Lida Baday: McCall’s Patterns

July 1, 2015 § 5 Comments

Turtleneck by Lida Baday, Fashion, August/September 1996. Model: Kim Renneberg. Photo: George Whiteside. Image via Fashion magazine.

In celebration of Canada Day, this post is devoted to Canadian fashion designer Lida Baday.

Lida Baday (b. 1957) was born to a dressmaker mother in Hamilton, Ontario. A graduate of Ryerson’s fashion design program, she worked for different companies in Toronto’s garment district before founding her own label in 1987. (Read bios here and here; see tear sheets here.) Baday soon won international success with her sophisticated, minimalist designs in luxurious fabrics such as wool jersey. Although her company closed its doors last year, The Fabric Room, which sells its surplus textiles, is still open to the public.

LidaBadayFW11_5

Lida Baday Fall 2011 ad campaign. Model: Kirsten Owen. Image via Melatan Riden.

In the 1990s, Lida Baday designs were available through McCall’s patterns, beginning with two patterns in the November 1992 catalogue. McCall’s 6255 and 6257 are patterns for a skirt suit and separates including a flared, hooded coat:

1990s Lida Baday skirt suit pattern - McCalls 6255

McCalls 6255 by Lida Baday (1992) Image via eBay.

1990s Lida Baday coat, jacket, skirt and pants pattern - McCall's 6257

McCall’s 6257 by Lida Baday (1992) Image via PatternVault on Etsy.

McCall’s 6855 is a pattern for a bolero and sleeveless sheath dress in two lengths. The longer version has a high slit with underlay:

1990s Lida Baday dress and bolero pattern - McCall's 6855

McCall’s 6855 by Lida Baday (1993) Image via Etsy.

McCall’s 8256 includes a long, double-breasted jacket, a short, cap-sleeved top, and wide-legged pants:

1990s Lida Baday pantsuit and top pattern - McCall's 8256

McCall’s 8256 by Lida Baday (1996) Image via Etsy.

This 1997 design for an oversized shirt, pants, and cropped leggings for stretch knits could be new today:

1990s Lida Baday pattern shirt, pants, and leggings pattern - McCall's 8740

McCall’s 8740 by Lida Baday (1997) Image via Etsy.

McCall’s 8823 is ’90s-minimalist perfection with its fitted tunic with narrow straps, slim pants, and low-backed, sleeveless dress with mock back wrap:

1990s Lida Baday dress, top, and pants pattern - McCall's 8823

McCall’s 8823 by Lida Baday (1997) Image via Etsy.

McCall’s 9371 includes a sleek halter top for stretch knits and a short, wrap skort:

1990s Lida Baday top, skort, jacket, and pants pattern - McCalls 9371

McCalls 9371 by Lida Baday (1998) Image via Etsy.

The long, stretch-knit dresses in McCall’s 9379 are both ’90s and classic:

1990s Lida Baday dress pattern - McCall's 9379

McCall’s 9379 by Lida Baday (1998) Image via PatternVault on Etsy.

Just for fun, here are some more Fashion magazine covers featuring designs by Lida Baday:

Lida Baday dress; John Fluevog boots. Fashion, September 1995. Model: Jenny Mac. Photo: George Whiteside. Image via Fashion magazine.

Jessica Paré wears a Lida Baday coat, Fashion, November 2004. Photo: Gabor Jurina. Image via Fashion magazine.

Happy Canada Day, everyone!

Patricia Underwood: Vogue Patterns

June 16, 2015 § 4 Comments

Reese Witherspoon by Tim Walker. Hat by Patricia Underwood, W February 2015

Reese Witherspoon wears a hat by Patricia Underwood, W magazine, February 2015. Photo: Tim Walker. Image via the Fashion Spot.

In celebration of Royal Ascot, which begins today, this post is devoted to millinery designer Patricia Underwood.

Patricia Underwood (b. 1947) was born near Ascot in Maidenhead, England. After moving to New York City in the late 1960s, she took a millinery course at FIT on a whim; by 1976 she had founded her own company. Underwood is known for minimalist, updated versions of traditional hat styles.

Image via the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

As well as designing for her own label, Underwood has designed hats for major American designers such as Bill Blass, Perry Ellis, Marc Jacobs, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, and Oscar de la Renta. The milliner has also designed for film and theatre. Her career is the subject of a new book, Patricia Underwood: The Way You Wear Your Hat (Rizzoli, 2015).

Fiona (Kristin Scott Thomas) in a Patricia Underwood hat, with Charles (Hugh Grant) in Four Weddings and a Funeral

Kristin Scott Thomas wears a Patricia Underwood hat in Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994) Image via 50 Anos de Filmes.

Jeffrey Banks and Doria de la Chapelle, Patricia Underwood: The Way You Wear Your Hat (2015) Image via Rizzoli.

Patricia Underwood has had a licensing agreement with Vogue Patterns since the mid-1990s. The earliest Patricia Underwood pattern I’ve seen is Vogue 9082, a pattern for five lined hats and two ascots. View A has a contrast under-brim in faux fur:

1990s Patricia Underwood hat pattern - Vogue 9082

Vogue 9082 by Patricia Underwood (1994) Image via Etsy.

Vogue 9207 includes five hats and a shawl. Views A and B have Underwood’s signature broad brim, while view E is a turban for stretch knits:

1990s Patricia Underwood pattern - Vogue 9207

Vogue 9207 by Patricia Underwood (1995) Image via Etsy.

Bridal millinery pattern Vogue 7242 has a variety of headpiece and veil combinations, as well as a headband, hair ornament, and floral wreath:

Patricia Underwood bridal headpiece and veils pattern - Vogue 7242

Vogue 7242 by Patricia Underwood (2000) Image via Betsy Vintage.

Patiricia Underwood bridal pattern - crown and hair ornament, Vogue 7242

Vogue 7242 by Patricia Underwood (2000) Image via Etsy.

Vogue 8844 includes four day styles of hat; View A may be worn like a trilby, with upturned back brim. The recommended fabrics are nylon, ripstop, velvet/velveteen, tweed, wool/wool blends and synthetic suede:

Patricia Underwood hat pattern - Vogue 8844

Vogue 8844 by Patricia Underwood (2012) Image via Etsy.

Recent pattern Vogue 8891 includes five more formal styles, all lined in tulle: a cloche, wide and smaller brim hats, and a fascinator (view C) like a miniature pork pie hat. This pattern is still in print:

Patricia Underwood hat pattern - Vogue 8891

Vogue 8891 by Patricia Underwood (2013) Image via Etsy.

For more on millinery patterns, see my previous Ascot posts on Frederick Fox and Stephen Jones.

Yves Saint Laurent 1971: la collection du scandale

June 11, 2015 § 3 Comments

Yves Saint Laurent 1971: la collection du scandale. Exposition du 19 mars au 19 juillet 2015 - Fondation Pierre Bergé - Yves Saint Laurent

Yves Saint Laurent 1971: la collection du scandale. Model: Willy Van Rooy. Photo: Hans Feurer.

Yves Saint Laurent’s Spring 1971 haute couture collection, Libération, is currently the focus of a major Paris exhibition. Curated by Olivier Saillard of the Palais Galliera, Yves Saint Laurent 1971: la collection du scandale may be seen at the Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent through July 19th, 2015. A catalogue (in French only) is available from Flammarion.

Inspired by the women of occupied Paris, Saint Laurent’s “Forties” collection interpreted vintage styles for the younger generation—subversive historicism with an edge of camp. The wartime silhouettes of thirty years previous dominated for day, with evening gowns featuring prints based on ancient Greek erotic art. (See Suzy Menkes for Vogue and Joelle Diderich for WWD.) Like the designer’s Beat collection for Dior, it brought youthful street style to couture, prompting a similar backlash but ultimately succeeding in terms of broader influence.

Yves Saint Laurent Spring 1971 haute couture (Libération) in L'Officiel 1000 modèles' YSL special issue

Yves Saint Laurent Spring 1971 haute couture (Libération), L’Officiel 1000 modèles hors série, 2002. Image via jalougallery.com.

L’Officiel was one of the only magazines to put the collection on the cover; British Vogue and Harpers & Queen opted for related Rive Gauche looks instead:

Yves Saint Laurent couture ensemble on the cover of L'Officiel, March 1971

Yves Saint Laurent couture ensemble, L’Officiel, March 1971. Photo: Roland Bianchini. Image via jalougallery.com.

Florence Lafuma photographed by Barry Lategan for the cover of British Vogue, March 1, 1971

Poppy accessories from Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, British Vogue, March 1971. Model: Florence Lafuma. Photo: Barry Lategan. Image via Vogue UK.

Viviane Fauny photographed by Helmut Newton in YSL Rive Gauche for the cover of Harpers & Queen, April 1971

“Lips” print dress from Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, Harpers & Queen, early April 1971. Model: Viviane Fauny. Photo: Helmut Newton. Image via Pinterest.

Vogue Patterns licensed two patterns from the Spring 1971 couture. Vogue 2571 is a puff-sleeved dress trimmed down the front with tiny buttons. Frank Horvat photographed the navy original for the August/September issue of Vogue Pattern Book. The editorial text reads, “From Yves Saint Laurent, a slither of crepe. Note the new high puffed sleeves tight round the wrists, with just enough flare and tiny ball buttons”:

1970s Yves Saint Laurent dress pattern - Vogue 2571

Vogue 2571 by Yves Saint Laurent (1971) Image courtesy of Paco Peralta.

V2571 schematic

Technical drawing for Vogue 2571

Here’s the envelope description: Misses’ Dress. Semi-fitted, slightly flared dress, mid-knee length, has jewel neckline, front button and loop closing, front gathered into forward shoulder seam and topstitch trim. Full length leg-o-mutton sleeves with pleated cap have zipper closing. Purchased scarf. Semi-fitted sleeveless slip has back zipper closing.

The exhibition catalogue includes this photo of the dress in the original collection presentation:

Runway photo of the Vogue 2571 dress in the collection du scandale exhibition catalogue

A model shows the navy dress from Yves Saint Laurent’s Spring 1971 Libération collection. Image courtesy of Paco Peralta.

Vogue 2598 is a pattern for pleated skirt, cuffed trousers, and double-breasted jacket with optional ribbon trim (see Paco’s post here):

1970s Yves Saint Laurent three-piece suit pattern - Vogue 2598

Vogue 2598 by Yves Saint Laurent (1971) Image courtesy of Paco Peralta.

V2598 schematic

Technical drawing for Vogue 2598

The envelope description reads: Misses’ Three-Piece Suit. Fitted, double-breasted blazer jacket has notched collar, wide lapels, patch pockets, extended padded shoulders, full length sleeves with buttoned vents and turn back cuffs. Topstitch or ribbon trim. Gored, pleated skirt, two inches below knee, has waistband and topstitch trim. Straight-legged pants with cuffs are darted into waistband.

Here is a ribbon-trimmed pantsuit version of Vogue 2598 in the original presentation. The pattern could be adapted to make the sleeveless variation:

Runway photo of an Yves Saint Laurent pantsuit - Spring 1971 haute couture

A model shows a pantsuit from Yves Saint Laurent’s Spring 1971 Libération collection. Image: Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent.

These editorial photos from L’Officiel’s spring couture preview show three variations on the Vogue 2598 double-breasted suit look: a long, houndstooth coat; a jacket worn with a short, wool jersey jumpsuit; and a pinstriped pantsuit topped with a fur stole:

Yves Saint Laurent Spring 1971 couture photographed by Jean Louis Guégan for L'Officiel

Yves Saint Laurent Spring 1971 couture in L’Officiel 582 (1971). Photo: Jean Louis Guégan. Image via jalougallery.com.

Jane Birkin was photographed in the long-sleeved, ribbon-trimmed jacket (can anyone identify the photographer?) and Bianca Jagger wore a white, single-breasted jacket from this collection to her wedding:

Jane Birkin in Yves Saint Laurent Spring 1971 couture

Jane Birkin in Yves Saint Laurent. Image via tumblr.

Mick Jagger with Bianca Jagger in Yves Saint Laurent couture, May 1971

Mick Jagger with Bianca Jagger in Yves Saint Laurent, May 1971. Image via Gaia Fishler.

Just for fun, I’ll close with some editorial images featuring spring 1971 Yves Saint Laurent:

Helmut Newton's photos of Yves Saint Laurent couture for Vogue Paris, March 1971

Yves Saint Laurent couture in Vogue Paris, March 1971. Photos: Helmut Newton. Models: Viviane Fauny, Margrit Ramme. Image via Youthquakers.

Bob Richardson's photos of Anjelica Huston in Yves Saint Laurent couture for Vogue Italia, June 1971

Anjelica Huston in Yves Saint Laurent couture, Vogue Italia, June 1971. Photo: Bob Richardson. Image via Vogue.it.

Gian Paolo Barbieri's photo of Ingmari Lamy in Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, 1971

Ingmari Lamy in Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche (?), 1971. Photo: Gian Paolo Barbieri. From Soie pirate (Scheidegger & Spiess, 2010) Image via little augury.

With thanks to Paco Peralta.

Alexander McQueen Fabric, Part 2: Tartan

May 15, 2015 § 1 Comment

McQueen tartan dresses from Widows of Culloden (FW 2006)

Dresses in the McQueen tartan from Alexander McQueen’s Fall/Winter 2006-7 collection (Widows of Culloden). Image via the Metropolitan Museum of Art (via Everything Just So).

If Alexander McQueen’s innovative prints reveal his interest in technology, the designer’s work with tartan shows his engagement with history. Continuing our celebration of Savage Beauty at the V&A, this post looks at McQueen’s use of tartan. (See Part 1: Prints, or my roundup post here.)

The MacQueen clan tartan appears extensively in the designer’s breakthrough collection, Highland Rape (Fall 1995). The collection—which used Lochcarron tartan and lace found in Brick Lane—was a highly personal response to the violence of the Highland Clearances and fashion’s appropriation of Scottish culture (watch Tim Blanks’ show video here):

McQueen wool tartan jacket and skirt from the collection of Isabella Blow - Alexander McQueen FW 1995

Jacket of McQueen wool tartan with green wool felt sleeves; skirt of McQueen wool tartan; both from the collection of Isabella Blow. Alexander McQueen Fall/Winter 1995-96 (Highland Rape). Photo: Sølve Sundsbø. Image via the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Highland Rape runway photos - Alexander McQueen FW 1995

Alexander McQueen Fall/Winter 1995-96 (Highland Rape). Images via the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

McQueen also used his family tartan at the house of Givenchy. In his second couture collection, Eclect Dissect (Givenchy haute couture Fall 1997), which was built on the idea of a mad scientist, the McQueen tartan was cut on the bias for tailored pieces overlaid with black lace:

Two tartan looks from Eclect Dissect - Givenchy couture FW 1997

Alexander McQueen for Givenchy Fall/Winter 1997-98 haute couture (Eclect Dissect)

The McQueen tartan reappears the following year in Joan (Fall 1998). Named for Joan of Arc, with an opening soundtrack of burning wood and runway covered in cinders, the collection thematized martyrdom, with the McQueen tartan referencing the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots (see Constance C.R. White, Review/Fashion, and Kate Bethune’s note; full collection at firstVIEW):

Joan - Alexander McQueen FW1998

Alexander McQueen Fall/Winter 1998-99 (Joan)

Joan - Alexander McQueen FW 1998

Alexander McQueen Fall/Winter 1998-99 (Joan)

McQueen also worked with other tartans. The check pattern might be manipulated to appear blurred or bleeding, or it could be overlaid or embellished as in Eclect Dissect. In The Overlook (Fall 1999)—named for the haunted, snowbound lodge built on a Native American burial ground in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (1980)—a long, grey tailcoat was lined with tartan to match loose trousers, and an overlaid tartan jacket was paired with a balloon skirt in a large blanket check with tartan accents (full collection at firstVIEW):

Sunniva Stordahl and Hannelore Knuts in grey checks and tartan in Alexander McQueen FW 1999 (The Overlook)

Alexander McQueen Fall/Winter 1999-2000 (The Overlook). Models: Sunniva Stordahl and Hannelore Knuts.

McQueen’s 1960s-inspired collection, The Man Who Knew Too Much (Fall 2005), included bias-cut separates in a wool ombré check, together with a black, white, and pink check party dress covered in beaded fringe:

Raquel Zimmermann and Carmen Kass in tartan looks from The Man Who Knew Too Much - McQueen FW 2005

Alexander McQueen Fall/Winter 2005-6 (The Man Who Knew Too Much). Models: Raquel Zimmermann and Carmen Kass. Images via style.com.

The Girl Who Lived in the Tree (Fall 2008), a fanciful narrative of the British Empire, had several bias-cut pieces in a black, white, and red tartan, and two coats in a grey mohair tartan for a bleeding effect:

Alexander McQueen FW 2008

Alexander McQueen Fall/Winter 2008-9 (The Girl Who Lived in the Tree). Models: Sara Blomqvist and Alanna Zimmer. Images via style.com.

There were several pieces in the McQueen tartan in Alexander McQueen’s Fall 2006 menswear collection, which was inspired by vampire movies Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) and Interview With the Vampire (1994). Vogue editor Hamish Bowles wore the appliquéd kimono-and-pants ensemble to the Costume Institute gala in 2011 (see the collection and read Tim Blanks’ review on style.com; video at AlexanderMcQueen.com):

McQueen menswear FW2006 tartan

Alexander McQueen Fall/Winter 2006-7 menswear. Images via style.com.

The same season, McQueen returned to Scottish history with Widows of Culloden (Fall 2006), a romantic collection commemorating the final battle of the 1745 Jacobite Rising. The show invitation had the title in Gaelic: Bantraich de cuil lodair (see Kate Bethune on Widows of Culloden). As in the Givenchy couture, the McQueen tartan was cut on the bias, embroidered, and trimmed with lace and tulle (click to enlarge):

Widows of Culloden - Alexander McQueen runway lookbook FW 2006

Widows of Culloden - Alexander McQueen runway lookbook FW 2006

Widows of Culloden - Alexander McQueen runway lookbook FW 2006

Widows of Culloden - Alexander McQueen runway lookbook FW 2006

For more see Jonathan Faiers, McQueen and Tartan, and Ghislaine Wood’s essay, “Clan MacQueen,” in the V&A catalogue.

Like other traditional tartans, the McQueen tartan can be ordered from Scottish textile mills in different weights and fibre contents. (It’s often listed as ‘MacQueen.’) Alexander McQueen used tartan from Lochcarron, a mill established in the mid-nineteenth century in the Scottish highlands.

McQueen / MacQueen tartan swatch

MacQueen Modern tartan swatch from the Scottish Tartans Authority.

As a memorial to the late designer, Scotweb owner Nick Fiddes designed a mourning version of the MacQueen clan tartan.

What would you make in the McQueen tartan?

Sourcing Tartan Fabric

Alexander McQueen Fabric, Part 1: Prints

May 11, 2015 § 5 Comments

Jack the Ripper McQueen sketch

Sketch by Alexander McQueen, Central Saint Martins MA graduate portfolio, Jack the Ripper Stalks his Victims, Fall/Winter 1992. Pencil on distressed paper with fabric swatches. Image via Alexander McQueen.

As part of this blog’s celebration of Savage Beauty in London, I’ll be devoting two posts to Alexander McQueen fabrics. (See my earlier roundup post here.) First: a look at McQueen’s distinctive prints.

McQueen’s fellow Central Saint Martins student Simon Ungless, who went on to become director of the School of Fashion at San Francisco’s Academy of Art University, designed the barbed hawthorn print in McQueen’s graduate collection, Jack the Ripper Stalks his Victims (Fall 1992; interview here. Oberto Gili photographed Isabella Blow in the coat for British Vogue.) Ungless also designed the swallow print in The Birds (Spring 1995):

Coat in pink silk satin printed in thorn pattern, Alexander McQueen FW 1992

Coat, pink silk satin printed in thorn pattern by Simon Ungless, lined in white silk with encapsulated human hair, Alexander McQueen Fall/Winter 1992 (Jack the Ripper Stalks His Victims). Photo: Sølve Sundsbø. Image via the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Mr Pearl and Plum Sykes in two swallow print looks, Alexander McQueen Spring/Summer 1995 (The Birds)

Two swallow print looks, Alexander McQueen Spring/Summer 1995 (The Birds) Models: Mr. Pearl and Plum Sykes.

Silk jacket with swallow print, Alexander McQueen SS 1995 (The Birds)

Silk jacket, Alexander McQueen Spring/Summer 1995 (The Birds). Image via the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Freelance print designer and Central Saint Martins Textiles tutor Fleet Bigwood designed fabrics for Alexander McQueen’s first three seasons. (See Fleet Bigwood: Breaking the Rules at Texprint, or the BBC’s Blast videos.) The top in this ensemble from Nihilism (Spring 1994, McQueen’s third collection) was printed using an iron filing paste that was rusted through exposure to air and salt water (see Louise Nutt on Pinterest; full collection at the Fashion Spot, or video here):

Fleet Bigwood rust-printed top, Alexander McQueen SS 1994

Ensemble featuring a Fleet Bigwood print for Alexander McQueen’s Spring/Summer 1994 collection (Nihilism). Image via Pinterest.

In 2002, immediately after presenting his award-winning Central Saint Martins graduate collection, Jonathan Saunders was hired to design prints for Alexander McQueen’s Spring 2003 collection, Irere. Working with designer Christopher Pearson—a member of the Alexander McQueen design team from 2001 to 2006 and a founding member of the company’s fashion print department—Saunders produced Irere’s celebrated Bird-of-Paradise prints (see the V&A on Irere):

Jonathan Saunders bird-of-paradise feather print for Alexander McQueen, SS 2003

Feather print for Alexander McQueen, Spring/Summer 2003 (Irere). Image via Christopher Pearson/Cargo.

Alexander McQueen Irere SS 2003 prints by Jonathan Saunders

Alexander McQueen Spring/Summer 2003 (Irere). Models: Frankie Rayder and Roos van Bosstraeten. Images via style.com.

The following year, Pearson co-designed the Alexander McQueen skull scarf with Jennefer Osterhoudt, who was head of accessories for McQueen at Givenchy and later at Alexander McQueen. The pattern is based on a skull scarf found in Camden Market:

Skull print by Christopher Pearson and Jennefer Osterhoudt for Alexander McQueen, 2002

Skull print by Christopher Pearson and Jennefer Osterhoudt for Alexander McQueen, 2002. Image via Christopher Pearson/Cargo.

For McQueen’s later collections, the prints were produced by a team of designers that included textile design interns who might be hired back after graduation. From 2006 to 2011, the company’s head print designer was Central Saint Martins graduate Holly Marler, who is now head of embroidery, fabric, and print design at Temperley London.

Lilly Heine, now head of print fabric development at Dries Van Noten, interned with Jonathan Saunders and later Alexander McQueen as a textiles student. (See her profiles in the Frankfurter Allgemeine [German only] and the Independent.) During her internship at Alexander McQueen, Heine designed some prints for La Dame Bleue (Spring 2008). The collection’s rainbow bird-of-paradise print appeared on several looks including the feather-collared Bird of Paradise dress—recently worn by FKA twigs to perform at the V&A’s Savage Beauty gala:

Alexander McQueen bird-of-paradise prints, SS 2008 Isabella Blow collection

Alexander McQueen, Spring/Summer 2008 (La Dame Bleue). Models: Taryn Davidson and Viviane Orth. Images via style.com.

Torunn Myklebust, today a senior print designer at Givenchy, also did a textile design internship at Alexander McQueen. As an intern, Myklebust worked on prints for Natural Dis-Tinction Un-Natural Selection (Spring 2009), and she rejoined the company in late 2009. (Read an interview in Natt&Dag [Norwegian only]; see Myklebust’s tumblr.) The wood-grain digital print from the Spring 2009 collection was later used for the endpapers of Andrew Bolton’s Savage Beauty catalogue:

Wood-grain digital print, Alexander McQueen SS 2009

From a silk/synthetic ensemble by Alexander McQueen, Spring/Summer 2009 (Natural Dis-Tinction Un-Natural Selection). Image via the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

In her review of the Spring 2009 collection, Sarah Mower identified engineered prints as a trend out of London: “bright, multicolored allover prints, engineered to fit around jackets, leggings, and cocoon dresses—new on the Paris runway, but also part of a general trend emanating from London’s young designers.” The Spring 2009 advertising campaign, shot by Craig McDean, features a jacket and leggings in one of the collection’s crystalline digital prints:

Heidi Mount in Craig McDean's Spring 2009 campaign for Alexander McQueen

Alexander McQueen Spring 2009 ad campaign. Photo: Craig McDean. Image via styleregistry.

In her Savage Beauty interview with Tim Blanks, Sarah Burton discusses McQueen’s meticulous design process when working with patterned fabrics such as prints or jacquards. From Fall 2009 on, McQueen would drape the initial design using a rough version of the fabric, with the team producing miniature, 3-D paper dolls to show the pattern placement. When a working version of the fabric was ready, he would finalize the pattern placement on a mannequin, after which the print or jacquard would be re-adjusted to match at the seams. Only then would it be sent into production. (See Andrew Bolton, Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, pp. 229-30.)

Frederic Alexander, who worked as an assistant to Holly Marler and now designs for his own label, Saint Etienne, worked on prints for Alexander McQueen’s Pre-Fall 2009 and Fall 2009 collections. The Escher-inspired magpie houndstooth print recalls Simon Ungless’ swallow print:

Floral and magpie houndstooth prints, Alexander McQueen Pre-Fall and FW 2009-10

Floral print design for Alexander McQueen Pre-Fall 2009; magpie houndstooth print design for Alexander McQueen Fall/Winter 2009-10 (The Horn of Plenty). Images via Saint Etienne/Cargo.

Alexander McQueen Pre-Fall and Fall 2009

Alexander McQueen Pre-Fall 2009 and Fall/Winter 2009-10 (The Horn of Plenty). Images via style.com.

Advances in inkjet technology enabled the thirty-six circle-engineered digital prints in Plato’s Atlantis (Spring 2010). (For further technical discussion of textiles in Plato’s Atlantis, see the Savage Beauty section of the Alexander McQueen website.) Freelance textile designer Chinsky Cheung interned at Alexander McQueen and returned to the company for several collections, including Plato’s Atlantis. In an article published in Hong Kong’s Milk magazine, she shows aspects of the design process including pattern placement:

Alexander McQueen SS 2010 look 3 print placement

Alexander McQueen Spring/Summer 2010 (Plato’s Atlantis). Model: Karmen Pedaru. Images: style.com and Chinsky Cheung/Milk magazine via Augustine Wong.

(For more scans see Augustine Wong’s post, The Queen of the Prints.)

Dress, digitally printed silk satin and silk chiffon, Alexander McQueen SS 2010

Dress, digitally printed silk satin and silk chiffon, by Alexander McQueen, Spring/Summer 2010 (Plato’s Atlantis). Image via the Victoria and Albert Museum.

The Fall 2010 menswear (An Bailitheoir Cnámh – the Bone Collector) and women’s Pre-Fall 2010 collection had the same catacombs print:

Catacomb print, Alexander McQueen Fall 2010 men's / women's Pre-Fall 2010-11

Two catacomb print looks, Alexander McQueen Fall/Winter 2010-11 menswear (An Bailitheoir Cnámh) and Pre-Fall 2010. Images via style.com and Alexander McQueen.

The textiles in McQueen’s posthumously presented Fall 2010 collection (known as Angels and Demons) were patterned with digitally manipulated images drawn from early religious painting and sculpture. (See Dazed Digital and the V&A on the collection.) Some of the patterns were not prints but jacquards, while the reworked Old Master prints looked back to pieces like the Fall 1997 Campin crucifixion-printed jacket:

Richard Fairhead's photo of Alexander McQueen Byzantine lion jacquard, Dazed magazine 2010

Alexander McQueen Byzantine lion jacquard, Dazed magazine, October 2010. Photo: Richard Fairhead. Image via Dazed Digital.

Alexander McQueen dress with print based on Stefan Lochner's 15th-century Altarpiece of the Patron Saints of Köln,

Dress, silk print based on Stefan Lochner’s Dombild Altarpiece with underskirt of gilded feathers, Alexander McQueen Fall/Winter 2010-11. Image via the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Alexander McQueen jacket with Robert Campin 15th c. crucifixion print, FW 1997-98

Jacket, Alexander McQueen Fall/Winter 1997-98 (It’s a Jungle Out There). Photo: Sølve Sundsbø. Image via the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

For more on digital prints, see the webpage for the Phoenix Art Museum’s 2013 exhibit, Digital Print Fashion (more in Corbin Chamberlin, “Phoenix Art Museum Embraces New Technology with ‘Digital Print Fashion’ Exhibit“). If you’re interested in designing your own digital prints, Kathryn Brenne recently wrote a primer for Vogue Patterns magazine’s February/March 2015 issue, and Melanie Bowles and Ceri Isaac have published a textbook on the subject, Digital Textile Design (Laurence King, 2nd ed. 2012).

With thanks to Kate Bethune.

Next: Alexander McQueen and tartan.

Yves Saint Laurent + Halston: Fashioning the 70s

April 17, 2015 § 1 Comment

The Museum at FIT’s exhibit, Yves Saint Laurent + Halston: Fashioning the 70s, closes this Saturday. (See Bridget Foley, “That Real Seventies Show.”) If you can’t make it to New York to see it, a catalogue is available from Yale University Press.

Patricia Mears and Emma McClendon, Yves Saint Laurent + Halston: Fashioning the 70s. Image via Yale University Press.

The MFIT exhibit organizes the two designers’ 1970s work in three thematic sections: menswear influence, exoticism, and historicism. Since both Yves Saint Laurent and Halston had licensed sewing patterns in the ’70s, I thought it would be fun to present three pairs of patterns in the exhibition’s format.

Menswear

From Yves Saint Laurent, Vogue 1143 is a ’70s version of the famous Le smoking. Helmut Newton photographed Charlotte Rampling in a similar, Prince of Wales check pantsuit for Vogue (with original text here):

1970s Yves Saint Laurent pantsuit, blouse, and skirt pattern - Vogue 1143

Vogue 1143 by Yves Saint Laurent (1974) Image via Etsy.

According to the curators, Halston’s most famous garment is the Ultrasuede shirtdress. McCall’s 4391 is a zip-front shirtdress that includes special instructions for working with synthetic suede:

1970s Halston dress pattern, view A for synthetic suede - McCall's 4391

McCall’s 4391 by Halston (1975) Model: Karen Bjornson.

Exoticism

Yves Saint Laurent’s interest in “exotic,” non-Western dress is perhaps best remembered from his Russian collection (Fall 1976 haute couture). From Vogue’s Ballets Russes patterns, Vogue 1558 is a Russian ensemble consisting of blouse, vest, bias skirt, and braid-trimmed jacket—hat and babushka scarf not included (see more at Paco’s blog):

1970s Yves Saint Laurent Ballets Russes pattern - Vogue 1558

Vogue 1558 by Yves Saint Laurent (1976) Model: Karen Bjornson. Image via the Vintage Patterns Wiki.

During the 1970s, both Saint Laurent and Halston showed non-Western influence in their caftans and pajama ensembles. Halston pattern McCall’s 3590 combines both:

1970s Halston caftan, top, and pants pattern - McCalls 3590

McCall’s 3590 by Halston (1973)

Historicism

Inspired by the 1940s, Yves Saint Laurent’s Spring 1971 haute couture collection, Libération, launched the decade’s vogue for vintage. Although the 1971 collection was poorly received, Saint Laurent’s subsequent vintage-inspired efforts were very influential. From 1973, Vogue 2930 is a Forties-inspired dress-and-coat ensemble:

1970s Yves Saint Laurent dress and coat or jacket pattern - Vogue 2930

Vogue 2930 by Yves Saint Laurent (1973) Image via eBay.

Halston’s historicism focused on the interwar couture of the 1930s, especially the work of Grès and Vionnet. McCall’s 4046 is a slinky dress for stretchable knits. It has only one main pattern piece and is shaped by gathers and side darts:

1970s Halston cocktail or evening dress pattern - McCall's 4046

McCall’s 4046 by Halston (1974)

As the curators note, Halston and Yves Saint Laurent have been seen as embodying two separate styles: minimalist ready-to-wear vs. fantasy couture. Yet comparison of their work shows how their stylistic experimentation led them to common ground, particularly in the earlier ’70s. Interestingly, some Saint Laurent and Halston garments can be hard to tell apart until you examine the construction—something home sewers can certainly appreciate.

Designs by Halston and Yves Saint Laurent on the cover of W magazine, September 3-10, 1976. Image via WWD.

Mr. John Millinery Patterns

April 5, 2015 § 6 Comments

Mr. John hat photographed by Edwin Blumenfeld for the cover of British Vogue, April 1951

China blue velvet beret designed by Mr. John of New York; interpreted by R.M. Hats for Marshall and Snelgrove. British Vogue, April 1951. Photo: Edwin Blumenfeld. Image via Vogue UK.

Born in Munich, celebrity milliner Hans Harberger, a.k.a. Mr. John (1902-1993), founded his New York salon in 1948. (For bio see my earlier post, 25 Jahre Mauerfall; on the complex history of Mr. John’s name and label see my Mad Men-era millinery post, or read his obituary in the Independent.)

Millinery patterns by Mr. John were available from Vogue in the first half of the 1950s. There were also mail-order Mr. John patterns from Spadea and Prominent Designer, as well as garment patterns from Advance. Vogue’s later John-Frederics patterns date to the tenure of Mr. John’s former partner, Frederick Hirst.

1950s Mr. John silk hat with hat box

Mr. John silk hat with hat box (ca. 1950). Image via the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

From 1952, Vogue 7908 is a cloche with elegant shaped brim. The brim could be worn down or folded up on one side:

1950s Mr. John hat pattern - Vogue 7908

Vogue 7908 by Mr. John (1952) Image via eBay.

Vogue 7909 is a beret that dips to a point on one side, with an optional chin strap:

1950s Mr. John hat pattern - Vogue 7909

Vogue 7909 by Mr. John (1952) Image via eBay.

Vogue 7909 was still available the following year, as seen in this 1953 illustration for Ladies’ Home Journal. The lower two hats are by Mr. John:

1950s Vogue hat patterns illustrated in Ladies Home Journal, March 1953

Top: Vogue 7738 and 7929. Bottom: Vogue 7962 and 7909 by Mr. John. Ladies’ Home Journal, March 1953.

Vogue 7961 is a draped cloche, striking in striped fabric:

1950s Mr. Joh hat pattern - Vogue 7961

Vogue 7961 by Mr. John (1953) Image via the Vintage Pattern Wiki.

Vogue 8441 is a shirred, draped turban, recommended for jersey:

1950s Mr. John hat pattern - Vogue 8441

Vogue 8441 by Mr. John (1954) Image via Etsy.

From 1955, Vogue 8546 is gathered at the sides into a narrow brim that crosses in the back:

1950s Mr. John hat pattern - Vogue 8546

Vogue 8546 by Mr. John (1955) Image via eBay.

Vogue 8547 is a pill box with front pleat and optional ribbon ties:

1950s Mr. John hat pattern - Vogue 8547

Vogue 8547 by Mr. John (1955) Image via Etsy.

In the later 1950s, Mr. John designed six spring hats for Everywoman’s magazine. Carmen (Carmine) Schiavone photographed one of them for the cover of the Easter issue:

A Mr. John creation on the cover of Everywoman's magazine, April 1957

Everywoman’s, April 1957. Photo: Carmen Schiavone. Image via Pattern Peddler.

The patterns, which were available to readers by mail order, were home-tested by a New York homemaker (click to enlarge):

Make a Mr. John hat for Easter. Photos: Carmen Schiavone

Make a Mr. John hat for Easter. Photos: Carmen Schiavone. Image via Pattern Peddler.

Six Mr. John hat patterns available from Everywoman's magazine

Six Mr. John hat patterns available from Everywoman’s magazine. Photos: Carmen Schiavone. Image via Pattern Peddler.

Many of Mr. John’s hat patterns are available as reproductions on Etsy.

I’ll close with two Vogue covers featuring Mr. John hats:

A Mr. John hat photographed by Irving Penn for the cover of British Vogue, September 1951

Lisa Fonssagrives wears a hat by Mr. John, British Vogue, September 1951. Photo: Irving Penn. Image via Vogue UK.

Isabella Albonico photographed by Irving Penn in a Mr. John hat and scarf set for Vogue, March 1, 1961

Isabella Albonico wears a hat and scarf by Mr. John, Vogue, March 1961. Photo: Irving Penn.

For more hats by Mr. John, see Kristine/dovima is divine’s set on flickr.

Happy Easter, everyone!

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