Alexander McQueen Roundup

March 17, 2015 § 3 Comments

Brit Wit: Alexander McQueen in Vogue, October 1997

Vogue, October 1997. Photo: Sean Ellis. Stylist: Isabella Blow.

The London incarnation of Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty has just opened at the Victoria and Albert Museum. (See British Vogue on the additions to the Costume Institute show.) Accompanying the exhibition is a full calendar of events, including a two-day conference in early June. The exhibition catalogue by Claire Wilcox is available in hardcover and paperback from the V&A, with a North American edition to be published by Abrams in May.

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty in London

Alexander McQueen catalogue - Abrams

Several London galleries are hosting related exhibitions. At Proud Galleries, McQueen: Backstage – The Early Shows by Gary Wallis presents Wallis’ behind-the-scenes photographs from McQueen’s early career (to April 5, 2015; book). Tate Britain’s Nick Waplington/Alexander McQueen: Working Process brings together Nick Waplington’s photographs of The Horn of Plenty (FW 2009), recently published in his 2013 book (to May 17, 2015). At the Gallery at Foyles, Inferno: Alexander McQueen – Photographs by Kent Baker will present backstage photographs from Dante (FW 1996) (March 20 to May 3; book). And next month, London College of Fashion’s Fashion Space Gallery will host Warpaint: Alexander McQueen and Make-Up (April 30 to August 7, 2015).

Lee doing cartwheels across the lawn, Hilles House, 1994

Nick Waplington/Alexander McQueen: Working Process at Tate Britain

Untitled by Kent Baker, from Alexander McQueen's Dante collection, 1996

Warpaint: Alexander McQueen and Make-Up

To celebrate the opening of the London retrospective, here’s a roundup of my posts on sewing patterns by Alexander McQueen, both for Givenchy and his own label:

4 Givenchy McQueen patterns - Vogue 2086, 2157, 2343, 2228

Caitriona Balfe / McQueen kimono jacket

Vogue 2248 by GivenchyVogue 2086 by Givenchy

Free Designer Pattern: Gareth Pugh Balloon

February 17, 2015 § 1 Comment

Gareth Pugh balloons photographed by Nick Knight, 2006

Photo: Nick Knight, 2006. Image via SHOWstudio.

This month Gareth Pugh celebrates the 10-year anniversary of his label. SHOWstudio is marking the anniversary—and Pugh’s return to London Fashion Week—with an editorial project, Gareth Pugh: 10 Years, and Melissa’s London flagship is hosting a retrospective exhibition of the designer’s work. (See Samantha Conti, “Gareth Pugh Sets London Retrospective.”)

SHOWstudio’s Gareth Pugh Design Download is a pattern for the striped balloon from the designer’s 2003 Central Saint Martins graduation collection. According to the site’s original notes, “Rather than submitting a traditional garment pattern to the design_download series, Gareth Pugh chose to contribute a pattern for a balloon which he had previously created. The bold, red and white striped beach-ball fabric balloons are, like much of Pugh’s designs, inspired by shape, proportion and process.”

As Sarah Mower remarked in her review of the designer’s London Fashion Week debut (Fall 2006 RTW), “Pugh has a thing about balloons.” The red and white version was a recurring motif in his graduation collection and typifies his playful, experimental approach to fashion design.

From Gareth Pugh's BA graduation collection, 2003

From Gareth Pugh’s BA graduation collection, 2003. Image: Catwalking via the Telegraph.

Two looks from Gareth Pugh's graduation collection, 2003

Two looks from Gareth Pugh’s graduation collection, 2003. Images via 1 Granary.

(Click the above image for more runway looks from this collection.)

Nicola Formichetti, then senior fashion editor at Dazed & Confused, put one of Pugh’s balloon looks on the cover of the magazine:

A design from Gareth Pugh's graduation collection, Dazed & Confused cover by Laurie Bartley, April 2004

A design from Gareth Pugh’s graduation collection, Dazed & Confused, April 2004. Photo: Laurie Bartley. Stylist: Nicola Formichetti. Image via Dazed Digital.

Laurie Bartley editorial photo featuring Gareth Pugh's graduation collection

Editorial photo featuring Gareth Pugh’s graduation collection, Dazed & Confused, April 2004. Photo: Laurie Bartley. Stylist: Nicola Formichetti. Image via Dazed Digital.

Pugh diagram

Diagrams by Robin Howie. Image via SHOWstudio.

Download the balloon pattern (7 pieces)

Fabric requirements: approx. 1 meter (1 yd 4″) each of fabric and contrast fabric.

Recommended fabrics: Non-stretch fabrics with a sheen. The originals were made in a thick, non-stretch acetate satin.

Notions: 18” (45 cm) invisible zipper to match contrast fabric, 1 large latex balloon.

Notes: includes 1 cm (approx. 3/8″) seam allowance. The pattern is laid out on A3 sheets, so copy shop printing is recommended.

See the SHOWstudio submissions gallery here.

John Galliano Patterns: Roundup

January 12, 2015 § 3 Comments

Maison Martin Margiela Spring 2015 couture by John Galliano

The closing look from John Galliano’s Maison Martin Margiela Spring 2015 couture collection. Image via style.com.

Today John Galliano presented his first collection as creative director at Maison Martin Margiela: the Spring/Summer 2015 couture. It was the first time Margiela showed in London; the collection will also be viewable by appointment during Paris couture week. (See Suzy Menkes, “Galliano for Maison Martin Margiela” and Melanie Rickie, “John Galliano: penitent return of an enfant terrible.”)

The show comes four years after Galliano’s last runway presentation. It’s been nineteen years since his first couture collection, for the house of Givenchy in January, 1996.

vogue paris mars 1996

Shalom Harlow in Givenchy Haute Couture by John Galliano, Vogue Paris, March 1996. Photo: Mario Testino. Image via Vogue Paris.

To celebrate the designer’s return, here’s a roundup of my posts on sewing patterns by John Galliano, both for Givenchy and his own label:

1990s Vogue Patterns by John Galliano for Givenchy: 1887, 1889, 1978, 2061

.GallianoFW2001_look35Galliano_SHOWstudio_FW2001

For a retrospective look at Galliano’s career, see this Vanity Fair slideshow or British Vogue’s editorial gallery.

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?

Anna Sui: Vogue Patterns, Part 2

January 9, 2014 § 2 Comments

Anna Sui ad May 1999

Anna Sui cosmetics and fragrance campaign, spring 1999.

This week, the second part of my series on Vogue patterns by Anna Sui. (See Part 1 here.)

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:

1990s Anna Sui dress pattern - Vogue 2305

Vogue 2305 by Anna Sui (1999) Image via eBay.

Kirsten Owen and Giselle Bündchen modelled the dresses on the runway:

AnnaSui SS1999

Models: Kirsten Owen and Giselle Bündchen. Photos via firstVIEW.

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:

Anna Sui jersey dress pattern - Vogue 2551

Vogue 2551 by Anna Sui (2001)

Here are the two dresses on the runway. The one-shouldered jersey dress was modelled by Hannelore Knuts:

Anna Sui SS2001

Models: Hannelore Knuts and Anouck Lepère. Images: Bolton, Anna Sui and style.com.

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):

Edo Bertoglio 'skyline' photographs of Anya Phillips and Anna Sui

Anya Phillips, 1979, and Anna Sui, 1981. Photos: Edo Bertoglio. Images via NYMag.com.

(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:

Anna Sui pattern for a striped jacket and dress - Vogue 2640

Vogue 2640 by Anna Sui (2002) Image via Etsy.

Vogue 2640’s striped jacket and dress ensemble was the spring collection’s opening look:

Anna Sui FW 2001

Model: Laura Delicata. Image via firstVIEW.

The collection’s stripes are a reference to a particularly Op-art scene in Klein’s Who Are You, Polly Maggoo?:

Stripe overload scene in Who Are You, Polly Maggoo?

Still from Who Are You, Polly Maggoo? (1966) Image via the Guardian.

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:

Anna Sui fun fur accessories pattern - Vogue V7950

Vogue 7950 by Anna Sui (2004) Image via Etsy.

Here are some detail shots of the hat and legwarmers on the runway:

Sui FW 2003 details

Model (on left): Missy Rayder. Images via style.com.

L’Officiel’s collection image shows the ’20s ski theme, complete with Anna Sui-branded snowboard (click to enlarge):

Anna Sui FW 2003-4

Anna Sui FW 2003-4. Image via jalougallery.com

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?

Free Designer Pattern: J.W.Anderson Top and Skirt

December 25, 2013 § Leave a comment

Alexandra O'Connor in J.W.Anderson, photographed by Jon Emmony - SHOWstudio's 2013 Design Download

Model: Alexandra O’Connor. Photo: Jon Emmony. Image via SHOWstudio on Twitter.

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:

Marine Deleeuw in J.W.Anderson FW 2013 leather top and skirt

Model: Marine Deleeuw. Image via style.com.

The ensemble was also shown in midnight blue and white:

Daiane Conterato and Vik Kukandina in JW Anderson FW2013

Models: Daiane Conterato and Vik Kukandina. Images via style.com.

The look also made the fall advertising campaign—twice:

J.W.Anderson Fall 2013 advertising campaign

J.W.Anderson Fall 2013 advertising campaign. Model: Lucan Gillespie. Image via J.W.Anderson.

The pattern download comes in a choice of A4 or A1 sheets with a test line for checking the scale.

Image via SHOWstudio.

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.

Free Designer Pattern: Matthew Williamson Caftan

July 17, 2013 § 4 Comments

Matthew Williamson...

Photo: Jason Hetherington. Image via the Guardian.

Now that summer is truly here, this instalment in my Free Designer Patterns series is devoted to a hot weather essential: a caftan, one that Matthew Williamson shared with the Guardian as part of the Observer’s 2009 Designer DIY series.

The caftan is from what was then the current season collection, the Spring/Summer 2009 ready-to-wear. Here is the caftan on the runway:

Alana Zimmer models a Matthew Williamson caftan

Model: Alana Zimmer. Image via style.com.

The spring collection played to Williamson’s strengths, with plenty of neon brights and flowing, bohemian prints. Here’s the collection image from L’Officiel 1000 modèles (click to enlarge):

L'Officiel 1000 modeles 89 2008 Matthew Williamson SS 2009

Matthew Williamson Spring/Summer 2009. Image via jalougallery.com.

Download the caftan pattern

Fabric requirements: About 2.5 metres (2.75 yards) of very lightweight fabric such as chiffon or printed georgette (width unspecified)

Caveats: Seam allowances must be added. The pattern has 5 pieces, but consists of 44 separate PDFs.

Read a Pattern Review discussion here, or check out Geneviever’s construction notes on BurdaStyle here.

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