November 30, 2017 § 11 Comments
Paco Peralta has seen some major milestones lately. Last fall, the Barcelona couturier became Vogue Patterns’ first Spanish designer in half a century, and this year his blog, BCN – UNIQUE Designer Patterns, is celebrating a decade online. (Like Toronto’s YYZ, BCN is both the airport code for Barcelona and shorthand for the city itself.)
The licensing deal brings a new audience to Peralta’s precision-cut designs. Peralta himself was already a pillar of the online sewing community, both for his fine sewing tutorials and as a purveyor of couture patterns, all hand-traced in his studio not far from Gaudí’s Sagrada Família basilica.
Born in Huesca, Aragon, Peralta studied at Barcelona’s Institut Català de la Moda before apprenticing in some of the city’s couture ateliers, who kept alive the traditions of Balenciaga and Rodríguez. He became interested in commercial patterns in the 1980s, when a friend gave him a copy of Vestidal; his first pattern purchase was a Vogue Individualist design by Issey Miyake.
Peralta may also be the world’s foremost collector of Yves Saint Laurent patterns, and his blog doubles as a window into this private archive. As regular readers of this blog will recognize, any high fashion sewing history owes much to his work.
Vogue Patterns introduced Peralta with two designs in last year’s holiday issue. (Click to enlarge.)
You can skip the buttonholes with this short-sleeved jacket: it has a midriff inset instead. For the original ensemble, Peralta used a double-sided Italian wool twill-crepe for the jacket, wool-cashmere for the trousers, and for the shirt, a sturdy Egyptian cotton.
Peralta also used Italian satin-backed wool twill-crepe for his wrap skirt and coat-length jacket. The latter sports a tuxedo-style shawl collar, while the pussy-bow blouse, made in silk crepe de Chine, has French cuffs:
This tunic and pants ensemble was the summer bestseller. The long version is a heavy linen, while the short, gaucho version is a lightweight silk/rayon. Both have silk organza insets.
For the holiday season, mix and match with party separates: a dolman-sleeved top and winter-weight handkerchief skirt, shown in cotton knit and silk-viscose duchesse satin.
Coming soon: even more Paco Peralta designs exclusive to Vogue Patterns.
With thanks to my friend, Paco Peralta.
August 17, 2017 § Leave a comment
August 10, 2017 § Leave a comment
Betsey Johnson turns 75 today. Four decades on, the designer’s 1970s Butterick patterns are still very popular. Here’s a look at Johnson’s early work, with an emphasis on more seldom seen archival images.
Betsey Johnson (b. 1942) has made a career of creating irreverent, youth-oriented clothes that stand a bit outside the mainstream. She learned sewing and pattern drafting while running a dance school as a teen, but got her official start in the business designing for Youthquake boutique Paraphernalia. By 1970 she was the designer for Alley Cat, a junior sportswear label. (For more see Vogue.com and Anne-Marie Schiro, “Betsey Johnson: Honor for a Life of Celebrating Youth.”)
In 1971, Johnson won a Coty Award for her work at Alley Cat (see the New York Times notice). The following year, Butterick launched its Betsey Johnson patterns in the Spring 1972 catalogue. The designs were also cross-promoted (along with Cyrus Clark cotton chintz) with a Barbara Bordnick editorial in Seventeen magazine.
The earliest of Johnson’s Butterick Young Designer patterns refer to her as Betsey Johnson of Alley Cat, and most seem to predate the founding of her company in 1978. Here’s Butterick 6979 on the cover of the March 1973 issue of Butterick’s news leaflet:
The young Patti Hansen in Alley Cat:
One of the first items I sold on Etsy was this 1975 issue of Butterick Fashion News with a Betsey Johnson cover. (Click to see inside.) The same embroidered pinafore was featured on the home catalogue cover:
The pinafore also appears in this cute advertisement with Butterick 4088:
The Spring 1976 catalogue used illustrated photographs to present this DIY series, which also included a hat and shoes (1st page, Butterick 4680; 3rd page Butterick 4681, with Joyce Walker on the right):
Another 1976 Butterick ad shows a Betsey Johnson jumper (Butterick 4956) with deep ribbon trim—perfect for a late-summer Cape Cod getaway:
Happy birthday, Betsey Johnson!
With thanks to Heidi at Gold Country Girls.
June 18, 2017 § 1 Comment
“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 (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.
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”:
Vogue 2184 is a saddlebag and roll pouch:
May 30, 2017 § 1 Comment
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.
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:
I’ve just listed this pattern for two dresses from Sui’s Mudd Club collection:
For more on Sui and her work, see Tim Blanks’ essay for the Business of Fashion, “Anna Sui, America’s Most Underrated Fashion Designer.”
May 4, 2017 § Leave a comment
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!
April 27, 2017 § 3 Comments
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.
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.)
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:
The pattern download comes in a choice of A4 or A1 sheets, each with a test line to check the scale.
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.