June 15, 2014 § 5 Comments
It’s been some time since Vogue offered designer menswear patterns. In the 1970s and 1980s, home sewers could choose from licensed designs for everything from men’s shirts to outerwear and three-piece suits. In celebration of Father’s Day, here’s a selection of vintage menswear patterns from Vogue Patterns.
Vogue introduced designer menswear patterns in the early 1970s with designs by Bill Blass and Pierre Cardin. From Cardin, Vogue 2918 is a double-breasted coat in two lengths:
1975 saw the release of some his-and-hers Valentino patterns. Vogue 1180, a men’s jacket and pants pattern, was photographed with a women’s Valentino ensemble, Vogue 1178:
Polo by Ralph Lauren was introduced to Vogue customers in the summer of 1975. The safari-style Vogue 1237 and 1238 were photographed in India:
Also by Polo Ralph Lauren, Vogue 1581 is a double-breasted trench coat with detachable lining:
This Christian Dior shirt-jacket and pants is the only men’s Dior pattern I’ve seen:
This snappy three-piece suit is by Bill Blass:
There were two menswear patterns by Yves Saint Laurent: safari suits photographed by Chris von Wangenheim (see Paco’s related post here):
Givenchy licensed a trim three-piece suit, Vogue 2112:
In 1979 the company released a trio of menswear patterns by Calvin Klein—separate patterns for a shirt, jacket, and pants. Vogue 2256 is a pattern for slim, tapered men’s pants; view B is low-rise and flat-front:
The menswear releases tapered off in the 1980s. 1980 saw the release of two Bill Blass men’s patterns, for a three-piece suit and close-fitting shirt:
In 1988 Vogue released three menswear patterns by Perry Ellis, for a jacket, shirt, and pants. Vogue 2207 is a loose-fitting jacket:
Just for fun, I’ll close with this Pierre Cardin robe and pajamas, which included a logo appliqué:
With menswear sales catching up with womenswear, perhaps Vogue Patterns will capitalize on this trend by restoring menswear to its designer licensing. I’d be first in line for a Saint Laurent pattern…
Happy Father’s Day!
February 27, 2014 § 4 Comments
Born in Flint, Michigan, Billie Blair (b. 1946) worked as a model at the Detroit Auto Show before becoming one of the highest-paid fashion models of the 1970s. Moving to New York City, she got a job at Halston and soon found success as an editorial and runway model. Blair was among the African-American models at the historic 1973 fundraising event, Le Grand Divertissement à Versailles, known today as the Battle of Versailles. (The event was the subject of a recent documentary by Deborah Riley Draper, Versailles ’73: American Runway Revolution [2012)].)
Billie Blair may be seen on a number of Vogue designer patterns from the mid-1970s. Here she wears a tweed skirt suit and pussy-bow blouse by Oscar de la Renta; this design was marked as ‘suitable for knits':
Stan Herman designed this casual hooded top, skirt, and pants. The illustration shows some American Hustle-worthy aviator shades:
Here Blair wears a girlish, vintage-style ensemble by Nina Ricci, a cream-coloured dress with matching cape:
From Jean Patou, this maxi dress may date to the period when the young Jean Paul Gaultier was assistant designer. Blair brings out the glamour of this haute couture loungewear:
In Vogue Patterns‘ 1975 holiday issue, Jerry Hall wears the Patou dress while Blair models an off-the-shoulder party dress in an editorial devoted to evening sparkle (the headline reads, “Be a Star the Vogue Way”):
Here she models a fabulous, evening-length Dior caftan with piped neckline:
This Nina Ricci separates pattern includes a poncho with shirttail hem, convertible collar, and big patch pockets:
Blair is the model on this rare pattern by Sonia Rykiel, Vogue 1378—check out the matching coral sandals:
Billie Blair’s commanding presence and approach to modelling as performance don’t seem too unusual today. But she was unconventional for the time, and even felt the need to under-report her age when she first became famous. A 1974 profile of Blair in People magazine says she is 22 years old and remarks on her size 9 feet. (In a letter to the editor, a high school classmate wondered how Blair had stayed 22 when her peers were 28.) She continued modelling into her thirties—here she appears in a dynamic 1978 Vogue shoot by Andrea Blanch:
January 14, 2014 § 11 Comments
Diane von Fürstenberg’s wrap dress celebrates its 40th anniversary this month. The famous dress, which officially made its debut in January, 1974, is being fêted with Journey of a Dress, an exhibition of 200 wrap dresses at the Wilshire May Company building in Los Angeles:
Von Fürstenberg relaunched her label in 1997 after realizing that her vintage wrap dresses were enjoying a new popularity among young women. The advertising campaign for the relaunch shows Danielle Z. in different wrap dresses, including this leopard print version (click the image for a style.com article with slideshow):
Vogue Patterns introduced Diane Von Furstenberg patterns with great fanfare in the fall of 1976. The designer herself modelled a wrap dress on the magazine cover, and there was even a special sew-in label and tie-in with Cohama fabrics. (More on the fabrics at The Vintage Traveler.)
The punning headline of the 1976 magazine feature, “The Princess and Her Prints,” refers to her first marriage to Egon von Fürstenberg, of the Prussian princes of Fürstenberg (she capitalized the ‘von’ for her label):
Vogue’s Diane Von Furstenberg patterns included several wrap dresses. The 1970s patterns were all in the Very Easy Vogue line, and most were for stretchable knits.
The long-sleeved Vogue 1548 may be worn in two ways, forward or backward. The young Renee Russo is the model:
Karen Bjornson models Vogue 1549, a wrap dress with buttoned cuffs and optional collar. This design also works for woven fabrics:
The following year Vogue Patterns released a half-size version for petites, Vogue 1679. The first set of patterns was photographed by Chris von Wangenheim:
Here’s the back-wrap view of Vogue 1548 on the cover of the December catalogue:
Vogue 1610 may be made sleeveless or short-sleeved with faux cuffs. I’ve made this for Naomi, and it’s incredibly versatile:
Vogue 1853 has full, cuffed sleeves in a choice of long or elbow length. Christie Brinkley modelled the long-sleeved version:
Vogue 2517, a colour-blocked, front-wrapped dress designed for two colour contrasts, was photographed by Patrick Demarchelier. (This one is technically a mock-wrap dress.) The model is Chris Royer:
Tara Shannon models Vogue 1486, an ’80s wrap dress with pleated skirt, shaped hemline, and dolman sleeves:
Discussions of the DVF wrap dress always seem to centre on questions of contemporary femininity. Even the promotional bio on the envelope flap promises dressmakers they’ll “feel like a woman”:
This Vogue Patterns editorial photo of the Vogue 1610 wrap dress similarly promotes the idea of femininity in the workplace. With the caption “Soft Dressing for Hard Schedules,” it shows Karen Bjornson, glasses in hand, being delivered flowers at the office:
I was tickled to learn that Amy Adams wears three Diane Von Furstenberg dresses in American Hustle—two vintage and one contemporary. Apparently David O. Russell was obsessed with the green print version worn by von Fürstenberg on the cover of Newsweek, and costume designer Michael Wilkinson was able to source the vintage original for the film (see Financial Times story with slideshow here, or click the image for a Variety costumes story with video):
Have you sewn from a Diane Von Furstenberg pattern?
February 7, 2013 § 2 Comments
It’s almost forty years since Beverly Johnson (b. 1952) became the first black woman to appear on the cover of American Vogue, in 1974. (Donyale Luna had appeared on the cover of British Vogue in 1966.) One of the decade’s most successful models, Johnson had moved to New York City to pursue modelling after losing her summer job; she had been a pre-law student at Northeastern University.
To be accurate, Beverly Johnson was the first model of mixed black/Native American background to make the Vogue cover, as her father’s ancestry is part Blackfoot (see story and slideshow at Vogue Italia). Whereas her first agent told her she would never make the cover of Vogue, Johnson also faced obstacles with “the leading black magazines, Ebony and Essence, [who] wouldn’t put me on their covers at first, because I wasn’t ethnic-looking enough” (read her recollection at Vogue online).
As far as I know, Johnson was also the first black model to be photographed for Vogue’s designer patterns. Johnson’s relationship with the pattern company seems to have begun the year before her first Vogue cover. This Sybil Connolly pattern, from October/November 1973, is the earliest pattern I’ve seen featuring her:
These three designs featuring Johnson, by Ungaro and Bill Blass, were released in May 1974. Instead of their usual sandy-haired male model, Vogue 1011 pairs her with another black model:
Here she models for a McCall’s pattern by Halston:
Johnson appears on several early Calvin Klein patterns, including this set of casual separates (in series with the pantsuit modelled by Angeleen Gagliano):
You may recognize these two patterns, from Dior and Balmain, which seem to have been quite popular:
In terms of high-profile, evening dress patterns, the only ones I could find featuring Johnson were these two, by Teal Traina and Belinda Bellville:
Beverly Johnson also modelled for Simplicity, as well as Vogue magazine’s features on Vogue patterns. (Although Vogue Patterns was by then owned by Butterick, Vogue magazine continued to run editorials featuring Vogue patterns—see my Gia Carangi post for more.) Here Johnson appears in a 1972 advertisement for the Simplicity Catalog:
In this 1976 patterns feature, Johnson models linen tops with Karen Bjornson (the patterns, left to right, are Vogue 9544, Vogue 9635, and Vogue 9559):
In this Vogue shoot, Johnson’s cardigan is Vogue 2924 by Fabiani:
The caftan shot at the top of this post is from a four-page patterns editorial photographed by Kourken Pakchanian. Here is the full editorial:
The patterns are: top left, Vogue 8585; top right, Vogue 8573; bottom left, Vogue 2881; bottom right, Vogue 8587. (The halter top, sarong, and bikini are all from V2881; the envelope photo shows deeply tanned, Caucasian models.) Corbis had the full image of Johnson in the V2881 bikini:
December 3, 2012 § 10 Comments
Since Naomi was going as Daenerys Targaryen, this Halloween I went as Quaithe from George R.R. Martin’s series A Song of Ice and Fire. Quaithe is a minor character from shadowy Asshai who meets Daenerys near Qarth; she makes repeated appearances to deliver cryptic prophecies.
In the books Quaithe is hardly described at all apart from her red lacquered mask, so I had a lot of freedom. Asshai, in the fantasy world’s mysterious east, is known for its worship of R’hllor, a fire religion with Zoroastrian echoes. After doing some research into ancient Persian costume, which showed periodic Greek influences, I opted to use my Very Easy late ’70s Givenchy evening dress pattern, Vogue 2014:
The design may be from the Spring 1978 collection, judging from the similar halter neckline in this campaign image:
For fabric, I used black Qiana from a deadstock bolt found on Etsy. Qiana is a vintage nylon, a synthetic silk with a little stretch. It’s even in keeping with the ‘exotic’ Qs of the fantasy series.
As a Very Easy Vogue pattern, Vogue 2014 has very simple construction, but also lots of hand-finishing. The hem and slits at top and bottom front are slipstitched, the top edge is blindstitched to the inside bodice, and the back facings and extension are slipstitched over the hooks and eyes that fasten the halter.
I made the size 12 with no alterations, and it worked out just fine. The lines of gather stitching at the ends of the halter fastening are visible, as I discovered, so if I made the dress again I would mark them rather than doing my usual winging it.
Instead of using the 18-inch tassel the pattern calls for, I strung together some mesh beads from Arton Beads on Queen Street West. With stainless steel spacer beads the strand is fairly heavy, but I like the effect when it’s fastened to the back extension.
Naomi found me a shimmery red mask at Malabar, and within a day or so I had a costume:
Here are some detail shots of the bodice and back:
Many thanks to our fabulous photographer, Rachel O’Neill, for a fantastic beach shoot in mid-November!
(Cross-posted to We Sew Retro.)
October 26, 2012 § 4 Comments
Southern beauty queen and model Angeleen (1950-2009) is a familiar face to vintage pattern aficionados. Born Angelina Marie Gagliano, she was also a keen equestrian—she is the model in Chris von Wangenheim’s circa 1975 series Untitled (Woman with horse). (It’s her horse. See prints at Christie’s and Staley-Wise Gallery.) Her son, Jason Storch, has posted a short bio here.
Angeleen did a lot of work for Simplicity, McCall’s, and especially Vogue Patterns in the mid-1970s. Here she is on the cover of a Very Easy Vogue catalogue:
Angeleen can be seen on some of the earliest Vogue patterns from Sonia Rykiel, Chloé, and Calvin Klein:
Here she models Halston’s spiral-cut dress for McCall’s (see Dustin’s recent post on this pattern here):
My personal favourite patterns featuring Angeleen are the ones for ’70s evening wear, like these designs from Balmain and Lanvin:
July 30, 2012 § 5 Comments
This is the second of two posts on Gianni Versace’s Vogue patterns. (See the first post, on designs by Versace for Genny and Complice, here.)
Today, Gianni Versace may be best known for his flamboyant prints, colour, and embellishment, and designs that exploit the tactile qualities of materials like leather and metal mesh. Besides being celebrity-friendly, Versace was also a master technician and art connoisseur; his designs make myriad references to art history, especially the classical and baroque. His clothes flatter a woman’s curves; indeed, disliking standard mannequins, he designed his own based on the Venus de Milo.
Vogue’s Versace patterns were released from the late 1970s to the early 1980s. Here is a selection:
Vogue 2168 is a pantsuit and blouse modelled by Karen Bjornson and photographed by Patrick Demarchelier:
Clotilde models Vogue 2375, the draped trouser ensemble I featured in last year’s disco best-of:
Vogue 2534 is a colour-blocked wrap dress with handkerchief hem. I love the hybrid cami/draped bodice, which ties at the left shoulder:
Here’s the photo that was published in Vogue Patterns magazine; this shoot was also by Patrick Demarchelier:
(There’s a small size available at Miscellanium on Etsy.) This later campaign image shows Iman in a dress with similar bodice construction:
Vogue 2702 is a design for harem pants and a lavishly draped tunic with batwing sleeves and pointed back hem:
Here’s an editorial photo of Vogue 2702 from the holiday issue of the magazine:
Vogue 2702’s pleated harem pants make me think it could be from Versace’s Spring 1981 collection, shown in this campaign image by Richard Avedon:
As even this small sample of sewing patterns shows, Gianni Versace’s work was sui generis. It’s a special treat that the general period of the designer’s work covered by Vogue patterns yielded collaborations with prominent photographers including Guy Bourdin, Helmut Newton, Patrick Demarchelier, and Richard Avedon. (In 1986, Versace was the subject of a fashion photography exhibition at Paris’ Musée Galliera; see Christopher Petkanas, “A Dialog with Gianni Versace,” WWD, October 22, 1986.) Several of the Versace patterns give fresh takes on classical drapery, showing Versace’s gift for reinterpretation and innovation through a keen engagement with culture—both high and popular.