Tarantella black embroidered chiffon cocktail dress, 1960s

This evening gown would have turned heads with its draped collar which extends across the wearer's decolletage, and down the left shoulder. It is made from fine black chiffon with a machine embroidered repeating gold motif, which is backed with an acetate lining to give enough structure to maintain the nipped waist and figure hugging silhouette which was a typical feature of glamorous eveningwear of the early 1960s. 


The presence of both the Tarantella and Caprice labels in this gown gives us a good idea of when and who designed it; when she took over ownership of the business in 1960, Joan Talbot continued the Tarantella label, as well as introducing a new label, Caprice. By the mid 1960s, she was designing two ranges a year for the wholesale market.


Tarantella was located in the Giffords Building on Vulcan Lane. The shop was on the ground floor next to John Greer shoes. There were salons on the 2nd floor and 3rd floors. 


Photographer: Denise Baynham
Credit: Courtesy of Adam Gifford
Copyright: Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 4.0 Licence
Designer: Joan Talbot
Manufacturing location: Auckland, New Zealand
Garment type: Evening gown
Material: Embroidered silk chiffon with acetate lining.
Features: Draped neckline and shoulder detail, ankle length, figure hugging silhouette
Colour: black and gold
Last published: December 2022
Label: Tarantella / Caprice
Date: circa 1962