May 12, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Last year, Peter of Male Pattern Boldness posted a general survey of vintage maternity patterns. Sewing patterns for designer maternity wear have a different history. In honour of Mother’s Day, here is a selection of designer maternity patterns from the ’70s to the ’90s.
The earliest patterns for designer maternity wear that I have seen are by Lady Madonna. (Yes, it’s named for the Beatles song.) A 1971 article in Time magazine, “Modern Living: Bellies Are Beautiful,” partly credits the Lady Madonna label with changing attitudes to maternity wear:
“Maternity clothes have always been designed like the Trojan horse: to hide, disguise and deceive. The wider the dress, the more pleats and folds, the less identifiable the condition—or so traditional pregnancy fashions would have it seem. Lately, however, the shape of things to come has undergone some happy alterations, supplanting voluminous tents and overhanging blouses with jumpsuits and knickers, low-cut evening gowns and even hot pants. Largely through the intervention of the Lady Madonna Maternity Boutique, women can now look great with child.”
Vogue Patterns released Lady Madonna patterns in the late 1970s. (The label later made the switch to Simplicity patterns.) Vogue 2157 is a long, Empire-waisted slip dress; the model is Pat McGuire:
American designer Carol Horn also licensed some maternity designs to Vogue Patterns:
Around the same time, McCall’s had maternity patterns by Evelyn de Jonge, like this one for maternity separates:
As Peter points out, in the Eighties, even non-maternity styles could be roomy enough to be worn during pregnancy. Style patterns released a number of patterns by Jasper Conran, including this one for a maternity dress or tunic and skirt:
In the early 1990s, Vogue Patterns had designer maternity patterns by Manola, an established New York maternity boutique. This Manola design uses front yokes to control the volume of the dress:
Designer Lauren Sara already had some non-maternity patterns with Vogue Attitudes when she licensed her maternity line, M by Lauren Sara. This design for an evening-length dress includes a formal, strapless version:
Like swimwear, a decade’s maternity wear reveals a lot about its attitudes to the female body. The absence of designer maternity patterns before the late 1970s seems telling. Yet today, Vogue Patterns has again phased out maternity designs…
May 9, 2013 § 2 Comments
This week’s second punk-inspired pattern puts the ‘couture’ in Chaos to Couture. (The first punk-inspired pattern was by Junya Watanabe—see my post here.) John Galliano’s ‘Pirate’ jacket is the most challenging of SHOWstudio’s Design Downloads, with 63 pattern pieces, all hand-labelled in French. But not to worry: 11 are guide pieces, and most of the French is translated.
Here are side and back views of the jacket:
The ‘Pirate’ jacket is from John Galliano’s Fall/Winter 2001 collection, entitled Techno Romance. Here it is on the runway:
The collection mixed glossy synthetics (techno) with delicate sheers and florals (romance): jaunty double-breasted jackets and long coats worn with sailor trousers, and long skirts and dresses, many with the same romantically skewed, off-the-shoulder, one-sleeved bodices as the SHOWstudio jacket. (See Suzy Menkes, “Techno Romance.”) In her short essay to accompany the Design Download, Jane Audas conjures an imaginary history for the SHOWstudio version of the jacket—a story of rebellion in which it was fashioned from the Union Jack, “the flag torn off a captured ship and hijacked as clothing, held together with sail rivets and ties.”
Here are the collection images from L’Officiel 1000 modèles (click to enlarge):
Fabrics requirements: approx. 3 yards of 60″ fabric and 3 yards of lining; interfacing.
Notions: grosgrain ribbon, D-rings, large metal stud, press studs, 2 buckles, eyelets, snaps, cord, elastic, 53 cm (21″) separating zipper.
May 7, 2013 § 1 Comment
To celebrate this week’s opening of PUNK: Chaos to Couture at the Costume Institute in New York, I’ll be posting about two free patterns for punk-inspired designs. (Kristen McMenamy called last night’s Met gala “a costume party for punk”; see style.com’s red carpet coverage here.) First up is an example of Junya Watanabe’s “heavy-duty couture”: the dress pattern he shared with SHOWstudio.
The Watanabe Design Download was part of SHOWstudio’s Dress Me Up, Dress Me Down project, which saw model Liberty Ross being dressed for a live photo shoot by an online audience. The project—whose name refers to the English title of Pedro Almodóvar’s Átame, Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (1990)—was inspired by pornographic video chats and had the goal of “exploring the idea of control in fashion image-making.” As well as images and video, the project also had a discussion component, with interviews and short essays on fashion and pornography, including an Andrea Dworkin excerpt. In its appropriation of pornographic conventions, the SHOWstudio project can be linked to punk fashion and art like that of Throbbing Gristle’s Cosey Fanni Tutti (recently seen in Pop Life: Art in a Material World).
The Watanabe design was chosen by Liberty Ross from stylist Jonathan Kaye’s draft selection for the June 2005 SHOWstudio event. The dress is from Junya Watanabe’s Fall/Winter 2005 women’s collection—the coming season at the time of the project. The original dress was made in red mohair plaid with a PVC bodice:
Watanabe also showed a black version of the dress:
These dresses’ play with textural contrasts carried through the Fall/Winter 2005 Junya Watanabe women’s collection, which paired cotton and textured woolens with synthetics like nylon and PVC. The models wore full-skirted dresses, the skirts sometimes bunched up with ripcords, white shirts with exaggerated collars and ruffles, and coats and jackets made with tweed fused with synthetics. Watanabe referred to the clothes as “hard-core couture.” (See Cathy Horyn, “In Paris, Tweed Tangles With Tulle.”) Here’s the collection image from L’Officiel 1000 modèles (click to enlarge):
Fabric requirements: for skirt, approx. 2 yards of 50″ fabric*
Notions: #10 Vislon zipper, 3mm and 5mm sealing tape
* source: Craftster sewalong post
May 5, 2013 § 2 Comments
This year’s Costume Institute exhibition, PUNK: Chaos to Couture, is devoted to punk and its influence on high fashion. The show relates the punk ethos of DIY (do-it-yourself) to the custom-made garments of haute couture, devoting sections to the distinctive elements of punk’s aesthetic vocabulary: embellishments and techniques such as hardware, graffiti, and distressing. In addition to curator Andrew Bolton, the exhibition team includes Nick Knight as creative consultant and design consultant Sam Gainsbury, who was creative director of Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty.
It seems the punk theme is presenting a challenge for some celebrities attending the Met’s Costume Institute gala on Monday. (See Eric Wilson, “Would Anna Settle for a Safety Pin?“) You can watch a live stream from the red carpet this Monday, May 6th at 7pm EDT.
PUNK: Chaos to Couture runs from May 9th to August 14th, 2013. If you can’t make it to New York this summer, the exhibition catalogue is out next week from Yale University Press.
This week, in the punk spirit of DIY, I’ll be posting about two punk-inspired patterns in my Free Designer Patterns series.
April 12, 2013 § 8 Comments
Marc Jacobs’ Spring/Summer 1993 ‘grunge’ collection for Perry Ellis was a succès de scandale, a landmark collection that got him fired and continues to provoke debate. (See my earlier Marc Jacobs for Perry Ellis post here.) Shown in November 1992, the collection was inspired by the music of Seattle bands like Nirvana and the layered, mismatched, thrift-store vintage look associated with the grunge scene in the Pacific Northwest.
At the time, Jacobs described his interpretation of grunge as “a hippied romantic version of punk.” The collection referenced grunge style with mixed floral and tartan prints and thermal layers, but translated them for the runway through play with luxurious materials: the flannels and thermals were sand-washed Italian silk and cashmere, worn with Doc Martens and specially-made duchesse satin Converse and Birkenstocks.
In December 1992, Vogue magazine published “Grunge & Glory,” a Steven Meisel editorial styled by Grace Coddington and accompanied by an essay by Jonathan Poneman, cofounder of Sub Pop (the label that released Nirvana’s first album). The shoot included pieces by Anna Sui, Ralph Lauren, and several from Marc Jacobs’ grunge collection for Perry Ellis:
And in case you thought the flow of influence between fashion and alternative culture was unidirectional, Sonic Youth’s video for “Sugar Kane” (dir. Nick Egan) was shot in the Perry Ellis showroom during the making of the grunge collection:
In early 1994, Vogue Patterns released two patterns for designs from Marc Jacobs’ grunge collection for Perry Ellis. Vogue 1335 is a pattern for bell bottoms and a jacket and cropped vest with butterfly appliqués:
Here’s the envelope description: Misses’ jacket, vest & pants. Semi-fitted, lined, below hip jacket has notched collar, shoulder pads, flaps, upper and lower welt pockets, side back seams and long, two-piece sleeves with mock vent and button trim. Semi-fitted, lined, above waist vest has side panels, no side seams and welts. Both have purchased appliques. Bell-bottom pants have contour waistband and back zipper.
The Vogue 1335 ensemble was photographed for this 1993 press photo:
The second pattern, Vogue 1304, is for a pair of long, lightweight dresses—a princess-seamed slip dress and an ankle-length, retro style with flounces and flutter sleeves:
The envelope description reads: Misses’ dress. Loose fitting, flared, pullover dress A, ankle length has front button trim, side front and back seams, sleeve and hem flounces and above elbow sleeves. Fitted and flared dress B, above ankle, has shoulder straps, princess seams, side pockets and front button/loop closing. (Recommended fabrics include chiffon, georgette, and crepe de chine.)
The Vogue 1304 floral print dress was photographed with another dress in the same print by Patrick Demarchelier for Harper’s Bazaar. The models are Shalom Harlow and Susan Holmes:
(Click the image for the full editorial. For Vogue Patterns magazine, the Vogue 1304 Perry Ellis grunge dresses were photographed with the similarly on-trend Vogue 1293 by DKNY.)
Shalom Harlow was also photographed by Bruce Weber in a similar, vintage-style Perry Ellis dress, in a cherry-and-butterfly print chiffon—this time with Flea, the bassist for the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Vogue called the dress “this season’s signature”:
The same black floral print was also used for a silk bikini top and shorts, as seen in a Vogue summer editorial photographed by Ellen von Unwerth:
Years later, Jacobs spoke of being inspired by the energy of grunge after hearing Nirvana on the radio in Berlin, saying:
“I liked the idea of making some visual noise through clothing. I found a two-dollar flannel shirt on St. Mark’s Place and I sent it off to Italy and had it made into a $300-a-yard plaid silk. It was like the Elsa Perretti crystal tumbler at Tiffany that was inspired by a paper Dixie Cup. I love to take things that are everyday and comforting and make them into the most luxurious things in the world.”
(Source: Mary Clarke’s interview for Index magazine.)
It’s this effect of visual noise, of dissonance, achieved by Jacob’s high fashion take on street style that makes the Perry Ellis grunge collection so influential. There’s also something very ’90s-postmodern about reverse-faux—luxury materials mimicking their more affordable counterparts. Yet, according to Voguepedia, the grunge collection was never produced, making Vogue’s Perry Ellis patterns all the more interesting to lovers of ’90s fashion.
April 5, 2013 § 4 Comments
Can you believe the early-nineties revival in fashion right now? We remember Marc Jacobs’ ‘grunge’ collection for Perry Ellis as a turning point in ’90s fashion. It’s easy to forget that Jacobs had been designing for Perry Ellis since the late 1980s. It was Perry Ellis who persuaded Jacobs to enrol at Parsons and, before his death, Ellis had said he wanted Jacobs and his business partner, Robert Duffy, to join his company. Jacobs and Duffy were hired in 1988, and Jacobs presented his first collection for Perry Ellis, for Fall 1989, at the Puck Building in Soho.
Vogue Patterns’ licensing agreement with Perry Ellis lasted into the 1990s: the company’s Perry Ellis patterns from the 1990s represent some of Marc Jacobs’ earlier work. Here’s a selection of Perry Ellis patterns by Marc Jacobs from the early ’90s.
A dress from Marc Jacobs’ 1989 Resort collection for Perry Ellis made the cover of Vogue magazine (see above). Vogue 2475 has the same yellow and white stripes (is that Carla Bruni?):
The March/April 1990 issue of Vogue Patterns magazine included an interview introducing Marc Jacobs, accompanied by an editorial shoot showing two Perry Ellis patterns, Vogue 2474 and 2475:
These two patterns from 1991 also have a ‘resort’ feel:
Vogue 2475′s yellow stripes were also seen in the Spring 1991 collection, and stripes made a reappearance the following spring. Here are collection images for Marc Jacobs’ Spring 1991 and 1992 collections for Perry Ellis (presented in 1990 and 1991):
This pattern for daywear separates with colour blocking looks more like a Fall/Winter design (the companion pattern was Vogue 2759):
Here’s the collection image for Marc Jacobs’ Fall 1990 collection for Perry Ellis:
(A free knitting pattern is available for the New York skyline sweater at VogueKnitting.com.)
In retrospect, the headline for Vogue Patterns’ 1990 interview—”Marc Jacobs: Doing it his way”—is ironic considering the circumstances of the designer’s firing after his Spring 1993 collection for Perry Ellis. You can see more early Marc Jacobs designs for Perry Ellis in L’Officiel 1000 modèles’ 2012 hors-série issue devoted to Marc Jacobs.
March 28, 2013 § 2 Comments
Badgley and Mischka met at the Parsons School of Design. They founded Badgley Mischka in 1988, making 2013 the label’s 25th anniversary. Badgley Mischka’s relationship with Vogue Patterns began in the 1990s, when they were introduced to the Vogue Attitudes line.
These two early Badgley Mischka patterns show the pair’s knack for polished dress-and-jacket ensembles:
Of course, Badgley Mischka is best known for bridal and evening wear. A bridal line was introduced in the mid-1990s and, often, Badgley Mischka evening wear patterns will be shown made up in bridal ivories and whites. Vogue 1903 has a bias skirt and options for a contrast, Empire bodice with rhinestone straps or beaded contrast back. My mother has made view A for opera-going:
Vogue 2237, a strapless evening dress and bolero pattern, has been in print for over a decade:
This sleek evening dress has a contrast bodice yoke and elbow-length sleeves:
In recent years the label’s new lines, Mark + James and Badgley Mischka Platinum, have also been licensed to Vogue Patterns. From Badgley Mischka Platinum, this bias evening dress with gathered bodice, front drape, and matching stole is shown in a liquid lamé:
This Mark + James ruffled, strapless jumpsuit is in Vogue’s current offerings:
Also current, this Badgley Mischka Platinum cocktail dress has details including cowl sleeves, open shoulders, and jewelled appliqué, that nod to Badgley Mischka’s favourite inspiration, the glamour of Old Hollywood: