familiar with his work. Stars such as Rihanna, Victoria Beckham, Kate Upton and Amal Clooney are all his loyal customers in London, and he has been featured in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, The Times, The Telegraph and is the Global Style Ambassador for American Express.
Pieces of the Westbank Fashion Collection are displayed in our lobby, a destination for fashion fans to experience the beauty of decades-old designs, and was launched with a series of three vintage Gianni Versace dresses in celebration of the 20th anniversary of his death. Now in its second rotation, the three glass vitrines showcase dresses by Alexander McQueen, Lanvin and a rare Coco Chanel.
Formed of a flowing amethyst silk chiffon dress lined in sparkling lurex, and presented with a wide grey silk breastplate covered in caobochon crystals and silver thread embroidery, this design was look number 45 within Overtly classical in inspiration, the dress fuses ideas of woman as goddess, as temple figure and as alien visitor.
This spectacular and documented ensemble from the Spring Summer 1929 collection of Lanvin, is an important and ravishing example of early 20th century haute couture. The oldest haute couture house in the world, Lanvin was founded by one of the first female couturiers and early examples of her legendary haute couture are extraordinarily rare. Madame Jeanne Lanvin defined fashion within the 1920s and 1930s and along with her contemporaries Jean Patou, Coco Chanel and Paul Poiret she understood the new wave of modernism, developed the ‘style a la garconne’ and was a vanguard in dressing the new free woman of the Roaring Twenties. To find documented early work is exceptionally rare, and this 1929 haute couture ensemble is composed of two unique and exquisite pieces. The dress is constructed in shimmering gold silk lurex, terminated in vast sleeves with a neckline in matching gold lurex lace. The coat is constructed in silk velvet and trimmed to the leading edge, pockets and sash with hand-embroidered silver lurex.
A rare example of a metamorphic dress, this 1965 haute couture creation by Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel morphs from cocktail dress to formal evening dress. This example discovered by William Vintage is one of only two known examples in the world, the other being within the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Showcasing the couture notion of flou and the modernising language of Chanel in the 1960s, this superb discovery is a rare, surviving example of Coco Chanel’s work in chiffon showing no signs of having ever been worn. Sensual, chic and in Coco Chanel’s beloved black, this haute couture dress contains the hallmarks of Chanel’s refinement. Composed of layers of gossamer fine silk chiffon edged in black silk ribbon, the dress is unlined and transparent, allowing the wearers skin within the dress to become as much a part of the dress as the fabric itself, an important development within 20th century fashion.