Black and White Ball 50th Anniversary + Sale!

November 28, 2016 § Leave a comment

Principessa Luciana Pignatelli, Peter Gimbel and Contessa Crespi at Truman Capote’s Black and White Ball at the Plaza hotel in Manhattan in 1966

Guests at Truman Capote’s Black and White Ball at the Plaza hotel, Manhattan, 1966. Photo: Lawrence Fried. Image: Condé Nast / Getty via the New York Times.

Today marks the 50th anniversary of Truman Capote’s legendary Black and White Ball. (Read Amy Fine Collins’ article for the 30th.)

Can you name the celebrities behind the masks? Guests at the Black and White Balls, 1966 photographed for LIFE by Henry Grossman

Masked guests in Life magazine, December 9, 1966. Photos: Henry Grossman. Image: Life archive.

To mark the occasion, I’m having a flash sale in the PatternVault Etsy shop.

Black and white evening ensembles by Pauline Trigère, 1964

Image: PatternVault on Etsy.

The sale runs through today only—20% off with coupon code CAPOTE. Your purchase helps support the research on this blog.

Happy shopping!

Photo: Barton Silverman. Image: the New York Times.

Truman Capote in his mask from F.A.O. Schwarz. Photo: Barton Silverman. Image: the New York Times.

Jean Muir: Butterick Patterns

August 28, 2016 § 2 Comments

Jean Muir for Jane & Jane, Butterick Home Catalog, Spring 1965.

Jean Muir for Jane & Jane, Butterick Home Catalog, Spring 1965.

This summer, after extensive renovations, the National Museum of Scotland opened its new galleries, including a Fashion and Style gallery. Jean Muir’s archive is housed in the museum, so the new gallery returns this important collection of her work to public view. To celebrate, I’ll be posting a two-part series on Jean Muir sewing patterns.

ARCHIVE - Personal Lecture Slides from the Jean Muir Collection

Box with slides from the Jean Muir Collection. Image: National Museum of Scotland.

Though born in London, Jean Muir (1928-1995) is often called “the Scottish Chanel.” Muir began her career working at Liberty London. She was the designer for Jaeger before winning backing for her first label, Jane & Jane, in the early 1960s; she also designed for Morel London. In the fall of 1966 she founded her own company, Jean Muir Ltd. Acclaimed for her precise cut in jersey, leather, and suede, she preferred to be called a dressmaker.

Jaeger advertisement illustrated by René Gruau, 1957

Jaeger advertisement illustrated by René Gruau, 1957. Image: Jaeger.co.uk.

Muir and her designs are featured in Life magazine’s 1963 portfolio (headlined “Brash New Breed of British Designers”) on what was then called the Chelsea Look.

Jane & Jane "granny" dress photographed by Norman Parkinson at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, 1963

Jane & Jane “granny” dress at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, Life magazine, October 18, 1963. Photo: Norman Parkinson. Image: Google books.

Jean Muir licensed patterns with Butterick’s Young Designers line into the early 1970s.

1960s

In early 1965, Butterick introduced Jean Muir of Jane & Jane with four designs in the Spring 1965 catalogue (click to enlarge):

1960s photo of Jean Muir and her new Butterick patterns (nos. 3493 and 3492)

“From London: Designs by Jane & Jane,” Butterick Home Catalog, Spring 1965.

1960s Jean Muir Jane & Jane patterns Butterick 3495 and 3494

Butterick 3495 and 3494 by Jean Muir for Jane & Jane, Butterick Home Catalog, Spring 1965.

This simple Jane & Jane dress is accented with two narrow tucks above the hemline:

1960s Jane & Jane dress pattern by Jean Muir, Butterick 3609

Butterick 3609 by Jean Muir of Jane & Jane (ca. 1965) Image: PatternVault on Etsy.

The tucks on Butterick 3609 recall the single, broad hemline tuck on this Jane & Jane dress photographed by David Bailey in Kenya:

Jane & Jane wool dress by Jean Muir (Dolores hat; Ascher scarf) photographed in Kenya by David Bailey

Jane & Jane wool dress with secretary bird, British Vogue, February 1965. Photo: David Bailey. Model: Sue Murray. Image: Youthquakers.

This mod, A-line dress is trimmed with buttons and topstitching (click to view in the shop):

1960s Jean Muir of Jane & Jane dress pattern Butterick 3722

Butterick 3722 by Jean Muir of Jane & Jane (ca. 1965) Image: PatternVault on Etsy.

The young Grace Coddington posed in the sleeveless version for British Vogue:

Grace Coddington wears a Jane & Jane dress by Jean Muir in British Vogue, 1965

Jane & Jane dress in British Vogue, March 15, 1965. Photo: Eugene Vernier. Model: Grace Coddington. Image: Youthquakers.

Previously seen in my Celia Hammond post, this Jane & Jane dress has a standing neckline, raglan sleeves, and Muir’s trademark tiny button trim:

1960s Jean Muir Jane & Jane pattern feat. Celia Hammond, Butterick 4153

Butterick 4153 by Jean Muir of Jane & Jane (ca. 1966) Image: Vintage Patterns Wiki.

Within a year of founding her own company, Muir saw her double-breasted ‘cavalier’ coat on the cover of British Vogue:

Jean Shrimpton wears a Jean Muir coat on the cover of British Vogue, 1967 - Ph. David Bailey

Coat by Jean Muir, British Vogue, August 1967. Photo: David Bailey. Model: Jean Shrimpton. Image: Youthquakers.

"Cover: New brilliance, new romantic accessories, new cavalier look." Jean Shrimpton photographed by David Bailey for the cover of British Vogue August 1967

Burnished orange and navy blue striped cavalier coat in Garigue wool by Jean Muir, British Vogue, August 1967. Photo: David Bailey. Model: Jean Shrimpton. Image: Youthquakers.

With its shoulder yokes and double-breasted front, Butterick 5242 is a similar design:

1960s Jean Muir coat pattern Butterick 5242

Butterick 5242 by Jean Muir (ca. 1969) Image: Serendipity Vintage.

Muir’s signature topstitching and shoulder yokes define the details on Butterick 4937, a sleeveless dress illustrated on the cover of the August 1968 news leaflet:

1960s Jean Muir dress pattern Butterick 4937 - Butterick Fashion News illustration

Butterick 4937 by Jean Muir on the cover of Butterick Fashion News, August 1968. Image: Vintage Patterns Wiki.

The pattern envelope shows the dress with and without the low-slung belt carriers:

1960s Jean Muir dress pattern Butterick 4937

Butterick 4937 by Jean Muir (ca. 1968) Image: Etsy.

David Bailey photographed a similar Jean Muir belted jumper in green Harris tweed:

Sue Murray in a Jean Muir jumper, British Vogue, fall 1967 - Ph. David Bailey

Jean Muir jumper in British Vogue, October 15, 1967. Photo: David Bailey. Model: Sue Murray. Image: Youthquakers.

1970s

Previously seen in my Mad Men-era Butterick Young Designers post, Butterick 5657 is the kind of fluid jersey dress Muir became known for:

Late 1960s / early 1970s Jean Muir dress pattern Butterick 5657

Butterick 5657 by Jean Muir (ca. 1970)

The design is from Muir’s Fall 1969 collection—photographed here in cloud grey jersey:

Moyra Swan in a jersey minidress by Jean Muir, British Vogue, 1969

Jean Muir jersey dress, British Vogue, August 1969. Photo: David Montgomery. Model: Moyra Swan. Image: Youthquakers.

Butterick 5954 was shown in both mini and midi lengths; the recommended fabrics include jersey, knit, and synthetic knits. The contrast cuffs and bib front give the opportunity for colour blocking or print mixing as in the Liberty-style illustration (available in the shop):

1970 Jean Muir dress pattern Butterick 5954

Butterick 5954 by Jean Muir (ca. 1970) Image: PatternVault on Etsy.

Before Butterick switched to illustrations only, there was a growing disparity in quality between pattern and editorial photography. Here it obscures the potential of Muir’s tucked and colour blocked peasant tunic:

1970s Jean Muir two-piece dress pattern Butterick 6222

Butterick 6222 by Jean Muir (ca. 1971)

Jeanloup Sieff photographed a similar dress-and-knickers ensemble for an editorial in Nova magazine:

Chiffon dress and knickers by Jean Muir, Nova, March 1972. Photo: Jeanloup Sieff. Editor: Caroline Baker. Image: Miss Peelpants.

The latest Jean Muir Young Designer pattern I’ve seen is Butterick 6398, a high-waisted dress with tiny self ruffles, button trim, and optional contrast sleeves and hemband:

1970s Jean Muir dress pattern Butterick 6398

Butterick 6398 by Jean Muir (ca. 1971)

I’ll close with this 1970 Norman Parkinson photo of a Jean Muir dress and turban in Monument Valley, in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery:

Norman Parkinson, Jan Ward in Jean Muir, 1970

Jean Muir dress, British Vogue, January 1971 (1970). Photo: Norman Parkinson. Model: Jan Ward. Image: the National Portrait Gallery, London.

Next: Jean Muir’s Vogue Couturier patterns.

Patterns in Vogue: Cotton Landscape

August 16, 2016 § 1 Comment

Pattie Boyd photographed by Brian Duffy in sunglasses and hooded jumpsuit for Vogue UK, 1965

Detail, British Vogue, June 1965. Photo: Brian Duffy. Model: Pattie Boyd. Image: Youthquakers.

In 1965, Brian Duffy photographed Pattie Boyd for a patterns editorial, “Cotton Landscape,” in British Vogue. The editorial opens with Boyd posing in Oliver Goldsmith sunglasses and an Op Art playsuit:

"Cotton Landscape: Pretty Dazzling" - Pattie Boyd photographed by Brian Duffy, 1965

“Cotton Landscape: Pretty Dazzling” – Vogue 6491 in British Vogue, June 1965. Photos: Brian Duffy. Model: Pattie Boyd. Image: Youthquakers.

Boyd’s playsuit was made using Vogue 6491, a Young Fashionables pattern for a hooded ‘jump suit,’ bikini, skirt, and pants. As the caption says, “Powerhouse zigzags, electric pattern on a beach playsuit made to dazzle, not shock. Shorts shaped with a long front zip, smashing hood, and long cuffed sleeves.” The suit was made in Cepea navy and white cotton “with a Calpreta permanent sheen finish,” available from Bourne & Hollingsworth and Civil Service Stores.

For more of the June issue, see Youthquakers.

Hooded jumpsuit Vogue 6491 worn by Pattie Boyd in British Vogue, June 1965. Photo: Brian Duffy.

Pattie Boyd wears hooded jumpsuit Vogue 6491, British Vogue, June 1965. Photo: Brian Duffy. Image: Youthquakers.

Designer Swimwear: Vintage Patterns

August 9, 2016 § 6 Comments

1980s Bob Mackie swimsuit pattern McCall's 7138 photographed for McCall's summer news flier

McCall’s 7138 by Bob Mackie on the cover of McCall’s news, July 1980.

It’s been another hot summer here in Toronto. One of my earliest blog posts, Heat Wave!, surveys vintage beachwear patterns. This summer, let’s take a look at a more elusive beast: designer swimwear patterns.

1950s

The earliest pattern I’ve seen for designer swimwear is Pucci’s strapless one-piece, McCall’s 3977. This pattern was available in Junior sizes only. The suit was lined in jersey, and could be made with or without the brightly coloured appliqués:

1950s Emilio Pucci bathing suit pattern McCall's 3977

McCall’s 3977 by Emilio Pucci (1956) Image: eBay.

1960s

From another Italian designer, Irene Galitzine, Vogue 1288 is a pattern for a bikini, dress, and hat. The bikini consists of a cropped, cowl-neck blouse and bikini pants with side ties:

1960s Galitzine bikini, coverup, and hat pattern Vogue 1288

Vogue 1288 by Irene Galitzine (ca. 1963) Image: eBay.

1970s

The 1970s were the heyday of designer swimwear patterns, often with a coordinating coverup, and always for stretch knits. Vogue 1416 is an early design by Donna Karan; from Anne Klein’s collaboration with Penfold, the pattern includes both a maillot and a halter bikini:

Vogue 1416

Vogue 1416 by Donna Karan at Anne Klein for Penfold (1976) Image: Etsy.

From Bill Blass, Vogue 1455 includes a two-piece swimsuit with bra top and bikini briefs:

1970s Bill Blass jacket, pants, and swimsuit pattern Vogue 1455

Vogue 1455 by Bill Blass (1976)

John Kloss licensed a number of swimwear designs with Butterick. This ad promotes his patterns with a poolside photo of Butterick 4808:

Butterick Kloss ad 1976

Butterick 4808 by John Kloss, Butterick advertisement, 1976. Image: eBay.

Another Butterick designer, Gil Aimbez, designed this one-piece bathing suit. Contrast bias binding outlines the cut-away sides and bodice seaming detail:

1970s Gil Aimbez swimsuit and coverup pattern Butterick 5449

Butterick 5449 by Gil Aimbez (ca. 1977) Image: Etsy.

Like the Anne Klein Penfold pattern above, this Penfold pattern includes both one-piece and halter bikini bathing suits. The one-piece and bikini top are cut on the bias:

1970s Penfold pattern Vogue 1655

Vogue 1655 by Penfold (ca. 1977) Image: Vintage Patterns Wiki.

Both Penfold patterns can be seen in a Vogue Patterns editorial photographed in Antigua:

1970s Anne Klein / Penfold halter bikini pattern by Donna Karan, Vogue 1416 in Vogue Patterns magazine

Beach beauty: halter bikini Vogue 1416 by Donna Karan at Anne Klein for Penfold, Vogue Patterns, May/June 1977. Model: Clotilde. Photo: Albert Watson. Image: the Fashion Spot.

Vogue Patterns MayJun 1977 Penfold

Vogue 1655 by Penfold with Vogue 9808, Vogue Patterns, May/June 1977. Models: Lisa Cooper and Clotilde. Photos: Albert Watson. Image: the Fashion Spot.

From spring, 1978, Vogue 1893 seems to have been the only Catalina pattern. Instead of a coverup, it includes three styles of bathing suit: low-backed view A, strapless view B with built-in boning, and blouson view C is a two-piece:

1970s Catalina swimsuit pattern Vogue 1893

Vogue 1893 by Catalina (1978) Image: Etsy.

The magazine recommended making the Catalina suits in Thompson of California’s “second skin Tic Toc warp knit polyester crepes” in various prints:

Vogue 1893 by Catalina, Vogue Patterns, May/June 1978. Image: Vintage Goodness.

1980s

From 1980, McCall’s 7109 includes three one-piece swimsuits by the Italian label Basile: a mock wrap, belted halter-neck and variations on the strapless suit with gathered bust (available in the shop):

1980s Basile swimsuit pattern - McCall's 7109

McCall’s 7109 by Basile (1980) Image via PatternVault on Etsy.

Jerry Hall (right) seems to be wearing the view A style in this Basile ad photographed by Irving Penn:

vogue italia 1980 penn basile

Basile advertisement in Vogue Italia, 1980. Photo: Irving Penn. Models: Michelle Stevens and Jerry Hall. Image: the Fashion Spot.

Also from 1980, Bob Mackie’s strapless, colour-blocked swimsuit, McCall’s 7138, was photographed for the July counter catalogue and news leaflet (seen at the top of this post):

1980s Bob Mackie swimsuit and cover-up pattern McCall's 7138

McCall’s 7138 by Bob Mackie (1980) Image: Etsy.

1990s

Finally, this early ’90s DKNY pattern, Vogue 2897, is labelled ‘dress and bodysuit,’ but was photographed as beachwear:

1990s DKNY bodysuit and hooded dress / coverup pattern Vogue 2897

Vogue 2897 by DKNY (1992) Image: Etsy.

After a long swimwear pattern drought, the big pattern companies seem to have noticed the renewed popularity of sewing your own, custom bathing suit. For this summer, Simplicity reissued a 1950s bathing suit pattern, Simplicity 4307 / S8139, and The McCall Pattern Company has released a number of new swimwear designs, including one Vogue and two Lisette swimwear patterns.

Two designers with existing pattern licensing, Cynthia Rowley and Rachel Comey, both have swimwear lines. If we voice our support, perhaps we could soon see patterns for Cynthia Rowley surf wear and Rachel Comey Swim

Cynthia Rowley for Roxy wetsuit, 2010

Wetsuit by Cynthia Rowley for Roxy, 2010. Image: Pinterest.

Willy Somma self-portrait for Rachel Comey Swim, 2013

Willy Somma self-portrait for Rachel Comey Swim, T Magazine, May 2013. Image: nytimes.com.

Halston of Bergdorf Goodman – Vogue 7082

June 14, 2016 § 3 Comments

Detail, Vogue 7082 by Halston of Bergdorf Goodman

Royal Ascot begins today. Here’s a look at an Ascot-worthy Halston pattern.

Halston licensed millinery designs with Vogue Patterns during his time as Chief Milliner at Bergdorf Goodman. (See my earlier Mad Men-era millinery post.) Vogue 7082 is a petal headpiece with optional veil:

1960s Halston of Bergdorf Goodman bridal headpiece pattern - Vogue 7082

Vogue 7082 by Halston of Bergdorf Goodman (ca. 1967)

Here’s the envelope description: Bridal headpiece. Large or small petal headpiece with or without long or short veil is secured to hair with comb; optional ribbon bow. Recommended fabrics: organdy, organza, lace, point d’esprit. Veil: net, tulle. Notions: comb, millinery wire, 2 1/4″ ribbon.

The Halston headpiece was cross-promoted on two bridal patterns, Vogue 1744 and Vogue 1745, as an option for both brides and bridesmaids. Or as a contemporary catalogue has it, “Enchanting bouquet of graduated petals… crowning touch for any member of the bridal party by Halston of Bergdorf Goodman.”

1960s bride's or bridesmaid's dress pattern Vogue Special Design 1745

Vogue 1745 (ca. 1967) Image via eBay.

Worn with a matching suit, wouldn’t it be perfect for a day at the races?

1960s dress and jacket pattern Vogue Special Design 7061

Vogue 7061 (ca. 1967) Image via Etsy.

Oscar de la Renta: Vogue Patterns, Part 1

May 29, 2016 § 4 Comments

OscardelaRenta

There’s only one day left to see Oscar de la Renta: The Retrospective, curated by André Leon Talley for the de Young Museum in San Francisco. (Show ends May 30, 2016). If you won’t be able to make it, an exhibition catalogue is available in three formats, including a floral print-bound limited edition. For more on the show see Maghan McDowell, “First Look: Five Decades of Oscar de la Renta.”

de Young Oscar de la Renta exibition catalogue cover

Jennifer Park, Molly Sorkin, and André Leon Talley, Oscar de la Renta (Prestel, 2016) Image: Prestel.

Oscar de la Renta (1932-2014) was born Óscar Aristides Ortiz de la Renta Fiallo in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, the only boy in a family of seven. After moving to Spain to study art at Madrid’s Real Academía de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, in 1954 he began work as a sketcher at Balenciaga; by 1959 he was assisting Antonio del Castillo at Lanvin-Castillo in Paris.

LIFE 9 Jul 1956 p118

De la Renta fitting debutante Beatrice Cabot Lodge, Life, July 9, 1956. Photo: Nina Leen. Image: Google books.

In 1963 de la Renta moved to New York to pursue a career in ready-to-wear. He was soon hired as designer for Elizabeth Arden and, in 1965, became a partner at Jane Derby, the house he would take over for his own label. (For more see official site or The New York Times’ timeline.)

House photograph of an evening dress of gold and pink silk damask, Elizabeth Arden by Oscar de la Renta, autumn/winter 1963.

Elizabeth Arden by Oscar de la Renta evening dress in gold and pink silk damask, Fall-Winter 1963. Model: Isabella Albonico. Image: Oscar de la Renta via the de Young Museum.

De la Renta licensed his designs with Vogue Patterns from the 1960s to the 2000s. This week, a look at Oscar de la Renta patterns from the ’60s to the ’80s.

Oscar de la Renta photo + bio on a 1980s Vogue Patterns envelope flap

1960s

Oscar de la Renta dress photographed for Vogue by Henry Clarke at Villa Boscogrande

Oscar de la Renta dress photographed at Villa Boscogrande, Sicily, Vogue, December 1967. Photo: Henry Clarke. Image via Youthquakers.

Oscar de la Renta was among the designers included in Vogue-Butterick’s new Vogue Americana line, which was launched in 1967. From 1968, Vogue 1909 is a short-sleeved evening dress with standing collar and front-dart pockets:

1960s Oscar de la Renta dress pattern Vogue 1909

Vogue 1909 by Oscar de la Renta (1968) Image via the Vintage Pattern Wiki.

This short evening dress has contrast bias cuffs and collar—flexible jewel trim optional:

1960s Oscar de la Renta dress pattern Vogue 2101

Vogue 2101 by Oscar de la Renta (1969) Image via the Vintage Pattern Wiki.

Vogue 2219, an evening dress in two lengths, includes a wide, contrast cummerbund and pockets in the inverted side pleats:

1960s Oscar de la Renta evening dress pattern Vogue 2219

Vogue 2219 by Oscar de la Renta (1969) Image via the Vintage Pattern Wiki.

1970s

Shown in a rich, metallic brocade, Vogue 2280 is a short, high-waisted evening dress accented with a jewel-trimmed belt (as seen in Vogue Pattern Book here):

Vogue 2280

Vogue 2280 by Oscar de la Renta (1970) Image: eBay.

A 1972 editorial by Helmut Newton shows Lauren Hutton in an early Oscar de la Renta caftan:

"Adventures in Yellow": Lauren Hutton with stuntman Lance Rimmer photographed for Vogue by Helmut Newton, 1972

Oscar de la Renta caftan, Vogue, June 1972. Photo: Helmut Newton. Model: Lauren Hutton. Image via Youthquakers.

From 1973—the year of the ‘Battle of Versailles’ fashion show—this ruffled evening dress was shown in both solid colours and a floral border print:

1970s ruffled Oscar de la Renta dress pattern Vogue 2879

Vogue 2879 by Oscar de la Renta (1973) Image: PatternVault on Etsy.

Christie Brinkley models Vogue 1667, a blouse for two layers of sheer fabric and dirndl maxi skirt with deep hemline ruffle:

Christie Brinkley in 1970s Oscar de la Renta pattern Vogue 1667

Vogue 1667 by Oscar de la Renta in Vogue Patterns, May/June 1977. Model: Christie Brinkley. Image: Vintage Goodness.

Peasant blouse-and-skirt ensemble Vogue 1776 was featured on this winter catalogue cover:

1970s Vogue Patterns catalogue cover featuring Vogue 1776 by Oscar de la Renta

Vogue 1776 by Oscar de la Renta on the cover of Vogue Patterns catalogue, February 1978. Image: eBay.

In this photo by Deborah Turbeville—previously seen in a Patterns in Vogue post—the gold-pistachio lamé evening separates at far right were made using Oscar de la Renta pattern Vogue 2182:

Vogue Nov1979 Turbeville

From “Striking Gold,” Vogue, November 1979. Photo: Deborah Turbeville.

1980s

Vogue 1027’s caftan (previously seen in my caftans post) is featured in the San Francisco exhibit. The original is hand-painted silk crêpe de chine:

1980s Oscar de la Renta caftan pattern Vogue 1027

Vogue 1027 by Oscar de la Renta (ca. 1983) Model: Alva Chinn.

Oscar de la Renta caftan, spring 1982. Hand-painted silk crepe de chine. Kent State University Museum, Silverman/Rodgers Collection. Photo courtesy of the Kent State University Museum, photography by Erin Burns

Oscar de la Renta caftan, Spring 1982. Photo: Erin Burns. Image: Kent State University Museum via the de Young Museum.

Vogue 1644 is a wrap-bodice dress with bias bands defining the waist:

1980s Oscar de la Renta dress pattern Vogue 1644

Vogue 1644 by Oscar de la Renta (1985) Image via Etsy.

These fashion photos by Steven Meisel and Patrick Demarchelier show how well de la Renta was suited to the Eighties aesthetic:

Michelle Eabry wears Oscar de la Renta, photographed for Vogue by Steven Meisel

Oscar de la Renta dress, Vogue, May 1986. Photo: Steven Meisel. Model: Michelle Eabry. Image via The Fashion Spot.

Cindy Crawfrod wears Oscar de la Renta on the cover of British Vogue, spring 1987

Cindy Crawford wears Oscar de la Renta on the cover of British Vogue, April 1987. Photo: Patrick Demarchelier. Image: Vogue UK.

Here, radiating pleats and a bias front godet add volume and interest:

1980s Oscar de la Renta dress pattern Vogue 1997

Vogue 1997 by Oscar de la Renta (1987). Image: Etsy.

Don’t Vogue 2185’s ruffles take the cake?

Vogue 2185 by Oscar de la Renta (1988) Model: Alexandra Aubin. Image: PatternVault on Etsy.

Next: Oscar de la Renta patterns from the 1990s and 2000s.

The Look of Courrèges

January 29, 2016 § 10 Comments

Courrèges sunglasses - Simone D'Aillencourt photographed by Richard Avedon, 1965

Courrèges glasses, February 1965. Photo: Richard Avedon. Model: Simone D’Aillencourt. Image via the Richard Avedon Foundation.

André Courrèges died early this month. He was 92. (See WWD, “André Courrèges: Space Age Couturier,” or Vanessa Friedman’s obituary for The New York Times.)

1960s Vogue cover - Astrid Heeren in a white Courrèges bonnet photographed by Irving Penn

Courrèges hat, Vogue, November 15, 1964. Photo: Irving Penn. Model: Astrid Heeren. Image via Vogue.com.

Born in Pau, France, André Courrèges (1923-2016) initially became an engineer at his father’s behest. He changed careers after the Second World War, spending ten years at Balenciaga and founding his own couture house in 1961. His silver and white, spring 1964 “Space Age” collection made the Courrèges name with its futuristic, body-conscious, practical designs; a May, 1965 profile in Life magazine hailed him as “The Lord of the Space Ladies.” (See Patricia Peterson, “Courrèges Stresses Modern Look” [Spring 1964] and “Courrèges Is Star of Best Show Seen So Far” [Fall 1964]; on those otherworldly sunglasses, which reference Inuit snow-goggles, see FIDM’s note.) He retired in 1995.

1960s Vogue Paris cover featuring Maggie Eckhardt in a Courrèges ensemble

Courrèges ensemble, Vogue Paris, March 1965. Model: Maggie Eckhardt. Image via Pinterest.

In North America, licensed copies and other versions of Courrèges’ work were more common than couture originals. In the summer of 1965, McCall’s released nine patterns adapted from Courrèges. Six of these were photographed by Edward Pfizenmaier for “The Look of Courrèges,” an editorial in the Fall 1965 home catalogue. On the left is coat pattern McCall’s 7938; on the right, ensemble and dress patterns McCall’s 7932 and McCall’s 7918 (click to enlarge):

1960s Courrèges-look patterns McCall's 7938, 7932, and 7918 photographed by Edward Pfizenmaier for McCall's Pattern Fashions

“Precision… Proportion… Perfection! This is the Look of Courrèges,” McCall’s Pattern Fashions & Home Decorating, Fall-Winter 1965-66. Photos: Edward Pfizenmaier.

Here, on the left, jumper and blouse pattern McCall’s 7914; on the right, skirt suit McCall’s 7936 and jumper McCall’s 7940, made in a special Carletex fabric described as the “perfect medium for the ‘go-go’ look: washable cotton with the look and texture of leather” (all boots by Golo and Capezio):

1960s Courrèges-look patterns McCall's 7914, 7936, and 7923 photographed by Edward Pfizenmaier for McCall's Pattern Fashions

“This is the Look of Courrèges.” McCall’s Pattern Fashions & Home Decorating, Fall-Winter 1965-66. Photos: Edward Pfizenmaier.

This photo portfolio was followed by an illustrated Seventeen feature showing three more Courrèges-look patterns: jumper ensemble McCall’s 7903, dress McCall’s 7923, and hooded poncho McCall’s 7884. The textile credits are interesting: the jumper is shown in houndstooth Crompton corduroy; the dress in Burlington Dacron-cotton twill*; and the hooded poncho “in shiny make-believe black patent that’s actually vinyl-coated cotton by Landau”:

McCall's Pattern Fashions & Home Decorating, Fall-Winter 1965-66

Seventeen Magazine Seconds the Courrèges Look.” McCall’s Pattern Fashions & Home Decorating, Fall-Winter 1965-66.

A “Courrèges look” pattern also appears in the catalogue’s front pages, in a Crompton Corduroy ad that pairs McCall’s 7923 with op art by the late Marcel Barbeau:

"Crompton Corduroy just acts rich" - 1960s Crompton Corduroy advert featuring Marcel Barbeau art and a McCall's pattern

Crompton Corduroy advertisement featuring McCall’s 7923 after Courrèges, 1965.

As the catalogue reminds readers, McCall’s 7923 was also photographed for the cover of Seventeen magazine. The cover model for the “summer party issue” is Jennifer O’Neill, who would go on to star in David Cronenberg’s Scanners (1981); the matching hat seems to be an Adolfo version of a Courrèges original (see Sotheby’s and the Costume Institute):

1960s party issue cover of Seventeen magazine featuring Jennifer O'Neill in McCall's 7923 after Courrèges

McCall’s 7923 after Courrèges on the cover of Seventeen, July 1965. Model: Jennifer O’Neill. Image via eBay.

Inside, a McCall’s editorial shows popular teen model Colleen Corby photographed by Carmen Schiavone; here she wears McCall’s 7902 (far left) and McCall’s 7903 and 7884 after Courrèges (Adolfo II hats):

7902, 7903, 7884. Seventeen Jul 1965 via eBay

7902, 7903, 7884. Seventeen, July 1965. Model: Colleen Corby. Photos: Carmen Schiavone. Image via eBay.

Corby’s version of the McCall’s 7884 hooded poncho is shown in tomato red:

Seventeen Jul1965a

McCall’s after Courrèges in Seventeen, July 1965. Model: Colleen Corby. Photos: Carmen Schiavone. Image via eBay.

Here’s a look at McCall’s Courrèges-look patterns. McCall’s 7884 includes a sleeveless dress with low-slung, drawstring belt and an ultra-mod poncho with separate hood (available in the shop):

1960s poncho, hood, and dress pattern after Courrèges - McCall's 7884

McCall’s 7884 after Courrèges (1965) Image via PatternVault on Etsy.

In addition to a U-neck jumper and pleated skirt, McCall’s 7903 also includes a blouse with optional trompe-l’oeil collar and cuffs (available in the shop):

1960s jumper, skirt, and blouse pattern after Courrèges - McCall's 7903

McCall’s 7903 after Courrèges (1965) Image via PatternVault on Etsy.

McCall’s 7914 is a pattern for a dress or jumper, blouse, and skirt. The jumper’s welt seams could be topstitched in contrasting thread to match the blouse::

1960s dress/jumper, blouse and skirt pattern after Courrèges - McCall's 7914

McCall’s 7914 after Courrèges (1965) Image via the Vintage Pattern Wiki.

McCall’s 7918 is a dress with optional collar and sleeves cut in one with the yoke. Skinny belt included in the pattern:

1960s dress pattern after Courrèges - McCall's 7918

McCall’s 7918 after Courrèges (1965) Image via Etsy.

McCall’s 7923, the dress from the Seventeen cover and the Crompton Corduroy ad, could be made sleeveless, as a jumper, and came with a blouse with zippers at the sleeves and back. The pattern also included the low-slung skinny belt and carriers (available in the shop):

1960s dress or jumper and blouse pattern after Courrèges - McCall's 7923

McCall’s 7923 after Courrèges (1965) Image via PatternVault on Etsy.

Perhaps the rarest of these patterns, McCall’s 7932 is a short-sleeved top and skirt ensemble:

1960s top and skirt pattern after Courèges - McCall's 7932

McCall’s 7932 after Courrèges (1965) Image via Etsy.

McCall’s 7936 is a short-sleeved blouse and skirt suit with Courrèges’ characteristic, stand-away collar (available in 2 sizes in the shop):

1960s skirt suit and blouse pattern after Courrèges - McCall's 7936

McCall’s 7936 after Courrèges (1965) Image via PatternVault on Etsy.

McCall’s Courrèges-look double-breasted coat, McCall’s 7938, has welt pocket flaps and a martingale and loose panel in back, with all edges accented by contrast binding. The pattern also includes a skirt suit and blouse (available in 2 sizes in the shop):

1960s coat, suit, and blouse pattern after Courrèges - McCall's 7938

McCall’s 7938 after Courrèges (1965) Image via PatternVault on Etsy.

Finally, McCall’s 7940 is a pattern for a high-waisted dress or jumper, short-sleeved blouse, and double-breasted jacket with standing collar (available in the shop):

1960s dress or jumper, blouse and jacket pattern after Courrèges - McCall's 7940

McCall’s 7940 after Courrèges (1965) Image via PatternVault on Etsy.

André Courrèges’ futuristic style, high hemlines, and fresh trouser looks had made him a hit with the youthquake set. In a nod to this market, the illustrations show kitten heels and go-go boots, and the three patterns shown in Seventeen magazine have the text, “SEVENTEEN says: ‘It’s Young Fashion!'” Most of the Courrèges-look patterns were available in teen and junior sizes; one (M7923) was not available in misses’ sizes at all. (Of the two patterns in misses’ sizes only, M7938 and M7940, the former was featured in McCall’s magazine, though I’m not sure which issue.) It’s surprising that the patterns include no pantsuits: Courrèges was a great proponent of pants for the woman of the future.

I’ll close with some William Klein photos of Courrèges for Vogue magazine (visit Youthquakers for the full editorial):

Vogue1Mar1965_C1

Courrèges in Vogue, March 1, 1965. Photos: William Klein. Image via Youthquakers.

Vogue1Mar1965_C2

Courrèges in Vogue, March 1, 1965. Photos: William Klein. Image via Youthquakers.

* Dacron was known by the name Terylene in the U.K.

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