Mad Men Era 9: Butterick’s Young Designers

April 24, 2014 § 2 Comments

Megan Draper (Jessica Paré) in a Mad Men season 7 promotional photo. Image via AMC.

My series on Mad Men-era designer patterns concludes this week with three Butterick Young Designers: Mary Quant, Jean Muir, and Emmanuelle Khanh.

In 1964, Butterick launched its Young Designers line, appealing to the youth market by licensing the work of up-and-coming, international fashion designers. The line would continue through the 1970s with the addition of new designers like Betsey Johnson, Jane Tise, and Kenzo. (For more on the Young Designers line see The Vintage Traveler’s Butterick Young Designers page.)

Mary Quant

Mary Quant (b. 1934) was the first designer to be signed to the new pattern line. Born in London, Quant met Archie McNair and her future husband, Alexander Plunket Greene, at art school; together they opened a boutique on the King’s Road, Bazaar, in 1955, selling Quant’s fun, youthful designs. Quant is perhaps most famous as a pioneer of the miniskirt. Butterick released its first Quant patterns, featuring Celia Hammond photographed by Terence Donovan, in the fall of 1964.

Butterick 5475 is a mini-length shirt dress with plenty of details including epaulets, side slits, and a self-buttoned belt:

1960s Mary Quant mini dress pattern - Butterick 5475

Butterick 5475 by Mary Quant (1969) Mini dress.

Jean Muir

Also born in London, Jean Muir (1928-1995) showed an early talent for dressmaking and needlework. During the 1950s, after working her way up from the stockroom at Liberty, she was hired as designer for Jaeger; she stayed with Jaeger until 1962, when she founded her first label, Jane & Jane. She launched her eponymous label in 1966. Muir was known for her fluid dresses with charming dressmaker details.

Butterick introduced Jean Muir patterns in the spring of 1965. This short, high-waisted dress dates to the late 1960s; the bodice front and slashed, modified raglan bell sleeves fasten with rows of tiny buttons:

1960s Jean Muir dress pattern - Butterick 5657

Butterick 5657 by Jean Muir (c. 1969) Image via eBay.

Emmanuelle Khanh

Born in Paris as Renée Mésière, Emmanuelle Khanh (b. 1937) married avant-garde industrial designer Quasar Khanh in the late 1950s, around the same time that she began working as a house model for Balenciaga and Givenchy. Turning her hand to fashion design, Khanh was soon at the forefront of yé-yé fashion (Paris’ answer to Youthquake), designing for brands including Cacharel and Missoni before launching her own label in 1969. (Read a 1964 LIFE magazine article about Khanh here.) Today her company focuses on accessories, particularly eyewear.

Butterick introduced Emmanuelle Khanh sewing patterns in the fall of 1965. This turquoise, suit-effect dress creates interesting effects with topstitching and collar details:

1960s Emmanuelle Khanh suit pattern on the cover of the Butterick Home Catalog, Fall 1965

Emmanuelle Khanh dress on the cover of the Butterick Home Catalog, Fall 1965. Image: myvintagevogue via Freshly Given.

The pattern is Butterick 3718. (Thanks to Jessica Hastings of myvintagevogue for confirming the number.) This photo shows a full-length view of the dress:

An Emmanuelle Khanh dress made from a Butterick sewing pattern in heavy turquoise blue wool jersey. The striped blue, grey and black stockings are by Corah and the suede buttoned gaiters and shoes by Rayne. The white stitched crepe hat is by Simone Mirman.

An Emmanuelle Khanh dress made from a Butterick sewing pattern in heavy turquoise blue wool jersey (1965) Image via Amazon.

It’s interesting to see an established company like Butterick responding to contemporary Sixties youth culture, facilitating access to Youthquake and yé-yé fashion in the process.

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