Early Sixties Chinoiserie

September 7, 2015 § 2 Comments

Maggie Cheung in Wong Kar-wai’s In the Mood for Love (2000) Image via WWD.

This year’s big Costume Institute exhibit, China: Through the Looking Glass, broke the attendance record previously set by Savage Beauty in 2011 to become the Met’s most-visited costume exhibit. (See WWD.) Andrew Bolton’s catalogue, illustrated with original photography by Platon, is available from Yale University Press.

Andrew Bolton, China: Through the Looking Glass. Fashion, Film, Art (2015) Image via Yale University Press.

One of the show’s major draws was Wong Kar-wai’s art direction, with styling by William Chang Suk-ping. (See Rosemary Feitelberg, “Chinese Arts Examined at the Met” or read the press release here.) Like Matthew Weiner’s Mad Men and mid-century American dress, Wong Kar-wai’s In the Mood for Love (2000) and 2046 (2004), with costume design by William Chang, have virtually defined the image of mid-century Hong Kong fashion.

It’s possible to find vintage sewing patterns showing a Chinese influence, especially cheongsam patterns, from about the 1950s on. The earliest Vogue patterns I’ve found that show a Chinese influence date to the early 1960s.

Two circa 1962 Vogue patterns I’ve had in the shop got me thinking about early ’60s Chinoiserie. One is for a cheongsam and pants, the other for a cocktail dress and sheer cape or ‘Ming’ stole:

1960s cheongsam and pants pattern - Vogue 5571

Vogue 5571 (c. 1962) Cheongsam and slim pants. Image via PatternVault on Etsy.

1960s Ming stole and dress pattern - Vogue 5648

Vogue 5648 (c. 1962) Cocktail dress with ‘Ming’ cape stole. Image via PatternVault on Etsy.

Interestingly, although Vogue 5571 is clearly a pattern for a cheongsam or qipao, the envelope text says nothing to identify the garment as Chinese. Vogue 5648, on the other hand, calls its voluminous coverup a ‘Ming’ stole—a garment for which I can find no evidence whatsoever.

The Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) is known for its voluminous clothing. Vogue 5648’s Ming stole has deep, two-piece sleeves and back fullness released from gathers at the neckline. Here’s the back view:

Back views, Vogue 5648 dress and Ming stole

Back views for Vogue 5648 (c. 1962)

The back neckline detail recalls this Balenciaga evening wrap featured in an earlier Costume Institute exhibit, Orientalism: Visions of the East in Western Dress:

1950s pink Balenciaga evening wrap in the collection of the Costume Institute

Balenciaga evening wrap, 1954-55. Image via the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

By contrast, the instantly recognizable cheongsam or qipao is a product of the modern period, a hybrid garment with a complex history traceable to Manchu dress in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

Vogue Patterns’ mid-century Chinoiserie seems inseparable from the context of the Cold War. In 1962, it had been just over a decade since Mao’s 1949 proclamation of the People’s Republic of China. The Hollywood films Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing (1955) and The World of Suzie Wong (1960) had helped popularize the cheongsam in the West with their depictions of love affairs between an American man and a qipao-clad Chinese woman in mid-century Hong Kong.

Poster for Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing Jennifer Jones wearing a cheongsam

Jennifer Jones wears a cheongsam on the poster for Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing (1955) Image via Wikipedia.

Poster for The World of Suzie Wong starring Nancy Kwan

Nancy Kwan wears a cheongsam (upper left) on the poster for The World of Suzie Wong (1960) Image via Business Week.

Nancy Kwan on the cover of Life magazine, October 24, 1960 - CHSA

Nancy Kwan on the cover of Life magazine, October 24, 1960. Image via the Chinese Historical Society of America.

For more on the cheongsam/qipao see Juanjuan Wu, “Reinvented Identity: The Qipao and Tang-Style Jacket,” chapter 6 of Chinese Fashion: From Mao to Now (Berg 2009).

For discussion of the exhibit see Holland Cotter, “In ‘China: Through the Looking Glass,’ Eastern Culture Meets Western Fashion” and Susie Bubble, “Through the Chinese Looking Glass.”

Happy Labour Day, everyone!

Pan Am Games 2015, Vintage Pattern Edition: Bowling

July 22, 2015 § 2 Comments

This week I’m looking at vintage patterns showing sports of the Pan Am Games. (See the first post here.) Today: a mid-century bowling pattern.

Bowling. This early 1960s pattern from Simplicity includes an “action back” shirt and skirt in two lengths. The skirt has inverted pleats in front and back; the shirt, which may be monogrammed, has pleats at the back shoulder seams:

Early 1960s women's bowling pattern - Simplicity 4648

Simplicity 4648 (ca. early 1960s) Image via Etsy.

Mad Men Era Roundup

May 20, 2015 § 1 Comment

Peggy Olson arrives at the McCann offices in "Lost Horizon" (Mad Men season 7 episode 12)

Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss) in “Lost Horizon” (Man Men, Season 7). Image via GQ.

Did you watch the Mad Men finale Sunday night? If you aren’t ready to say goodbye, a New York exhibition, Matthew Weiner’s Mad Men, brings together sets, props, costumes, and other production materials from the show (at the Museum of the Moving Image to June 14, 2015).

Soon after launching this blog in 2011, I began a series on Mad Men-era designer patterns. Like the TV series, it shows the changes that were taking place in fashion in the 1960s. Here’s the full roundup:

  1. The Old Guard I – Jacques Heim, Madame Grès, Jo Mattli, and Jean Dessès
  2. The Old Guard II – Jacques Griffe, Pauline Trigère, Pierre Balmain, and Pierre Cardin
  3. London’s Old Guard – Ronald Paterson, John Cavanagh, Michael Donéllan, and Edward Molyneux
  4. Old House, New Designer – Lanvin, Patou, Nina Ricci, and Dior
  5. The Europeans – Rodríguez, Simonetta, Fabiani, and Pucci
  6. New Talent – Guy Laroche, Irene Galitzine, and Federico Forquet
  7. Millinery – Sally Victor, John Frederics, Guy Laroche, and Halston
  8. McCall’s New York Designers – Bill Blass, Geoffrey Beene, and Anne Klein
  9. Butterick’s Young Designers – Mary Quant, Jean Muir, and Emmanuelle Khanh

I also have two posts on Yves Saint Laurent’s 1965 Mondrian collection, Mondrian! and my version of Vogue 1556, and for the later 1960s, a designers post on Rudi Gernreich.




Vogue 1556 by Yves Saint LaurentVogue 1556 by Yves Saint Laurent, Knoll Toronto

Patterns in Vogue: Marisa Berenson by Guy Bourdin

March 8, 2015 § Leave a comment

Vogue 6916

Detail, Vogue, August 15, 1966. Photo: Guy Bourdin.

If you’re in London, you still have a week to see Guy Bourdin: Image Maker at Somerset House before it closes next Sunday.

Bourdin shot only one Vogue Patterns editorial that I know of: a two-page editorial for Vogue magazine in 1966. The young Marisa Berenson models a shift dress and tent coat made from a single pattern, Vogue 6916, accessorized with gloves, fishnet knee socks, and hat by Lilly Daché (click to enlarge):

Vogue 6916

Marisa Berenson wears Vogue 6916, Vogue, August 1966. Photos: Guy Bourdin.

As always, details could be found in the back of the magazine:

Back views of 1960s pattern Vogue 6916

Vogue 6916, Vogue, August 15, 1966.

British Vogue later published the same editorial with the layout reversed: see youthquakers.

For more posts in this series, click the Patterns in Vogue tag.

Yves Saint Laurent for Dior: Vogue Patterns

December 17, 2014 § 8 Comments

Isabella Albonico photographed by Leombruno-Bodi in Dior pattern 1471 for Vogue, January 1st, 1960

Detail of Vogue 1471 by Yves Saint Laurent for Christian Dior, Vogue, January 1, 1960. Photo: Leombruno-Bodi.

For Paco Peralta.

Before Vogue Patterns introduced Yves Saint Laurent with patterns from the Mondrian collection, the company had already licensed the designer’s work for the house of Dior. (Read more at the Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent, or see Dustin’s post here.)

Yves Saint Laurent was appointed head designer at Dior after Christian Dior’s death in 1957. Dior had been his mentor; in 1955 he hired Saint Laurent to work at his new boutique, later promoting him to accessories and couture. Richard Avedon’s famous Dovima with Elephants shows a velvet evening dress designed by Yves Saint Laurent while he was still assistant designer:

Avedon's Dovima with Elephants and YSL sketch for Dior, 1955

Richard Avedon, Dovima with Elephants, Evening Dress by Dior, Cirque d’Hiver, Paris, 1955, and sketch by Yves Saint Laurent.

(Images via Enticing the Light and Encore! Life.)

Saint Laurent’s first collection for Dior, Trapèze (Spring 1958 haute couture), was a huge success, and his later work at the house continued its play with proportion. L’Officiel’s spring preview issue for 1958 featured an illustration of a Dior trapeze dress by René Gruau:

L'Officiel mars 1958: Gruau illustration of a black Dior trapeze dress

Christian Dior trapeze dress on the cover of L’Officiel, March 1958. Illustration: René Gruau. Image via jalougallery.com.

The young Yves Saint Laurent designed six haute couture collections for Dior; Vogue’s licensing represents his last three collections for the house, from 1959 to 1960.

Christian Dior label, fall-winter 1959 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Christian Dior label, automne-hiver 1959. Image via the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

1. Christian Dior Haute Couture Fall/Winter 1959

Saint Laurent’s second Fall/Winter couture collection for Dior was controversial; L’Officiel declared its aesthetic “femininity pushed to the extreme.” Suits were shown with severely cropped jackets, and the skirt silhouettes included voluminous tiers and hobble skirts.

The first Dior patterns were promoted with illustrations by Esther Larson in the late 1959 issues of Vogue Pattern Book and Vogue Printed Pattern News (thanks to the White Cabinet for the ID):

Vogue 1472 on the cover of Vogue Pattern news for December 15th, 1959

Vogue Printed Pattern News, December 15, 1959. Illustration: Esther Larson.

Anticipating demand for this high-profile addition to Vogue’s designer patterns, Vogue Pattern Book noted that the new patterns would be available in stores after November 10th:

Dior patterns in Vogue Pattern Book, December 1959-January 1960. Illustrations: Esther Larson. Image via Make Mine Vogue.

The first Dior patterns were photographed by Joseph Leombruno and Jack Bodi, the couple who worked as Leombruno-Bodi. In Vogue magazine’s first issue for 1960, Isabella Albonico modelled the two dress ensembles, Vogue 1471 and 1470:

For the first time Vogue patterns from designs by Dior. Vogue 1 Jan 1960

Vogue patterns from designs by Dior, Vogue, January 1, 1960. Photos: Leombruno-Bodi.

Leombruno-Bodi also photographed the new Dior patterns for Ladies’ Home Journal. The accompanying text for Vogue 1470 suggests that the hobble skirt silhouette was considered extreme: “Dior’s famous ‘hobble’ skirt makes a charming mid-season costume … The pattern also includes details on how to make the dress without the band at the bottom of the skirt for less extreme effect.” The model on the left is Anne St. Marie (click to enlarge):

Nora O'Leary, "Christian Dior: Yours for the Making," with hats by Vincent-Harmik, Maria Pia, and John Frederics - Ladies' Home Journal Jan 1960

Nora O’Leary, “Christian Dior: Yours for the Making,” Ladies’ Home Journal, January 1960. Photos: Leombruno-Bodi. Image via the Internet Archive.

Vogue 1470 is a striking dress and jacket ensemble. The short jacket has three-quarter sleeves and bow trim at the waist, while the dress has short sleeves, low V-neckline, and the collection’s distinctive pouf-hobble skirt banded at the knee. The original was navy tweed:

1950s Christian Dior dress and jacket pattern - Vogue 1470

Vogue 1470 by Yves Saint Laurent for Christian Dior (1959) Dress and jacket.

Here’s the envelope description: One piece dress and jacket. Skirt, with or without puffed tunic, joins the bodice at the waistline. Wide V neck-line with band finish. Short kimono sleeves. Short fitted jacket, joined to waistband, has concealed fastening below notched collar; below elbow length sleeves. Novelty belt.

Vogue 1471 is a close-fitting, double-breasted jacket with matching dress. The original was black-and-white tweed:

1950s Christian Dior dress and jacket pattern - Vogue 1471

Vogue 1471 by Yves Saint Laurent for Christian Dior (1959) Image via Make Mine Vogue.

The envelope description reads: One piece dress and jacket. Flared skirt joins the bodice at the waist-line. Single button closing below the wide V neck-line with extension band finish. Above elbow length and short sleeves. Double breasted jacket has notched collar and below elbow length sleeves. Novelty belt for version A.

Vogue 1472 seems to have been the most popular of the three patterns. The voluminous coat and skirt suit were modelled by Nena von Schlebrügge:

1950s Christian Dior coat and suit pattern - Vogue 1472

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

Here’s the envelope description: Coat, suit and scarf. Double-breasted hip length jacket has a notched collar and below elbow length sleeves with buttoned vents. Slim skirt. Double-breasted, full coat in two lengths has a large shaped collar. Concealed pocket in side seams. Below elbow length sleeves joined to dropped shoulder armholes. Straight scarf.

In the next issue of Vogue Pattern Book, the Vogue 1472 coat is called “the newsmaking original Dior coat that tops the suit… Note the extras here: the enormous buttons, the slashed side seams, the stitched collar, the scarf to match. Your own extra: a towering cloche of the checked fabric”:

Photo of Nena von Schlebrügge in Vogue 1472 in Vogue Pattern Book Feb/Mar 1960

Vogue 1472 in Vogue Pattern Book, February/March 1960. Image via eBay.

2. Christian Dior Haute Couture Spring/Summer 1960

Saint Laurent’s Spring 1960 collection for Dior was characterized by rounded silhouettes and vibrant colour. L’Officiel noted its straight suits with jackets cut on the bias to achieve the suppleness of a knitted cardigan.

Vogue 1012, introduced in the August/September 1960 issue of Vogue Pattern Book, includes a collarless, single-breasted skirt suit and sleeveless blouse with crisscross back. The jacket in view A is cut on the bias:

1960s Christian Dior suit and blouse pattern - Vogue 1012

Vogue 1012 by Yves Saint Laurent for Christian Dior (1960) Image via the Vintage Patterns Wiki.

The envelope description reads: Suit and blouse. Short, straight jacket buttons below collarless away from normal neck-line. Welt pockets. Below elbow length kimono sleeves. Skirt has soft gathers from very shallow yoke. Easy fitting overblouse has shoulder straps crisscrossed at back.

This suit is similar to Vogue 1012, but has a more conventional button front:

L'Officiel 457-58 Dior

Christian Dior’s pared-down suit, L’Officiel, April 1960. Photo: Philippe Pottier. Image via jalougallery.com.

These Guy Arsac editorial photos of a red “boule” coat and teal dress show the collection’s play with colour and silhouette:

L'Officiel 455-56 Dior Arsac

“Boule” coat by Christian Dior, L’Officiel, March 1960. Photo: Guy Arsac. Image via jalougallery.com.

LOfficiel 457-58 Diorb

Silk dress by Christian Dior, L’Officiel, April 1960. Photo: Guy Arsac. Image via jalougallery.com.

3. Christian Dior Haute Couture Fall/Winter 1960

Yves Saint Laurent’s controversial final collection for Dior, le Beat look, was inspired by Left Bank icon Juliette Gréco and the Beatniks of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. It was innovative for its infusion of youthful, bohemian street style into the couture, with Beat elements including leather jackets, knitted turtlenecks, and plenty of black.

Vogue produced two patterns from this collection, drawn from the more conventional designs. Vogue 1041 is a skirt suit and matching, loose coat with a big standing collar and side slits:

1960s Christian Dior suit and coat pattern - Vogue 1041

Vogue 1041 by Christian Dior (1960) Image via the Vintage Patterns Wiki.

Here’s the envelope description: Suit and coat. Easy fitting jacket has high buttoned closing below neck-band. Vent opening in side front seams. Bracelet length and elbow length sleeves. Slightly gathered skirt has outside stitched front panel concealing pockets. Seven eighths length loose coat has opening in side seams. Away-from-neck-line standing neck-band. Bracelet length kimono sleeves.

Philippe Pottier photographed the purple coat ensemble for L’Officiel‘s winter collections issue:

Christian Dior tweed ensemble photographed by Philippe Pottier for L'Officiel octobre 1960

Christian Dior tweed ensemble, L’Officiel, October 1960. Photo: Philippe Pottier. Image via jalougallery.com

Vogue 1041 was photographed for Vogue magazine by Henry Clarke:

Vogue 1041 by Dior photographed by Henry Clarke - Vogue Nov 15th, 1960

Vogue 1041 in Vogue, November 15, 1960. Photo: Henry Clarke.

Vogue 1041 by Dior photographed by Henry Clarke - Vogue Nov 15th, 1960

Vogue 1041 in Vogue, November 15, 1960. Photo: Henry Clarke.

Vogue 1049 is a skirt suit and sleeveless overblouse. The blouse is worn over a barrel skirt with attached underbodice for a dropped-waist effect. The jacket of view A is designed to be worn open:

1960s Christian Dior suit pattern - Vogue 1049

Vogue 1049 by Yves Saint Laurent for Christian Dior (1961) Image via Etsy.

The envelope description reads: Suit and blouse. Box jacket has cut away fronts and simulated buttoned closing or complete buttoned closing, below standing band collar. Easy fitting overblouse with optional tied belt has bateau neck-line. Above elbow length sleeves and sleeveless. Slightly barrelled shaped skirt attached to bodice.

The dotted black ensemble in duchesse velvet was photographed for this Chatillon Mouly Roussel advertisement in L’Officiel:

Ensemble de Christian Dior en duchesse velours de Chatillon Mouly Roussel

Chatillon Mouly Roussel ad showing an ensemble by Christian Dior, L’Officiel, October 1960. Image via jalougallery.com.

I also found the black suit in a later L’Officiel composite:

A Dior suit by Yves Saint Laurent - Dior 1000modèles Beat

A Dior suit by Yves Saint Laurent, L’Officiel 1000 modèles no. 81 (2007). Image via jalougallery.com.

These William Klein editorial photos featuring Dior Fall 1960 designs capture the Beat collection’s youthful spirit:

Dorothea McGowan and Sara Thom in Dior, with Little Bara, photographed for Vogue by WIlliam Klein

Dorothea McGowan and Sara Thom in Dior, with Little Bara. Vogue, September 1960. William Klein. Image via Pleasurephoto.

Dorothea McGowan in Dior, with Little Bara, photographed for Vogue by WIlliam Klein

Dorothea McGowan in Christian Dior. Vogue, September 1960. Photo: William Klein. Image via the Fashion Spot.

For more of Yves Saint Laurent’s work for Dior see L’Officiel 1000 modèles’ Dior special issue.

Benedetta Barzini

September 1, 2014 § 2 Comments

Benedetta Barzini photographed by Peter Knapp for the cover of Vogue Italia, September 1967

Vogue Italia, September 1967. Photo: Peter Knapp. Image via NYMag.

In honour of Labour Day, this models post is devoted to iconic model and political activist Benedetta Barzini.

Benedetta Barzini (b. 1943) grew up in Porto Santo Stefano and New York City. She worked as a model in New York for four years after being discovered by Diana Vreeland. Here she appears on the cover of Vogue Italia’s inaugural issue:

Benedetta Barzini on the cover of Italian Vogue's inaugural issue, November 1965

Vogue Italia & Novita, November 1965. Photo: Giampaolo Barbieri. Image via Vogue Italia.

Although Barzini returned to Italy to act, in the early 1970s she left acting and modelling to pursue Marxist-feminist teaching and political activism. She returned to modelling in the late 1980s. As of 2013 Barzini was a Professor of Fashion and Anthropology at the Polytechnic Institute of Milan. (Recent interview here.)

Donna Karan spring 1999 campaign photographed by Peter Lindbergh.

Donna Karan spring 1999 campaign. Photo: Peter Lindbergh. Models: Benedetta Barzini and Annie Morton.

Gianni Penati photographed Barzini for a spring 1965 Vogue Patterns editorial for Vogue magazine. The patterns are Vogue 1429 by Christian Dior and Vogue 6534:

Benedetta Barzini wearing Vogue pattern 1429 by Christian Dior in Moygashel linen photographed by Gianni Penati

Vogue 1429 by Christian Dior. Vogue, March 15, 1965. Photo: Gianni Penati.

Benedetta Barzini wearing Vogue 6534 dress in Vogue, March 1965 photographed by Gianni Penati

Vogue 6534 in Vogue, March 15, 1965. Photo: Gianni Penati.

I have seen only one Vogue pattern with Barzini on the envelope. In 1967, Len Steckler photographed her in Vogue 1775 by Chuck Howard, a pattern from the new Vogue Americana line:

Astrid Heeren and Benedetta Barzini model Vogue 1783 (Chester Weinberg) and Vogue 1775 (Chuck Howard), Vogue Pattern Book fall 1967

New Vogue Americana patterns, Vogue Pattern Book, Autumn 1967. Photos: Len Steckler. Models: Astrid Heeren and Benedetta Barzini.

Barzini was also featured on the cover of the Vogue Patterns catalogue for August 1967:

Benedetta Barzini in Vogue 1775 by Chester Weinberg - Vogue Patterns catalogue August 1967

Vogue Patterns catalogue, August 1967. Image via Betsy Vintage.

Happy Labour Day, everyone!

Patterns in Vogue: Helmut Newton at the Beach

August 31, 2014 § 5 Comments

Vogue May 1964

Detail, Vogue, May 1, 1964. Photo: Helmut Newton.

In the mid-1960s, Helmut Newton photographed a two-page Vogue Patterns editorial for Vogue magazine on location at Wanda Beach, near Sydney, Australia.

The editorial features two pieces from a single beachwear pattern: Vogue 6211. The cowl-neck coverup is shown in white terry cloth, the one-piece drawstring bathing suit in double-knit Orlon; the linen hats are by Adolfo and Halston (click to enlarge):

Vogue 6211 coverup and bathing suit photographed by Helmut Newton - Vogue 1 May 1964

Vogue 6211 in Vogue, May 1, 1964. Photos: Helmut Newton.

As always, back views and yardage could be found in the back of the magazine:

Vogue 1May1964 219

Vogue, May 1, 1964.

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

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