Vogue 2248 by Alexander McQueen for Givenchy

January 19, 2014 § 10 Comments

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I made the first of my patterns by Alexander McQueen for Givenchy: the cowl-neck sheath dress, Vogue 2248. (See my earlier post here.)

Vogue 2248 by Alexander McQueen for Givenchy (1999) Dress with contrast cowl neck.

Vogue 2248 by Alexander McQueen for Givenchy (1999)

I had planned to make the dress in my default black, and had even bought some mesh for the contrast cowl neck. But when I started looking back over runway photos from Givenchy’s neo-noir Fall 1998 ready-to-wear collection, I was struck by the palette of neutrals, electric blue, and especially the combination of oxblood with red.

Givenchy FW1998 Frankie Rayder and Sunniva Stordahl

Models: Frankie Rayder and Sunniva Stordahl. Images via firstVIEW via the Fashion Spot.

Givenchy FW1998 by Alexander McQueen - runway photos by Thierry Orban

Photos: Thierry Orban. Images via Corbis.

(There’s a blue version of the original sleeveless dress on eBay. The dress fabric is a nylon/acetate/elastane blend, with acetate lining, and the back zipper reaches all the way up through the cowl.)

I made View B, the sleeveless, mid-calf version, in oxblood with a red cowl neck. I hit Designer Fabrics and found some oxblood wool, red mesh for the contrast cowl, and Bemberg for the lining. The pattern recommends chiffon for the contrast, but I wanted to stick with the mesh used for the runway version. I was a little stumped as to interfacing for the contrast, and even bought some tomato red tricot to use before learning that the best interfacing for mesh is more mesh.

I wanted a close fit, so I ignored the sizing and went by the finished garment measurements printed on the pattern, including 1″ ease at bust and waist and a little more in the hips. I also lengthened the skirt by 1.5″ to achieve the correct length.

Technical drawing for Vogue 2248

Technical drawing for Vogue 2248

This was my first dart-fitted dress, and I had fun sewing my very first contour darts—eventually realizing the virtues of even a makeshift tailor’s ham. The cowl neck is cut on the bias, but this didn’t pose any problems, since the mesh handles much better than chiffon.

With the full lining and absolutely no stretch, the dress feels very old-fashioned to wear. One thing I misjudged was the bodice/cowl part of the bodice—I cut the right size in the bust, but didn’t distribute the extra waist length I was adding between the above-waist and shoulder areas, so it’s a bit on the high side and the cowl neck has a closer fit than in the runway photo. It would have been simpler to cut a size up and take the bodice in at the sides. The “interfaced” mesh is also a little bulky; the extra layer was probably unnecessary.

Since the Fall 1998 collection was inspired by Blade Runner, it seemed appropriate to take photos of the dress at the David Cronenberg: Evolution exhibition at TIFF Bell Lightbox. In the Interzone area, devoted to Naked Lunch (1991), visitors could have their photo taken with a Mugwump:

Evolution

Naomi took some photos of me upstairs at an extension of the Cronenberg show called Body/Mind/Change (BMC). Visitors to the biotech facility BMC Labs can observe the production of personalized POD (Personal On-Demand) implants, which are held awaiting pickup by their hosts. The BMC Labs facility is still open if you’d like to create your own POD implant:

Pod Wants to Know You

Image via BMC Labs.

Here I am in the POD holding area:

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A closer view of the mesh cowl neck:

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The cowl fastens in the back with hooks and thread eyes:

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The lab staff let me hold a brand-new red POD (rara avis—most are colourless):

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We were delighted to find BMC Labs at the end of our visit: it was the perfect backdrop for the dress given McQueen’s futuristic, sci-fi inspiration for his collection for Givenchy. I’m crossing my fingers for a red POD of my own…

Free Designer Pattern: Alexander McQueen Kimono Jacket

March 17, 2013 § 9 Comments

SHOWstudio Alexander McQueen kimono jacket photographed by Nick Knight

Photo: Nick Knight. Image via SHOWstudio.

Alexander McQueen would have been 44 today. On the occasion of his birthday, here’s a look back at the free pattern McQueen shared with SHOWstudio: the Scanners kimono jacket.

The original kimono jacket was made of black silk, and was shown on the runway with a matching pencil skirt and long gloves:

Caitriona Balfe models the Alexander McQueen kimono jacket available from SHOWstudio

Model: Caitriona Balfe. Image via style.com.

The kimono jacket is drawn from Scanners, Alexander McQueen’s Fall/Winter 2003 collection. (The invitation to the show was printed with brain scans—CAT scans of the designer’s brain.) This was the year McQueen received his CBE from Queen Elizabeth II, as well as the CFDA’s International Award and his fourth British Fashion Designer of the Year. The models walked across a snowy tundra and along a raised wind tunnel; the design references represented a journey eastward through Siberia, Tibet, and Japan, mixed with geometric prints and McQueen’s signature tailoring. (See Suzy Menkes, “The Collections / Paris: A stellar McQueen; elegance at Viktor & Rolf.”)

Here are the collection images from L’Officiel 1000 modèles (click to enlarge):

LOfficielno33_2003_ScannersA

LOfficielno33_2003_ScannersB

Watch the runway video (kimono jacket at about 6:10):

Kimono-inspired designs are a thread running through McQueen’s work. Here are a few more kimono looks by Alexander McQueen, from Eclect Dissect—Givenchy couture, Fall 1997 (as on the McQueen / Nick Knight album cover for Björk’s Homogenic); La Dame Bleue, in memory of Isabella Blow; and the posthumous Fall 2010 collection:

McQueen kimonos: Eclect Dissect Givenchy Couture FW 1997, La dame bleue McQueen SS 2008, McQueen FW 2010

Left to right, kimono-inspired looks from Eclect Dissect, Givenchy Haute Couture Fall 1997; La Dame Bleue, Alexander McQueen Spring 2008, and Alexander McQueen Fall 2010. Images via L’Officiel 1000 modèles and style.com.

Download the kimono jacket pattern

Size: US size 6 / UK size 8 approx. (bust 32″ – waist 24″) *

Fabric requirements: approx. 1.75 metres (about 2 yards) of 60″ fabric / over 3 metres (about 3.25 yards) of 39″ fabric *

See the SHOWstudio submissions gallery here. Toronto’s Mel of inside out inside has made an adapted version in Lida Baday fabric. Blithe of blithe stitches has a post on her metallic Hablon version and also a detailed tutorial.

* Sizes and yardages are approximate and are drawn from Mel and Blithe’s notes on their versions of the kimono jacket.

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