January 9, 2014 § 2 Comments
5. Anna Sui, Spring/Summer 1999 collection
Sui’s Spring 1999 collection was inspired by American sportswear designer Claire McCardell. Nylon dresses invoked McCardell’s functionalism, while denim pieces developed the Americana theme. Further New World references ranged from Mexican clothing, Día de los Muertos handicrafts, and Haitian voodoo, to glam rock and Cecil B. DeMille’s Samson and Delilah (1949). (Browse the full collection at firstVIEW.)
Vogue 2305 is a pattern for two dresses with gathering details. View A is sleeveless, with a raised, drawstring waist and scarf collar; view B has a mock-wrap bodice, off-the-shoulder puffed sleeves, and a midriff cutout above the flared skirt:
Kirsten Owen and Giselle Bündchen modelled the dresses on the runway:
6. Anna Sui, Spring/Summer 2001 collection
One of the main inspirations for the Spring 2001 collection was the Mudd Club, a locus for New York’s cultural underground in the late 1970s and early 1980s. An Edo Bertoglio polaroid of Mudd Club co-founder Anya Phillips in her blue, lace-up dress was a reference for some of the pieces. (As well as being an independent fashion designer, Phillips was art director at Fiorucci; see Tim Blanks, “Mudd Quake.”) As Andrew Bolton notes, even the collection’s less overtly ’80s designs reflected Sui’s “Mudd Club thrift-shop punk aesthetic.” (See the full collection at style.com.)
Vogue 2551 is a pattern for two LBDs for stretch knits. The one-shouldered view A is cut on the bias, with the right skirt front extending into a twisted hip drape; view B has pleats at the right shoulder and a left side slit:
Here are the two dresses on the runway. The one-shouldered jersey dress was modelled by Hannelore Knuts:
These two Edo Bertoglio portraits from the Mudd Club era show Anya Phillips, in her blue dress, and Anna Sui (photos via New York Magazine; the Sui portrait was first published in Vogue Italia):
(More Mudd Club-era photos may be found in Maripolarama [powerHouse Books, 2005], which contains a recollection by Anna Sui.)
7. Anna Sui, Fall/Winter 2001 collection
Sui’s inspiration for her Fall 2001 collection was another legendary New York venue: the Factory, Andy Warhol’s studio. In reference to Warhol’s Factory parties and ideas about celebrity, the runway presentation incorporated a screening of a black-and-white, short film, commissioned from Zoe Cassavetes, of Sui’s famous friends attending a cocktail party. Other ’60s inspirations included “Baby” Jane Holzer’s eclectic wardrobe, the work of Rudi Gernreich, and William Klein’s film Who Are You, Polly Maggoo? (1966). (Full collection at style.com.)
Vogue 2640 is a pattern for a jacket and dress with contrast binding, plus a matching scarf:
Vogue 2640’s striped jacket and dress ensemble was the spring collection’s opening look:
The collection’s stripes are a reference to a particularly Op-art scene in Klein’s Who Are You, Polly Maggoo?:
8. Anna Sui, Fall/Winter 2003 collection
The concept of art deco skiwear inspired the Fall 2003 collection, which Sui designed during another cold winter (2002-3) when urban skiwear was dominating New York street fashion. In the colours, motifs, and especially the geometric patterns of art deco, as well as the distinctive, tubular 1920s silhouette, the collection chanelled the flapper’s modernity, but with a dose of fun fur. (Full collection on style.com.)
Vogue 7950 or 639 is a pattern for five different faux fur pieces: a jacket, vest, hat, mittens, and legwarmers. The jacket is cropped, with elbow-length sleeves, while the vest has an exposed zipper. The hat has a contrast scarf that could be made to match the mittens’ contrast palms and cuffs, and the legwarmers have elasticized leg bands:
Here are some detail shots of the hat and legwarmers on the runway:
L’Officiel’s collection image shows the ’20s ski theme, complete with Anna Sui-branded snowboard (click to enlarge):
Anna Sui’s work wears its postmodernity lightly. The designer’s myriad references, fantastical narratives, and hybrid concepts mean her collections keep evolving while staying true to a bohemian, thrift-store aesthetic. I’m already planning to make several of these (one of the hazards of research). Which are your favourites?
December 25, 2013 § Leave a comment
SHOWstudio’s latest Design Download is a free pattern for a top and balloon skirt by J.W.Anderson. Anderson, who is creative director at Loewe as well as for his own label, was just named the BFA’s New Establishment Designer for 2013. (For more on Anderson see Susannah Frankel’s recent profile for W magazine, “The New Guard: J.W. Anderson.”)
As with last year’s Design Download, there’s an interactive component and also a contest. Those making up the ensemble are invited to submit photos for inclusion in a gallery on the SHOWstudio website, and J.W.Anderson and Nick Knight will choose one version to star in a special fashion film.
The asymmetrical top and skirt are from the current, Fall/Winter 2013 collection, which drew acclaim for its sculptural, experimental pieces in subdued neutrals enlivened by the odd splash of colour and comic-book prints. (See Suzy Menkes, “Maximalist Versus Minimalist“; full collection on style.com.) Here is SHOWstudio’s slate leather version on the runway:
The ensemble was also shown in midnight blue and white:
The look also made the fall advertising campaign—twice:
The pattern download comes in a choice of A4 or A1 sheets with a test line for checking the scale.
Download the top and skirt pattern (9 pieces: 4 for top, 5 for skirt)
Size: UK size 6
Recommended fabrics: leather, thick duffle wool, and other fray-resistant fabrics
Tools and notions: 20cm (8″) invisible zipper, hook and eye, seam binding or bondaweb. A rotary cutter is recommended for cutting the unfinished edges.
The deadline for contest submissions is Friday, March 31st, 2014 at midnight GMT. (See the SHOWstudio site for submission details.) Or if you’d rather snag the original, the midnight blue version of the top is on sale at net-a-porter.
December 21, 2013 § 4 Comments
Anna Sui (b. 1955) is beloved for her playfully postmodern designs. Sui collections are typically full of eclectic, retro references—fun and accessible, but always with an alternative edge. (For a comprehensive discussion of Sui’s work see Andrew Bolton, Anna Sui [Chronicle Books, 2010].)
Anna Sui’s licensing agreement with Vogue Patterns lasted from the mid-1990s until quite recently. There were also Anna Sui knitting patterns, like this paillette-trimmed mohair sweater shown on the cover of Vogue Knitting magazine:
This two-part series will present some highlights from Anna Sui’s earlier Vogue patterns, ordered by collection.
1. Anna Sui, Spring/Summer 1995 collection
Anna Sui was introduced to readers of Vogue Patterns in the July/August 1995 issue with a design from her Spring 1995, vintage ’30s and ’40s collection. Inspirations for this collection included pulp magazines, waitress uniforms, and Minnie Mouse. The collection was notable for its use of textiles, which ranged from nylon pinstripes and rubberized chiffon to prints both rockabilly and haute: some of the dresses and skirts used 1940s prints that were designed by Christian Bérard for Ascher Ltd and specially recoloured for the collection.
Vogue 1619 is a pattern for four dresses with vintage details like cut-in shoulders and puffed or tucked sleeves. The red, bouquet print in the large photo is by Christian Bérard. Vogue later proclaimed the “1940s floral look” the look of the season*:
Here’s the Bérard print dress on the runway, complete with red shoes worn with pink socks:
Vogue 1619 made the cover of Vogue Patterns’ September 1995 catalogue:
Just for fun, here’s a photo of Nicole Kidman in one of the spring collection’s pinstripe suits:
2. Anna Sui, Fall/Winter 1995 collection
For Fall 1995 Sui presented a Mod collection. The show opened with Linda Evangelista on the back of a Lambretta scooter and continued with skinny mod suits and pieces in black leather and sequinned camo, referencing Andy Warhol’s camouflage screenprints.
Vogue 1702’s mod suit includes a front-pleated skirt and sleeveless top—best worn with a matching headscarf (as shown with Vogue 1789):
Linda Evangelista was photographed in the Vogue 1702 suit by Patrick Demarchelier (see top of post). A tweed version was modelled by Stella Tennant:
3. Anna Sui, Fall/Winter 1997 collection
Sui’s ‘goth’ collection was presented at the Church of Divine Paternity, a neo-Gothic church on New York’s Upper West Side. Siouxie Sioux was a major inspiration for the show, which had post-punk makeup by François Nars and a wealth of textiles characteristic of old-school goth style, such as velvet, lace, lace-printed chiffon, and fishnet. As Bolton notes, the collection referenced the goth love of historicism in Vivienne Westwood-style bustles and ‘mini-crinis.’
Vogue 2072 is a pattern for two mini-crini dresses trimmed with ribbon and lace. It even includes the mesh top and fingerless gloves (see my earlier post here):
Karen Elson and Tasha Tilberg modelled the Vogue 2072 dresses on the runway, accessorized with matching fingerless gloves, sheer leggings, and beaded devil horns:
The red, view B version of the Vogue 2072 dress, complete with Sui devil horns, was photographed on a young Sofia Coppola:
4. Anna Sui, Spring/Summer 1998 collection
For spring 1998 Sui presented a surfer-inspired collection. Bold prints, bright colours, and bucket hats conveyed the laid-back spirit of surfer subculture, with Hawaiian, Indian, and Balinese prints and accessories evoking days spent on tropical beaches.
Vogue 2152’s three summery little dresses are like a mini vacation wardrobe:
Here are two of the Vogue 2152 dresses on the runway. The slip dress in view B was worn with a long-sleeved mesh top:
Kate Moss wears another dress from the collection in this editorial photo by Terry Richardson:
The gold-appliquéd pink sari silk was inspired by a dress belonging to the Duchess of Windsor, again bringing home the wide-ranging eclecticism of Sui’s references.
* Katherine Betts, “The best & worst looks of the ’90s,” Vogue, January 1996, p. 130.
December 11, 2013 § 5 Comments
Today we’re used to a firm division between fashion magazines and sewing magazines. But for several decades after Condé Nast sold Vogue Patterns, editorials featuring sewing patterns could still be seen in Vogue magazine—editorials with the same models, photographers, and fashion editors as Vogue’s high fashion shoots. This post is the first in an occasional series on these editorials.
Launching the series is “Courrèges Edge,” a 1995 editorial photographed by Nick Knight and showing Kate Moss in clothes made using patterns from Vogue and Butterick. The shoot covers the Sixties trend with all-white, Courrèges-style looks while playing with the theme of surveillance.
In the back of the magazine, readers could find technical drawings and further details on the patterns used, all “edited by Vogue”:
December 6, 2013 § 3 Comments
Just in time for the recent Eighties revival, SHOWstudio’s 2009 instalment in its Design Download series was an evening dress by Antony Price. Short, boned, and ruched, with asymmetrical ‘feathers’ in two shades of taffeta, the Macaw dress exemplifies the glamour and dazzling construction of Price’s evening wear. The free pattern was part of the SHOWstudio project, Antony Price: For Your Pleasure. (For more on the designer see Chrissy Iley, “Return of the Dandy,” and the Antony Price press archive.)
The designer is best known for his work for performers like the Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Duran Duran, and especially Roxy Music. This sketch shows Price’s costume design for the cover of “Siren,” Roxy Music’s 1975 album:
An earlier ornithologically-inspired Antony Price dress, “Bird’s Wing,” is part of the collection of the V&A, and was included in their exhibition, The Cutting Edge: Fifty Years of British Fashion, 1947–1997:
And Tilda Swinton recently wore Antony Price on the cover of Candy magazine (click the image for back view):
Antony Price’s Spring/Summer 1989 collection was shown at the Fashion Theatre, Kensington Olympia, to a soundtrack that included Phillip Glass, Duran Duran, and Peter and the Wolf. The Macaw dress opened a bird-themed segment of the show: after the Macaw there was the ‘Pheasant,’ the ‘Chicken,’ and finally the stunning ‘Bird of Paradise.’
Runway photos from the Spring 1989 collection may be seen in Maria Lexton’s 1991 profile of the designer. The final image (bottom right) shows the ‘Bird of Paradise’ dress:
Fabric requirements: taffeta (with additional shade for contrast); lining; stayflex fusible cotton interfacing
Notions: plastic boning, zipper
Notes/caveats: The pattern has 20 pieces, in 15 PDFs. Because the sheet dimensions are irregular, copy shop printing is recommended.
‘Feathers’ and main ruched piece are cut on the bias. The designer recommends binding boning into ‘quills’ for best results.
See the SHOWstudio submissions gallery here.
November 22, 2013 § 6 Comments
Born in Rome, Alberta Tiburzi began her modelling career in Italy in the 1960s. She later moved to New York after signing a contract with American Vogue. In the 1970s Tiburzi became a professional fashion photographer, known as signora della luce for her work with light. (Read a bio here, from the 2005 exhibition Italian Eyes: Italian Fashion Photographs from 1951 to Today.)
In the mid-1960s Tiburzi did some modelling for Vogue Patterns in Rome, for Couturier patterns by Italian designers. My mother made this Galitzine ensemble in fuchsia bouclé:
In this design by Federico Forquet, the shaped hem of the cutaway jacket matches the waistline seam on the dress:
Tiburzi brings out the drama of this double-breasted tent coat by Fabiani:
Tiburzi was also photographed in the dress from the same pattern:
Here she models a red Simonetta dress with tucks radiating from the collar:
Once in New York, Tiburzi did some work for McCall’s. Here she models a purple dress with heavily embellished collar by Pauline Trigère:
November 17, 2013 § 6 Comments
The current exhibition at London’s Fashion and Textile Museum, The Glamour of Bellville Sassoon, celebrates the museum’s 10th anniversary with a retrospective of the British fashion house. If you’re in the London area this week you can bring in your Bellville pieces, including versions sewn from Vogue Patterns, for evaluation by David Sassoon at the event “Bring out your Bellville.” (The exhibition runs until January 11th, 2014.)
Belinda Bellville founded her eponymous couture house in 1953, and recruited David Sassoon in 1958; the Bellville Sassoon name dates to 1970. Following Bellville’s retirement in the 1980s, Sassoon was joined by Lorcan Mullany as designer of the house’s ready-to-wear line. Vogue Patterns has been producing Bellville patterns since the late 1960s.
Bellville Sassoon is unusual for having no licensing apart from its long-running sewing patterns with Vogue. (See Libby Banks, “Loosening a Fashion Stiff Upper Lip.”) This has the effect of giving the patterns a special prominence. As Suzy Menkes observes, although Bellville Sassoon is perhaps best known for its society wedding gowns and association with the British royal family, the sewing patterns show the house’s “more democratic side.” (See Sinty Stemp, The Glamour of Bellville Sassoon [Antique Collectors' Club, 2009], which devotes a chapter to Vogue Patterns.) Even the couture-focused exhibition Glamour and Gowns: Couture by Belinda Bellville and Bellville Sassoon, which ran through October, 2013 at Holkham Hall (the ancestral seat of Bellville’s son-in-law), included Bellville sewing patterns.
Here is a selection of Belinda Bellville and Bellville Sassoon sewing patterns from the Sixties to now.
From early 1967, this Bellville evening ensemble includes an elegant, bow-trimmed jacket and A-line gown with optional beaded trim:
The bodice of this popular design for a short or long evening dress extends into a large bow in the slit back:
This high-waisted evening dress with waistcoat bodice could be made short, or above the ankle:
The back wrap on this bias dress creates a cowl neckline that becomes a V in the back. The model is Rosie Vela:
This dramatic, one-shouldered cocktail or evening dress has a draped, asymmetrical bodice with big bows at the hip and shoulder:
The volume in this strapless, ruffled formal dress is amplified by an attached ruffled petticoat:
A petticoat is also essential to this full-skirted, strapless party dress from the early 1990s. The bow detail at the bodice can be made in contrast fabric:
This evening dress with bias-banded bodice was photographed at Los Angeles’ Biltmore Hotel for the May/June 1997 issue of Vogue Patterns magazine, which also included an article by Claire Shaeffer on couture techniques for constructing the design:
Strong shoulders are achieved through extravagant sleeve rosettes on this recent Bellville Sassoon cocktail dress, which also features a piped and ruffle-trimmed neckline:
Current Vogue patterns, like this dress with draped and pleated bodice, show the designer as Lorcan Mullany for Bellville Sassoon:
As a teenager in the ’90s, one of the first things I made was a Bellville Sassoon corset top (from Vogue 1605). Have you sewn any Bellville patterns?