DVF Wrap Dress 40th Anniversary

January 14, 2014 § 10 Comments

Diane von Furstenberg on the cover of Vogue Patterns, September/October 1976

Vogue Patterns, September/October 1976. Image via Musings from Marilyn.

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:

DVF 40 - Journey of a Dress

Image via DVF.com.

Mannequins in wrap dresses at Journey of a Dress

Photo: Getty Images via Vogue.com.

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):

Diane Von Furstenberg advertising campaign, 1998

Diane Von Furstenberg advertising campaign, 1998. Model: Danielle Zinaich. Image via style.com.

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.)

Diane von Furstenberg for Vogue Patterns printed label

Diane Von Furstenberg for Vogue Patterns printed label. Image via Etsy.

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):

The Princess and Her Prints - Vogue Patterns, fall 1976

“The Princess and Her Prints…” Vogue Patterns, September/October 1976. Image via myvintagevogue.

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:

1970s Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dress pattern - Vogue 1548

Vogue 1548 by Diane Von Furstenberg (1976) Image via Etsy.

Karen Bjornson models Vogue 1549, a wrap dress with buttoned cuffs and optional collar. This design also works for woven fabrics:

1970s Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress pattern - Vogue 1549

Vogue 1549 by Diane Von Furstenberg (1976) Image via eBay.

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:

Chris von Wangenheim photos of Vogue 1548 in a 1976 Vogue Patterns editorial

Vogue 1548, Vogue Patterns, September/October 1976. Photos: Chris von Wangenheim. Image via myvintagevogue.

Chris von Wangenheim photos of Vogue 1549 and 1550 in a 1976 Vogue Patterns editorial

Vogue 1549 and 1550, Vogue Patterns, September/October 1976. Photos: Chris von Wangenheim. Image via myvintagevogue.

Here’s the back-wrap view of Vogue 1548 on the cover of the December catalogue:

1970s back-wrapped DVF wrap dress on the cover of Vogue Patterns' holiday catalogue

Vogue Patterns catalogue, December 1976. Image via Vogue Patterns.

Vogue 1610 may be made sleeveless or short-sleeved with faux cuffs. I’ve made this for Naomi, and it’s incredibly versatile:

1970s Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dress pattern - Vogue 1610

Vogue 1610 by Diane Von Furstenberg (c. 1977)

Vogue 1853 has full, cuffed sleeves in a choice of long or elbow length. Christie Brinkley modelled the long-sleeved version:

1970s Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dress pattern - Vogue 1853

Vogue 1853 by Diane Von Furstenberg (c. 1978) Image via the Vintage Patterns Wiki.

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 Gunilla Lindblad:

1980s Diane Von Furstenberg mock-wrap dress - Vogue 2517

Vogue 2517 by Diane Von Furstenberg (1980) Image via Rusty Zipper.

Tara Shannon models Vogue 1486, an ’80s wrap dress with pleated skirt, shaped hemline, and dolman sleeves:

1980s Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dress pattern - Vogue 1486

Vogue 1486 by Diane Von Furstenberg (1984) Image via Etsy.

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”:

DIANE VON FURSTENGERG said "Feel like a woman...wear a dress! Then, she proceeded to design the kind of wonderfully wearable dresses that make you want to wear her dresses, night & day! Vogue 1610 flap

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:

Vogue Patterns 1977

“Soft Dressing for Hard Schedules,” Vogue Patterns, 1977.

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):

Amy Adams wears a green and white DVF wrap dress in American Hustle

Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) in American Hustle (2013) Image via Variety.

Have you sewn from a Diane Von Furstenberg pattern?

Free Designer Pattern: Antony Price Evening Dress

December 6, 2013 § 3 Comments

1980s orange taffeta 'Macaw' dress by Antony Price

Antony Price’s Macaw dress. Image via SHOWstudio.

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:

Antony Price sketch for Jerry Hall's "Siren" costume

Antony Price sketch for Jerry Hall’s “Siren” costume, 1975. Image via SHOWstudio.

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:

Bird's Wing, evening dress in white silk taffeta by Antony Price

Bird’s Wing, evening dress in silk taffeta by Antony Price, FW 1986. Image via the V&A.

And Tilda Swinton recently wore Antony Price on the cover of Candy magazine (click the image for back view):

Xevi Muntané photo of Tilda Swinton in a gold evening gown by Antony Price, Candy magazine, Summer 2012

Tilda Swinton in Antony Price, Candy magazine, Summer 2012. Photo: Xevi Muntané. Image via Luis Venegas.

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:

Runway photos from Antony Price's Spring 1989 collection

Image via Antony Price.

Runway photos from Antony Price's Spring 1989 collection

Image via Antony Price.

Runway photos from Antony Price's Spring 1989 collection

Image via Antony Price.

You can watch a video of the collection here (dress at 22:00). SHOWstudio has more ’80s Antony Price runway videos here; more on Antony Price’s YouTube channel.

Download the Macaw dress pattern

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.

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