Jean Patchett

Jean Patchett photographed by Erwin Blumenfeld for the cover of Vogue magazine, January 1950.
Vogue, January 1950. Photo: Erwin Blumenfeld. Image: jeanpatchett.com.

Today is the 90th anniversary of Jean Patchett’s birth.

Jean Patchett (1926-2002) moved to New York City from her home in Preston, Maryland to pursue a career in modelling. She signed with Ford Models in the spring of 1948, and soon became one of the new agency’s top models. Patchett appears on some of Vogue’s most iconic covers. She retired in 1963. (See Cathy Horyn’s obituary for The New York Times, “Jean Patchett, 75, a Model Who Helped Define the 50’s.”)

Jean Patchett photographed by Irving Penn for the cover of Vogue magazine, April 1950
Vogue, April 1, 1950. (Dress by Larry Aldrich; Lilly Daché hat.) Photo: Irving Penn. Image: jeanpatchett.com.

(Read more about this cover at the Art Institute of Chicago, or see the UK version here.)

Jean Patchett photographed by Clifford Coffin on the cover of British Vogue, July 1951
British Vogue, July 1951. Photo: Clifford Coffin. Image: Vogue UK.

(Prints available from the Condé Nast shop.)

According to a short profile in Glamour, in her off hours, Patchett enjoyed making her own clothes (Glamour, Oct. 1948). She can be seen in pattern editorials for Vogue, Simplicity, McCall’s, and Butterick from the late 1940s on.

Soon after her first Vogue cover in September, 1948 (October for British Vogue), Serge Balkin photographed the young Patchett in tone-on-tone grey flannel for the cover of Vogue Pattern Book. The patterns are Vogue 6620 (dress) and Vogue 6629 (coat):

Jean Patchett photographed in Vogue 6620 and 6629 for Vogue Pattern Book (Chanda hat)
Vogue Pattern Book, December-January 1948-49. Photo: Serge Balkin. Image: eBay.

Irving Penn’s famous Vogue editorial, “Flying down to Lima,” showing Patchett on location in Lima, Peru, is in fact a pattern editorial. In this café scene, she chews her pearls wearing Vogue S-4967, a dress and jacket ensemble (click the image for a gallery note, or see Devorah MacDonald’s blog for the full editorial):

"Flying down to Lima" Jean Patchett in Vogue S-4967 photographed by Irving Penn
Jean Patchett in Vogue S-4967; John-Frederics hat. Vogue, February 1949. Photo: Irving Penn. Image: the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Patchett poses in dress and jacket Vogue S-4008 on this fall 1949 cover of Vogue Pattern Book:

Jean Patchett on the cover of Vogue Pattern Book, Aug/Sept 1949
Vogue Pattern Book, August-September 1949. Image: flickr.

Wearing the New Look dress and camisole Vogue S-4088:

Jean Patchett wears Vogue S-4088 dress + cami on the cover of Vogue Pattern Book
Vogue Pattern Book, Summer 1950. Image: eBay.

Richard Avedon’s travel-themed photo was used for both Simplicity’s counter catalogue and the company’s Fall-Winter magazine (where Patchett can be seen holding a copy of André Gide’s Les faux-monnayeurs). The patterns are Simplicity 3327 (topper), Simplicity 3298 (weskit), and Simplicity 3027 (skirt):

Fall-Winter 1950 Simplicity Pattern magazine. Green topper coat, Simplicity 3327. Red vest, Simplicity 3298. Plaid skirt, Simplicity 3027
Simplicity catalogue, ca. autumn 1950. Photo: Richard Avedon. Image: Etsy.

Here she poses in a veiled hat and elegant silk shortcoat; the text contains a typo—the pattern is Vogue 7258:

Jean Patchett in Vogue 7258 (not 7528) in Vogue Pattern Book
Vogue 7258 in Vogue Pattern Book, Early Summer 1951. Image: flickr.

This Holiday issue of Butterick Pattern Book features Patchett in Butterick 5941, a shirtdress with cuffed sleeves:

Jean Patchett wears Butterick 5941 on the cover of Butterick Pattern Book
Butterick Pattern Book, Winter 1951. Image: jeanpatchett.com.

For the fortieth anniversary issue of McCall’s Pattern Book, Patchett posed in McCall’s 9080 alongside illustrations from past decades:

Jean Patchett wears McCall's 9080 on the 40th anniversary issue of McCall's Pattern Book, 1952
McCall’s Pattern Book, Back-to-School and Fall 1952. Image: jeanpatchett.com.

Lillian Bassman photographed Patchett in this striped summer dress from Simplicity:

Jean Patchett photographed in Simplicity 4291 halter dress for Simplicity Pattern Book
Simplicity 4291 in Simplicity Pattern Book, Summer 1953. Photo: Lillian Bassman. Image: myvintagevogue.

Posing for the cover of Burda Moden magazine:

Jean Patchett on the cover of Burda Moden, Oktober 1954
Burda Moden, October 1954. Image: flickr.

This strapless playsuit must be Simplicity 4715, shown in bias tartan with matching parasol:

Jean Patchett on the cover of Simplicity Pattern Book</em>, Summer 1954
Simplicity Pattern Book, Summer 1954. Photo: Paul Radkai. Image: myvintagevogue.

Roger Prigent photographed Patchett in Vogue S-4550, made up in Onondaga acetate brocade:

Jean Patchett photographed by Roger Prigent in Vogue S-4550, Vogue Pattern Book, December-January 1954-55
Vogue S-4550 in Vogue Pattern Book, December-January 1954-55. Photo: Roger Prigent.

Finally, Patchett appears with her own double in this resort-themed McCall’s advertisement featuring McCall’s 3635 (see my earlier post on this campaign here):

Jean Patchett wears McCall's 3635 in a McCall’s Printed Patterns ad
“Make the clothes that make the woman” – advertisement for McCall’s Printed Patterns, 1956.

For more of Jean Patchett’s work, see jeanpatchett.com, myvintagevogue, or skorver on flickr.

4 thoughts on “Jean Patchett

  1. Oh, such pretty work! It’s great to see the style photos for the patterns; the Simplicity 3327 is an entirely different work from the pattern drawing (but it’s not).

  2. She is the one who influenced me most, at least the photos of her were – I always wanted a photo of just my eyes and lips and that waist – fabulous! Enduring images. thank you

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