Gown with leg-of-mutton sleeves

This dramatic one-off gown was uncovered on the racks in the El Jay building in Kingston St when we were researching for the Looking Terrific exhibition. While most of the fabrics and notions were sold off when Gus Fisher closed his business in 1988 after 50 years in the industry,  a few garments, mostly from these later years, remained in the storeroom.

This dress would have been one of the last original  Christian Dior line for line reproductions made here in New Zealand. Each year Gus Fisher would travel to Paris to the designer shows to make a selection of Dior garments that he felt would sell well in the New Zealand market.

The patterns, with specific cut and make instructions, in French, together with the orignal fabrics and notions, would be supplied to the Dior workroom at the El Jay factory in Auckland where they were faithfully reproduced. They were then sold around the country in high end boutiques and through the prestigious department stores.

Read more about Gus Fisher and the El Jay label in the New Zealand Fashion Museum publication Looking Terrific: The story of El Jay.


Credit: Courtesy of Gus Fisher, Auckland
Copyright: Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 4.0 Licence
Maker: El Jay
Manufacturing location: Auckland
Garment type: Evening gown
Material: Polyester satin
Features: The dress has leg-of-mutton sleeves and large moulded foam-rubber shoulder pads
Label: Christian Dior Prêt-à-porter by El Jay
Date: Circa 1987