Happy birthday to Bob Mackie, who turns 80 today!
Celebrate with some of my posts on Bob Mackie’s McCall’s patterns:
Alexander McQueen would have been 50 today.
As many of you know, I started this blog with posts on Alexander McQueen, as a way to commemorate his work. His birthday is a natural time to revisit and reflect on his legacy. Since my last roundup in 2015, for the London version of Savage Beauty, I’ve posted about the designer’s 1998 Blade Runner collection. You’ll also find extensive updates to my inaugural McQueen for Givenchy series: as part of my recent blog redesign, I added additional and improved images from runway, advertising, and editorial.
SHOWstudio’s latest Design Download is a dress by Dutch wunderkind Iris van Herpen.
The sheath dress is from Hacking Infinity, Iris van Herpen’s Fall 2015 ready-to-wear collection, which explored the idea of terraforming. (Read more at the designer’s site, or see Suzy Menkes on her 2015 studio visit.) The collection’s leather and 3D-printed shoes are by Noritaka Tatehana.
Science, technology, and science fiction are strong influences for Van Herpen, and Vogue’s reviewer cited Paul Verhoeven’s Total Recall as an intro to the terraforming concept. Several looks referenced the stillsuits from David Lynch’s Dune.
The plissé material, seen in the SHOWstudio piece, appeared both as one element in a mix, and for entire garments in black and bronze.
For Fall 2015, Van Herpen developed a fine, metallic fabric woven from silk and stainless steel. The translucent silver material was coaxed into “a sheen of nebula-like colors” with heat and hand-burnishing. Plisséed and pleated into circular forms, it evoked planetary bodies and infinity.
The pattern download comes in A4 sheets, with a test line to check the scale.
Download the dress pattern (34 pieces)
Notes: Prints on 100 A4 sheets. Plissé panels are hand-sewn to base dress.
Fabric recommendations: Plissé panels: plissé or printed fabric on a cotton base fabric. Stretch fabric is recommended for the skirt. Straps & facings: silk, non-stretch fusible interfacing. Lining: silk or cupro.
Notions: Back zipper.
The competition is still open. Will you be entering?
Grunge is back. Marc Jacobs has reissued looks from his Spring 1993 “grunge” collection for Perry Ellis as Redux Grunge.
Juergen Teller’s ad campaign shows Jacobs’ iconic grunge pieces, resurrected from vintage and available exclusively from the designer’s website.
I wrote about Vogue’s two grunge Perry Ellis patterns back in 2013, as part of my series on early Marc Jacobs.
Now that Vogue has posted the entire collection online, we can ID the other dress. The button-front slip dress was originally worn layered, Seattle-style.
None of the three pattern looks is part of the reissue, but the short version of the maxi dress—worn by Carla Bruni in 1992—can be seen on Lili Sumner in Teller’s campaign. (There’s also a new, flower chain print version of the ’90s floral dress.) As the web store notes, the dress was inspired by 1930s nightgowns. Just shorten V1304 to sew the look.
Nothing says Swinging London like Mary Quant. The pioneer of the Chelsea Look will receive a major retrospective at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2019. (An earlier exhibit, Manchester Art Gallery’s Mary Quant: Fashion Icon, had to close early due to conservation issues.)
The V&A is seeking vintage Quant for the show, including garments — or even photos of garments — made with Mary Quant patterns.
See here for more details, or email the curators at email@example.com. Update: submissions are now closed.
Butterick licensed Mary Quant patterns from the mid-’60s to the early ’70s. (See my Mad Men-era post.)
For knitters, there were also ultra-mod knitting patterns. Some of these vintage booklets are available as official reissues, like these ones from Mary Maxim. (More on Ravelry.)
Mary Quant and her husband were profiled in Life magazine as early as 1960. (View story here.)
For his 1963 Life feature on the Chelsea Look, Norman Parkinson photographed Melanie Hampshire and Jill Kennington in these Mary Quant dresses:
Butterick released its first Mary Quant patterns in fall, 1964. Here’s Celia Hammond on the cover of the retail catalogue:
The Butterick Home Catalog hailed Quant as the originator of the Chelsea Look.
The earliest Mary Quant patterns pre-date the Young Designer line. This dress pattern even includes the rosette:
British copies of this dress pattern say “featured in Queen magazine.” Jill Kennington wore this and other Butterick Young Designers in what was billed as “The Queen’s first ever make-it-yourself fashion.”
Here Moyra Swan models a mod scooter dress. Suggested fabrics include linen, jersey, lightweight wool, and knits.
This jumpsuit or playsuit came with a matching mini skirt — “the latest put-togethers”:
What to wear with a Mary Quant mini dress? Why, go-go boots, of course:
By 1970, a Quant jumpsuit was more fluid, with a pointed collar; this pattern also includes a maxi-length cardigan. The catalogue gives a better view of the inflatable chair:
Mary Quant in a more romantic mode means a sheer tunic worn with knickers. View B is a maxi dress.
After 1971 or so, Butterick Young Designer patterns had illustrations, not photos. This Mary Quant dress dates to circa early ’73.
Have you made anything from a Mary Quant pattern?
Tonight at New York Fashion Week, Ralph Lauren celebrates his company’s 50th anniversary. Here’s a look at highlights of Ralph Lauren patterns from the ’70s to the ’90s.
Ralph Lauren started out in menswear, and Vogue Patterns’ first licensing with the brand was for men’s designs. The company released its first Polo by Ralph Lauren patterns in the summer of 1975.
That’s Polo Ralph Lauren on the right in Vogue Patterns’ American Bicentennial issue:
This Polo trench is classic for any gender:
Vogue’s licensing of Ralph Lauren women’s wear began in 1979. The earliest Ralph Lauren women’s patterns are for Annie Hall and Western looks like those shown in his Fall 1981 Santa Fe collection—prairie skirts, fringe, and serapes worn with cowboy boots and concho belts.
Ralph Lauren’s Spring 1984 Safari collection is said to have been inspired by Out of Africa, perhaps with a dash of Picnic at Hanging Rock.
Late ’80s Vogue Career designs by Ralph Lauren feature British model Saffron Aldridge, then the face of the brand.
Tartan was one of the main takeaways from Ralph Lauren’s Fall 1991 collection. (As L’Officiel observed, “For Ralph Lauren, tartan isn’t a fashion, it’s a lifestyle.”) Vogue released two patterns from this collection, a dress and trouser ensemble.
Although the envelope for the dress shows it in solid red, the tartan looks had pride of place on the holiday covers, both Vogue Patterns Magazine and the December catalogue.
The tartan pieces had already been promoted that same season in the Fall ’91 advertising campaign and a Grace Coddington / Linda Evangelista cover and editorial (“A Shot of Scotch”) in Vogue’s September issue.
Some later covers showing Ralph Lauren in a less WASP-y mode: