Libération at 50

Yves Saint Laurent smoking and shorts, Libération (SS 1971 couture) "Les nouvelles vamps" photographed by Dominique Laporte, L'Officiel March 1971
Yves Saint Laurent smoking and shorts, Spring 1971 haute couture (Libération). “Les nouvelles vamps,” L’Officiel no. 583 (March 1971). Photo: Dominique Laporte. Image: jalougallery.com.

Yves Saint Laurent’s landmark Spring 1971 haute couture collection, Libération, is 50. For more on the designer’s Libération collection, see my 2015 post here.

Yves Saint Laurent 1971: la collection du scandale. Exposition du 19 mars au 19 juillet 2015 - Fondation Pierre Bergé - Yves Saint Laurent
Yves Saint Laurent 1971: la collection du scandale. Model: Willy Van Rooy. Photo: Hans Feurer.
John Cowan, Yves Saint Laurent Libération collection opening the Paris report in Vogue, March 15, 1971
Yves Saint Laurent Libération collection in Vogue, March 15, 1971. Photo: John Cowan. Image: Vogue Archive.

Saint Laurent unveiled the collection in Paris on January 29, 1971. Licensed Libération patterns were available from Vogue the next season, photographed by the late Frank Horvat.

1970s Yves Saint Laurent dress pattern - Vogue 2571
Vogue 2571 by Yves Saint Laurent (1971) Image courtesy of Paco Peralta.
1970s Yves Saint Laurent three-piece suit pattern - Vogue 2598
Vogue 2598 by Yves Saint Laurent (1971) Image courtesy of Paco Peralta.

The Libération dress pattern was also seen in this textiles ad:

Knit-Away: Your Personal Knitter. Polyester double-knit advertisement with Vogue 2571 by Yves Saint Laurent, 1971
Knit-Away ad featuring Vogue 2571 by Yves Saint Laurent, 1971.

But the most popular of the two designs was the signature suit. Gianni Penati photographed the pantsuit, made up in black velvet, at the Richard Feigen Gallery in New York.

Gianni Penati, Vogue 2598 velvet pantsuit by Yves Saint Laurent, 1971. Now you can have black velvet from one end of the day to the other.... A perfect pants tailleur, with a trim little blazer and cuffed legs, turned out today with a white turtleneck sweater (tonight, tomorrow—white silk shirt and tie, black satin ribbon in your hair.)... " Both velvets of Acele acetate and Enka rayon by Martin Fabrics. (Trifari earrings; sweater by Korrigan for Jax; shoulderbag by Bill Smith for Mark Cross; Yves Saint Laurent shoes.)
Black velvet for day: Vogue 2598 by Yves Saint Laurent, Vogue, August 15, 1971. Photo: Gianni Penati. Model: Lynn Woodruff. Image: Vogue Archive.

Saint Laurent’s smoking, reenvisioned as as an embroidered evening jacket, even made the cover of Vogue.

 Vogue purple logo; Model Lynn Woodruff wearing a Vogue Pattern embroidered fabric jacket with red ruffle rose; Max Factor make-up and hair by Arthur of Kenneth
Yves Saint Laurent evening jacket V2598 on the cover of Vogue, January 15, 1972. Photo: Gianni Penati. Model: Lynn Woodruff. Image: Vogue Archive.
Gianni Penati, Vogue 2598 jacket by Yves Saint Laurent, 1972.  KJL earrings, Echo Designs scarf; flower by Dulken and Derrick; Golo shoes. Roman Stripe tights.
Vogue 2598 by Yves Saint Laurent (Rive Gauche pants), Vogue, January 15, 1972. Photo: Gianni Penati. Model: Lynn Woodruff. Image: Vogue Archive.
John Cowan, Editha Dussler in Paris, Yves Saint Laurent Libération pantsuit, 1971.
Yves Saint Laurent Libération pantsuit in Vogue, March 15, 1971. Photo: John Cowan. Model: Editha Dussler. Image: Vogue Archive.

Inauguration Sewing

President Kennedy with First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy at his inauguration in January, 1961
President Kennedy with First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy at his inauguration in January, 1961. Image: Leonard McCombe / The LIFE Picture Collection / Getty.

President Joe Biden will reportedly be wearing Ralph Lauren to his inauguration. The fashion choices of the ceremony’s female attendees are shrouded in secrecy, but you can be sure the pattern companies are paying close attention.

Sixty years ago, Jacqueline Kennedy made Inauguration-Day history in Oleg Cassini and a Halston pillbox hat. Cassini may not have licensed any coat patterns, but dressmakers could soon make their own cloth hats with Vogue’s Halston patterns.

Vogue 6606 by Halston of Bergdorf Goodman (1965) Image: Etsy.

In 1965, Second Lady Muriel Humphrey Brown wore Balmain, made from a Vogue pattern. “For the inauguration itself, Mrs. Humphrey made her own dress of pale blue angora and wool broadcloth from a Vogue Paris original pattern by Balmain… The dress is semi-fitted, with simulated slot seaming along the bodice and down the front of the skirt, giving an empire line.” (“Mrs. Humphrey Sews Dress: Inauguration Gowns Will Be Red, White, Blue,” AP / Globe and Mail, January 18, 1965.) Her dress was probably this Vogue Paris Original:

Jean Shrimpton in a Balmain dress - Vogue Paris Original pattern no. 1327
Vogue 1327 by Balmain (1964) Model: Jean Shrimpton. Image: Etsy.

In 2009, Michelle Obama wore custom Isabel Toledo. A Butterick pattern soon followed:

Butterick 5396 after Isabel Toledo (2009) Image: Etsy.

In 2017, the publication of this Ralph Lauren-inspired inauguration ensemble caused some controversy:

V9266 (V1736) after Ralph Lauren on the cover of the Vogue Patterns Fall 2017 lookbook
V9266 after Ralph Lauren on the cover of the Vogue Patterns Fall 2017 lookbook. Model: Caroline Mathis. Image: Issuu.

Any guesses which designer labels Dr. Jill Biden and Kamala Harris might wear on Inauguration Day?

Update: Dr. Jill Biden chose NYC label Markarian, while Kamala Harris opted for Christopher John Rogers.

Douglas Emhoff, Kamala Harris, Jill Biden, and Joseph R. Biden at U.S. Capitol Inauguration Ceremony
Douglas Emhoff, Kamala Harris, Jill Biden, and Joseph R. Biden at U.S. Capitol Inauguration Ceremony. Image: Vogue / Getty Images.