Category Archives: Bassey News

The Pearl Rope Gown

Continued thanks to Ian (this blog’s appointed Gown Guru) 

The Pearl Rope Gown (Lot 29 in catalogue., also on Love, Life And Feelings album sleeve and tour programme 1976)

Designed by Doug Darnell for Dame Shirley’s tour in 1973. A beautiful peppermint green sequinned gown, with halterneck and a scooped back with strands of imitation pearls, graduating in size.

Dame Shirley wore this gown for her 1973 UK tour. (see the video below)

This is my own personal favourite of all the gowns and would look as good a design today!

Again, we would love to hear from whoever bought this gown at auction, and know what became of it.”

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Christie’s Description & Notes

A dramatic stage gown by Douglas Darnell, the fitted bodice and peppermint green silk chiffon ground encrusted with pale green iridescent sequins, the halterneck and scooped back edged with strands of imitation pearls graduating in size from the imitation emerald jewelled clasp at the base of the neck, the back elaborately embellished with fifteen additional strands of imitation pearls graduating in size from neck to lower back and cascading from the clasp in a decorative cage effect, the skirt with flowing train lined in silver silk tissue; and a corresponding pair of stiletto heeled sandals customised by Darnell, stamped on the insole Hand Made By Peppino Vasso and with the retailer’s name F. Pinet.

Weight of gown: approx. 2kg.

She wore the gown for the cover shoot of various albums including: Love, Life And Feelings, 1976, Twenty Greatest Hits and Let Me Sing And I’m Happy.

Final Price


Images displayed with kind permission of Christies Images Ltd. © 2002

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The White Tassel

Lots of fans fondly remember this gown, the White Tassel

Sold for £4,800 Lot 48 at Christie’s in 2003



Description from Christie’s catalogue:

A striking ‘shimmy’ gown by Douglas Darnell of sheer white silk chiffon, the bodice and narrow straps densely embroidered with imitation pearls, translucent sequins and large imitation pearl drops, the skirt slit centrally to the upper leg and decorated overall with tiers of cascading white silk tassels on imitation pearl terminals over vertical stripes of translucent sequins, the flowing train further embellished with multiple rows of translucent sequins on the upper surface and lined with a deep border of white sequins Weight: approx. 4.5kg.

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Christies Images Ltd. © 2002

Dame Shirley wore this gown during a performance at the Launch Party for London Fashion Week, 15th February, 2003; and on stage at the Royal Festival Hall, during her 40th Anniversary Tour, 1994.

The gown was worn by Dame Shirley on a number of occasions in the late 1990s and is featured on the cover of the 1996 single recorded with Chris Rea Disco La Passione.

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The black version of this gown is now owned by Dame Shirley’s dear friend Manel Dalgo.

Below a video of her wearing the gown at the 1994 Royal Variety Performance singing Born To Sing Forever








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Burt Bacharach dies at the age of 94

Today we heard the sad news that American composer Burt Bacharach died yesterday at the age of 94.

BornBurt Freeman Bacharach
May 12, 1928
Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.
DiedFebruary 8, 2023 (aged 94)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
EducationMcGill University
Mannes School of Music
Music Academy of the West
OccupationsComposersongwriterrecord producerpianistsingerconductor

Dame Shirley Bassey sang the following songs of Burt Bacharach: A House Is Not A Home, I’ll Never Fall In Love Again, Anyone Who Had A Heart, Arthur’s Theme, That’s What Friends Are For, I Just Have To Breath and two of his songs on the I Capricorn album: One Less Bell To Answer & The Look Of Love.

Below a video of Dame Shirley performing two of his songs

The Zandra Rhodes gown

Watch Shirley on TV discussing the gown designed for her by Zandra in 1988

Shirley did not buy any more gowns from Zandra after 1988, as far as I know, and there was one for sale in the Christie’s auction in 2003 (from Ian the Gown Guru)

Lot 46c at Christie’s

“A delicate three-piece stage outfit by Zandra Rhodes, the white silk chiffon skirt slit diagonally to the waist with flowing train, lavishly embroidered in an abstract design with silver thread, bugle beads and sequins, the matching sleeveless tunic with deep cowl back similarly embellished, the jagged hems of both edged with vari-sized imitation pearls, with a matching cape similarly embroidered, the jagged hem further enhanced with large white feathers and edged with silver beads, with cord ties terminating in silver metal tassels”


Above photo: Dame Shirley wearing the ensemble during a performance at the Apollo Theatre, Manchester during her U.K. Tour, 1989.

Copyright: Christie’s