February 20, 2013 § 14 Comments
Oscar season is upon us, and that means goddess gowns. Goddess gowns usually share elements of classical drapery and the simple construction of the toga and chiton. Here’s a selection of patterns for Greco-Roman-inspired evening wear.
This 1920s evening dress from the House of Worth features elegant back drapery, with a beaded appliqué holding more drapery at the left hip:
The illustration for this 1930s Lanvin ‘scarf frock’ plays up the classical mood with a fluted pedestal and ferns:
This late 1940s one-shouldered evening dress has a long panel that can be worn belted in the back or wrapped around the bared shoulder:
Toga-like drapery distinguishes these short, Sixties evening dresses by Pauline Trigère and Jacques Heim:
This late ’60s Yves Saint Laurent evening dress has a classical simplicity, with the bodice gathered into a boned collar:
This Pucci loungewear has culottes on the bottom, but still has that ‘goddess’ flavour (modelled by Birgitta Af Klercker):
Angeleen Gagliano models this mid-Seventies Lanvin evening dress and toga:
This Pierre Balmain evening ensemble, modelled by Jerry Hall, shows a more literal interpretation of classical dress:
Finally, this jersey gown with beaded waistband, from Guy Laroche by Damian Yee, is an example of the recent trend for goddess gowns:
(From the Spring 2007 Laroche collection, the pattern is still in print.)
June 4, 2012 § 6 Comments
This week, four milliners who licensed their designs with Vogue in the early Sixties: Sally Victor, John Frederics, Guy Laroche, and Halston.
Sally Victor (1905-1977) was one of the United States’ most prominent and successful milliners. She began her career as a department store buyer in the 1920s; after her marriage to the milliner ‘Serge’ (Sergiu Victor) she turned to designing hats, first for her husband’s salon and, from 1934, at her own custom millinery studio. Victor was known for her wearable yet sophisticated designs showing a diversity of influences.
Vogue 9992 is a pillbox hat with a large bow on the right-hand side:
John-Frederics was founded in 1929 by partners John P. Harberger (1902-1993) and Frederick Hirst (1906-1964). The duo designed hats for Hollywood productions including Gone With the Wind (1939), in which Vivien Leigh wore their straw hat. The label has a confusing history because of the partners’ subsequent name-changes: John P. Harberger changed his name twice, first to John Frederics and later, after the partnership dissolved in 1948, to John P. John; he designed solo as Mr. John, and Frederick Hirst as Mr. Fred. (Vogue also had Mr. John patterns in the 1950s.) It was Hirst who continued the John-Frederics label into the early 1960s.
Vogue 5384 is a simple but dramatic toque with fold-over detail and jewel embellishment:
Guy Laroche (featured in my previous Mad Men era post) started out as a millinery designer. I have seen one hat pattern by Laroche: Vogue 5336, described on the envelope back as a ‘profile toque’ trimmed with knot-tied ends. Version B has contrast trim:
Vogue 5336 was featured in the August/September 1961 issue of Vogue Pattern Book (second from the left):
Born Roy Halston Frowick, Halston (1932-1990) also started out as a millinery designer. In 1957 he opened his own hat shop in Chicago; by 1959 he had relocated to New York to design hats for Bergdorf Goodman. He achieved fame as a milliner when Jacqueline Kennedy wore his pillbox hat to John F. Kennedy’s 1961 presidential inauguration. Vogue’s hat patterns refer to him as Halston of Bergdorf Goodman.
Vogue 7082 is a set of flower-like bridal headpieces made of soft fabric ‘petals':
This group of milliners, old and new, seem to reflect the fortunes of millinery in the twentieth century. By the Sixties, Sally Victor and John-Frederics were established labels run by senior designers nearing the ends of their careers, while the younger designers, Guy Laroche and Halston, were to leave millinery to focus on fashion design.
May 27, 2012 § 1 Comment
This week, three newer designers who established their companies in the late 1950s and early 1960s: Guy Laroche, Irene Galitzine, and Federico Forquet.
Guy Laroche (1921-1989)
Guy Laroche worked as assistant to Jean Dessès for seven years before founding his own couture house in 1957. He had an early success with his ready-to-wear line, founded in 1961, helped by a brief stint in New York’s garment industry. Laroche was known for his accessible, youthful designs and use of colour.
Vogue 1102 is a slim, one-shouldered cocktail or evening dress with off-the-shoulder neckline and loose back panel. (Click image for back view.) The dress has a boned underbodice and looped self-trimming at the shoulder:
Irene Galitzine was a Russian-born princess whose mother had fled the Bolshevik Revolution with her and settled in Rome. A former model, she presented her first collection in 1959. Galitzine was famous for her ‘palazzo pajamas,’ evening ensembles featuring wide-legged pants; she also designed part of Claudia Cardinale’s wardrobe for her role as Princess Dala in The Pink Panther (1963). Amusingly, Claudia Cardinale is actually this blog’s top search (she’s mentioned briefly in my first Mad Men Era post). Here she wears a white Galitzine tunic and pants in the film’s first party scene:
At first glance, Vogue 1393 looks like a jumpsuit, but it’s really a chic halter blouse and culotte. The sleeveless blouse has a wrap-around construction and gathers into a high, standing band collar. The matching culotte has a gathered skirt that forms wide palazzo pants in the front:
Federico Forquet (1931-)
Federico Forquet was also born to a family of aristocratic emigrés: his ancestors had settled in Naples after fleeing the French Revolution. The young Forquet worked with Balenciaga, Fabiani, and Galitzine before opening his own studio in 1961. He was known for his elegant, sculptural cut. Forquet also designed the costumes for the early Bertolucci film “Prima della rivoluzione” (1964).
Vogue 1315 is a bow-trimmed sheath dress and jacket ensemble. The dress has a neckline that’s square in the back and scooped in the front with notched detail; contrast bow trim gives a high-waisted effect. The jacket has three-quarter kimono sleeves and a fabulous raised neckline curving up into points at the throat. It seems that, when worn together, the dress’ bow sits outside the jacket. The original was photographed at the Palazzo Annibale Scotti:
With the exception of Guy Laroche, these new designers were based in Rome, reflecting Italy’s burgeoning fashion industry, with its alternatives to the Paris couture, as well as the rise of ready-to-wear.
February 27, 2012 § 2 Comments
When Hervé L. Leroux resigned from his position at Guy Laroche, the company chose Damian Yee, an assistant designer at Laroche, to take the helm. (See my earlier posts on Leroux at Laroche here and here.) According to his LinkedIn profile, Yee graduated from Toronto’s Ryerson University and worked at Martine Sitbon, Karl Lagerfeld, and Barbara Bui before joining the staff at Guy Laroche. He is currently a faculty member of École de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne and the Fashion Studies program at École Parsons à Paris.
Damian Yee designed two collections for Guy Laroche, including the Jubilee collection celebrating the house’s fiftieth anniversary. Vogue Patterns licensed two of Yee’s designs for Laroche, one from each collection.
1. Guy Laroche Prêt-à-porter Spring/Summer 2007 (shown October 2006)
Damian Yee’s first collection for Guy Laroche was inspired by the Mireille Darc’s Laroche dress, worn by the actor in Yves Robert’s comedy Le grand blond avec une chaussure noire (1972). (See Yee’s interview here.) You can view this collection at Vogue Italia here; there’s also a FashionTV YouTube video here.
The first Yee/Laroche pattern, Vogue V1047, is an evening gown for stretch knits. This pattern is still in print:
The envelope description reads: Misses’ Dress. Self-lined, gathered, floor length evening dress with keyhole front drape, waistband with wide beaded trim, asymmetrical seam skirt (angled at right side) and left side invisible zipper closing.
Here is a runway photo of the V1047 gown, shown with matching silver sandals:
2. Guy Laroche Prêt-à-porter Fall/Winter 2007-8 (shown March 2007)
Yee’s second collection for the house marked Guy Laroche’s Jubilee. The anniversary collection had a red carpet theme, with luxurious textures, lots of red, and a runway covered in what looks like red PVC. You can view the entire collection online at Vogue Italia, or watch the FashionTV YouTube video here. The show’s sound designer has posted a clearer video (with French program text) here.
Here is the collection image from L’Officiel 1000 modèles:
Vogue Patterns’ selection from the Jubilee collection, Vogue V1078, is a draped jersey evening dress:
The envelope description reads: Misses’ dress. Dress is fitted, self-lined, with front and back gathers, front drape, all in one front and back detail, back zipper, back drape panels and spaghetti straps.
Here is a runway photo of the V1078 evening dress:
When Dior celebrated its fortieth anniversary, Vogue Patterns issued a commemorative pattern, Vogue 1919. (Paco Peralta has a copy on Etsy.) But the Laroche Jubilee pattern is unmarked. Maybe the Laroche anniversary was overshadowed by Dior’s sixtieth anniversary, which also took place in 2007.
It’s hard not to compare Damian Yee’s work at Laroche with Leroux’s. To my eye, the younger designer’s two collections look unfocused, perhaps especially after four seasons of Leroux’s cohesive work. Vogue Patterns seems to have responded by choosing two of Yee’s designs that clearly show his predecessor’s influence. Still, the two draped evening looks are standouts in Vogue’s recent catalogue.
February 21, 2012 § 3 Comments
This week, more Guy Laroche patterns by Hervé L. Leroux, the designer formerly known as Hervé Léger. (See Part 1 here.) Toward the end of Leroux’s tenure, the fashion press seems to have lost interest in Guy Laroche, making it more difficult to find commentary on the house’s collections.
3. Guy Laroche Prêt-à-porter Spring/Summer 2006 (shown October 2005)
Hervé L. Leroux’s second spring collection for Laroche echoed his first in its neutral palette, this time brightened with pops of yellow. The clothes had a more relaxed fit, with draping and smocking details and big belts to emphasize the waist. (See Jessica Michault, “At Guy Laroche, Cutting to the Chase.”)
Here is the collection image from L’Officiel 1000 modèles:
Vogue Patterns’ selection from this collection, V2955, is a loose jacket and pants:
(You can see the technical drawing here.)
Here’s the envelope description: Misses’/Misses’ Petite Jacket and Pants: Loose-fitting, unlined, waist-length jacket has collar, dropped shoulders, flaps and welt pockets, stitched pleats creating a blouson effect, attached belts with D-rings and long sleeves with buttoned cuffs. Straight-legged, loose-fitting pants have waistband, fly zipper closure, stitched pleats, side seam pockets and wide, turn back hem cuffs.
The V2955 design is visible in L’Officiel’s composite above (at bottom left) and this Corbis image.
4. Guy Laroche Prêt-à-porter Fall/Winter 2006-7 (shown March 2006)
For his last collection for Guy Laroche, Leroux showed dramatic, sculpted silhouettes in velvet, satin, and lace as well as his trademark jersey. The models walked a dark, glittering parterre, with smoky eyes and broad velvet headbands doubled back around their chignons. You can watch a video of the show on FashionTV’s YouTube channel; there’s also free access to this collection on firstVIEW.
Here is the collection image from L’Officiel 1000 modèles:
Vogue Patterns’ selection is Vogue V1016, a slinky, halter-necked evening gown:
The envelope description reads: Misses’ Dress: Close-fitting, halter dress with lined gathered draped bodice and topstitched trim princess seam midriff, gathered skirt forming drape around hipline. Hooks and eyes, invisible zipper closing and floor length. View A has a contrast midriff.
Here’s a runway image of the V1016 evening dress:
You can see a closeup of the dress on firstVIEW here.
Vogue V1016 was featured on the cover of the December 2007/January 2008, ‘holiday’ issue of Vogue Patterns. The velvet contrast midriff is most clearly visible on the magazine cover:
Today, unlike the current Hervé Léger by Max Azria, Hervé L. Leroux’s own label keeps a low profile. Still, online images of Leroux’s recent designs show predominantly celebrities on the red carpet, wearing gowns that are hard to distinguish from his work at Laroche. No wonder V1016 stayed in print for years…
February 6, 2012 § 5 Comments
Only a few weeks til the Oscars! One dress that’s consistently included in ‘Best Oscars Dresses’ lists is the Guy Laroche gown Hilary Swank wore to accept her Academy Award in 2005. Between 2004 and 2006, Guy Laroche collections were designed by Hervé L. Leroux. You’ve probably heard of Leroux under his original name: Hervé Léger. Léger studied sculpture and art history before leaving school to pursue a career in fashion, working as assistant to Karl Lagerfeld at Fendi and at Chanel, Lanvin, and Chloé. Léger established his own label in 1985 and soon made his name with his sexy bandage dresses.
In 1999 Hervé Léger lost control of his company after its acquisition by BCBG Max Azria; he also lost the right to business use of his name. (Hervé Léger is now designed by Max Azria.) Within six months the designer founded a new company as Hervé L. Leroux. (Karl Lagerfeld provided the new name—a reference to the designer’s red hair. See Suzy Menkes, “Customers, Old and New, Track Down Fashion’s Hidden Assets: The Comeback Kids.”) Hervé L. Leroux opened a boutique in Paris the following year, showing ready-to-wear privately and providing clients with made-to-measure draped jersey dresses.
Leroux was hired to design for Guy Laroche after the house changed hands for the second time that decade. (See the WWD article here.) His tenure ended with his resignation in January 2006, making the Fall/Winter 2006-7 ready-to-wear his final collection for the house. Vogue Patterns’ Guy Laroche license allowed the company to release designs from all four of Hervé Leroux’s collections for Laroche.
1. Guy Laroche Prêt-à-porter Spring/Summer 2005 (shown October 2004)
For his first collection for Guy Laroche, Hervé L. Leroux presented a strong collection of body-conscious designs, with sleek tailoring and torso-hugging jersey dresses in silk and viscose. Black, white, and taupe predominated, with the addition of blue and burgundy for evening. The models, with natural makeup and minimal accessories, entered through a giant gilt frame rimmed with acid yellow light. (See Jessica Michault, “The Collections / Paris: Guy Laroche.”) The collection’s finale was the dress Swank wore to accept her Oscar for Million Dollar Baby; dubbed the Hilary, it was still available to customers three seasons later. You can see thumbnails of the collection here; there’s also a video of the show on FashionTV’s YouTube channel.
Here is the collection image from L’Officiel 1000 modèles:
Vogue Patterns chose two designs from the Spring collection. Vogue V2899 (which is still in print) is a low-backed cocktail dress, shown as an LBD:
Here’s the description from the pattern envelope: Misses’ Dress. Close-fitting, tapered, self-lined dress, below mid-knee has front drape and concealed front neck band which extends into back shoulder straps (one gathered and one concealed), princess seams with ruched detail (no pocket), and back zipper.
The second pattern, Vogue V2937, is for a pantsuit with backless jacket:
The envelope description reads: Misses’ jacket & pants. Loose-fitting, lined jacket (fitted at waist and through hips) has low neckline and partially backless back, neck band, contrast back and front drapes, raised waistline, inside belt, exposed separating zipper closure and two-piece sleeves. Slightly flared pants, floor length has wide raised waistband and back zipper. The pattern calls for a sheer stretch knit for the jacket contrast and lining.
Here are a couple runway images of the V2937 design:
2. Guy Laroche Prêt-à-porter Fall/Winter 2005-6 (shown March 2005)
The Guy Laroche Fall 2005 collection alluded to the fashions of the late 1930s and 1940s: the models wore Forties-inflected hairstyles to present Leroux’s slim, strong-shouldered silhouettes and belted jackets and trenches. (See Jessica Michault, “From the red carpet to an enchanted forest.”) You can watch the FashionTV video of the show here.
The collection image from L’Officiel 1000 modèles shows the day wear’s sombre colours:
Vogue Patterns’ selection from the Fall collection, Vogue V2922, is a belted pantsuit with military styling:
(Technical drawing visible here.)
Here’s the envelope description: Misses’/Misses’ Petite Jacket, Belt and Pants: Double-breasted, lined jacket has princess seams, back inverted pleat, self belts and epaulets with buttonhole closure. Pants have front pleats, fly front, slanted side seam pockets, back darts and wide waistband.
The runway photo shows the fluidity of the original design:
Leroux had left bandage dresses in the past with the Hervé Léger name; his work for Laroche shows a more mature glamour. It’s nice to see the kind of elegant, red carpet-friendly eveningwear he designs for his own, Hervé L. Leroux label in pattern form. And I’ve gained an appreciation for his relaxed yet vampy tailoring after seeing the runway versions.
Hervé Léger Hervé L. Leroux’s second year at Guy Laroche.
January 26, 2012 § 7 Comments
Guy Laroche is Vogue Patterns’ most established licensee. The first Guy Laroche pattern was released over fifty years ago and, despite a lapse in licensing after the mid-Eighties, Vogue Patterns renewed its agreement with the house in the decade following Guy Laroche’s death in 1989. The designer who prompted this renewal was Alber Elbaz: Lanvin’s current designer worked as creative director at Laroche for two years before he was recruited to Yves Saint Laurent.
To reintroduce Guy Laroche, Vogue Patterns chose three designs from the Fall/Winter 1998-99 ready-to-wear, Elbaz’s third collection for the house. (You can read about Elbaz’s first two collections for Laroche here and here.) The cover of the November/December 1998 issue of the magazine proclaims, “Introducing Guy Laroche: A Fresh Young Attitude” and, inside, the Laroche feature calls the young Elbaz “one of the brightest talents in Paris.” The company also licensed a fourth design from the Spring/Summer 1999 collection, Elbaz’ last for Guy Laroche.
1. Guy Laroche Prêt-à-porter Fall/Winter 1998-99 (shown March 1998)
The Guy Laroche Fall 1998 ready-to-wear collection showed off Elbaz’s skillful tailoring with pinstripe and monochrome looks, as well as entire outfits of red sequins and long dresses in jersey and velvet. In counterpoint to the commercially viable clothes, the models were made up to mask their eyebrows, and almost all wore Afro wigs. (See Anne-Marie Schiro’s review here.)
L’Officiel 1000 modèles devoted six pages to this collection. Here’s a sample:
Vogue Patterns’ first selection from the collection, Vogue 2202, is a skirt suit with ruched, bias jacket:
Here’s the envelope description: Misses’ jacket & skirt. Close-fitting, bias, interfaced, lined, below hip jacket has collar, slightly extended shoulders, shoulder pads, ruching, no side seams and long, two-piece sleeves with vent and button/buttonhole trim. Straight, lined skirt, above mid-knee or mid-calf, has contour waist and back zipper. Purchased top.
The runway version of the jacket seems to have been shown with a matching turtleneck and pants:
Vogue 2206 is a sleek suit consisting of flared pants, self belt, and a tailored jacket with rounded lapels, shown made up in doubleknit jersey:
The envelope description reads: Misses’ jacket, pants & belt. Fitted, unlined, hip length jacket has front extending into collar (wrong side shows) and to side back, no side seams, shoulder pads, flaps, pockets and lined, long, two-piece sleeves with button vent. Fitted, straight-legged pants have contour waist, carriers, belt and side zipper. Purchased top.
The third selection, Vogue 2205, is another pantsuit, this one with flat-front pants and a jacket with exposed zippers:
Here’s the envelope description: Misses’ jacket & pants. Semi-fitted, lined, above hip jacket has neck bands, front yokes, inset bands, side panels, no side seams, side front pockets, exposed front/sleeve zippers and long, two-piece sleeves. Straight-legged pants have waistband, carriers, side pockets and back zipper. Purchased top and belt.
This design made the cover of the December counter catalogue:
Elbaz sent out variations on the Vogue 2205 jacket—in both jacket and coat lengths, in charcoal, a mauve-tinged grey, two shades of red, and black leather. Runway images show the jackets worn with matching skirts and tops:
L’Officiel included the black leather version in an “Emma Peel” fall trend feature—the Ralph Fiennes/Uma Thurman film The Avengers had opened late that summer:
2. Guy Laroche Prêt-à-porter Spring/Summer 1999 (shown October 1998)
Elbaz was leaving to design Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, and his last collection for Guy Laroche was a sad farewell. To a soundtrack of Edgar Allan Poe’s “Annabel Lee,” the models walked the runway in floor-grazing skirts, dressed in sombre colours accented with contrast inserts or embellished with drooping flowers. (See Suzy Menkes, “Designers Struggling to Find a Voice,” and Anne-Marie Schiro, “Anticipating the Mood: Retailers Check the Pulse.”)
Here is the collection image from L’Officiel 1000 modèles:
Vogue Patterns’ selection from this collection, Vogue 2497, is a modern evening suit with tailored jacket, long skirt, and side-buttoned camisole top:
The envelope description reads: Misses’ jacket, top & skirt. Fitted, partially interfaced, lined, above-hip jacket has collar, cut-in shoulders, shoulder pads, side panels, no side seams, flaps, welt pockets and three-piece, below-elbow sleeves. Close-fitting, lined top has bias shoulder straps, princess seams, side slits and button/loop closings. Slightly flared, below-waist skirt, floor-length, has right side mock pleat and side zipper.
The spring collection had a number of variations on the Vogue 2497 evening suit, some with flowers at the lapel, some with colour blocking, whether a single sleeve, a narrow contrast panel, or a broad hem band. The ensembles were shown with the jacket worn alone or open over a white t-shirt. The skirt’s mock pleat is visible in this Corbis image:
These Alber Elbaz/Laroche patterns have some interesting, unusual design features, such as Vogue 2202’s bias jacket or the three-piece sleeves on Vogue 2497. But I find that, despite promoting the freshness of Elbaz’s work at the house, Vogue Patterns opted for changes that diminish the designs’ freshness and modernity. Why not show a matching, tomato-red skirt with the Vogue 2205 jacket, or pants with the feminine, ruched Vogue 2202 jacket? Or a t-shirt with Vogue 2497’s evening suit? It feels to me like underestimating home sewers’ appetite for fashion.
Have you made up an Elbaz/Laroche pattern?