Yves Saint Laurent for Dior: Vogue Patterns

December 17, 2014 § 5 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.

Schiaparelli Patterns, Part 2

March 5, 2014 § 13 Comments

Vogue 15 Nov 49_a

Paris Originals by Schiaparelli (left) and Jacques Heim (right). Vogue, November 15, 1949. Photo: Richard Rutledge.

This week, the second part of my series on commercial sewing patterns by Elsa Schiaparelli. (See Part 1 here.)

Schiaparelli was one of the eight couturiers who licensed designs for the first Vogue Paris Originals in 1949. Vogue’s first Schiaparelli pattern was a skirt suit with double pockets and one-sleeved blouse, Vogue 1051:

1940s Schiaparelli suit and blouse pattern - Vogue 1051

Vogue 1051 by Schiaparelli (1949) Image via the Blue Gardenia blog.

The suit was photographed in Paris by Clifford Coffin:

Vogue 1 Mar 1949 Schiaparelli

Vogue 1051 by Schiaparelli. Vogue, March 1, 1949. Photo: Clifford Coffin.

The photo that opens this post shows Vogue 1074, a Schiaparelli dress and shortcoat from Vogue’s fourth series of Paris Originals. The original coat was lined with astrakhan. (The suit on the right is Vogue 1076 by Jacques Heim.)

1940s Schiaparelli coat and dress pattern - Vogue 1074

Vogue 1074 by Schiaparelli (1949) Image via Pinterest.

New Look curves characterize this Schiaparelli suit pattern from spring, 1950, which was photographed in Paris by Norman Parkinson. The short-sleeved jacket has rounded, stiffened hips, while the kimono-sleeved blouse buttons its curved fronts to one side. Vogue recommends making the blouse from the suit’s lining fabric:

1950s Schiaparelli suit and blouse pattern - Vogue 1098

Vogue 1098 by Schiaparelli (1950) Image via eBay. Photo: Norman Parkinson.

Vogue 1133 is a vampy, short-sleeved dress with hip-enhancing pocket flaps and convertible collar at both front and back:

1950s Schiaparelli dress pattern - Vogue 1133

Vogue 1133 by Schiaparelli (1951) Image via eBay.

Arik Nepo’s photograph plays up the dress’ severity:

Vogue 1133 15Feb1951

Vogue 1133 by Schiaparelli. Vogue, February 15, 1951. Photo: Arik Nepo.

Vogue 1142 is a faux suit, an asymmetrical dress with a skirt front extension that creates the illusion of a jacket on one side. (Much like Galliano’s Givenchy jumpsuit, Vogue 1887.) The shaped projections of the big, rounded collar, skirt extension, and off-kilter double-breasted closure playfully destabilize the garment:

1950s Schiaparelli dress pattern - Vogue 1148

Vogue 1148 by Schiaparelli (1951) Image via the Vintage Patterns Wiki.

This Schiaparelli evening dress pattern, Vogue 1144, includes a petticoat and diaphanous kerchief. Look closely, and you can see that the oversized, decorative pockets extend almost the length of the skirt:

Vogue 1144 by Schiaparelli (1951) Image via the Vintage Patterns Wiki.

Here’s a closer look at Henry Clarke’s photo:

Vogue 1144 15 May 1951

Vogue 1144 by Schiaparelli. Vogue, May 15, 1951. Photo: Henry Clarke.

In 1952 Schiaparelli showed inverted heart necklines for spring; with its pointed, stand-away neckline and narrow shawl collar, Vogue 1179 allowed the home dressmaker to be right up to date. The cocktail dress closes with not one but two side zippers:

Vogue 1179 (1952)

Vogue 1179 by Schiaparelli (1952) Image via eBay.

Vogue magazine showed an alternate photo by Robert Randall:

Vogue 1179 15May1952

Vogue 1179 by Schiaparelli. Vogue, May 15, 1952. Photo: Robert Randall.

Frances McLaughlin photographed Bettina in Vogue 1198, a short evening dress with what Vogue called “a big pleated bandage—like an outside order ribbon” wrapping over one shoulder and around the waist. The original was made in black silk brocade:

Vogue 1198 15 Oct 1952

Vogue 1198 by Schiaparelli. Vogue, October 15, 1952. Model: Bettina. Photo: Frances McLaughlin.

Here’s a catalogue page for Vogue 1198, with illustration and alternate photo:

Vogue 1198 catalogue

Vogue 1198 in a 1950s Vogue Patterns counter catalogue.

Vogue 1231 is a day dress with a single patch pocket and bloused bodice gathered to a dramatic convertible collar:

1950s Schiaparelli dress pattern - Vogue 1231

Vogue 1231 by Schiaparelli (1953) Image via Betsy Vintage.

The dress was photographed in Paris by Robert Randall:

Vogue 1231 15Aug1953

Vogue 1231 by Schiaparelli. Vogue, August 15, 1953. Photo: Robert Randall.

Finally, Vogue 1245 is a long evening dress with an attached stole that passes through the bodice front:

Drawing showing details of Schiaparelli evening dress pattern - Vogue 1245

Illustration for Vogue 1245 by Schiaparelli (1954)

The stunning gown was photographed by Roger Prigent:

Vogue 1245 1Jan1954

Vogue 1245 by Schiaparelli. Vogue, January 1, 1954. Photo: Roger Prigent.

If you don’t have the budget for an original Schiaparelli pattern, a reproduction of the one-sleeved stole from Vogue 1068 is available from Decades of Style:

Vogue 1068 by Schiaparelli. Sketch by David

Vogue 1068 by Schiaparelli. Sketch by David, Vogue, August 1, 1949.

Schiaparelli Patterns, Part 1

January 22, 2014 § 10 Comments

Guinevere Van Seenus in vintage 1930s Schiaparelli, Vogue, May 2012. Photo: Steven Meisel. Image via vogue.com.

Guinevere Van Seenus in vintage 1930s Schiaparelli, Vogue, May 2012. Photo: Steven Meisel. Image via vogue.com.

Have you heard? The house of Schiaparelli, founded by the legendary Elsa Schiaparelli (1890-1973) and dormant since 1954, has been revived.

Schiaparelli label, summer 1938 - 21 place vendôme Paris

Schiaparelli label, 1938. Image via the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Last year Christian Lacroix presented a one-off couture collection for the house, and this week the new head designer, Marco Zanini, presented his first Schiaparelli collection at the Paris couture. (See the Spring 2014 collection on style.com, or read W’s coverage of Zanini’s appointment here.)

Christian Lacroix sketch for his Schiaparelli collection

Christian Lacroix sketch for his Schiaparelli collection. Image via WWD.

Stella Tennant in Schiaparelli by Marco Zanini, 2014

The opening look in Marco Zanini’s debut collection for Schiaparelli. Model: Stella Tennant. Image via style.com.

The high-profile revival follows the Costume Institute’s major 2012 exhibition, Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations (see my earlier post here). And, timed to coincide with couture week, an auction of Schiaparelli’s personal collection takes place Thursday at Christie’s Paris:

Schiaparelli Christies

Collection personnelle d’Elsa Schiaparelli. Image via Christie’s.

Many of you will be aware of Schiaparelli’s licensed sewing patterns, since she was among the first designers of Vogue Paris Originals. There were also Schiaparelli knitting patterns. If you knit, you can download a free pattern for Schiaparelli’s 1927 Bowknot sweater, updated by Lisa Stockebrand (Ravelry page here):

Douglas Pollard illustration of Schiaparelli's bowknot sweater, Vogue, December 1927

Bowknot sweater by Elsa Schiaparelli, Vogue, December 15, 1927. Illustration: Douglas Pollard.

Like Vionnet, Schiaparelli also saw commercial sewing patterns for her designs in the interwar period, released by companies including the McCall Pattern Company, Pictorial Review, and the Paris Pattern Company. Here is a selection of early Schiaparelli patterns.

This McCall pattern is the earliest Schiaparelli pattern I’ve seen. Dating to the autumn of 1929, it’s a pattern for a blouse, skirt, and coat with angled pockets. It was still shown in a 1930 catalogue:

1920s Schiaparelli pattern - McCall 5839

McCall 5839 by Schiaparelli in the McCall catalogue, 1930. Image via echopoint.

Here is the illustration of McCall 5839 in McCall’s magazine:

1920s Schiaparelli sewing pattern - McCall 5839

McCall 5839 by Schiaparelli. McCall’s magazine, October 1929. Illustration: Blanche Rothschild.

This Schiaparelli pattern from the Paris Pattern Company has some unusual details. The wrap skirt buttons diagonally across the hips and has two slits through which the blouse’s attached scarf can pass, for a suspender effect:

Paris 1647

Paris Pattern 1647 by Schiaparelli (c. 1931)

McCall 6981 is a three-piece suit consisting of a jacket, cropped pussy-bow blouse, and sleeveless, bias dress:

1930s Schiaparelli sewing pattern - McCall 6981

McCall 6981 by Schiaparelli (1932)

Here’s an illustration of this design (centre, no. 14) in the summer 1932 issue of McCall Fashion Bi-Monthly. Elsewhere it calls McCall 6981 a “trick” ensemble, since the blouse and jacket disguise a dress suitable for tennis:

McCallBiMonthlyJulAug1932

McCall Fashion Bi-Monthly, July/August 1932. Image via carbonated on flickr.

This Benito illustration for Vogue shows a similar Schiaparelli ensemble, worn with a tomato red Sicilian cap:

1930s Eduardo García Benito illustration: Schiaparelli beige suit, blue blouse and Sicilian cap; pink jacket and brown skirt.

Schiaparelli beige suit, blue blouse and Sicilian cap; pink jacket and brown skirt, Vogue, May 1, 1932. Illustration: Eduardo García Benito. Image via Corbis.

This Pictorial Review Schiaparelli adaptation dates to late 1933. The dress has interesting details like shoulder flanges, diagonal waist darts, and inverted darts radiating from the neckline:

1930s Schiaparelli dress pattern - Pictorial Review 6764

Pictorial Review 6764 adapted from Schiaparelli (c. 1933) Image via Best Vintage Patterns.

Here’s the catalogue illustration for Pictorial Review 6764:

Illustration of Pictorial Review 6764 adapted from Schiaparelli

Illustration of Pictorial Review 6764 (c. 1933) Image via Best Vintage Patterns.

Paris Pattern 2286, illustrated in my 1934 Paris and Style Patterns booklet, is a jaunty ensemble consisting of a coat, skirt, and jacket blouse. The description reads, “A superb town and country suit. Just the thing for that week end vacation. Top coat can be worn over any dress. The skirt and jacket blouse make an ideal spectator costume”:

1930s Paris Pattern by Schiaparelli

Paris Pattern 2286 by Schiaparelli. Paris and Style Patterns leaflet, June 1934.

Also in this leaflet is the Schiaparelli dress and capelet ensemble available as a reproduction from the Vintage Pattern Lending Library. The dress has shoulder yokes, puffed sleeves, and a skirt with pointed set-in panels and pair of buttons at the waist; the matching capelet is trimmed with pleating and buttons to the skirt front. Thanks to owner Deirdre Duggan for providing a scan of the envelope:

1930s Schiaparelli sewing pattern - Paris Pattern 2301

Paris Pattern 2301 by Schiaparelli (c. 1934) Image courtesy of the Vintage Pattern Lending Library.

Finally, from McCall’s, this Schiaparelli dinner dress in two lengths dates to winter 1936-37. The bodice back extends into sleeves that are gathered into a heart-shaped bodice:

1930s Schiaparelli dinner dress pattern - McCall 9076

McCall 9076 by Schiaparelli (1936) Image via the Vintage Patterns Wiki.

The pattern is illustrated in the January 1937 issue of McCall’s magazine, which made much of the new, street-length hemline:

McCall Jan1937 Schiap

McCall’s magazine, January 1937. Image via eBay.

Schiaparelli patterns from between the wars tend to lack the surrealist touches we associate with the designer, since many of these were based on couture embellishment, accessories, or notions. (Cricket buttons, anyone?) I remember reading a contemporary 1930s article that said Schiaparelli pieces were so simple, they were too easy to copy. Today one might say it’s her brand of dynamic severity that makes her clothes seem so modern.

Bonus: The Art Deco Society of California has posted instructions for Schiaparelli’s “Mad Cap” (via What Would Nancy Drew Wear?).

Next: Schiaparelli’s postwar Vogue Paris Originals.

Bellville Sassoon: Vogue Patterns

November 17, 2013 § 6 Comments

The Glamour of Bellville Sassoon, 20 September 2013 - 11 January 2014

Image via the Fashion and Textile Museum.

The current exhibition at London’s Fashion and Textile Museum, The Glamour of Bellville Sassoon, celebrates the museum’s 10th anniversary with a retrospective of the British fashion house. If you’re in the London area this week you can bring in your Bellville pieces, including versions sewn from Vogue Patterns, for evaluation by David Sassoon at the event “Bring out your Bellville.” (The exhibition runs until January 11th, 2014.)

Bellville Sassoon sketch

Bellville Sassoon sketch. Image via Vogue Italia.

Belinda Bellville founded her eponymous couture house in 1953, and recruited David Sassoon in 1958; the Bellville Sassoon name dates to 1970. Following Bellville’s retirement in the 1980s, Sassoon was joined by Lorcan Mullany as designer of the house’s ready-to-wear line. Vogue Patterns has been producing Bellville patterns since the late 1960s.

Bellville Sassoon evening gown sketches, 2003-4

Bellville Sassoon sketches, 2003-4. Image via Vogue Italia.

Bellville Sassoon is unusual for having no licensing apart from its long-running sewing patterns with Vogue. (See Libby Banks, “Loosening a Fashion Stiff Upper Lip.”) This has the effect of giving the patterns a special prominence. As Suzy Menkes observes, although Bellville Sassoon is perhaps best known for its society wedding gowns and association with the British royal family, the sewing patterns show the house’s “more democratic side.” (See Sinty Stemp, The Glamour of Bellville Sassoon [Antique Collectors’ Club, 2009], which devotes a chapter to Vogue Patterns.) Even the couture-focused exhibition Glamour and Gowns: Couture by Belinda Bellville and Bellville Sassoon, which ran through October, 2013 at Holkham Hall (the ancestral seat of Bellville’s son-in-law), included Bellville sewing patterns.

Here is a selection of Belinda Bellville and Bellville Sassoon sewing patterns from the Sixties to now.

1960s

From early 1967, this Bellville evening ensemble includes an elegant, bow-trimmed jacket and A-line gown with optional beaded trim:

1960s Belinda Bellville pattern - Vogue 1677

Vogue 1677 by Belinda Bellville (1967) Image via Etsy.

The bodice of this popular design for a short or long evening dress extends into a large bow in the slit back:

Late 1960s Belinda Bellville LBD pattern - Vogue 2112

Vogue 2112 by Belinda Bellville (1969) Image via the Vintage Patterns Wiki.

1970s

This high-waisted evening dress with waistcoat bodice could be made short, or above the ankle:

1970s Belinda Bellville pattern - Vogue 2421

Vogue 2421 by Belinda Bellville (1970) Image via eBay.

The back wrap on this bias dress creates a cowl neckline that becomes a V in the back. The model is Rosie Vela:

1970s Belinda Bellville dress pattern - Vogue 1584

Vogue 1584 by Belinda Bellville (ca. 1977) Image via the Vintage Patterns Wiki.

1980s

This dramatic, one-shouldered cocktail or evening dress has a draped, asymmetrical bodice with big bows at the hip and shoulder:

1980s Bellville Sassoon formal dress pattern - Vogue 1635

Vogue 1635 by Bellville Sassoon (1985) Image via Etsy.

The volume in this strapless, ruffled formal dress is amplified by an attached ruffled petticoat:

1980s Bellville Sassoon party dress pattern - Vogue 1936

Vogue 1936 by Bellville Sassoon (1987) Image via PatternVault on Etsy.

1990s

A petticoat is also essential to this full-skirted, strapless party dress from the early 1990s. The bow detail at the bodice can be made in contrast fabric:

Early 1990s Bellville Sassoon party dress pattern - Vogue 2468

Vogue 2468 by Bellville Sassoon (1990) Image via Sew Exciting Needleworks.

This evening dress with bias-banded bodice was photographed at Los Angeles’ Biltmore Hotel for the May/June 1997 issue of Vogue Patterns magazine, which also included an article by Claire Shaeffer on couture techniques for constructing the design:

1990s Bellville Sassoon formal dress pattern - Vogue 1966

Vogue 1966 by Bellville Sassoon (1997) Image via Etsy.

2000s

Strong shoulders are achieved through extravagant sleeve rosettes on this recent Bellville Sassoon cocktail dress, which also features a piped and ruffle-trimmed neckline:

Bellville Sassoon dress pattern - Vogue 1162

Vogue 1162 by Bellville Sassoon (2010) Image via Etsy.

Current Vogue patterns, like this dress with draped and pleated bodice, show the designer as Lorcan Mullany for Bellville Sassoon:

Vogue 1362 by Lorcan Mullany for Bellville Sassoon (2013)

Vogue 1362 by Lorcan Mullany for Bellville Sassoon (2013) Image via Etsy.

As a teenager in the ’90s, one of the first things I made was a Bellville Sassoon corset top (from Vogue 1605). Have you sewn any Bellville patterns?

Pedro Rodríguez: Catalogue of Maria Brillas’s Dresses

October 21, 2013 § 7 Comments

Rodriguez Brillas

Thanks to Paco Peralta,* I received a review copy of the new book from Museu Tèxtil i d’Indumentària de Barcelona, Pedro Rodríguez: Catalogue of Maria Brillas’s Dresses. The museum’s collection of Pedro Rodríguez’ work was recently expanded when it acquired the wardrobe of Maria Brillas (1905-1992), a Barcelona society lady who dressed exclusively in Rodríguez for much of her life.

Què em poso? el guarda-roba de Maria Brillas per Pedro Rodríguez

Image via Paco Peralta.

Brillas’ extensive wardrobe—over 300 pieces, from the 1920s to the 1970s—covers most of Rodríguez’ career, and in 2011 the collection was the subject of a major exhibition, ¿Qué me pongo? El guardarropa de Maria Brillas por Pedro Rodríguez (What to Wear? Maria Brillas’ wardrobe by Pedro Rodríguez). The book concludes the museum’s project of cataloguing the new collection.

As I found when preparing a brief discussion of Rodríguez for a Mad Men series post, it isn’t easy to find English-language studies of the designer and his work. Vintage sewing enthusiasts will be aware of Rodríguez through his licensed sewing patterns, which were available from Advance, Spadea, and especially Vogue Patterns in the 1950s and 1960s (click to enlarge):

Pedro Rodriguez sewing patterns: Vogue 982, Vogue 1338, and Vogue 1412

Vogue patterns by Rodríguez. Images via VADS and the Vintage Patterns Wiki.

Three short essays accompany the catalogue. Fashion historian Sílvia Rosés’ contribution, “Pedro Rodríguez: the Birth of a Fashion House and the Evolution of a Style,” gives readers an overview of Rodríguez’ 60-year career, with special attention to collections presented during the golden age of couture. Museum preservationist Sílvia Ventosa’s essay, “From the Wardrobe to the Museum: The Dresses of Maria Brillas in the Museu Tèxtil i d’Indumentària de Barcelona,” recounts the story of Brillas’ donation to the museum and its efforts in transferring her private wardrobe to a public, institutional context.

In “The Role of the Client in the Creation and Popularizing of New Trends,” Miren Arzalluz, who curated the 2011 exhibition, offers an intriguing perspective on the couturier-client relationship. Noting the long friendship between Maria Brillas and Pedro Rodríguez and the designer’s published observations on his clients’ role in the design process, she argues that “the relationship between designer and client was far richer, more complex and more fruitful than many people were willing to recognize” (67).

The book’s introductory material includes photographs of Pedro Rodríguez and models wearing his designs, but none of the client whose wardrobe the catalogue documents. Although an image gallery may be seen on the museum’s website, Brillas’ absence from the book feels like an oversight. In this photo taken in the 1950s, Maria Brillas dances with her husband at a formal event:

Photograph of Maria Brillas and Joachim Ensesa dancing - 1950s

Maria Brillas and Joachim Ensesa, 1950s. Image via Forum Para a Moda.

The catalogue proper is divided into eight sections organized by type; a brief summary introduces each section. There are five sections devoted to Rodríguez’ couture garments for Brillas: day dresses; suits and tailored ensembles; coats; cocktail or ceremonial dresses; and evening gowns. Here are some highlights:

Pedro Rodriguez day dresses for Maria Brillas: 1930s embroidered cotton tulle, 1950s printed silk taffeta, and 1960s canary-yellow double knit

Rodríguez day dresses. Left: cotton tulle with cotton embroidery, 1935; centre: printed silk taffeta, 1959; right: double wool knit, 1965.

Pedro Rodríguez coats for Maria Brillas: 1970s green wool with fox fur collar and 1950s lilac silk satin

Rodríguez coats; left: double-faced wool with dyed fox fur collar, 1972; right: silk satin, 1957.

Rodriguez coats for Maria Brillas: 1960s red waxed acetate raincoat and 1970s monkey-hair-trimmed black wool coat

Rodríguez coats. Left: raincoat in waxed acetate cloqué, 1965. Right: coat in double-faced wool with monkey-hair trim, 1974.

Three Pedro Rodríguez evening gowns for Maria Brillas: 1940s green silk with lace appliqués, 1970s beaded silk gauze and jet-embroidered black silk muslin

Rodríguez evening gowns. Left: silk crêpe georgette with silk lace appliqués, 1940-50; centre: silk gauze embroidered with glass and jet bugle beads, 1972-73; right: silk muslin embroidered with jet, 1973.

Pedro Rodríguez cream tulle and lace evening gown for Maria Brillas, circa 1950

Rodríguez mermaid dress in tulle and pleated cotton lace, ca. 1950.

Two sections are devoted to accessories, one for hats and the other for shoes, gloves, and bags. The hats are the earliest pieces in the catalogue, with many from the 1920s and 1930s. Some hats were produced at Rodríguez’ studio, while others were commissioned by him from prominent milliners. Brillas’ shoes were made to match her dresses.

Pedro Rodríguez printed silk satin cocktail dress for Maria Brillas with matching accessories for Maria, mid-1950s

Rodríguez cocktail dress with accessories. Dress: printed silk satin with rayon tufts; silk satin handbag and gloves; Bonet court shoes; all 1955-56.

The final section documents the collection’s miscellaneous other pieces: blouses, skirts, boleros, a bathrobe dress, a marabou-trimmed cape, and a fancy dress costume with mask headpiece:

Pedro Rodríguez fancy-dress hat and mask for Maria Brillas, 1968-70.

Rodríguez fancy dress hat and mask. Hat: nylon tulle with fil coupe brocade; mask: rayon satin with rhinestones, 1968-70.

It’s a beautifully produced volume, with high-quality photos presented in a reader-friendly smaller format. (You can see more photos at the website of Folch Studio, the design firm behind the book.) My only quibble is with the English text (I don’t read Spanish or Catalan), which contains infelicities that seem to be an effect of translation.

This book is a valuable addition to English-language resources on Rodríguez, and will assist in further study of the designer and his place in the history of haute couture.

* Paco was a member of the collection’s monitoring committee; you can read his post on the exhibition here.

Publication details:

Rossend Casanova (ed.), Pedro Rodríguez: Catàleg dels vestits de Maria Brillas / Catálogo de los vestidos de Maria Brillas / Catalogue of Maria Brillas’s Dresses, Barcelona: Museu Tèxtil i d’Indumentària de Barcelona, 2012.

Text in Catalan, Spanish, and English.

ISBN 978 84 9850 402 6

Available online from Laie, Barcelona.

Punk: Chaos to Couture

May 5, 2013 § 2 Comments

Sid Vicious, 1977, Photograph © Dennis Morris - all rights reserved; Right: Karl Lagerfeld (French, born Hamburg, 1938) for House of Chanel (French, founded 1913), 2011, Vogue, March 2011, Photograph by David Sims

Sid Vicious, 1977. Photo: Dennis Morris. Daria Werbowy in Chanel, Vogue, March 2011. Photo: David Sims. Image via the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

This year’s Costume Institute exhibition, PUNK: Chaos to Couture, is devoted to punk and its influence on high fashion. The show relates the punk ethos of DIY (do-it-yourself) to the custom-made garments of haute couture, devoting sections to the distinctive elements of punk’s aesthetic vocabulary: embellishments and techniques such as hardware, graffiti, and distressing. In addition to curator Andrew Bolton, the exhibition team includes Nick Knight as creative consultant and design consultant Sam Gainsbury, who was creative director of Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty.

It seems the punk theme is presenting a challenge for some celebrities attending the Met’s Costume Institute gala on Monday. (See Eric Wilson, “Would Anna Settle for a Safety Pin?“) You can watch a live stream from the red carpet this Monday, May 6th at 7pm EDT.

PUNK: Chaos to Couture runs from May 9th to August 14th, 2013. If you can’t make it to New York this summer, the exhibition catalogue is out next week from Yale University Press.

This week, in the punk spirit of DIY, I’ll be posting about two punk-inspired patterns in my Free Designer Patterns series.

Mondrian!

January 9, 2012 § 13 Comments

Yves Saint Laurent sketch of Mondrian and Pop-art dresses

Image via Fondation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent.

Yves Saint Laurent’s Fall/Winter 1965 collection, inspired by the abstract paintings of Piet Mondrian and Serge Poliakoff, included one of the most iconic garments of the twentieth century: the ‘Mondrian’ dress. David Bailey photographed the multicolour Mondrian dress for the cover of Vogue Paris’ 1965 September issue, and Saint Laurent’s Mondrian designs spawned countless knockoffs, including sewing patterns and knitting patterns. Today, Yves Saint Laurent Mondrian dresses may be viewed in museum collections such as those of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. (On the construction of the Mondrian dress and on fashion inspired by modern art, see the posts by Couture Allure and oh mighty!)

Mondrian dress, Vogue Paris, September 1965

Vogue Paris, September 1965. Photo: David Bailey. Image via Rachel Wells on tumblr.

In early 1966, Vogue Patterns introduced Yves Saint Laurent with five pieces from the “Mondrian et Poliakoff” collection. The designs were photographed in mid-century splendour at Knoll International, Paris by Richard Dormer. The first page of the Vogue Pattern Book editorial shows model Merle Lynn standing before a 1954 Florence Knoll lounge chair:

1960s Yves Saint Laurent shift dress Vogue 1556 photo Vogue Pattern Book

Vogue 1556 by Yves Saint Laurent. Vogue Pattern Book, February/March 1966. Model: Merle Lynn. Photo: Richard Dormer.

Vogue Patterns chose a simple, red-accented Mondrian dress for the highly sought-after Vogue 1557:

1960s Yves Saint Laurent Mondrian dress photo in Vogue Pattern Book

Vogue 1557 by Yves Saint Laurent. Vogue Pattern Book, February/March 1966. Photo: Richard Dormer.

The photos of Vogue 1567, a dress and coat, show a 1955 Tulip Chair by Eero Saarinen (hair by Alexandre of Paris):

1960s Yves Saint Laurent dress Vogue Pattern Book

Vogue 1567 by Yves Saint Laurent. Vogue Pattern Book, February/March 1966. Model: Merle Lynn. Photo: Richard Dormer.

And the last page of the editorial shows what looks like one of Knoll’s signature textile wall panels:

1960s Yves Saint Laurent suits Vogue Pattern Book

Vogue 1569 and 1571 by Yves Saint Laurent. Vogue Pattern Book, February/March 1966. Photos: Richard Dormer.

The pattern envelopes show different, colour images from Dormer’s shoot. Here is Vogue 1557 (see Paco Peralta’s blog posts here and here for more images):

Vogue 1557 Yves Saint Laurent Mondrian dress pattern

Vogue 1557 by Yves Saint Laurent (1966) Image via the Vintage Patterns Wiki.

The description reads: One-piece dress. Sleeveless shift has narrow, contrasting inserts around the hem, down center back, and crossing high in front to create a yoke.

Richard Avedon photographed Jean Shrimpton in this Mondrian dress for his final issue at Harper’s Bazaar:

Richard Avedon photo of Jean Shrimpton in Yves Saint Laurent Mondrian dress, Harper's Bazaar, October 1965

Harper’s Bazaar, October 1965. Model: Jean Shrimpton. Photo: Richard Avedon. Image via tumblr.

Irving Penn photographed Veruschka in the same dress for Vogue U.K. (via Magdorable; see her recent post for more photos):

Veruschka in Mondrian dress Irving Penn Vogue U.K. Sept 1965

Vogue U.K., September 1965. Model: Veruschka. Photo: Irving Penn.

You can see a photo of Veronica Hamel in the same dress here. (Thanks to Paco Peralta for alerting me to these last two images.)

The Vogue 1567 envelope gives a better view of the Tulip Chair:

Vogue 1567 1960s Yves Saint Laurent dress and coat

Vogue 1567 by Yves Saint Laurent (1966) Image via the Vintage Patterns Wiki.

Here’s the description: One-Piece Dress and Coat. High-waisted dress has contrasting bodice with high band collar, a button-trimmed inset, and sleeve banding to match gathered skirt. Self belt. Long sleeved, double-breasted coat with yoke seam has wide, button-trimmed belt and pockets in seams. Trim stitching.

And the bold teal of the wall panel may be seen on Vogue 1569 (I haven’t been able to find a pattern image for the fifth pattern, Vogue 1571):

Vogue 1569 1960s suit and blouse pattern by Yves Saint Laurent

Vogue 1569 by Yves Saint Laurent (1966) Image via the Vintage Patterns Wiki.

The description reads: Suit and Blouse. Long sleeved, slightly fitted jacket has wide hem band and optional purchased or self belt. Trim stitching. Tuck-in blouse has high shaped neckline, squared-off armholes, and welt pockets. Gathered skirt has pockets in seams and optional purchased or self belt.

Vogue 1557 and 1569 were both featured on the cover of the Vogue Patterns counter catalogue (photos via eBay):

Vogue Pattern Catalog February 1966 Mondrian dress Yves Saint Laurent

Illustrations of Vogue 1557 were also commissioned for the monthly Vogue Pattern Fashion News (more illustration scans posted by Damn Good Vintage—click the image for the post):

Vogue Pattern Fashion News February 1966

Vogue Pattern Fashion News, February 1966. Image via the Vintage Goddess blog.

Although Yves Saint Laurent’s Mondrian collection was inspired by modern art, Vogue Patterns’ editorial at Knoll situates pieces from the collection in the context of modern design. The editorial is interesting, both for how it frames the designer’s garments and how it ignores his celebrity. The designer’s name is prominent on the news booklet and first counter catalogue—arguably more overtly promotional publications. But the name Yves Saint Laurent is not included on the magazine’s cover or even mentioned in the Editor’s letter; there’s no photo, no bio like those we see in later decades. The emphasis is firmly on the designs and their place in contemporary visual culture.

Next: My version of Vogue 1556.

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