Lanvin at 125: Marie-Blanche de Polignac

March 13, 2015 § 4 Comments

Lanvin's 1950s pattern, Vogue 1120, photographed by Richard Rutledge

Vogue 1120 by Lanvin, Vogue, October 1950. Photo: Richard Rutledge.

This week, the second post in my series on Lanvin sewing patterns. (See my post on Jeanne Lanvin’s interwar patterns here.)

Born Marguerite di Pietro, Marie-Blanche de Polignac (1897-1958) was the only child of Jeanne Lanvin and her first husband, Italian aristocrat Emilio di Pietro. Marie-Blanche (who is sometimes called the Comtesse Jean de Polignac) was director of Lanvin from her mother’s death in 1946 until the appointment of Antonio del Castillo in 1950.

1940s

From the earliest Vogue Paris Originals, Vogue 1052 is an elegant, short-sleeved dress with a waistcoat effect:

1940s Lanvin dress pattern - Vogue 1052

Vogue 1052 by Lanvin (1949) Image via eBay.

Clifford Coffin photographed the dress in Paris for Vogue magazine:

Lanvin dress pattern photographed by Clifford Coffin for Vogue, March 1949

Lanvin pattern Vogue 1052 in Vogue, March 1949. Photo: Clifford Coffin.

According to Vogue, this strapless evening dress design was “sketched by David in Paris.” The caption reads, “Lanvin’s remarkable new evening line. Remarkable for the shape: a buttoned figureline from top of peaked décolletage to knee, then—outrush. Remarkable for the cutting, the angling of seams. Add the authority of ottoman or new satin piqué.” The rhinestone detail became a Marie-Blanche signature (see an earlier example in the collection of the Costume Institute):

1940s Lanvin strapless evening dress pattern - Vogue 1073

Vogue 1073 by Lanvin (1949) Image via flickr.

Vogue 1078 is a dramatic dress with high roll collar and draped and pleated, asymmetrical overskirt. The surplice bodice belts on the left; it’s actually the slim underskirt that’s separate. The original was made in black faille:

1940s Lanvin dress pattern - Vogue 1078

Vogue 1078 by Lanvin (1949) Image via eBay.

Richard Rutledge photographed the dress for Vogue magazine (with Vogue 1077 by Jacques Fath):

1940s dress patterns by Lanvin and Fath - Vogue 1078 and 1077 - photographed for Vogue by Richard Rutledge

Vogue Paris Originals 1078 and 1077 by Lanvin and Fath, Vogue, November 1949. Photo: Richard Rutledge.

Vogue 1064 is a bloused shirt dress with generous cuffs and stitched belt detail. Vogue called it a “four-season dress.” The cuffs could be made in contrast material:

1940s Lanvin dress pattern - Vogue 1064

Vogue 1064 by Lanvin (1949) Image via the Vintage Patterns Wiki.

The original, in black taffeta with pink cuffs, was photographed by Cecil Beaton (with Vogue 1058 by Molyneux):

Molyneux and Lanvin patterns photographed by Cecil Beaton for Vogue, 1949

Vogue Paris Originals 1058 and 1064 by Molyneux and Lanvin, Vogue, June 1949. Photo: Cecil Beaton.

1950s

Vogue 1104 is a pattern for a suit and blouse ensemble. The boxy jacket has detachable cuffs, and the short-sleeved, tie-neck blouse has lovely pleat and seam details in the back:

1950s Lanvin suit and blouse pattern - Vogue 1104

Vogue 1104 by Lanvin (1950) Image via the Vintage Patterns Wiki.

Here’s a closer look at Norman Parkinson’s photo of the late Bettina in Paris:

Bettina Graziani in Lanvin at Paris' Tuileries Metro station, 1950

Vogue 1104 by Lanvin, Vogue, May 1950. Model: Bettina. Photo: Norman Parkinson.

Richard Rutledge also photographed Vogue 1107, a formal dress with asymmetrically draped cowl neck and overskirt. The magazine caption reads, “Lanvin’s afternoon and little-dinner dress with an overskirt. The underline, slim, simple; the attached overskirt, fuller, drawn high on one side. One sided too, the cowl neckline. Below it here, a curved spray of embroidery, such as you might add, if you like.” The original was black flat crêpe:

1950s Lanvin dress pattern - Vogue 1107

Vogue 1107 by Lanvin (1950) Image via the Vintage Patterns Wiki.

The design shown in colour at the top of this post, Vogue 1120, is a button-front dress with draped bias sleeves and skirt with draped detail created by pleats and darts. Vogue called the design a “late-day coat-dress”:

1950s Lanvin dress pattern - Vogue 1120

Vogue 1120 by Lanvin (1950) Image via the Vintage Patterns Wiki.

Vogue 1122 is a bias, wrap-front dress with raised neckline and sleeve variations. A zipper closure is concealed under the right front, and there’s a single, almond-shaped pocket on the right hip:

1950s Lanvin dress pattern - Vogue 1122

Vogue 1122 by Lanvin (1950) Image via the Vintage Patterns Wiki.

Instead of the envelope’s location shot, Vogue published a studio photo of the dress:

Lanvin dress pattern Vogue 1122 photographed for Vogue by Richard Rutledge, 1951

Vogue 1122 by Lanvin, Vogue, January 1951. Photo: Richard Rutledge.

Marie-Blanche de Polignac ended her directorship of Lanvin with the Fall 1950 couture; Antonio del Castillo’s first collection for Lanvin was the Spring 1951 couture, and during his tenure the house became known as Lanvin-Castillo. But some 1951 patterns still say Lanvin and not Lanvin-Castillo—such as Vogue 1139, an ensemble consisting of a slim dress and cropped, bloused jacket. Henry Clarke photographed Anne Gunning in the shantung original for a May 1951 issue of Vogue magazine:

1950s Lanvin pattern - Vogue 1139

Vogue 1139 by Lanvin (1951) Image via eBay.

Anne Gunning in Lanvin ensemble Vogue 1139 photographed by Henry Clarke

Vogue 1139 by Lanvin, Vogue, May 1951. Photo: Henry Clarke.

Next in the series: Antonio del Castillo’s Vogue Paris Originals.

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