Our Man in Leather: Bobby Breslau for Vogue Patterns

June 18, 2017 § 1 Comment

Vogue 2184, 2153.

Bobby Breslau in Vogue Patterns, May/June 1979. Photo: Charles Tracy.

“Our Man in Leather”: Vogue Patterns introduced Bobby Breslau, one of the company’s rare designers of accessories, with a winking acknowledgement of the gay community.

Bobby Breslau designs the softest leather in the world. His BigPouch and family of Little Pouches sensualized the bag world, becoming classics in their own time! Soft, sensuous, supple and totally functional, with a size and design for every occasion.

Bobby Breslau biographical note, Vogue 2184 (1979). Image: Etsy.

Bobby Breslau (ca. 1943-1987) was a friend of Halston, Stephen Burrows, and Keith Haring; photographer Charles Tracy, who took Breslau’s portrait, was a member of the same social circle. Breslau’s training was in the garment industry, but a toy commission from Halston set him on the path of accessory and furniture design. His tactile, unstructured style of bag showed a sculptor’s eye for colour and texture; the New York Times called it “the handbag of the 1970’s.” (See Robin Givhan’s The Battle of Versailles and Suzanne Slesin, “Beyond the Fringe: A Designer’s Zany World in Leather.”) Breslau was the manager of Keith Haring’s Pop Shop until his death from complications of AIDS in early 1987.

Breslau bag in Halston: An American Original (1999)

Breslau bag for Halston in Elaine Gross and Fred Rottman, Halston: An American Original (1999) Image: Behind the Seams.

In 1979, Breslau licensed two bag patterns with Vogue. Each design could be made in three sizes. Vogue 2153 is a “draw-stringer and scarf tie-up”:

1970s Bobby Breslau handbag pattern Vogue 2153

Vogue 2153 by Bobby Breslau (1979) Image: Etsy.

Vogue 2184 is a saddlebag and roll pouch:

1970s Bobby Breslau handbag pattern Vogue 2184

Vogue 2184 by Bobby Breslau (1979) Image: Etsy.

Just as Breslau’s unconstructed bag is back, so too are the brights of ’79. As Hannah Marriott writes, a trend for Lego colours is predicted for spring 2019…

Vogue Patterns May Jun 1979

Model with Breslau bag, Vogue Patterns, May/June 1979.

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.

Pucci 70th Anniversary

May 4, 2017 § Leave a comment

McCall's 3980 by Emilio of Capri photographed on the beach by Howell Conant, McCall's Pattern Book, Spring 1957

A dress by Emilio of Capri in McCall’s Pattern Book, Spring 1957. Photo: Howell Conant.

Pucci has been in the news this week with the announcement that Josephus Thimister will consult on the next collection, following the departure in April of head designer Massimo Giorgetti. (See WWD.) The house of Pucci is also celebrating its 70th anniversary this year.

Before becoming a Vogue Couturier in the 1960s, Emilio Pucci designed exclusive patterns for McCall’s. Howell Conant photographed Pucci’s earliest pattern designs, including the harlequin dress above, for McCall’s Pattern Book. For more on Pucci see my Mad Men-era series post, The Europeans.

Happy 70th anniversary, Pucci!

1960s Pucci Vogue Couturier sewing pattern Vogue 1351

Vogue 1351 by Pucci (1964) Image: PatternVault on Etsy.

Free Designer Pattern: Simone Rocha Skirt

April 27, 2017 § 3 Comments

Ana Buljevic photographed by Rob Rusling in an ensemble from Simone Rocha's Spring 2014 collection

Model: Ana Buljevic. Photo: Rob Rusling. Image: SHOWstudio.

After a three-year hiatus, SHOWstudio has released a new Design Download: a skirt by Simone Rocha. The Dublin-born Central St Martins graduate won the British Womenswear Designer award for 2016, and now has stores in London and New York. (For more, see Matthew Schneier, “Simone Rocha, Born to Fashion, Makes Her Own Mark.”)

The three-bite pearl-embellished skirt is from Rocha’s Spring 2014 collection, which drew critical acclaim for its deconstructed femininity. (See Suzy Menkes’ review, “Simone Rocha, Family and Fashion.”) You can see the full collection at vogue.com, or check out the detail images at the designer’s website.

A pearl-trimmed, black neoprene ensemble in Simone Rocha's Spring 2014 collection

Simone Rocha’s Spring 2014 collection. Image: vogue.com.

Pearl-edged slashes were a signature element of the collection, as were the pearl-trimmed knee-high stockings. (Rocha has said she is inspired by her grandmothers.)

Two pearl-trimmed looks from Simone Rocha's Spring 2014 collection

Two looks from Simone Rocha’s Spring 2014 collection. Images: vogue.com.

Watch a 3D rendering video of the skirt in motion:

For their competition prize, SHOWstudio commissioned Fiona Gourlay to produce an original illustration of Rocha’s Spring 2014 ensemble:

Simone Rocha 2014 - fashion illustration by Fiona Gourlay, 2016.

Illustration by Fiona Gourlay, 2016.

The pattern download comes in a choice of A4 or A1 sheets, each with a test line to check the scale.

Simone Rocha skirt pattern pieces

Image: SHOWstudio.

Download the skirt pattern (7 pieces)

Notes: The original was neoprene. The yoke calls for fused lining (fusible interfacing). Slashed edges are finished with binding.

Notions: 20 cm (8″) zipper.

View the submissions gallery.

Mei Xiao Zhou for Guy Laroche: Vogue Patterns

March 14, 2017 § 6 Comments

Guy Laroche advertising campaign, Fall 2001

Guy Laroche advertising campaign, Fall 2001.

Word is Guy Laroche patterns are set to return after a two-year hiatus. (The last Laroche, and last Paris Original, to be released was V1450 in Summer, 2015.) In anticipation, my ongoing Laroche series resumes with a look at the early 2000s designs of Mei Xiao Zhou.

Born in the Netherlands, Mei Xiao Zhou came to a career in fashion after working as a ballet dancer and video director in New York and Tokyo. He spent six years as an assistant to Thierry Mugler before he was hired as head designer at Guy Laroche. (See WWD, “Guy Laroche Taps Zhou.”)

Zhou designed two collections for Laroche, both presented in 2001.

1. Guy Laroche Prêt-à-porter Fall/Winter 2001 (shown March 2001)

Mei Xiao Zhou’s first collection for Laroche radiated energy, with vibrant colour and prints underlining the skillful cut. (See WWD, “Static State, Forties-Something, and the ‘Casino’ Factor.”) Here’s the collection image from L’Officiel 1000 modèles:

Guy Laroche Fall 2001 collection by Mei Xiao Zhou

Guy Laroche Fall 2001 collection by Mei Xiao Zhou in L’Officiel 1000 modèles. Image: jalougallery.com.

The hardest to find of Zhou’s Laroche patterns, Vogue 2650 is a bias-cut, halter-neck wrap dress that can be made in cocktail and evening length (both size ranges available in the shop):

Fall 2001 Mei Xiao Zhou for Guy Laroche bias dress pattern Vogue 2650

Vogue 2650 by Mei Xiao Zhou for Guy Laroche (2002) Image: PatternVault on Etsy.

Vogue 2650 by Mei Ziao Zhou for Guy Laroche - two runway versions

Guy Laroche Fall 2001 runway. Images: firstVIEW.

Vogue 2668’s trouser suit includes a short jacket with three-quarter sleeves. On the runway, the revers on the red version revealed a flash of sequins:

Fall 2001 Mei Xiao Zhou for Guy Laroche pantsuit pattern Vogue 2668

Vogue 2668 by Mei Xiao Zhou for Guy Laroche (2002) Image: Etsy.

Vogue 2668 - white and red versions on the Guy Laroche Fall 2001 runway

Guy Laroche Fall 2001 runway. Images: firstVIEW.

Vogue 2689 is a sleek skirt suit with concealed closure and clavicle-framing standing collar. The skirt has a zippered side slit:

Fall 2001 Mei Xiao Zhou for Guy Laroche skirt suit pattern Vogue 2689

Vogue 2689 by Mei Xiao Zhou for Guy Laroche (2002) Image: PatternVault on Etsy.

Vogue 2689 - two versions on the Guy Laroche Fall 2001 runway

Guy Laroche Fall 2001 runway. Images: firstVIEW.

L’Officiel included one of Zhou’s op-art print pieces in the Sixties-inspired editorial “Mille neuf cent soixante-trois“:

Mariacarla Boscono in Guy Laroche by Mei Xiao Zhou photographed by Nicolas Hidiroglou, 2001

Guy Laroche, L’Officiel, October 2001. Model: Mariacarla Boscono. Photo: Nicolas Hidiroglou. Editor: Jennifer Eymère. Image: jalougallery.com.

2. Guy Laroche Prêt-à-porter Spring/Summer 2002 (shown October 2001)

For his romantic second collection for Laroche, Zhou covered the runway in water, sending out looks with an Asian influence in a palette of white, yellow, ochre, chocolate brown, and black. (See L’Officiel 1000 modèles and AP, “Louis Vuitton Show Goes Creative.”) Here’s the collection image:

Guy Laroche Spring 2002 collection by Mei Xiao Zhou

Guy Laroche Spring 2002 collection by Mei Xiao Zhou in L’Officiel 1000 modèles. Image: jalougallery.com.

Raquel Zimmerman in an all-white look from Mei Xiao Zhou's Spring 2002 collection for Guy Laroche

A look from Mei Xiao Zhou’s Spring 2002 collection for Guy Laroche. Model: Raquel Zimmerman. Image: livingly.

The Spring 2002 campaign echoed the runway’s aquatic motif:

A backless dress in Guy Laroche advertising campaign, Spring 2002

Guy Laroche advertising campaign, Spring 2002.

Because this collection is not well documented online, it’s difficult to identify corresponding sewing patterns. Vogue 2752 looks to be one of the canary yellow suits, with flared kimono sleeves and rounded lapels that match descriptions of the show:

Vogue 2752 by Mei Xiao Zhou for Guy Laroche

Vogue 2752 by Mei Xiao Zhou for Guy Laroche (2002) Image: PatternVault on Etsy.

Although I can’t confirm it, Vogue 2736 may also be a Spring 2002 design. The jacket has a bustier-effect bias inset, and the pants have high slits in the back seams:

2000s Guy Laroche pinstriped pantsuit pattern Vogue 2736

Vogue 2736 by Guy Laroche (2003) Image: Etsy.

Mei Xiao Zhou brought the verve of Mugler to his runway shows for Laroche. Although his first collection was well received, the house was sold to a new parent company, which hired a new designer for Fall 2002 (Laetitia Hecht). Like other designer patterns of this period, Zhou’s Laroche patterns highlight the widening gulf between catwalk and sewing-editorial styling—which is ultimately the gulf between the fashion and home sewing industries.

Previous Laroche posts:

Black Fashion Designers at FIT

February 5, 2017 § 2 Comments

black fashion designers

Scott Barrie dress, ca. 1973, in MFIT’s exhibition Black Fashion Designers. Image: Museum at FIT.

The Museum at FIT’s current exhibition, Black Fashion Designers, showcases the often-overlooked work of more than 60 designers of African descent. (The show runs to May 16th, 2017). Monday’s symposium is sold out, but you can watch a livestream here.

Butterick 6680 by Willi Smith () Image: PatternVault on Etsy.

Butterick 6680 by Willi Smith (ca. 1979) Image: PatternVault on Etsy.

Many of the designers featured in the FIT exhibit also licensed sewing patterns. Here are some highlights of patterns by designers of African descent, from the 1970s to now.

Sportswear designer Willi Smith (1948-1987) signed with Butterick’s Young Designer line in the 1970s; in the ’80s, he moved to McCall’s with his label Williwear. According to the exhibition notes, Smith branched into menswear in 1982, but this pattern is almost a decade earlier:

1970s Willi Smith menswear pattern Butterick 3254

Butterick 3254 by Willi Smith (1973) Image: Vintage Pattern Wiki.

Stephen Burrows (b. 1943) licensed designs with McCall’s Carefree line in the mid-1970s. This pattern combines two of his signature elements, colour blocking and lettuce hems:


McCall’s 4091 by Stephen Burrows (1974) Image: Etsy.

Scott Barrie (1946-1993) began his career at Vogue Patterns, so his introduction to home sewers was also a welcome back. Chris von Wangenheim photographed Barrie with two models for a feature highlighting his work with matte jersey. The patterns are Vogue 1976 (on Gia Carangi) and Vogue 1994:

vogue patterns septoct 1978_barrie

Scott Barrie in Vogue Patterns, September/October 1978. Photo: Chris von Wangenheim.

Best known for his formal wear, British designer Bruce Oldfield (b. 1950) licensed his work with Style Patterns in the mid-1980s. (See my earlier post here). This dolman-sleeved dress could be made in cocktail or evening length:

1980s Bruce Oldfield dress pattern Style 4494

Style 4494 by Bruce Oldfield (1985) Image: Etsy.

Patrick Kelly (1954-1990) first appeared on the pattern scene in the late 1980s with this dramatic peplum suit. (Read my Patrick Kelly post here, or download the free one-seam coat pattern.)

1980s Patrick Kelly peplum suit pattern Vogue 2077

Vogue 2077 by Patrick Kelly (1988) Image: PatternVault on Etsy.

Gordon Henderson (b. 1957) was among the first designers in the ’90s Vogue Attitudes line. (According to a 1990 profile, his mother—a psychologist and single parent—used Vogue patterns to economize.) This 1990 design shows his interest in colour and silhouette:

1990s Gordon Henderson jacket, skirt and top pattern - Vogue 2566

Vogue 2566 by Gordon Henderson (1990) Image: Etsy.

Also in the Vogue Attitudes line, patterns by Byron Lars (b. 1965) remain popular today. (See my earlier post.) This shirt dress and leggings ensemble was photographed on the street in New York City:

1990s Byron Lars dress and leggings pattern Vogue 1529

Vogue 1529 by Byron Lars (1995) Image: Etsy.

Tracy Reese (b. 1964) has licensed her main label with Vogue Patterns since 2009; McCall’s added bridge line Plenty by Tracy Reese in 2012. Vogue’s most recent offering, Vogue 1512, is a dress from Reese’s Fall 2015 collection.

Plenty by Tracy Reese shirt dress pattern M6506

McCall’s 6506 from Plenty by Tracy Reese (2012) Image: PatternVault on Etsy.

Tracy Reese FW 2015 dress pattern Vogue 1512

Vogue 1512 by Tracy Reese (2016) Image: eBay.

Fall 2015 collection. Image: Vogue Runway.

Tracy Reese, Fall 2015 collection. Image: Vogue Runway.

For more on the Black Fashion Designers exhibit, see the museum notes and Alexandra Jacobs’ article in The New York Times.

Patterns in Vogue: On the Move

January 19, 2017 § 1 Comment

1980s Geoffrey Beene dress pattern Vogue 1771 photographed for Vogue by Denis Piel

Detail, Vogue, August 1986. Photo: Denis Piel.

“On the move” is the concept for a mid-’80s Denis Piel pattern editorial featuring designs from Geoffrey Beene’s career line.

Here, Vogue 1770, Beene’s wrap jacket and skirt, is shown in wool jersey from Jasco Fabrics, with dress Vogue 1771 in Horikoshi silk crepe (Bally briefcase; Donna Karan bags; Omega belt; bracelets by Eric Beamon):

Vogue 1770 and 1771 by Geoffrey Beene, photographed for Vogue by Denis Piel

Vogue 1770 and 1771 by Geoffrey Beene, Vogue, August 1986. Photos: Denis Piel.

On the left, Vogue 1771’s jacket is made reversible in red and black wool coating, with wool gabardine trousers and a silk charmeuse tank made using Vogue 1773 (wool from Anglo Fabrics; silk from Hi Fashion Fabrics). At right, Vogue 1773’s coat becomes a raincoat in cotton back polyurethane from Waldon Textiles, with a cotton corduroy contrast from Majestic Mills (Omega belt; bags, Maud Frizon and Prada):

Vogue 1771 and 1773 by Geoffrey Beene, photographed for Vogue by Denis Piel.

Vogue 1771 and 1773 by Geoffrey Beene, Vogue, August 1986. Photos: Denis Piel.

In the back of the magazine, readers could find sewing tips for making the jacket reversible and giving the coat a contrast collar:

Details on Vogue 1770, 1771, and 1773 by Geoffrey Beene

Details on Vogue 1770, 1771, and 1773 by Geoffrey Beene, Vogue, August 1986.

Vogue 1770, 1771, 1773 by Geoffrey Beene

Pattern images: Vintage Pattern Wiki, Design Rewind Fashions.

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