Ready for a cybergoth revival? The Matrix is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, and Variety has just announced that there will be a Matrix 4, to be directed by Lana Wachowski and again starring Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss.
The costumes in the first Matrix were hugely influential. Working within a tight budget, costume designer Kym Barrett (Romeo + Juliet, Us) placed the emphasis on texture and movement, using low-cost materials like PVC and a wool blend for Neo’s coat. The rebels were also outfitted in custom accessories, with boots by Barrett and bespoke eyewear by Richard Walker.
The first Matrix film even inspired John Galliano’s Fall 1999 couture collection for Dior. Presented at Versailles, the collection mixed futuristic raver-couture with more fanciful references like “Gainsborough in Persia.” (“The dresses are evil, evil,” Galliano was quoted saying. “But you have to have the Romantic. They die for that, my ladies.”) As Vogue’s Hamish Bowles wrote, the couture clients warmed more to the 18th-century looks than to “Matrix cybervixen.”
It wasn’t until 2003’s big-budget sequel, The Matrix Reloaded, that Neo got his famous cassock coat.
The first Matrix-inspired costume patterns came out in 2003.
Simplicity’s Neo and Morpheus / “Men’s and Teen’s Duster” must have sold well: the pattern was rereleased with an updated envelope in 2017. (See top of post.) Now backlisted, it’s still available from the company website.
Thanks to the sequel’s higher budget, Barrett designed Trinity’s pieces for better-quality PVCs (then newly available), with patent leather used for closeups. For the women’s pattern, Trinity’s PVC bustier-coat ensemble effectively devolves into its separate elements: a princess-seamed duster, corset top, and pants. The pattern calls for stretch vinyl, leather-like fabrics, and synthetic patent leather.
The following year, Butterick and McCall’s released men’s and children’s Neo patterns, but none for Trinity. Both cassock coats share an authentic, if painstaking touch: lots of covered buttons.
It would be another decade before Andrea Schewe designed a more accurate Trinity duster. Released in Simplicity’s 90th anniversary year, the PVC duster was paired with a Kingdom Hearts cosplay coat.
Here’s S8482 with more sci-fi (Firefly and Rogue One) in the seasonal catalogue:
There’s no word on the costume designer yet, but production on the new Matrix begins in 2020.
This season, Vogue patterns have a new format. For Fall 2019, illustrations are out, and photography is in, even for the company’s house line. Also consolidated is the line branding and numbering, which used to differ between licensed and internal designs. Paris Originals, Designer Originals, even Vogue designer knockoffs — they all have the same new look.
Autumn means outerwear, and Laroche comes through with a chic trench coat with interesting details: a storm flap, arm band, and oversized belt carriers.
The coat is a design from Fall 2017, Adam Andrascik’s last collection for Laroche. The original also sports a collar hook and jumbo belt buckle.
Vogue noted the alternate version in tobacco leather — also seen in the Swiss magazine, Annabelle, which has a nice view of the shoulder dart.
From the late Paco Peralta, a cropped jumpsuit with Custom Fit sizing (for multiple cup sizes). The contrast insets are a signature touch, also seen on the bestselling V1550.
There are two new patterns by Rachel Comey. First, the coat ensemble at the top of this post: a collarless, raglan-sleeved coat and the Oscillate skirt, a gored, high-waisted skirt with notched waistband detail.
Comey’s Fall 2018 collection was modelled by Guinevere van Seenus, in a lookbook shot by Annie Powers and styled by Vanity Fair’s Samira Nasr.
The second Rachel Comey is the Steadfast jumpsuit, a cropped-leg style with square armholes and wrap overlay.
For Pre-Fall 2017, the designer showed it layered, jumper-style, with a blouse.
As worn in white by the editor Giannie Couji:
Vogue’s latest Gucci adaptation includes a jacket, dress, and pleated skirt. (Also sized for petites.)
Some will recognize the long, tan Gucci jacket from Peter Schlesinger’s photobook for Pre-Fall 2018 (last seen in my Summer post). Pair with a print dress and coronet for the full maximalist effect.
Gucci’s red, cardigan-style jacket and pleated skirt were a key look for Spring 2018.
As seen in the brand’s digitally painted Spring ’18 ad campaign:
Vogue’s other Custom Fit design for Fall is a version of Roland Mouret’s Royston dress.
First presented for Resort ’18, the Royston is an update of the hit Galaxy dress. For an even more faithful copy, serge the sleeve edge and add an exposed zipper. The dress is currently available in navy, white, and red through Roland Mouret’s webstore, or at Selfridges in new-season pink:
The Royston dress is also the basis for Mouret’s Clovelly bridal gown.
And rounding out the Fall collection, a version of an Alexander McQueen coat reminiscent of Spring ’99 Givenchy. (Includes petite sizing.)
Metamorphosis was the theme of Sarah Burton’s Fall 2018 collection for McQueen. Military touches in red and black referenced the Household Cavalry, the Queen’s bodyguard. Exhibit A: Burton’s asymmetrical blanket coat, as worn on the runway by Stella Tennant.
A closer look at the fringed edge reveals a meticulous finish on the reverse:
Those military colours are also seen in this season’s ad campaign featuring Kate Moss. McQueen Fall 2019 was inspired by the textile mills of Northern England, where Burton grew up.
I started this blog eight years ago this month. To celebrate, here’s a look at some all-but-forgotten licensing: patterns by Barbara Hulanicki for Biba.
Biba might be the biggest brand you’ll never see on a pattern. Born in Warsaw, Biba founder Barbara Hulanicki (b. 1936) grew up in Palestine and Brighton, where she attended Brighton Art School. She worked as a fashion illustrator before starting the Biba label with her husband, Stephen “Fitz” Fitz-Simon. Sometimes called the first lifestyle brand, Biba was a runaway success in Swinging London, selling everything from cosmetics to couture.
In 1970, Hulanicki licensed patterns with McCall’s as a way to launch her brand in North America. The main promotion was in Seventeen Magazine, as it was Seventeen editor Rosemary McMurtry who first approached Hulanicki about the idea. Hulanicki mentions the McCall’s deal in her memoirs, as well as The Biba Years, 1963-1975, which she co-wrote with Martin Pel, curator of Brighton’s Biba and Beyond: Barbara Hulanicki.
Around New Year’s, 1971, Seventeen readers could peruse the new Biba patterns in a dreamy Sarah Moon editorial shot in Paris. Among the models was Ingrid Boulting, the face of Biba Cosmetics (another Sarah Moon project). As Hulanicki writes in her memoir, From A to Biba, the setting for the shoot was the round tower of Au Printemps, the storied Paris department store. The printed fabrics — cotton satin, rayon crepe, cotton voile, twill, and broadcloth — were all Tootal for Biba, and available at retailers like Macy’s in New York. (More at Sweet Jane. Seventeen scans courtesy of Musings from Marilyn.)
The patterns were even covered more than once in Women’s Wear Daily.
The designs consisted of a top and skirt, separates and a hat, a long-sleeved dress and short-sleeved coatdress, and a midi or maxi dress, all in junior sizes only. Two included a matching choker. Customers could see the Biba logo in McCall’s retail catalogues, but the pattern envelopes give no indication they’re Biba designs.
McCall’s Pattern Fashions featured the Biba patterns in a four-page illustrated portfolio called “Seventeen Magazine Pattern Selections.” The write-up emphasizes Biba’s novelty in North America: Now Seventeen Magazine brings Biba to America … You, too, can be a Biba girl without crossing the Atlantic.
Curiously, the Biba patterns aren’t in McCall’s back index, but one of them appears in this croquet-themed textiles ad — at left, in printed Dacron crepe:
The peplum blouse with short “mushroom” sleeves (McCall’s 2725, view B) is very similar to a Biba evening suit seen in a 19 cover portfolio by David Tack. (Cover at top of post.) Like Seventeen, the British teen magazine also published its feature around the time of New Year’s, 1971.
Iceland’s Vatnajökull National Park is one of the latest additions to UNESCO’s World Heritage List. In 1990’s “Polar Effects,” the Vatnajökull glacier and Jökulsárlón glacial lake co-star with supermodels Karen Mulder and Kirsten Owen, and two Vogue patterns.
Both patterns are Very Easy designs. In the opening image, Karen Mulder’s unitard is made from an unspecified “shiny” stretch knit from B&J Fabrics. Kirsten Owen’s double-width dirndl skirt is silk taffeta from Jerry Brown Fabrics.
Mugler himself never signed with Paris Originals, but there are still some Vogue patterns with a connection to the designer. The Dutch-born Mei Xiao Zhou (who, like Mugler, is a former ballet dancer) was hired by Laroche after six years as Mugler’s assistant in the 1990s.
Zhou designed two collections for Laroche in the early aughts, resulting in a handful of Vogue patterns, circa 2002. Even if the pattern envelopes downplay it, his designs for Laroche have a vampy futurism that gives them a Mugler-esque edge. For more see my post.
Agra was a close friend of Paco Peralta. For the exhibit, he has included the designer’s original sample garments for Vogue 1602, a sculpted top and skirt in sequinned tweed. Peralta’s originals were worn by Nadja Giramata for last year’s Winter/Holiday release.
Behind the scenes note: makeup was by Joseph Boggess / YSL Beauty. Peralta was a great collector of Yves Saint Laurent.
Cover look V1627 is an archival design by Zandra Rhodes, as worn by the Latvian-American model Ana Kondratjeva.
Rhodes reissued her 1973 Field of Lilies dress — renamed the Summer, in memory of Donna Summer — for Matches Fashion’s recent 30th anniversary. The designer commissioned Claire Rothstein to take the mother-and-daughter portrait at the top of this post, in which Pat Cleveland and her daughter, Anna, both model the dress. The original is printed silk chiffon.
Inspired by Alessandro Michele’s Gucci, the new Very Easy Vogue pyjama is illustrated with ribbon trim, and in a version of the Gucci Flora print.
For Gucci Pre-Fall 2018, in place of a more conventional lookbook, American artist Peter Schlesinger shot a photobook on location in Rome. Called Disturbia, it was inspired by the films of Dario Argento, the director behind the original Suspiria.
A variation of the Gucci Flora pyjamas in printed silk twill.
Michele paired a full-length version of the trousers, trimmed in the distinctive Gucci ribbon, with a faux-fur coat.
The Pre-Fall 2019 ad campaign features another version of the Gucci Flora pyjama, as seen in the ancient ruins of Selinunte, Sicily. Vogue’s reference kimono top and pant (on pre-order at Neiman Marcus) is silk georgette.
The new Tracy Reese sundress has a cowl neckline, criss-cross back, and midriff that extends into waist ties. (See WWD for recent news.)
Martha Graham was the inspiration for Reese’s Spring 2015 collection, where the dress was shown with a kimono jacket in the same botanical print.
There are two patterns from Rachel Comey. The first: the Willow peasant top and Basin pant with grosgrain waistband. Judging from the pattern number, it may have been delayed from the Spring release. Hopefully this doesn’t signal the wrapping up of the designer’s contract. (See: Laroche?)
Both pieces made their début in Comey’s country-and-western themed Pre-Fall 2016 collection, shot by New York street photographer Gus Powell. The original Willow top (right) is rayon gauze.
For Fall 2016, Comey showed the top in a cute print. Later, it could even be seen in a lace and gingham combo.
The second Rachel Comey is a pair of unisex shirts. The unisex / menswear angle is welcome, since Comey made her name with men’s shirts. (See my earlier post.)
The Selleck shirt is short-sleeved, with seam interest, while the Tre shirt is a long-sleeved button-down. Both were shown in Comey’s Spring 2017 15th anniversary collection, which saw the launch of her unisex line.
After a decade of licensing, Simplicity has released a swimwear design by Cynthia Rowley. The colour-blocked one-piece is called the Heather, and retails in Rowley’s signature neoprene.
The new pattern also includes a button-front maxi dress with ruffle sleeves. Add bodice tucks and you have the Nairobi kaftan — Rowley’s opening look for Spring 2017. The original caftan dress is 100% cotton.
Finally, a stealth bridal pattern: Very Easy Vogue V9373, a version of a Stella McCartney gown that was the first change of a newly minted duchess. (More at Vogue.)
The bride’s silk crepe, open-backed gown was an advance look at the Stella McCartney Made With Love collection, which launched in autumn, 2018.
Make in cruelty-free, sustainable fabrics for the authentic Stella McCartney touch.