March 17, 2015 § 3 Comments
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.
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).
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:
- Alexander McQueen for Givenchy: Vogue Patterns, Part 1 (1997 collections)
- Alexander McQueen for Givenchy: Vogue Patterns, Part 2 (1998 collections)
- Alexander McQueen for Givenchy: Vogue Patterns, Part 3 (1999 collections)
- Free Designer Pattern: Alexander McQueen kimono jacket
- Vogue 2248 by Alexander McQueen for Givenchy
- Year of the Snake: Vogue 2086 by Alexander McQueen for Givenchy, Part 1
July 25, 2011 § 4 Comments
This week, the final instalment of my three-part series on Vogue Patterns’ Alexander McQueen designs for the house of Givenchy. (See Part 1 here; see Part 2 here.) Our last four designs were drawn from two Givenchy collections presented in 1999: the Fall 1999 and Spring 2000 ready-to-wear.
6. Givenchy Prêt-à-porter Fall/Winter 1999–2000 (shown March 1999)
As its android-meets-cybergoth runway styling made abundantly clear, the Givenchy Fall 1999 ready-to-wear collection took its theme from the new millennium. The New York Times’ Cathy Horyn reported that “Alexander McQueen … staged his Givenchy show Wednesday with models in Martian pancake and frizzled wigs walking robotlike down a mirrored runway beaming with airport lights. The collection vividly showcased Mr. McQueen’s laser-sharp tailoring—lunar-white trouser suits with crosses etched out in gray fur, slick coats with the couture equivalent of clear plastic upholstery covers, silvery leathers and a molded red top that would enhance any alien bosom” (Cathy Horyn, “Down to Earth in Paris”).
Vogue Patterns nonetheless chose two designs from the Fall 1999–2000 ready-to-wear collection. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the company opted to produce its own promotional photos, which has the effect of highlighting the tailoring—the emerging theme of this series of Vogue patterns. The first, Vogue 2467 (1999), is a double-breasted pantsuit with concealed front closure:
Here’s the envelope description: Misses’ Jacket & Pants: Close-fitting, fully interfaced, lined, double-breasted, below-hip jacket has collar, seam detail around collar, shoulder pads, front extending to side back and into flaps, no side seams, concealed welt pockets, back vent and long, two-piece sleeves with mock vent. Semi-fitted, lined, wide-legged pants have waistband, yokes and mock-fly zipper. Featured in the September/October 2000 issue of Vogue Patterns magazine. (Vogue 2467 was sold in single sizes, rather than the usual size range.)
This Corbis photo shows the runway version of Vogue 2467:
Here are L’Officiel‘s collection images:
The second pattern, Vogue 2478 (2000), is a pantsuit with inverted lapels and seaming detail on the jacket front:
The envelope description reads: Misses’ Jacket & Pants: Semi-fitted, fully interfaced, lined, below-hip or below-mid-knee jacket has upper collar and side-front cut in-one, shoulder pads, side-front pockets, side-back seams, front zipper and longer than regular length, two-piece sleeves with mock vent. B: side slits. Wide-legged, floor-length, lined pants have front button waistband, welt pockets and mock-fly zipper.
Here’s the Corbis runway photo of the Vogue 2478 design:
Just for fun, here are two editorial images of Givenchy’s Fall 1999 ready-to-wear from W magazine that show the collection’s different potential emphases. The first shoot follows Claudia Schiffer in Cannes, while the second re-imagines Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” starring Guinevere Van Seenus (slightly cropped by my scanner):
(Vogue took a similar tack in its September 1999 issue in this editorial photo by Mario Testino.)
Parallel Alexander McQueen collection: The Overlook (FW 1999–2000)
7. Givenchy Prêt-à-porter Spring/Summer 2000 (shown October 1999)
For this “sporty” collection, the Carrousel du Louvre was transformed into a high school gymnasium, with the models posing on a tiered podium. The Spring collection is viewable on style.com.
Vogue Patterns’ first selection from this collection, Vogue 2486 (2001), is a pantsuit with a ‘tail’ extending into draped panels. View A includes capri pants:
Here’s the envelope description: Misses’ Jacket & Pants: Semi-fitted, lined jacket, mid-calf (center back) has collar, shoulder pads, side panels, no side seams, pockets, self-lined lower back and long, two-piece sleeves. Below waist, tapered or straight-legged pants have shaped waistband and fly zipper. A: lower calf, side back seams with pleat/zipper. B: side front pockets. Purchased top. Featured in the November/December 2000 issue of Vogue Patterns magazine.
Runway photos of the Spring/Summer 2000 collection show the variations on Vogue 2486’s updated tailcoat. As you can see, the purple version on Angela Lindvall is sleeveless and has a longer tail, while the sleeveless, leather version on Gisele Bündchen has a narrower tail. The purple suit also shows the collection’s athletic wear-inspired pant cuffs, which are omitted from the long pants in Vogue 2486.
Here are L’Officiel’s collection images:
Vogue Patterns’ second selection, Vogue 2653 (2002), is the last in our series—a sleek suit with decorative hand stitching:
The envelope description reads: Misses’ Jacket, Skirt & Pants: Semi-fitted, partially interfaced, lined, above-hip jacket has collar/loop, shoulder pads, seam detail, front concealed zipper and long, two-piece sleeves. Semi-fitted, straight, lined skirt, above mid-knee, has shaped yokes, right back seam/slit, left back pocket and side zipper. Semi-fitted, slightly tapered pants have contour waistband, seam detail, back slit and fly zipper closing. All have decorative hand stitching. Featured in the April/May 2002 issue of Vogue Patterns magazine (Shop Vogue).
Here’s the pantsuit version; the jacket is quite different from the one in Vogue 2653:
The decorative stitching seen in Vogue 2653 was also showcased in the Givenchy Spring advertising campaign featuring Karen Elson:
Parallel Alexander McQueen collection: Eye (SS 2000)
As far as I know, Vogue 2653 was the last Givenchy pattern released by Vogue Patterns. For whatever reason, the two companies’ licensing agreement seems to have ended with the Spring 2000 ready-to-wear. Luckily the agreement lasted a few years into Alexander McQueen’s tenure at the house, giving us this collection of sewing patterns from a period that was influential in McQueen’s development as a designer. As he later recalled:
“Working in the atelier [at Givenchy] was fundamental to my career …. Because I was a tailor, I didn’t totally understand softness, or lightness. I learned lightness at Givenchy. I was a tailor at Savile Row. At Givenchy I learned to soften. For me, it was an education. As a designer I could have left it behind. But working at Givenchy helped me learn my craft.”
—from Purple Fashion, Summer 2007, quoted in Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty.
July 18, 2011 § 9 Comments
This week, the second instalment of my continuing three-part series on Alexander McQueen’s Givenchy designs for Vogue Patterns. (Read Part 1 here.) Our next four patterns were drawn from three Givenchy collections presented in 1998: the Fall 1998 and Spring 1999 ready-to-wear, and the Spring 1998 couture.
3. Givenchy Haute Couture Spring/Summer 1998 (shown January 1998)
The January Givenchy Haute Couture collection was shown in a Japanese bonsai garden. The models, styled with kabuki makeup and lacquered hair, were silhouetted on a screen before they emerged onto the runway. Critics noted the collection’s precision tailoring, especially the pagoda-shouldered jackets. (See Suzy Menkes, “Givenchy and McQueen Opt for Zen” and Constance C.R. White, “For Couture, New Ways to Seduce.”)
(I wasn’t able to find titles for any further Givenchy collections. If anyone knows of a resource for these I’d appreciate it if you could contact me. Thanks!)
Vogue Patterns’ selection, Vogue 2343 (1999), is the only pattern in this series from an Haute Couture collection:
Here’s the envelope description: Misses’/Misses’ Petite Jumpsuit: Semi-fitted, lined, straight-legged jumpsuit (loose-fitting through hips) has collar, shoulder pads, welt/side pockets, side zipper, front button trim and long, two-piece sleeves with mock vent/button trim. B: contrast upper collar/front facing. Purchased top. Featured in the November/December 1999 issue of Vogue Patterns (Shop Vogue).
This design was easy to place, since the staging in the Vogue pattern photo matches the staging shown in L’Officiel‘s collection photos for the Givenchy Spring 1998 couture show:
(You can always follow the L’Officiel link to see larger collection images.) Just for fun, here’s a Vogue Paris editorial photo of Guinevere Van Seenus in another look from the season’s Givenchy couture:
The Vogue 2343 jumpsuit was promoted in the magazine’s holiday issue. I’m fascinated by the fact that this pattern gives dressmakers and home sewers access to couture tailoring of this calibre. The design is probably my favourite of the series.
(No parallel Alexander McQueen collection, since the designer didn’t produce haute couture collections for his own label.)
4. Givenchy Prêt-à-porter Fall/Winter 1998–99 (shown March 1998)
The Fall 1998-99 Givenchy ready-to-wear collection drew praise for its draped cowl necks, sleek tailoring, and its skilled use of leather and fur. (See Suzy Menkes, “McQueen Makes Peace With His Heritage” and Anne-Marie Schiro, “McQueen Pilots Givenchy Boldly Into the Late 90’s.”) In May, WWD announced the renewal of McQueen’s contract with Givenchy, which had been due to expire with the Spring 1999 ready-to-wear (Bridget Foley, “McQueen Renews Givenchy Contract”). For the Fall runway show, the models were made up with vampy red lips, their hair in exaggerated 1940s-style rolls.
It seems the Fall collection’s success led it to be chosen to open the supplement of L’Officiel devoted to the season’s Paris ready-to-wear. Here are L’Officiel’s collection images:
The envelope description reads: Misses’ Jacket & Skirt: Semi-fitted, interfaced, lined above hip jacket has contrast collar/hemband, shoulder pads, princess seams, no side seams and long, two-piece sleeves with mock vent and button/buttonhole trim. No provision for above waist adjustment. Semi-fitted, tapered, lined skirt, below mid-knee or mid-calf, has waistband, front hemline slit and side zipper. Featured in the January/February 1999 issue of Vogue Patterns magazine (Shop Vogue).
FirstVIEW runway images for this collection have been posted at The Fashion Spot. Here’s the runway photo for the Vogue 2228 skirt suit:
The Fall 1998 campaign featuring Erin O’Connor showcased a similar design, a fur-trimmed coatdress:
The second pattern, Vogue 2248 (1999), is a cowl neck dress:
Here’s the envelope description: Misses’ Dress: Fitted, tapered, lined dress, below mid-knee or mid-calf, has contrast cowl, front slit and back zipper. A: long sleeves. B: sleeveless. The pattern recommends chiffon for the contrast cowl.
This Corbis runway closeup shows the detail of the cowl neck, which was netting (not chiffon) fabric:
Although there are similar cowl neck looks in the collection, I couldn’t find the sleeveless version shown in the Vogue 2248 pattern illustration (view B). It seems it wasn’t a runway look.
Parallel Alexander McQueen collection: Joan (FW 1998–99).
5. Givenchy Prêt-à-porter Spring/Summer 1999 (shown October 1998)
The Spring ready-to-wear collection represented a departure from Alexander McQueen’s previous work for Givenchy: the softer silhouettes, neutral palette, and occasional, subtle sprinkling of sequins recalled the understated elegance for which Hubert de Givenchy was known. At the same time, McQueen played with his signature tailoring by using asymmetry and isolated tailoring motifs. (See Suzy Menkes, “Growing Up and Freshening Up at Givenchy and Chloe.”)
Vogue Patterns’ selection, Vogue 2628 (2002), is an asymmetrical, double-breasted coatdress:
The envelope description reads: Misses’ Dress: Fitted, A-line, lined, double-breasted dress, above mid-knee, has collar, shoulder pads, seam detail (no side seams), welt pockets, flaps, shaped hemline and two-piece, above-elbow sleeves with mock vent/button/buttonhole trim. A: button tab. B: contrast collar. Featured in the April/May 2002 issue of Vogue Patterns magazine (Shop Vogue).
As you can see from the copyright date, Vogue 2628 was released several years after the collection was presented in Paris. Despite its runway photo, I had more difficulty placing the design until I found this Corbis photo, which shows the same dark, glossy runway, palette, hair, makeup, and even shoes:
In fact, this look was shown just before ours: the back of this model is visible behind the model in the Vogue pattern photo. I thought I recognized the shoes with moulded toes from the Savage Beauty exhibit, but I see from the catalogue that those ones are from Natural Dis-tinction Un-natural Selection (Alexander McQueen Spring/Summer 2009).
Here are a couple L’Officiel photos that show the Givenchy Spring/Summer 1999 collection’s softness and neutrals:
The asymmetrical motif in Vogue 2628 was carried over into McQueen’s next collection for Givenchy, the Spring/Summer 1999 Haute Couture, as may be seen in this editorial photo in the Vogue Italia couture supplement (with Małgosia Bela on the right):
Parallel Alexander McQueen collection: No. 13 (SS 1999).
I would love to see photos of these patterns made up. Across the series of McQueen/Givenchy Vogue Patterns, though, the difficulty level ranges from Average to Advanced, so you could say they’re restricted to more experienced sewers. (I’ve only come across one pattern in the series—the evening suit, Vogue 2086—that had been cut out.) Which would you make first?
July 11, 2011 § 12 Comments
In honour of Alexander McQueen, currently the subject of the retrospective Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, I’d like to dedicate my inaugural blog posts to some fashion ephemera with an interesting connection to the late designer.
Between 1998 and 2002, Vogue Patterns released a series of licensed designer sewing patterns based on Givenchy designs by Alexander McQueen. These patterns provide an opportunity to study—as well as to recreate—a body of work by McQueen that is less well known than his work for his own label.
The eleven Vogue patterns represent seven collections presented by the house of Givenchy in the late 1990s. In my next three blog posts I’ll share the results of my project to match the patterns to the collections shown on the Paris runway.
Because Vogue Patterns didn’t always release these designs in the sequence in which they were shown, I’ve grouped them by collection, noting the copyright date found on my copy of each pattern. Many of the designs were not made up for the magazine’s editorials; they were usually introduced in the ‘Shop Vogue’ section in the back, often with a runway photo that helps identify the collection from which it was drawn. I’ve noted where this is the case. To facilitate comparison, I’ve also added a link to the parallel McQueen collection.
1. Givenchy Prêt-à-porter Fall/Winter 1997–98 (shown March 1997)
For their first patterns by Givenchy’s new designer, Vogue Patterns selected two designs from Alexander McQueen’s second collection for the house, the Fall 1997 ready-to-wear, which was shown in a Parisian slaughterhouse. The first is a sharply tailored evening suit, Vogue 2086, modelled by Jacki Adams:
Here’s the description from the pattern envelope: Misses’ Jacket and Dress: Semi-fitted, partially interfaced, lined, below hip jacket has front shield extending into back collar with opening for lapels, shoulder pads, side panels, no side seams, side front pockets and long, two-piece sleeves. Close-fitting, tapered, lined dress, below mid-knee, has front princess seams, side front slit, foundation with optional bust pads, inside belt and side zipper.
This design was pictured on the cover of the March/April 1998 issue of Vogue Patterns:
Vogue 2086 remained in print for at least two years: Vogue Patterns was still promoting it in the May/June 2000 issue of the magazine (Shop Vogue).
This WWD image from the ready-to-wear collection shows the same green moiré. Vogue Paris put the jacket on the cover (as part of a pantsuit) on Chandra North:
Vogue Patterns’ second selection from the collection is a two-in-one design for a pantsuit or short coatdress, Vogue 2183:
Here’s the pattern envelope description: Misses’/Misses’ Petite Jacket, Dress & Pants: Loose fitting, partially interfaced, lined, double breasted, below hip jacket or straight dress, above mid-knee, has collar, slightly extended shoulders, shoulder pads, side panels, no side seams, flaps, welt pockets and long, two-piece sleeves. Semi-fitted, lined, straight-legged, floor length pants have waistband, side front pockets and fly zipper closing. Featured in the November/December 1998 issue of Vogue Patterns (Shop Vogue).
Images from the collection show variations on the strapless sheath and tailored pantsuit/coatdress:
(All three images are from L’Officiel 1000 modèles 1997 no. 6 via The Fashion Spot.)
Vogue 2183 is also very similar to a suit shown on Amy Wesson in the January couture show. This was McQueen’s first collection for the house, entitled The Search for the Golden Fleece (Givenchy Haute Couture Spring/Summer 1997). In this collection image from L’Officiel, the pantsuit is in the bottom row, third from the left:
Flickr member pogisto has posted images for the entire couture collection; here’s the pantsuit. Just for fun, here’s an editorial photo of Stella Tennant in the dress with gold ivy, from Harper’s Bazaar:
Parallel Alexander McQueen collection: It’s a Jungle Out There (FW 1997–98). The Givenchy Couture collection that followed is Eclect Dissect (FW 1997–98).
2. Givenchy Prêt-à-porter Spring/Summer 1998 (shown October 1997)
This collection had a glitzy, Wild West theme. The International Herald Tribune’s Suzy Menkes summarized, “Think Calamity Jane calling in at a sex shop” (“Glitter Gulch from Givenchy As McQueen Goes Wild West”), which doesn’t sound as bad as intended to me. In any case, Vogue Patterns’ selection, Vogue 2157, a bias slip dress with optional overlay, seems to have been one of their most popular McQueen/Givenchy designs:
Envelope description: Misses’ Dress: Close-fitting, bias, flared, pullover dress, mid-knee (center back), has shoulder straps, seam detail and shaped hemline. A: sheer. Note: A is shown over B. Featured in the July/August 1998 issue of Vogue Patterns (Shop Vogue ‘cover’).
The Vogue 2157 dress is visible on the lower left in this L’Officiel collection image:
Parallel Alexander McQueen collection: Untitled (Spring/Summer 1998).
Have you seen any of these patterns made up? Do the Givenchy designs show any connections to McQueen’s work for his own label?