Alexander McQueen for Givenchy: Vogue Patterns, Part 1

Honor Fraser in Givenchy by Alexander McQueen Fall/Winter 1997 Richard Avedon
Honor Fraser in Givenchy by Alexander McQueen: Fall 1997 ad campaign by Richard Avedon.

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.

Accessoires Givenchy Fall 1997 photographed by Richard Avedon
Honor Fraser in Givenchy by Alexander McQueen, Fall 1997 ad campaign. Photo: Richard Avedon.

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 photographed 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. (Update: links removed due to spam redirect.)

1. Givenchy Prêt-à-porter Fall/Winter 1997–98 (shown March 1997)

Honor Fraser photographed by Richard Avedon in Givenchy by Alexander McQueen, Fall 1997
Honor Fraser in Givenchy by Alexander McQueen: Fall 1997 ad campaign by Richard Avedon.

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:

Givenchy by Alexander McQueen pattern Vogue 2086
Vogue 2086 by Alexander McQueen for Givenchy (1998) Strapless sheath and jacket with pierced front.
Technical drawing for Vogue 2086
Technical drawing for Vogue 2086

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 on the cover of Vogue Patterns, March/April 1998
Givenchy by Alexander McQueen on the cover of Vogue Patterns, March/April 1998. Model: Jacki Adams. Photo: Paul Amato. Image: eBay.

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:

Chandra North photographed by Michael Thompson in Givenchy by Alexander McQueen, Vogue Paris, August 1997
Chandra North in Givenchy by Alexander McQueen, Vogue Paris, août 1997. Photo: Michael Thompson. Image: Voguegraphy.

Vogue Patterns’ second selection from the collection is a two-in-one design for a pantsuit or short coatdress, Vogue 2183:

Givenchy by Alexander McQueen pattern Vogue 2183
Vogue 2183 by Alexander McQueen for Givenchy (1998) Double-breasted pantsuit/coatdress.
Technical drawing for Vogue 2183
Technical drawing for 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:

Lady Leopard? Givenchy Fall 1997 ready-to-wear by Alexander McQueen
Givenchy Fall 1997 ready-to-wear by Alexander McQueen, L’Officiel 1000 modèles 1997 no. 6. Image: jalougallery.com.
Lady Leopard? Givenchy Fall 1997 ready-to-wear by Alexander McQueen
Givenchy Fall 1997 ready-to-wear by Alexander McQueen, L’Officiel 1000 modèles 1997 no. 6. Image: jalougallery.com.
Lady Leopard? Givenchy Fall 1997 ready-to-wear by Alexander McQueen
Givenchy Fall 1997 ready-to-wear by Alexander McQueen, L’Officiel 1000 modèles 1997 no. 6. Image: jalougallery.com.
Amy Wesson in Givenchy by Alexander McQueen, FW 1997 RTW
Amy Wesson in Givenchy by Alexander McQueen, FW 1997 RTW. Photo: Daniel Simon / Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images.

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:

The Search for the Golden Fleece - Givenchy Spring 1997 couture by Alexander McQueen
Givenchy Spring 1997 couture by Alexander McQueen, L’Officiel 1000 modèles 1997 no. 4. Image: jalougallery.com.

Flickr member pogisto has posted images for the entire couture collection; here’s the pantsuit.

Givenchy Spring 1997 couture by Alexander McQueen
Amy Wesson in Givenchy Spring 1997 couture by Alexander McQueen. Image: flickr.

Paolo Roversi photographed the prêt-à-porter’s PVC jacket and strapless, leopard-print dress for British Vogue:

Amber Valetta in Givenchy by Alexander McQueen "Shock Treatment" by Paolo Roversi, 1997
Amber Valetta in Givenchy by Alexander McQueen, British Vogue, September 1997. Photo: Paolo Roversi. Image: TFS.

Just for fun, here’s an editorial photo of Stella Tennant in the dress with gold ivy, from Harper’s Bazaar:

Stella Tennant photographed by Craig McDean in Givenchy couture by Alexander McQueen, spring 1997
Silk crepe bias-cut dress with gold ivy, Givenchy Haute Couture by Alexander McQueen, Harper’s Bazaar, May 1997. Photo: Craig McDean. Fashion editor: Melanie Ward.

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)

Honor Fraser photographed by Richard Avedon for the Spring 1998 ad campaign for Givenchy by Alexander McQueen
Honor Fraser in the Givenchy ad campaign, Spring 1998. Photo: Richard Avedon. Image: eBay.

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:

Givenchy by Alexander McQueen pattern Vogue 2157
Vogue 2157 by Alexander McQueen for Givenchy (1998) Asymmetrical bias-cut dress.
V2157 technical drawing / line art
Technical drawing for Vogue 2157

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 the first collection image:

Givenchy Spring 1998 ready-to-wear by Alexander McQueen
Givenchy Spring 1998 ready-to-wear by Alexander McQueen, L’Officiel 1000 modèles 1997 no. 9. Image: jalougallery.com.
Givenchy Spring 1998 ready-to-wear by Alexander McQueen
Givenchy Spring 1998 ready-to-wear by Alexander McQueen, L’Officiel 1000 modèles 1997 no. 9. Image: jalougallery.com.

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?

Bonus: SHOWstudio has a free Alexander McQueen pattern download—a kimono jacket from Scanners (FW 2003–4). See my post on the SHOWstudio pattern here.

Next: Part 2: McQueen hits his stride at Givenchy.

16 thoughts on “Alexander McQueen for Givenchy: Vogue Patterns, Part 1

  1. I did make the bias dress for a friend in college. It was cut in a black on black wool herringbone. Perhaps one of the simplest pieces I have ever sewn, but quite striking and as relevant to ‘fashion’ now as it ever was.

  2. First of all, I love to sew. I have been making dresses since 5th grade. I’m 55 now. there is a pattern that I have been searching for forever. Alexander McQueen for Givenchy (Vogue 2086). I know it has been discontinued, but please, please, please, is there some way I could purchase this design pattern and/or any of the other discontinued patterns of McQueen’s. They will never go out of style.

    1. Hi Doris, Vogue 2086 is a fantastic design. It’s possible to find it and the other McQueen patterns online.. I’ve sold all but one of my extras, but there are a 2 copies of Vogue 2086 on Etsy right now (e.g. here). Good luck!

  3. I just discovered your blog. Fantastic. I am impressed to find the McQueen patterns– I have been looking for years for the best double breasted suit. That might just hit the spot. Congratulations on such a wide variety of intriguing and educational entries. Best– Deborah

  4. i remember that AmQ really struggled at first at Givenchy. His first collection was panned (I don’t know the dates, just going off of my memory) although I think he was given almost no time at all to pull it together. It’s interesting to look at these patterns and see him just starting to find his feet and his aesthetic. It’s still heartbreaking to me that he chose to end his own life.

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