Mad Men Era 6: New Talent

Jessica Paré as Megan Draper sings Zou Bisou Bisou
Megan Draper (Jessica Paré) sings “Zou Bisou Bisou” (Mad Men, Season 5) Image via

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:

Vogue 1102 by Guy Laroche 1960s one-shouldered evening dress pattern
Vogue 1102 by Guy Laroche (1961) Cocktail or evening dress. Image via Etsy.

Galitzine (1916-2006)

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:

Princess Dala (Claudia Cardinale) wearing Galitzine pants and tunic in The Pink Panther (1963)
Claudia Cardinale wears Galitzine as Princess Dala in The Pink Panther (1963)

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:

1960s Galitzine halter and culotte pattern - Vogue 1393
Vogue 1393 by Galitzine (1964) Halter and culotte. Image via Etsy.

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).

Adriana Asti in Bernardo Bertolucci's Prima della rivoluzione (1964)
Adriana Asti in Bernardo Bertolucci’s Prima della rivoluzione (1964) Image via the Italian Cultural Institute in Sydney.

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:

Vogue Couturier 1315 by Federico Forquet 1960s dress and jacket pattern
Vogue 1315 by Federico Forquet (1964) Dress and jacket. Image via Etsy.

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.

Next: Mad Men-era milliners including Sally Victor, John Frederics, and Halston.

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