1970s Roberta di Camerino Red Trompe L'oeil Ensemble Maxi Dress

Roberta di Camerino


Amazing tromple l'oeil poly knit maxi dress by Roberta di Camerino! The dress has a loose silhouette, with long sleeves, and a long pointed wing collar. The piece features an amazing graphic print that tricks one's eyes into thinking that the dress is actually a three piece ensemble! The print includes a red faux skirt with billowing pleats, a wide purple - blue belt that makes one think of Spanish matadors, a white blouse, and a red jacket with lapel and passementerie designs. This playful, elegant dress is deceivingly simple and wonderfully stylish! Gold tone Roberta buttons ornament the front, and match the cufflinks on the sleeve. Made in Italy.

Giuliana Camerino (née Coen) was born to a Jewish family in Venice. In 1943, as World War II raged on, the Camerinos fled to Switzerland where Giuliana began designing handbags for local leather goods stores. Camerino founded the house “Roberta di Camerino” in 1945. The business was named after the 1935 Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers film “Roberta”; The song “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” was the last tune Camerino listened to before escaping to Switzerland. 

Roberta di Camerino handbags quickly became known for their innovative use of patterned and colored fabric, two materials that had never been used in handbags. Camerino continued to develop new and interesting designs that would go on to inspire others, including using an “R”-trellis pattern in 1946 that predated Gucci’s iconic “G” pattern handbags and accessories, a the woven leather handbag in 1957 that anticipated the Bottega Veneta woven look, and a hinged handbag that Prada later went on to imitate. Camerino helped develop the post-WW2 venetian economy, employing venetian craftsmen to create many materials, including the brass hardware she used in her striking, cut-velvet bags, and to weave fabric using local antique looms. Camerino branched out into apparel; much of her clothing had distinctive optical illusion tromp l’oeil prints, pleats, buckles, and ruffles.

Camerino’s pieces were favored as a status symbol among the jet set crowd as well as celebrities, including Elizabeth Taylor, Grace Kelly, and Farrah Fawcett. Her innovative designs in playful and exciting fabrics earned Camerino several accolades. Camerino won a Neiman Marcus Fashion Award in 1956, acknowledging the widespread influence of her designs on the entire handbag market, her work was also exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1980, and as well as the Fashion Institute of Technology Museum in 1999.


  • Country of Origin
  • Condition
  • Materials & Techniques
    Print Abstract Zip Asymmetrical Knit
  • Size
    Current U.S. Size
  • Size Chart

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