Envelope Fail: Vogue 2893 by Donna Karan

June 13, 2014 § 7 Comments

Erin Wasson photographed by Peter Lindbergh - Donna Karan Spring 2005 advertising campaign

Donna Karan Spring 2005 ad campaign. Model: Erin Wasson. Photo: Peter Lindbergh.

When I first started collecting sewing patterns, Naomi was baffled. She couldn’t understand my interest when the styling on modern pattern envelopes was bland or worse. This new, occasional series looks at designer patterns that fail to convey the strengths of the original—not as an end in itself, but in the hope of provoking reflection and discussion of the frequent disparity between designer fashion and the licensed versions offered to home sewers.

(You can see an earlier discussion in the comments on my Alber Elbaz post.)

Launching the series is Vogue 2893, a top and skirt pattern by Donna Karan from 2006. The off-the-shoulder, back-laced ensemble is drawn from Karan’s Spring/Summer 2005 collection, and was the centrepiece of the Peter Lindbergh advertising campaign starring Erin Wasson.

Erin Wasson photographed by Peter Lindbergh - Donna Karan Spring 2005 advertising campaign

Donna Karan Spring 2005 ad campaign. Model: Erin Wasson. Photo: Peter Lindbergh.

The look was even chosen to open the Spring 2005 runway presentation. The second photo shows the top’s contrast mesh inserts, elasticized shoulders, and decorative zigzag stitching detail:

Gemma Ward - Donna Karan SPring 2005 collection

Model: Gemma Ward. Photo: Marcio Madeira. Image via style.com.

Detail - Gemma Ward, Donna Karan Spring 2005 collection

Model: Gemma Ward. Image via style.com.

Now consider the pattern envelope:

Donna Karan off-the-shoulder top and skirt pattern - Vogue 2893

Vogue 2893 by Donna Karan (2006) Top and skirt.

Technical drawing for Vogue 2893

Technical drawing for Vogue 2893

The envelope replaces the original’s bared shoulders, open back, and slight flare at the hips with a much higher décolletage and tightly laced back. The result is a more covered-up, middle-of-the-road, body-con look that lacks the original’s confidence and wit.

What do you think? Did Vogue Patterns assume the original styling wouldn’t appeal to their customers?

Third Anniversary Sale!

May 28, 2014 § Leave a comment

Tara Shannon models Vogue 2307 by Givenchy (1979)

Image via PatternVault on Etsy.

To celebrate the three-year anniversary of my Etsy shop, I’m having a week-long sale: 25% off everything in the store—including new items and PDF e-booklets.

To receive the discount, use the coupon code YEARTHETHIRD. The sale runs from today, May 28th, until midnight EDT on Tuesday, June 3rd.

Happy shopping!

Patterns in Vogue: Red Hot

May 23, 2014 § 3 Comments

Kate Moss photographed by Juergen Teller in a red Montana trench - Vogue, June 1994

Kate Moss photographed by Juergen Teller, Vogue, June 1994.

It’s Kate Moss Month at SHOWstudio, so I was able to update my “Courrèges Edge” post with a newly released, early fashion film by Nick Knight featuring video of Kate Moss from the 1995 patterns shoot.

An earlier Kate Moss editorial shows the model in sophisticated summer looks, all made up in red using Vogue patterns. Photographed by Juergen Teller, “Red Hot” appears in the June, 1994 issue of Vogue magazine.

Here Moss models a simple, silk charmeuse gown, Vogue 8689; on the right she wears a sheer nylon shirt, Vogue 8447, with a pair of Ray-Ban mirror shades (click to enlarge):

Kate Moss photographed by Juergen Teller - Vogue June 1994

Vogue, June 1994. Photos: Juergen Teller. Fashion editor: Camilla Nickerson.

On the left, Moss’ silk charmeuse romper was made using Vogue 9765, a 1980s bias lingerie pattern; on the right, the jacket from Vogue 1326 by Claude Montana becomes a short, patent leather trench coat:

Kate Moss photographed by Juergen Teller - Vogue June 1994

Vogue, June 1994. Photos: Juergen Teller. Fashion editor: Camilla Nickerson.

Here Moss’ basic silk tank is Vogue 1342; on the right, her silk satin pantsuit is Vogue 1402 by Genny, worn with a black, silk charmeuse cami made with another ’80s lingerie pattern, Vogue 2146:

Kate Moss photographed by Juergen Teller - Vogue, June 1994

Vogue, June 1994. Photos: Juergen Teller. Fashion editor: Camilla Nickerson.

As always, in the back of the magazine readers could find all the details on the patterns used in the shoot:

Patterns used in the Kate Moss / Juergen Teller shoot, Vogue, June 1994

In This Issue, Vogue, June 1994.

Click the Patterns in Vogue tag for more posts in the series.

Patterns in Vogue: Rebecca Lobo

May 21, 2014 § 2 Comments

Vogue Nov1997 Lobo detail

Rebecca Lobo photographed by Michel Comte, Vogue, November 1997.

In 1997, Michel Comte photographed pro basketball player Rebecca Lobo for Vogue magazine in an evening dress made from a Vogue pattern. The American Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) had had its first game earlier that year, and the New York Liberty forward was featured in a health and beauty portfolio, “Women on the Verge,” on six women in the public eye.

Vogue Nov 1997 Rebecca Lobo

Rebecca Lobo, Vogue, November 1997. Photo: Michel Comte.

The caption reads: “Rebecca Lobo, forward for the New York Liberty, former college basketball star, and Olympic gold medalist, is too tall (six feet four) for off-the-rack women’s clothes and too stylish to be relegated to baggy unisex sweatsuits. Her solution: a custom-made wardrobe. Here, satin evening gown from Vogue Pattern #9400.”

Lobo’s bias evening gown is view C of Vogue 9400 from 1995, made up in silk crepe-backed satin:

Vogue 9400 pattern - In This Issue, Vogue, November 1997

Vogue 9400, In This Issue, Vogue, November 1997.

Lobo appeared in the same issue as my previous Patterns in Vogue post—apparently the last issue to feature sewing patterns.

Nena von Schlebrügge and Uma Thurman

May 12, 2014 § 5 Comments

Autumn 1960 Vogue Pattern Book (UK edition)

Nena von Schlebrügge on the cover of Vogue Pattern Book, Autumn 1960. Image via eBay.

(A late Mother’s Day post since I was under the weather yesterday.)

In honour of Mother’s Day, this models post is devoted to a mother and daughter who both modelled for designer sewing patterns: Nena von Schlebrügge and Uma Thurman.

Nena von Schlebrügge (b. 1941) was born in Mexico City to German-Swedish parents who had fled Nazi Germany. In 1957, two years after she was discovered by Norman Parkinson, she moved from her native Stockholm to London to pursue modelling, later moving to New York to sign with Eileen Ford.

Norman Parkinson test shot of Nena von Schlebrügge, Stockholm, 1955

Nena von Schlebrügge, first test shots, Stockholm, 1955. Photo: Norman Parkinson. Image via artnet.

Nena von Schlebrügge appears on a number of Vogue Pattern Book covers and Vogue patterns from the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Here she models one of Vogue’s first Dior patterns by Yves Saint Laurent—Vogue 1472, a skirt suit and full coat with big, shaped collar:

Vogue 1472 by Yves Saint Laurent for Christian Dior (1959). Image via the Vintage Patterns Wiki.

Von Schlebrügge can also be seen on Vogue 1484 by Madame Grès, a 3-piece ensemble that includes a voluminous coat with three-quarter sleeves, loose back panel, and elegant contrast lapels and lining:

Vogue 1484 by Grès (1960) Image via the Vintage Patterns Wiki.

Nena von Schlebrügge on a 1960 Grès pattern - Vogue 1484

Detail of Vogue 1484 by Grès (1960) Image via Etsy.

Uma Thurman (b. 1970) is the daughter of Nena von Schlebrügge and her second husband, Robert Thurman. Born and raised in Massachusetts, Uma Thurman dropped out of her prep school there to pursue acting in New York City, where she worked as a fashion model before landing her breakout roles in Stephen Frears’ Dangerous Liaisons (1988) and Terry Gilliam’s The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988).

Patrick Demarchelier photo of Uma Thurman on the cover of British Vogue, December 1985

British Vogue, December 1985. Photo: Patrick Demarchelier. Image via Vogue UK.

Uma Thurman is featured on a handful of 1980s Simplicity patterns, including two by Cathy Hardwick. (These may date to Tom Ford’s time at the company.)

Here Thurman wears Simplicity 8054, a wrap dress with halter back and capelet sleeves, in classic red:

1980s Cathy Hardwick dress pattern featuring Uma Thurman - Simplicity 8054

Simplicity 8054 by Cathy Hardwick (1986) Image via Etsy.

Here she models a pure ’80s LBD with big shoulders and flutter sleeves, Simplicity 8055:

1980s Cathy Hardwick dress pattern featuring Uma Thurman - Simplicity 8055

Simplicity 8055 by Cathy Hardwick (1987) Image via Etsy.

Nena von Schlebrügge later became a psychotherapist and director of Tibet House and the Menla Center; Uma Thurman is an Academy Award nominee for her role in Pulp Fiction (1994). Thurman’s presence is already evident in her Simplicity patterns. Isn’t the family resemblance striking?

Free Designer Pattern: Patrick Kelly One-Seam Coat

May 5, 2014 § 5 Comments

Cotton coat by Patrick Kelly, 1985

One-seam coat by Patrick Kelly, 1985. Image via the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

As part of its current exhibition, Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love, the Philadelphia Museum of Art is sharing a pattern for a one-seam coat designed by Patrick Kelly in 1984. (See my post on Patrick Kelly’s Vogue patterns here.)

After Kelly moved to Paris in 1979, he worked as a costume designer for Le Palace nightclub while also selling his coats on the sidewalk of the Boulevard Saint-Germain. When he secured a stall at Les Puces de Saint-Ouen, the famous Porte de Clignancourt flea market, his raw-edged jersey tube dresses caught the attention of his first backer, Françoise Chassagnac of Victoire. Thanks to Chassagnac’s connections, Kelly’s entire collection was featured in Elle magazine:

Les Tubes de Patrick Kelly, Elle France, February 18, 1985

“Les tubes de Patrick Kelly,” Elle France, February 18, 1985. Image via Shrimpton Couture.

Although the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s coat dates to 1985, the design is the same as those Kelly sold on the Boulevard Saint-Germain.

Kelly’s one-seam coat would become a recurring feature in the designer’s work. A rethinking of Cristóbal Balenciaga’s iconic 1961 one-seam coat, it may have been inspired by Issey Miyake’s cocoon coat—Kelly was once the house guest of Miyake’s publicist, Victoria Rivière, in Paris.

The original coat is a quilted cotton knit. It has a simple revers opening in front, box pleats in the back, and batwing sleeves formed by the shoulder seam:

Patrick Kelly one-seam coat illustration

These technical drawings show the coat front and back:

Patrick Kelly coat schematics

Download the one-seam coat pattern

Size: One size fits all

Fabric requirements: About 3.5 yards (3.2 m) of 60″ (~150 cm) fabric

Recommended fabrics: Fabrics with a good hand and drape, e.g. double knits and double-faced fabrics. The original is a quilted single knit.

Finished length: 52″ (132 cm)

Pattern length from top to bottom: 57.5″ (146 cm)

Tips, caveats: No separate instructions; scale and seam allowances are not marked. The coat must be cut on the cross grain. The original coat has a simple turn and stitch finish, with a sleeve binding piece for the sleeve openings.

A Parisian friend of Kelly’s has posted instructions to make a doll-scale version based on her Patrick Kelly original.

Thanks to Monica Brown, Senior Collections Assistant, Costume and Textiles, for answering questions about the project, and Paula M. Sim, Costume and Textiles intern, for drafting the pattern.

Patrick Kelly: Vogue Patterns

April 29, 2014 § 5 Comments

Patrick Kelly AW1988 Toscani

Patrick Kelly Fall 1988 collection. Photo: Oliviero Toscani. Image via Dazed Digital.

This past weekend, the exhibition Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love opened at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. (Read WWD’s coverage here.) The show is the second Patrick Kelly retrospective since the designer’s death from AIDS in 1990. (The first was the Brooklyn Museum’s Patrick Kelly: A Retrospective in 2004.)

Born in Vicksburg, Mississippi, Patrick Kelly (1954-1990) found success as an expatriate in Paris: he was the first American, and also the first black designer, to be elected to the Chambre syndicale du prêt-à-porter. Much of Kelly’s work references his southern, African-American heritage through the use of vibrant colour, buttons and bows, and reappropriated black memorabilia motifs such as watermelons and golliwogs. (Patrick Kelly shopping bags emblazoned with his golliwog logo, as seen in the above photo, were deemed too controversial to be used in the United States.)

Embellished dresses from Patrick Kelly's Fall 1986 and Fall 1988 collections

Dresses from Patrick Kelly’s Fall 1986 and Fall 1988 collections. Image via the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Between 1988 and 1991, Vogue Patterns licensed Patrick Kelly designs, first in the Individualist line and later as Paris Originals. Here is a selection of Patrick Kelly sewing patterns, grouped by collection.

1. Patrick Kelly Spring/Summer 1988 prêt-à-porter

Vogue Patterns’ licensing began with Kelly’s Spring/Summer 1988 collection, his first under contract with Warnaco. This collection played with the culture and racial stereotypes of the American south. (Watch a YouTube video of the collection starting here.) Vogue 2077, the first of several Patrick Kelly patterns featuring African-American model Gail O’Neill, is a flamboyant peplum suit with back bow:

1980s Patrick Kelly peplum jacket and skirt - Vogue 2077

Vogue 2077 by Patrick Kelly (1988) Image via PatternVault on Etsy.

The suit seems to have made the cover of Vogue Patterns magazine:

Vogue Patterns magazine, Summer 1988

Vogue Patterns magazine, Summer 1988. Image via Flickr.

Vogue 2078 is a tiered, off-the-shoulder dress for stretch knits:

1980s Patrick Kelly dress pattern - Vogue 2078

Vogue 2078 by Patrick Kelly (1988) Image via Etsy.

More knit dresses from this collection can be seen in this photo by Oliviero Toscani, the photographer best known for his controversial Benetton ads:

Patrick Kelly SS1988 Toscani

Patrick Kelly Spring 1988 collection. Photo: Oliviero Toscani. Image via the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

2. Patrick Kelly Fall/Winter 1988-89 prêt-à-porter

Variations on the heart motif characterized Kelly’s Fall 1988 collection, entitled More Love; the collection was later included in “Heart Strings,” a touring fundraiser for the Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA). Vogue 2165 is a long-sleeved, colour-blocked dress with heart-shaped bodice:

1980s Patrick Kelly colour-blocked dress pattern - Vogue 2165

Vogue 2165 by Patrick Kelly (1988) Image via eBay.

A version with red contrast can be seen in Toscani’s ad campaign; the red bodice also appeared in the bridal look that closed the collection. Given the ‘love’ theme, it’s surprising that the red version was not photographed for the Vogue pattern:

Patrick Kelly Fall/Winter 1988 ad campaign. Photo: Oliviero Toscani

Patrick Kelly Fall 1988 ad campaign. Photo: Oliviero Toscani. Image via Philadelphia Museum of Art on tumblr.

Vogue 2304, a stretch-knit dress with Kelly’s trademark buttons applied in a rainbow triangle, is visible in the Toscani photo at the top of this post:

1980s Patrick Kelly dress pattern - Vogue 2304

Vogue 2304 by Patrick Kelly (1989) Image via Fashionista Fabrics.

3. Patrick Kelly Spring/Summer 1989 prêt-à-porter

Having just been elected to the Chambre syndicale in June 1988, Kelly showed a Mona Lisa-themed collection for Spring 1989 in the courtyard of the Louvre. Vogue 2286 is a pattern for a full skirt, wide-legged pants, and a double-breasted top with notched shawl collar:

1980s Patrick Kelly top, skirt, and pants pattern - Vogue 2286

Vogue 2286 by Patrick Kelly (1989) Image via eBay.

The red version of the top can be seen in this campaign photo by Oliviero Toscani:

Patrick Kelly Spring 1989 ad campaign. Photo: Oliviero Toscani

Patrick Kelly Spring 1989 ad campaign. Photo: Oliviero Toscani. Image via Dazed Digital.

4. Patrick Kelly Fall/Winter 1989 prêt-à-porter

Presented the year of the bicentenary of French Revolution, Kelly’s final collection was conceived as a celebration of France and America. Vogue 2385 is a shawl-effect dress designed for stretch knits; the contrast front inset extends into a shoulder drape. The illustration’s red drape version may be seen in Runway of Love:

1980s Patrick Kelly dress pattern - Vogue 2385

Vogue 2385 by Patrick Kelly (1989) Image via Etsy.

The grey stripe version was featured in the Fall/Winter 1989 ad campaign:

Patrick Kelly Fall 1989 ad campaign

Patrick Kelly Fall 1989 ad campaign. Photo: Oliviero Toscani. Image via Pinterest.

Vogue 2556 is a button-studded ensemble consisting of jacket, skirt, and coat. The design requires forty-one buttons for the jacket alone:

1990 Patrick Kelly suit and coat pattern - Vogue 2556

Vogue 2556 by Patrick Kelly (1990) Image via Etsy.

The Vogue 2556 jacket and skirt were photographed for this Apollo Landing-themed campaign image:

Patrick Kelly FW1989 Toscani

Patrick Kelly FW 1989 collection. Photo: Oliviero Toscani. Image via Philadelphia Museum of Art.

A hot pink version, included in the Philadelphia exhibit, has a matching hat and cape, and rainbow buttons:

Patrick Kelly FW1989

Patrick Kelly suit and cape ensemble, FW 1989 collection. Image via Dazed Digital.

Despite covering only two years, the sewing patterns are an excellent sample of Kelly’s bold and playful work.

Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love runs through November 30th, 2014.

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