The World of Anna Sui

May 30, 2017 § 1 Comment

Tim Blanks, The World of Anna Sui (Abrams, 2017)

Tim Blanks, The World of Anna Sui (Abrams, 2017). Image: Abrams.

The World of Anna Sui opened at the Fashion and Textile Museum in London last weekend. It’s the museum’s first retrospective on a living American designer, with an accompanying book by Tim Blanks—out today from Abrams.

The World of Anna Sui, 26 May - 1 October 2017, London

Image: Joshua Jordan / Fashion and Textile Museum.

Anna Sui licensed her work with Vogue Patterns for some 16 years, from the mid-1990s to 2011. Read my series on Vogue patterns by Anna Sui:

1990s Anna Sui dress pattern V1619 on the cover of Vogue Patterns catalogue, September 1995

Vogue Patterns introduces Anna Sui for Vogue Attitudes: Vogue Patterns catalogue, September 1995. Image: eBay.

I’ve just listed this pattern for two dresses from Sui’s Mudd Club collection:

2000s Anna Sui stretch knit dress pattern Vogue 2551

Vogue 2551 by Anna Sui (2001) Image: PatternVault on Etsy.

For more on Sui and her work, see Tim Blanks’ essay for the Business of Fashion, “Anna Sui, America’s Most Underrated Fashion Designer.”

Anna Sui coat in Peter Lindbergh Factory-themed shoot for Bazaar, 1995

Faux Mongolian lamb coat by Anna Sui, Harper’s Bazaar, August 1995. Photo: Peter Lindbergh.

Kirsty Hume in Anna Sui, with Donovan Leitch, photographed by Arthur Elgort for "Seasoned Simplicity," 1995

Kirsty Hume wears Anna Sui in Vogue, September 1995. Photo: Arthur Elgort. Editor: Grace Coddington.

Karen Elson in Anna Sui, photographed by Tim Walker for "Under the Boardwalk," 2003

Karen Elson in Anna Sui, Vogue, June 2003. Photo: Tim Walker. Editor: Grace Coddington. Image: Vogue.com.

Patterns in Vogue: Winona Ryder by Ellen von Unwerth

April 17, 2017 § 1 Comment

Ellen von Unwerth – Heimat at the Taschen Gallery, Los Angeles, 2017. Image: Taschen.

If you’re in LA this month, you can catch Ellen von Unwerth’s new show, Heimat, at the Taschen Gallery (to May 1st, 2017). A catalogue is available in two limited editions.

Ellen von Unwerth, Heimat - Bavarian show catalogue, 2017

Ellen von Unwerth, Heimat (Taschen, 2017) Image: Taschen.

In 1993, von Unwerth photographed Winona Ryder for a Vogue cover feature showcasing the season’s silver trend. One of the silver looks—shown twice—was made using a Vogue pattern.

"Riding High" Winona Ryder Vogue feature photographed by Ellen von Unwerth, 1993. "After three intense, adult dramas and the breakup of one romance and the start of another, Winona Ryder celebrates her twenty-second birthday this month with a stellar performance in The Age of Innocence. She tells David Handelman about her cheery new outlook on life and models this season's silver for Ellen Von Unwerth"

Winona Ryder in Vogue, October 1993. Photo: Ellen von Unwerth. Editor: Camilla Nickerson.

"Riding High" - Winona Ryder Vogue feature photographed by Ellen von Unwerth, 1993

Winona Ryder in V1446 silver leather coat, Vogue, October 1993. Photo: Ellen von Unwerth. Editor: Camilla Nickerson.

"Riding High" - Winona Ryder Vogue feature photographed by Ellen von Unwerth, 1993

Winona Ryder in a Betsey Johnson silver lamé suit and Converse sneakers. Vogue, October 1993. Photo: Ellen von Unwerth. Editor: Camilla Nickerson.

"Riding High" - Winona Ryder Vogue feature photographed by Ellen von Unwerth, 1993

Winona Ryder wears a silver leather coat made using Vogue 1446. Vogue, October 1993. Photo: Ellen von Unwerth. Editor: Camilla Nickerson.

Ryder’s duster is the long, view D version of Vogue 1446, made up in silver leather from Libra Leather.

Vogue 1446 (ca. 1984)

Vogue 1446 (ca. 1984) Image: Sew Exciting Needleworks.

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.

Oscar de la Renta: Vogue Patterns, Part 2

July 28, 2016 § 3 Comments

Sarah Mower's Oscar de la Renta, with cover from “Couture’s Glorious Excess” (Vogue, October 1997) showing Balmain Fall 1997 haute couture

Sarah Mower, Oscar de la Renta (Assouline, 2nd ed. 2014) Photo: Peter Lindbergh. Editor: Grace Coddington. Image: my luscious life.

Oscar de la Renta was born in July 1932; he would have turned 84 last week. In honour of his birthday, I’ll be looking at Oscar de la Renta sewing patterns from the 1990s and 2000s. (See Part 1 here.)

1990s

Vogue 2460 on the cover of Vogue Patterns March/April 1990

Vogue 2460 by Oscar de la Renta on the cover of Vogue Patterns, March/April 1990. (Patricia Underwood hat.) Photo: Otto Stupakoff. Image: eBay.

The 1990s marked Oscar de la Renta’s fourth decade with Vogue Patterns. From 1990, Vogue 2500 is a dress with pleated overlay and asymmetrical bias collar, chic in a polka dot print. De la Renta was pictured with a model wearing this design in Vogue Patterns magazine (May/June issue); the photo also made the cover of the counter catalogue:

1990s Oscar de la Renta dress pattern, Vogue 2500

Vogue 2500 by Oscar de la Renta (1990) Image: Etsy.

Oscar de la Renta with model in V2500 on the cover of the Vogue Patterns catalogue, June 1990

Oscar de la Renta on the cover of the Vogue Patterns catalogue, June 1990. Image: Karsten Moran for the New York Times.

In 1992, de la Renta became the first American to take over a French couture house when he was appointed chief designer at Balmain. He had begun presenting his own collection in Paris the previous year. (See Suzy Menkes, “De la Renta Joins Balmain.”) The cover of the Assouline book pictured above shows Balmain haute couture; a similar tableau was created for the de Young retrospective.

Vogue 1638 is a brightly coloured skirt suit from Oscar de la Renta’s Spring 1995 collection (full video on YouTube here). Its tailored details, like the jacket’s back pleats and martingale belt, won it an Advanced skill rating. The design was featured in a Vogue Patterns suits article (see The Overflowing Stash) and on the cover of the counter catalogue:

1990s Oscar de la Renta suit pattern Vogue 1638

Vogue 1638 Oscar de la Renta (1995) Image: eBay.

Suited up! Oscar de la Renta suit pattern on the cover of a Vogue Patterns catalogue, October 1995

Vogue Patterns catalogue, October 1995. Image via Etsy.

This double-breasted skirt suit, shown on the runway in pink satin, must be from the Fall 1995 collection. The recommended fabrics are satin, damask, and gabardine:

1990s Oscar de la Renta satin skirt suit pattern - Vogue 1863

Vogue 1863 by Oscar de la Renta (1996)

Ellen von Unwerth photographed Stella Tennant in a corseted lace Oscar de la Renta dress with flamenco dancer Joaquín Cortés for Vogue’s 1996 September issue:

Stella Tennant in Oscar de la Renta, from "This Side of Paradise," photographed in Arles by Ellen von Unwerth with Grace Coddington

Stella Tennant in Oscar de la Renta, with Joaquín Cortés, Vogue, September 1996. Photo: Ellen von Unwerth. Editor: Grace Coddington.

Two years later, Hillary Clinton wore Oscar de la Renta for her Vogue cover (more here):

Hillary Clinton in custom Oscar de la Renta on the cover of Vogue magazine, December 1998

Hillary Clinton in custom Oscar de la Renta, Vogue, December 1998. Photo: Annie Leibovitz. Editor: Paul Cavaco. Image: eBay.

Vogue 2361 is a formal dress from the Spring 1998 collection. The skirt is cut on the bias, the bodice and hemline flounces are finished with self fabric binding, and view A has an asymmetrical train. Kirsten Owen modelled the original on the runway:

1990s Oscar de la Renta dress pattern Vogue 2361

Vogue 2361 by Oscar de la Renta (1999)

Kirsten Owen wears Oscar de la Renta on the Spring 1998 runway

Oscar de la Renta Spring/Summer 1998. Model: Kirsten Owen. Image: firstVIEW.

Just for fun, here’s another editorial photo showing de la Renta’s couture work at Balmain. Ruven Afanador photographed this lace-embroidered gown with matching chihuahua:

Robe en faille de soie brodée de dentelle et pierres de jaïs, sur jupon en tulle de soie. Malgosia Bela in Pierre Balmain couture by Oscar de la Renta

Pierre Balmain haute couture by Oscar de la Renta, Vogue Paris, September 1999. Photo: Ruven Afanador. Image via The Fashion Spot.

2000s

This floral print evening dress is a design from de la Renta’s Spring 2000 collection. Piping defines the waist, and the bias train is trimmed with waist pleats and flounces. The original was modelled on the runway by Carmen Kass:

2000s Oscar de la Renta gown pattern Vogue 2541

Vogue 2541 by Oscar de la Renta (2001)

Oscar de la Renta SS2000 look51Carmen Kass.

Oscar de la Renta Spring/Summer 2000. Model: Carmen Kass. Image: vogue.com.

The Fall 2001 collection included two “decidedly gothic black opera coats,” and Vogue Patterns chose one of them for its customers. Vogue 2714 is a full-sleeved, floor-length opera coat trimmed with frog closures and pleated ruffles. The pattern is sometimes numbered “P935 – Best Seller”:

2000s Oscar de la Renta opera coat or coat dress pattern Vogue 2714 / P935

Vogue 2714 / P935 by Oscar de la Renta (2002) Image: Etsy.

Natalia Semanova wears an Oscar de la Renta opera coat on the Fall 2001 runway

Oscar de la Renta Fall/Winter 2001. Model: Natalia Semanova. Image via vogue.com.

From the Spring 2005 collection, strapless gown pattern Vogue 2889 evokes flamenco with its tiered skirt and draped, drop-waist bodice. The design was shown on the runway with length and bodice variations:

2000s Oscar de la Renta dress pattern Vogue 2889

Vogue 2889 by Oscar de la Renta (2006)

Caroline Ribeiro and Caroline Winberg in Oscar de la Renta SS 2005

Oscar de la Renta Spring/Summer 2005. Models: Caroline Ribeiro and Caroline Winberg. Image: vogue.com.

Vogue 2928 is a grand, off-the-shoulder ballgown complete with boned foundation, attached petticoat, and self fabric flowers and appliqués. The gown was the penultimate look in de la Renta’s Fall 2005 collection:

2000s Oscar de la Renta evening gown pattern Vogue 2928

Vogue 2928 by Oscar de la Renta (2006) Image: ecrater.

Nataliya Gotsii wears a gown from Oscar de la Renta's Fall 2005 collection

Oscar de la Renta Fall/Winter 2005. Model: Nataliya Gotsii. Image: vogue.com.

For more on the late designer, see Vogue’s retrospective. Have you made any Oscar de la Renta patterns?

Kirsten Dunst wears Oscar de la Renta custom-designed for Vogue's Marie Antoinette editorial, 2006

Kirsten Dunst in custom Oscar de la Renta, Vogue, September 2006. Photo: Annie Leibovitz. Editor: Grace Coddington. Image: vogue.com.

Arnold Scaasi: Vogue Patterns

July 1, 2016 § 3 Comments

Mary Jane Russell wears Scaasi on the cover of Vogue's Christmas issue, 1955. Photographed by Richard Rutledge

A Scaasi design on the cover of Vogue, December 1955. Photo: Richard Rutledge. Model: Mary Jane Russell. Image via tumblr.

In celebration of Canada Day, this post is dedicated to the late Arnold Scaasi.

Deborah Dixon in Scaasi earrings, 1960

Scaasi earrings on the cover of Vogue, November 15, 1960. Photo: Bert Stern. Model: Deborah Dixon. Image: flickr.

Arnold Scaasi (1930-2015) was born in Montreal as Arnold Isaacs. (Scaasi is Isaacs backwards—depending who you ask, the designer changed his name either to sound more Italian or less Jewish.) His father was a furrier, his mother had studied opera, and his glamorous, Schiaparelli-loving Aunt Ida was an early inspiration. He studied in Montreal and Paris, at the Cotnoir-Capponi school and the Chambre Syndicale, then worked at Paquin and Charles James in New York before launching his own business in 1956.

Scaasi was best known for his opulent evening wear, custom-made for society and celebrity clients who appreciated the drama of his sculptural silhouettes, luxurious materials, and flamboyant use of colour. In 2002, the Museum at FIT mounted the retrospective Scaasi: Exuberant Fashion and, following his retirement in 2010, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston hosted Scaasi: American Couturier, an exhibition structured around his couture clients.

Scaasi label, ca. 1959

Image: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Scaasi lost no time in pursuing pattern licensing. These Scaasi Spadea patterns date to 1956:

 life4jun1956p121 Via Google

Scaasi evening skirt available as a Spadea pattern, Life, June 4, 1956. Photo: Sharland. Image via Google Books.

 life 4jun 1956 p122a Via Google

Scaasi jacket available as a Spadea pattern, Life, June 4, 1956. Photo: Sharland. Image via Google Books.

 life4jun1956p122b Via Google

Scaasi housecoat available as a Spadea pattern, Life, June 4, 1956. Photo: Sharland. Image via Google Books.

A few decades later, Claire Shaeffer covered Scaasi’s couture techniques for Threads magazine:

A Scaasi gown on the cover of Threads magazine, holiday 1991

A Scaasi gown on the cover of Threads 38 (December/January 1991-92) Photo: Yvonne Taylor. Image via vintage4me2.

It was only in the early 1990s that Scaasi licensed his work with Vogue Patterns. The designer was introduced in the November/December 1993 issue of Vogue Patterns with three patterns. The first, Vogue 1285, is a low-backed cocktail or evening dress with sheer contrast:

1990s Scaasi formal dress pattern Vogue 1285

Vogue 1285 by Scaasi (1993) Image via Etsy.

This formal ensemble includes two-layer palazzo pants for chiffon or georgette and a top for scalloped lace:

1990s Scaasi evening suit pattern Vogue 1286

Vogue 1286 by Scaasi (1993) Image via Etsy.

Vogue 1287 is a collarless skirt suit with caftan-style side slits:

1990s Scaasi skirt suit pattern Vogue 1287

Vogue 1287 by Scaasi (1993) Image via Etsy.

From spring, 1994, this dress is shaped by long darts in front and back and trimmed with a flounce:

1990s Scaasi dress pattern Vogue 1357

Vogue 1357 by Scaasi (1994) Image via Pinterest.

Finally, Vogue 1377’s dress has a boned bodice and slightly off-the-shoulder neckline. The original’s striped fabric was cut on a creative layout:

1990s Arnold Scaasi striped dress pattern Vogue 1377

Vogue 1377 by Scaasi (1994) Image via Etsy.

(Seldom seen, but there is a copy at Sew Exciting Needleworks.)

In 1991, Scaasi told The Canadian Press, “When I left Canada some 30 years ago, there was no room for creative talent in dress design. At that time, the only way to really make it was to go to the United States.” A New Yorker from 1951, he met his partner, Parker Ladd, on Central Park South in the early 1960s; they married in 2011.

For more on Scaasi, see the obituaries in The New York Times, the Montreal Gazette, and WWD.

Opening image Scaasi ID thanks to Kickshaw Productions.

Short, red evening coat and bubble-hem dress in a silk polka dot print by Scaasi, 1958 (as 1961)

Evening ensemble by Arnold Scaasi for Arlene Francis, 1958. Image via the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Carmen Dell’Orefice

June 3, 2016 § 5 Comments

Carmen Dell’ Orefice in Ceil Chapman, Vogue, 1949. Photo: Norman Parkinson. Image via Norman Parkinson Archive.

Carmen Dell’Orefice turns eighty-five today.

Carmen Dell'Orefice photographed by Erwin Blumenfeld for Vogue, October 1947 (British Vogue, Feb. 1948)

Vogue, October 15, 1947. Photo: Erwin Blumenfeld. Image via Pinterest.

Often called the world’s oldest working model, Carmen Dell’Orefice (b. 1931) was discovered at thirteen on a New York City bus; at sixteen she had her first Vogue cover. In 2011, the London College of Fashion devoted an exhibition to her modelling work, Carmen: A Life In Fashion.

Vogue, May 1, 1951. Photo: Norman Parkinson. Via Pinterest

Carmen Dell'Orefice photographed by John Rawlings for Vogue, spring 1955

Vogue, May 1955. Photo: John Rawlings. Image via Pinterest.

Carmen Dell'Orefice in a bathing cap, photographed by Gleb Derujinsky for Harper's Bazaar, May 1958

Harper’s Bazaar, May 1958. Photo: Gleb Derujinsky. Image via Pinterest.

Dell’Orefice’s work with New York pattern companies may be seen in postwar publications from Vogue, McCall’s, and Simplicity, as well as more recent Vogue patterns.

A Richard Rutledge editorial for Vogue Pattern Book features the young Dell’Orefice in new patterns for spring, 1949 (jacket Vogue 6716 and blouses Vogue 6065 and Vogue 6707, all with skirt Vogue 6708):

VPB AprMay1949 p28top

Vogue 6716 and 6708 in Vogue Pattern Book, April/May 1949. Photo: Richard Rutledge.

VPB AprMay 1949 p28

Vogue 6065 and 6708 in Vogue Pattern Book, April/May 1949. Photo: Richard Rutledge.

VPB AprMay 1949 p28a

Vogue 6707 and 6708 in Vogue Pattern Book, April/May 1949. Photo: Richard Rutledge.

On this McCall Pattern Book cover from Summer, 1957, she models McCall’s 4095 and 4097:

McCalls PB Summer 1957

McCall’s Pattern Book, Summer 1957. Image: eBay.

Here, Dell’Orefice poses in an all-red ensemble for the cover of Simplicity magazine, Fall 1958:

Carmen Dell'Orefice on the cover of Simplicity magazine, fall 1958

Simplicity magazine, Fall-Winter 1958. Image: eBay.

Here she wears gown Vogue 9827 on the cover of Vogue Pattern Book’s holiday issue:

Carmen Dell'Orefice wears Vogue 9827 - Vogue Pattern Book, December/January 1959-1960

Vogue 9827 on the cover of Vogue Pattern Book, December/January 1959-1960. Image via Make Mine Vogue.

1980s

After a break, Dell’Orefice returned to modelling in the late 1970s. On these two patterns from the ’80s, she wears Vogue 8195, a caftan-style dress, and Arlene Dahl gown Vogue 8521 in gold lamé:

Carmen Dell'Orefice on a 1980s Vogue pattern, V8195

Vogue 8195 (ca. 1982) Image via the Vintage Pattern Wiki.

1980s Arlene Dahl dress pattern featuring Carmen Dell'Orefice, Vogue 8521

Vogue 8521 by Arlene Dahl (ca. 1980s) Image via Etsy.

1990s

In the later 1990s, Dell’Orefice posed for many patterns in The Vogue Woman line. Vogue 1972 is a seasonless wardrobe pattern, while Vogue 9821 is a dress and tunic suitable for petites:

Carmen Dell'Orefice models 1990s The Vogue Woman pattern Vogue 1972

Vogue 1972 (1997) Image via Etsy.

Carmen Dell'Orefice models 1990s Vogue 9821

Vogue 9821 (1998) Image via eBay.

Happy birthday, Ms. Dell’Orefice!

Carmen Dell'Orefice on the runway, Florence 2011

Alberta Ferretti fashion show, Florence, 2011. Image: Getty / Vogue Italia.

Season of the Witch: Gothic Patterns

April 30, 2016 § 3 Comments

Dracula’s brides in Dracula (1931)

Dracula’s brides (Dorothy Tree, Geraldine Dvorak, and Cornelia Thaw) in Tod Browning’s Dracula (1931) Image: tumblr.

Happy Walpurgisnacht! On the eve of the feast of St. Walpurga, here’s a look at gothic sewing patterns.

Recent fashion exhibits have placed the gothic under increasing scrutiny. In 2008, the Museum at FIT presented Gothic: Dark Glamour. In 2014, the Costume Institute had Death Becomes Her: A Century of Mourning Attire. Now there’s Gothic to Goth: Romantic Era Fashion and Its Legacy, an exhibition at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Connecticut, accompanied by a catalogue by curator Lynne Z. Bassett and a talk by Valerie Steele. For more on the show, see Susan Hodara, “The (Forever) New Romantics.”

Gothic to Goth

Lynne Zacek Bassett, Gothic to Goth: Romantic Era Fashion & Its Legacy (Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, 2016) Image: the Wadsworth.

1980s

With the advent of goth—or the New Romantics—in the late 1970s, fashion in a gothic mode began to show the influence of both romanticism and contemporary subculture. Nina Ricci’s romanticism turned dark in the early 1980s. I like to picture Vogue 2582 with granny boots and Siouxsie Sioux hair:

Detail, Vogue 2582 by Nina Ricci (1980) Image: PatternVault on Etsy.

Vogue 2562 by Nina Ricci (1980) Image: PatternVault on Etsy.

Vogue 2604, a floor-length strapless gown with attached sleeves, has a more Countess Bathory feel. The ruffle-trimmed version of Vogue 2604 was featured on the cover of Vogue Patterns’ holiday issue:

Vogue 2604 (1980)

Vogue 2604 by Nina Ricci (1980) Image: eBay.

Vogue 2604 by Nina Ricci on the cover of Vogue Patterns NovDec 1980Image: eBay. 2604

Vogue 2604 by Nina Ricci on the cover of Vogue Patterns, November/December 1980. Image: eBay.

These early ’80s editorial photos convey the dark romantic mood:

Cf. 2604. L'Officiel Sept 1980 no 665

“Fascination du Noir”: Nina Ricci couture in L’Officiel, September 1980. Photo: Chris Simpson. Image: jalougallery.com.

LOfficiel Aug1982 no684_Turbeville1

Nina Ricci Boutique and Balenciaga in L’Officiel, August 1982. Photo: Deborah Turbeville. Image: jalougallery.com.

Later in the decade, the fashionable oversized silhouette and low hemlines could express a moody romanticism. From Esprit, Simplicity 6978 is a loose jacket and long, full skirt. Shown in black, the ensemble is very Lydia from Beetlejuice:

1980s Esprit pattern - Simplicity 6978

Simplicity 6978 by Esprit (1985) Image: Etsy.

Lydia Deetz (Winona Ryder) in Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice (1988) Image: Goth Cupcake.

1990s

Judging from Vogue’s September issues for 1993, Fall ’93 marked a return to the lusher side of romanticism.

VogueParisUSUKSept1993

Vogue Paris, American Vogue, and British Vogue covers, September 1993. Photos: Max Vadukul, Steven Meisel, and Mario Testino. Models: Linda Evangelista and Christy Turlington. Images: Shrimpton Couture and The Fashion Spot.

Donna Karan’s Fall collection (presented just days after Eiko Ishioka won the costume design Oscar for Bram Stoker’s Dracula) featured lace accents, choker and cross accessories, and lots of black. Vogue 1293 is a long dress consisting of a body with attached, high-waisted skirt:

Early 1990s Donna Karan dress pattern - Vogue 1293

Vogue 1293 by Donna Karan (1993)

Similar Donna Karan dresses opened a British Vogue editorial shot by Mario Testino at Bolton Abbey, Derbyshire (headpieces by Slim Barrett):

"Courtly gestures" Perfectly plain: the right dresses have a top with the fit and ease of a body, and a dramatic bolt of fabric below the waist. High-neck, Empire-line dress in chestnut-brown velvet, opposite, left. Right, slash-neck wool gauze dress. Both by Donna Karan. (Headdresses Slim Barrett)

Nadja Auermann and Cecilia Chancellor wear Donna Karan in “Courtly Gestures,” British Vogue, December 1993. Photo: Mario Testino. Editor: Jayne Pickering. Image: The Fashion Spot.

This cold-shoulder gown must be from the same collection:

Donna Karan YSL feathers.

Poppy Lloyd wears Donna Karan (Yves Saint Laurent feathers), L’Officiel, December 1993. Photo: Nancy Le Vine. Image: jalougallery.com.

In the later 1990s, Anna Sui showed a fall collection inspired by goth subculture. From Fall 1997, Vogue 2072 combines a historicizing, Vivienne Westwood-style mini-crini with club-kid accessories. The dress was worn by the young Sofia Coppola (previously seen in my Anna Sui series and ’90s goth post):

1990s Anna Sui goth collection pattern - Vogue 2072

Vogue 2072 by Anna Sui (1997) Dress, top and gloves.

Karen Elson and Tasha Tilberg in goth looks from Anna Sui FW1997

Anna Sui FW 1997 collection. Models: Karen Elson, Tasha Tilberg. Images: Bolton, Anna Sui and firstVIEW.

Sofia Coppola wears goth Anna Sui in Spur magazine, October 1997

Sofia Coppola in Spur, October 1997. Photo: Satoshi Saikusa. Image: Bolton, Anna Sui.

Another element in the romantic/gothic repertoire is tzigane or ‘gypsy’ looks. From Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche for Spring 1999, Vogue 2330 is a long, flowing, off-the-shoulder dress. The envelope shows a mourning-appropriate mauve, but it was also shown in sheer black:

Vogue 2330

Vogue 2330 by Yves Saint Laurent (1999)

Image: firstVIEW.

Model: Astrid Muñoz. Image: firstVIEW.

Spring 1999 was Yves Saint Laurent’s last collection for Rive Gauche, and Mario Sorrenti’s valedictory advertising campaign for that season references great European paintings. Here the archetypically enigmatic Mona Lisa, dressed in black Rive Gauche, poses with a male model with Asian tattoos:

Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche ad campaign, Spring 1999. Photo: Mario Sorrenti. Model: Noot Seear. Image: Oystermag.

Finally, in the late 1990s, Simplicity licensed designs from Begotten, a historically-inspired clothing line designed by Dilek Atasu. The patterns included a cape (S8987) and men’s poet shirt (S8615). Simplicity 8619, an empire gown with optional lower sleeve flounce, channels Mary Shelley:

1990s Begotten gothic dress pattern - Simplicity 8619

Simplicity 8619 by Begotten (1999) Image via Etsy.

In the 2000s, gothic sewing patterns shift away from mainstream fashion toward subcultural costume for—as Laura Jacobs puts it—“our own Romantic Revivals: Goth, that pas de deux with death, and Steampunk, a mating of Queen Victoria and Thomas Edison” (Jacobs, Gothic to Goth exhibition review). Hammer Horror fans have “gothic costumes” McCall’s 3372 and McCall’s 3380; cybergoths can make dusters based on the costumes in The Matrix (1999) (Simplicity 5386, etc.); and Arkivestry and its offshoots cover everything from old-school gothic heroine to Loli to Steampunk.

Meanwhile, a gothic trend is predicted for Fall 2016. Are you ready?

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