The tomb of Tutankhamun was rediscovered in November, 1922, making 2022 the centennial of all things King Tut. Yet as an early McCall transfer pattern shows, Neo-Egyptomania was already underway:
“Egyptian Design for Dress Trimming” (McCall 1039) dates to spring 1920, but was still being advertised three years later, explicitly referencing the King Tut trend.
In summer 1923, Anne Rittenhouse wrote, “Ancient Rome as well as ancient India supplies inspiration for the figurations you should put on your clothes. The famous mosaic design found on marble tables and on floors in Italy has crept upward to our gowns. Straight bands of it are used in what is known as spinal decoration, also for skirt hems and sleeves. If you do not like to omit Egyptian embroidery, which appears to be the Twentieth Amendment to the Fashion Constitution, use the lotus flower rather than Tut’s guardians of the tomb…” (“Embroidery Everywhere,” McCall News, Aug. 1923)
Contemporary fans of Egyptian embellishment can find a reproduction of the 1920s transfer on Etsy. Happy New Year!
The PatternVault blog is ten! That’s a whole decade of writing about fashion, fine sewing, and the venerable tradition of paper patterns. If you’re curious about where it all began, check out my 2011 series on Alexander McQueen sewing patterns.
Will fashion follow suit? Sarah Burton’s Fall ’21 collection for McQueen features a new robe de style, reminiscent of Lanvin’s Colombine. (See top of post; on the Lanvin gown see my Selvedge article).
As savvy collectors and long-standing readers of this blog will know, the craft of home-sewn couture flourished in the 1920s. The decade saw the first issues of Vogue Pattern Book and the launch of McCall’s earliest couture patterns.
What do you think? Is it time for a couture sewing renaissance?