There are five distinct under-structure layers, each of which adding its own component into the final movement, and ease of the garment, and over 30 pieces in its construction. When you consider that a common dress of today has only 4 to 6 pieces this is incredible. Mrs. Hearst remarks about the dress were that it felt like wearing nothing whatever.
The single most remarkable thing about the dress, and one which even James didn't anticipate was that in regular motion, like walking briskly, the lobes of the skirt would invert, creating an undulating motion that seemed alive.
The dress is of white duchess satin, Ivory silk faille, and black velour de Lyons. As an expression of pared down, ultimately edited, and perfectly constructed garmenture, it is without peer.