Patterns in Vogue: Cotton Landscape

Pattie Boyd photographed by Brian Duffy in sunglasses and hooded jumpsuit for Vogue UK, 1965
Detail, British Vogue, June 1965. Photo: Brian Duffy. Model: Pattie Boyd. Image: Youthquakers.

In 1965, Brian Duffy photographed Pattie Boyd for a patterns editorial, “Cotton Landscape,” in British Vogue. The editorial opens with Boyd posing in Oliver Goldsmith sunglasses and an Op Art playsuit:

"Cotton Landscape: Pretty Dazzling" - Pattie Boyd photographed by Brian Duffy, 1965
“Cotton Landscape: Pretty Dazzling” – Vogue 6491 in British Vogue, June 1965. Photos: Brian Duffy. Model: Pattie Boyd. Image: Youthquakers.

Boyd’s playsuit was made using Vogue 6491, a Young Fashionables pattern for a hooded ‘jump suit,’ bikini, skirt, and pants. As the caption says, “Powerhouse zigzags, electric pattern on a beach playsuit made to dazzle, not shock. Shorts shaped with a long front zip, smashing hood, and long cuffed sleeves.” The suit was made in Cepea navy and white cotton “with a Calpreta permanent sheen finish,” available from Bourne & Hollingsworth and Civil Service Stores.

For more of the June issue, see Youthquakers.

Hooded jumpsuit Vogue 6491 worn by Pattie Boyd in British Vogue, June 1965. Photo: Brian Duffy.
Pattie Boyd wears hooded jumpsuit Vogue 6491, British Vogue, June 1965. Photo: Brian Duffy. Image: Youthquakers.

Halston of Bergdorf Goodman – Vogue 7082

Detail, Vogue 7082 by Halston of Bergdorf Goodman

Royal Ascot begins today. Here’s a look at an Ascot-worthy Halston pattern.

Halston licensed millinery designs with Vogue Patterns during his time as Chief Milliner at Bergdorf Goodman. (See my earlier Mad Men-era millinery post.) Vogue 7082 is a petal headpiece with optional veil:

1960s Halston of Bergdorf Goodman bridal headpiece pattern - Vogue 7082
Vogue 7082 by Halston of Bergdorf Goodman (ca. 1967)

Here’s the envelope description: Bridal headpiece. Large or small petal headpiece with or without long or short veil is secured to hair with comb; optional ribbon bow. Recommended fabrics: organdy, organza, lace, point d’esprit. Veil: net, tulle. Notions: comb, millinery wire, 2 1/4″ ribbon.

The Halston headpiece was cross-promoted on two bridal patterns, Vogue 1744 and Vogue 1745, as an option for both brides and bridesmaids. Or as a contemporary catalogue has it, “Enchanting bouquet of graduated petals… crowning touch for any member of the bridal party by Halston of Bergdorf Goodman.”

1960s bride's or bridesmaid's dress pattern Vogue Special Design 1745
Vogue 1745 (ca. 1967) Image: eBay.

Worn with a matching suit, wouldn’t it be perfect for a day at the races?

1960s dress and jacket pattern Vogue Special Design 7061
Vogue 7061 (ca. 1967) Image: Etsy.

Oscar de la Renta: Vogue Patterns, Part 1

OscardelaRenta

There’s only one day left to see Oscar de la Renta: The Retrospective, curated by André Leon Talley for the de Young Museum in San Francisco. (Show ends May 30, 2016). If you won’t be able to make it, an exhibition catalogue is available in three formats, including a floral print-bound limited edition. For more on the show see Maghan McDowell, “First Look: Five Decades of Oscar de la Renta.”

de Young Oscar de la Renta exibition catalogue cover
Jennifer Park, Molly Sorkin, and André Leon Talley, Oscar de la Renta (Prestel, 2016) Image: Prestel.

Oscar de la Renta (1932-2014) was born Óscar Aristides Ortiz de la Renta Fiallo in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, the only boy in a family of seven. After moving to Spain to study art at Madrid’s Real Academía de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, in 1954 he began work as a sketcher at Balenciaga; by 1959 he was assisting Antonio del Castillo at Lanvin-Castillo in Paris.

LIFE 9 Jul 1956 p118
De la Renta fitting debutante Beatrice Cabot Lodge, Life, July 9, 1956. Photo: Nina Leen. Image: Google books.

In 1963 de la Renta moved to New York to pursue a career in ready-to-wear. He was soon hired as designer for Elizabeth Arden and, in 1965, became a partner at Jane Derby, the house he would take over for his own label. (For more see official site or The New York Times’ timeline.)

House photograph of an evening dress of gold and pink silk damask, Elizabeth Arden by Oscar de la Renta, autumn/winter 1963.
Elizabeth Arden by Oscar de la Renta evening dress in gold and pink silk damask, Fall-Winter 1963. Model: Isabella Albonico. Image: Oscar de la Renta via the de Young Museum.

De la Renta licensed his designs with Vogue Patterns from the 1960s to the 2000s. This week, a look at Oscar de la Renta patterns from the ’60s to the ’80s.

Oscar de la Renta photo + bio on a 1980s Vogue Patterns envelope flap

1960s

Oscar de la Renta dress photographed for Vogue by Henry Clarke at Villa Boscogrande
Oscar de la Renta dress photographed at Villa Boscogrande, Sicily, Vogue, December 1967. Photo: Henry Clarke. Image via Youthquakers.

Oscar de la Renta was among the designers included in Vogue-Butterick’s new Vogue Americana line, which was launched in 1967. From 1968, Vogue 1909 is a short-sleeved evening dress with standing collar and front-dart pockets:

1960s Oscar de la Renta dress pattern Vogue 1909
Vogue 1909 by Oscar de la Renta (1968) Image via the Vintage Pattern Wiki.

This short evening dress has contrast bias cuffs and collar—flexible jewel trim optional:

1960s Oscar de la Renta dress pattern Vogue 2101
Vogue 2101 by Oscar de la Renta (1969) Image via the Vintage Pattern Wiki.

Vogue 2219, an evening dress in two lengths, includes a wide, contrast cummerbund and pockets in the inverted side pleats:

1960s Oscar de la Renta evening dress pattern Vogue 2219
Vogue 2219 by Oscar de la Renta (1969) Image via the Vintage Pattern Wiki.

1970s

Shown in a rich, metallic brocade, Vogue 2280 is a short, high-waisted evening dress accented with a jewel-trimmed belt (as seen in Vogue Pattern Book here):

Vogue 2280
Vogue 2280 by Oscar de la Renta (1970) Image: eBay.

A 1972 editorial by Helmut Newton shows Lauren Hutton in an early Oscar de la Renta caftan:

"Adventures in Yellow": Lauren Hutton with stuntman Lance Rimmer photographed for Vogue by Helmut Newton, 1972
Oscar de la Renta caftan, Vogue, June 1972. Photo: Helmut Newton. Model: Lauren Hutton. Image via Youthquakers.

From 1973—the year of the ‘Battle of Versailles’ fashion show—this ruffled evening dress was shown in both solid colours and a floral border print:

1970s ruffled Oscar de la Renta dress pattern Vogue 2879
Vogue 2879 by Oscar de la Renta (1973) Image: PatternVault on Etsy.

Christie Brinkley models Vogue 1667, a blouse for two layers of sheer fabric and dirndl maxi skirt with deep hemline ruffle:

Christie Brinkley in 1970s Oscar de la Renta pattern Vogue 1667
Vogue 1667 by Oscar de la Renta in Vogue Patterns, May/June 1977. Model: Christie Brinkley. Image: Vintage Goodness.

Peasant blouse-and-skirt ensemble Vogue 1776 was featured on this winter catalogue cover:

1970s Vogue Patterns catalogue cover featuring Vogue 1776 by Oscar de la Renta
Vogue 1776 by Oscar de la Renta on the cover of Vogue Patterns catalogue, February 1978. Image: eBay.

In this photo by Deborah Turbeville—previously seen in a Patterns in Vogue post—the gold-pistachio lamé evening separates at far right were made using Oscar de la Renta pattern Vogue 2182:

Vogue Nov1979 Turbeville
From “Striking Gold,” Vogue, November 1979. Photo: Deborah Turbeville.

1980s

Vogue 1027’s caftan (previously seen in my caftans post) is featured in the San Francisco exhibit. The original is hand-painted silk crêpe de chine:

1980s Oscar de la Renta caftan pattern Vogue 1027
Vogue 1027 by Oscar de la Renta (ca. 1983) Model: Alva Chinn.
Oscar de la Renta caftan, spring 1982. Hand-painted silk crepe de chine. Kent State University Museum, Silverman/Rodgers Collection. Photo courtesy of the Kent State University Museum, photography by Erin Burns
Oscar de la Renta caftan, Spring 1982. Photo: Erin Burns. Image: Kent State University Museum via the de Young Museum.

Vogue 1644 is a wrap-bodice dress with bias bands defining the waist:

1980s Oscar de la Renta dress pattern Vogue 1644
Vogue 1644 by Oscar de la Renta (1985) Image via Etsy.

These fashion photos by Steven Meisel and Patrick Demarchelier show how well de la Renta was suited to the Eighties aesthetic:

Michelle Eabry wears Oscar de la Renta, photographed for Vogue by Steven Meisel
Oscar de la Renta dress, Vogue, May 1986. Photo: Steven Meisel. Model: Michelle Eabry. Image via The Fashion Spot.
Cindy Crawfrod wears Oscar de la Renta on the cover of British Vogue, spring 1987
Cindy Crawford wears Oscar de la Renta on the cover of British Vogue, April 1987. Photo: Patrick Demarchelier. Image: Vogue UK.

Here, radiating pleats and a bias front godet add volume and interest:

1980s Oscar de la Renta dress pattern Vogue 1997
Vogue 1997 by Oscar de la Renta (1987). Image: Etsy.

Don’t Vogue 2185’s ruffles take the cake?

Vogue 2185 by Oscar de la Renta (1988) Model: Alexandra Aubin. Image: PatternVault on Etsy.

Next: Oscar de la Renta patterns from the 1990s and 2000s.

The Look of Courrèges

Courrèges sunglasses - Simone D'Aillencourt photographed by Richard Avedon, 1965
Courrèges glasses, February 1965. Photo: Richard Avedon. Model: Simone D’Aillencourt. Image: Richard Avedon Foundation.

André Courrèges died early this month. He was 92. (See WWD, “André Courrèges: Space Age Couturier,” or Vanessa Friedman’s obituary for The New York Times.)

1960s Vogue cover - Astrid Heeren in a white Courrèges bonnet photographed by Irving Penn
Courrèges hat, Vogue, November 15, 1964. Photo: Irving Penn. Model: Astrid Heeren. Image: Vogue.com.

Born in Pau, France, André Courrèges (1923-2016) initially became an engineer at his father’s behest. He changed careers after the Second World War, spending ten years at Balenciaga and founding his own couture house in 1961. His silver and white, spring 1964 “Space Age” collection made the Courrèges name with its futuristic, body-conscious, practical designs; a May, 1965 profile in Life magazine hailed him as “The Lord of the Space Ladies.” (See Patricia Peterson, “Courrèges Stresses Modern Look” [Spring 1964] and “Courrèges Is Star of Best Show Seen So Far” [Fall 1964]; on those otherworldly sunglasses, which reference Inuit snow-goggles, see FIDM’s note.) He retired in 1995.

1960s Vogue Paris cover featuring Maggie Eckhardt in a Courrèges ensemble
Courrèges ensemble, Vogue Paris, March 1965. Model: Maggie Eckhardt. Image: Pinterest.

In North America, licensed copies and other versions of Courrèges’ work were more common than couture originals. In the summer of 1965, McCall’s released nine patterns adapted from Courrèges. Six of these were photographed by Edward Pfizenmaier for “The Look of Courrèges,” an editorial in the Fall 1965 home catalogue. On the left is coat pattern McCall’s 7938; on the right, ensemble and dress patterns McCall’s 7932 and McCall’s 7918 (click to enlarge):

1960s Courrèges-look patterns McCall's 7938, 7932, and 7918 photographed by Edward Pfizenmaier for McCall's Pattern Fashions
“Precision… Proportion… Perfection! This is the Look of Courrèges,” McCall’s Pattern Fashions & Home Decorating, Fall-Winter 1965-66. Photos: Edward Pfizenmaier.

Here, on the left, jumper and blouse pattern McCall’s 7914; on the right, skirt suit McCall’s 7936 and jumper McCall’s 7940, made in a special Carletex fabric described as the “perfect medium for the ‘go-go’ look: washable cotton with the look and texture of leather” (all boots by Golo and Capezio):

1960s Courrèges-look patterns McCall's 7914, 7936, and 7923 photographed by Edward Pfizenmaier for McCall's Pattern Fashions
“This is the Look of Courrèges.” McCall’s Pattern Fashions & Home Decorating, Fall-Winter 1965-66. Photos: Edward Pfizenmaier.

This photo portfolio was followed by an illustrated Seventeen feature showing three more Courrèges-look patterns: jumper ensemble McCall’s 7903, dress McCall’s 7923, and hooded poncho McCall’s 7884. The textile credits are interesting: the jumper is shown in houndstooth Crompton corduroy; the dress in Burlington Dacron-cotton twill*; and the hooded poncho “in shiny make-believe black patent that’s actually vinyl-coated cotton by Landau”:

McCall's Pattern Fashions & Home Decorating, Fall-Winter 1965-66
Seventeen Magazine Seconds the Courrèges Look.” McCall’s Pattern Fashions & Home Decorating, Fall-Winter 1965-66.

A “Courrèges look” pattern also appears in the catalogue’s front pages, in a Crompton Corduroy ad that pairs McCall’s 7923 with op art by the late Marcel Barbeau:

"Crompton Corduroy just acts rich" - 1960s Crompton Corduroy advert featuring Marcel Barbeau art and a McCall's pattern
Crompton Corduroy advertisement featuring McCall’s 7923 after Courrèges, 1965.

As the catalogue reminds readers, McCall’s 7923 was also photographed for the cover of Seventeen magazine. The cover model for the “summer party issue” is Jennifer O’Neill, who would go on to star in David Cronenberg’s Scanners (1981); the matching hat seems to be an Adolfo version of a Courrèges original (see Sotheby’s and the Costume Institute):

1960s party issue cover of Seventeen magazine featuring Jennifer O'Neill in McCall's 7923 after Courrèges
McCall’s 7923 after Courrèges on the cover of Seventeen, July 1965. Model: Jennifer O’Neill. Image: eBay.

Inside, a McCall’s editorial shows popular teen model Colleen Corby photographed by Carmen Schiavone; here she wears McCall’s 7902 (far left) and McCall’s 7903 and 7884 after Courrèges (Adolfo II hats):

McCall's 7902, 7903, and 7884. Seventeen July 1965
McCall’s 7902, 7903, and 7884. Seventeen, July 1965. Model: Colleen Corby. Photos: Carmen Schiavone. Image: eBay.

Corby’s version of the McCall’s 7884 hooded poncho is shown in tomato red:

McCall's after Courrèges in Seventeen, July 1965. Model: Colleen Corby. Photos: Carmen Schiavone
McCall’s after Courrèges in Seventeen, July 1965. Model: Colleen Corby. Photos: Carmen Schiavone. Image: eBay.

Update: Corby could also be seen in a Courrèges-look pattern on the cover of McCall’s retail catalogue:

1960s Courrèges-look pattern McCall's 7914 as worn by Colleen Corby on the cover of the McCall's catalogue, summer 1965
Colleen Corby wears McCall’s 7914, McCall’s catalogue, August 1965. Image: eBay.

Here’s a look at McCall’s Courrèges-look patterns. McCall’s 7884 includes a sleeveless dress with low-slung, drawstring belt and an ultra-mod poncho with separate hood (available in the shop):

1960s poncho, hood, and dress pattern after Courrèges - McCall's 7884
McCall’s 7884 after Courrèges (1965) Image: PatternVault shop.

In addition to a U-neck jumper and pleated skirt, McCall’s 7903 also includes a blouse with optional trompe-l’oeil collar and cuffs (available in the shop):

1960s jumper, skirt, and blouse pattern after Courrèges - McCall's 7903
McCall’s 7903 after Courrèges (1965) Image: PatternVault shop.

McCall’s 7914 is a pattern for a dress or jumper, blouse, and skirt. The jumper’s welt seams could be topstitched in contrasting thread to match the blouse::

1960s dress/jumper, blouse and skirt pattern after Courrèges - McCall's 7914
McCall’s 7914 after Courrèges (1965) Image: Vintage Pattern Wiki.

McCall’s 7918 is a dress with optional collar and sleeves cut in one with the yoke. Skinny belt included in the pattern:

1960s dress pattern after Courrèges - McCall's 7918
McCall’s 7918 after Courrèges (1965) Image: Etsy.

McCall’s 7923, the dress from the Seventeen cover and the Crompton Corduroy ad, could be made sleeveless, as a jumper, and came with a blouse with zippers at the sleeves and back. The pattern also included the low-slung skinny belt and carriers (available in the shop):

1960s dress or jumper and blouse pattern after Courrèges - McCall's 7923
McCall’s 7923 after Courrèges (1965) Image: PatternVault shop.

Perhaps the rarest of these patterns, McCall’s 7932 is a short-sleeved top and skirt ensemble:

1960s top and skirt pattern after Courèges - McCall's 7932
McCall’s 7932 after Courrèges (1965) Image: Etsy.

McCall’s 7936 is a short-sleeved blouse and skirt suit with Courrèges’ characteristic, stand-away collar (available in 2 sizes in the shop):

1960s skirt suit and blouse pattern after Courrèges - McCall's 7936
McCall’s 7936 after Courrèges (1965) Image: PatternVault shop.

McCall’s Courrèges-look double-breasted coat, McCall’s 7938, has welt pocket flaps and a martingale and loose panel in back, with all edges accented by contrast binding. The pattern also includes a skirt suit and blouse (available in 2 sizes in the shop):

1960s coat, suit, and blouse pattern after Courrèges - McCall's 7938
McCall’s 7938 after Courrèges (1965) Image: PatternVault shop.

Finally, McCall’s 7940 is a pattern for a high-waisted dress or jumper, short-sleeved blouse, and double-breasted jacket with standing collar (available in the shop):

1960s dress or jumper, blouse and jacket pattern after Courrèges - McCall's 7940
McCall’s 7940 after Courrèges (1965) Image: PatternVault shop.

André Courrèges’ futuristic style, high hemlines, and fresh trouser looks had made him a hit with the youthquake set. In a nod to this market, the illustrations show kitten heels and go-go boots, and the three patterns shown in Seventeen magazine have the text, “SEVENTEEN says: ‘It’s Young Fashion!'” Most of the Courrèges-look patterns were available in teen and junior sizes; one (M7923) was not available in misses’ sizes at all. (Of the two patterns in misses’ sizes only, M7938 and M7940, the former was featured in McCall’s magazine, though I’m not sure which issue.) It’s surprising that the patterns include no pantsuits: Courrèges was a great proponent of pants for the woman of the future.

I’ll close with some William Klein photos of Courrèges for Vogue magazine (visit Youthquakers for the full editorial):

Courrèges in Vogue, March 1, 1965. Photos: William Klein
Courrèges in Vogue, March 1, 1965. Photos: William Klein. Image: Youthquakers.
Courrèges in Vogue, March 1, 1965. Photos: William Klein
Courrèges in Vogue, March 1, 1965. Photos: William Klein. Image: Youthquakers.

* Dacron was known by the name Terylene in the U.K.

Patterns in Vogue: Pyjama Game

1960s Galitzine evening pyjama pattern - Vogue 1220
Detail, Vogue, November 1, 1963. Photo: Gene Laurents.

Whether you’re going out or staying in, palazzo pyjamas are perfect for New Year’s Eve. “Pyjama Game—the palazzo persuasion,” a 1963 Vogue editorial photographed by Gene Laurents, features two Vogue Couturier patterns for evening pyjama ensembles.

Both patterns are by designers based in Rome: Federico Forquet and Irene Galitzine. Vogue 1260 by Forquet is a sleeveless, draped evening dress that’s slit to reveal slim, matching pants. The original was apricot silk crêpe (click to enlarge):

1960s Forquet palazzo pyjama pattern Vogue 1260 in Vogue magazine
Vogue 1260 by Federico Forquet, Vogue, November 1, 1963. Model: Marola Witt. Photo: Gene Laurents.

From Galitzine, Vogue 1220 is a three-piece pyjama ensemble consisting of a top and skirt in black cut velvet shot with Lurex paired with trousers in white crêpe. The bold, rope necklace is by Brania:

1960s Galitzine palazzo pyjama pattern Vogue 1220 in Vogue magazine
Vogue 1220 by Galitzine, Vogue, November 1, 1963. Photo: Gene Laurents.

As always, details could be found in the back of the magazine:

"Vogue Patterns are available at important shops in every city..." back views in Vogue, Nov. 1963
Back views of Vogue 1260 and 1220 in Vogue, November 1, 1963.

All the best for 2016!

Pyjama game: Vogue 1260.
Detail, Vogue, November 1, 1963. Photo: Gene Laurents.

Evelyn Tripp

1950s British Vogue cover featuring Evelyn Tripp in red coat and hat
British Vogue, January 1955. Photo: Erwin Blumenfeld. Image via Vogue UK.

Evelyn Tripp (1927-1995) was one of the most prolific models of the 1950s. Born on a farm in Missouri, she was discovered at 20 while shopping on Fifth Avenue. You may recognize her from William Klein’s photograph, Smoke + Veil. She retired in 1968. (Read her New York Times obituary here.)

Evelyn Tripp William Klein Smoke + Veil 1958
Smoke + Veil, 1958. Photo: William Klein. Image via WWD.

Evelyn Tripp did modelling work for Simplicity, Woman’s Day, Butterick, and Vogue Patterns in the 1950s and early 1960s.

The Fall-Winter 1950 Simplicity catalogue includes a few photographs of the young Tripp. Here she wears tent coat Simplicity 8217:

Evelyn Tripp in 1950s tent coat pattern Simplicity 8217
Simplicity 8217 in Simplicity Pattern Book, Fall-Winter 1950.

Tripp also modelled an early Pauline Trigère design for Woman’s Day magazine. The portfolio was photographed by Leombruno-Bodi (full size here):

1950s Pauline Trigère dress pattern - Woman's Day 3267
Woman’s Day 3267 by Pauline Trigère in Woman’s Day, September 1950. Photos: Leombruno-Bodi. Image via Etsy.
1950s Pauline Trigère dress pattern - Woman's Day 3267
Woman’s Day 3267 by Pauline Trigère in Woman’s Day, September 1950. Photos: Leombruno-Bodi. Image via Etsy.

Among Tripp’s many covers are several for Vogue Pattern Book. Here she wears suit pattern Vogue S-4625:

1950s Vogue Pattern Book
Vogue Pattern Book, August-September 1955. Image via eBay.

On this spring cover she poses in dress-and-coat ensemble Vogue S-4659 (with matching hat):

1950s Vogue Pattern Book
Vogue Pattern Book, February-March 1956. Image via eBay.

Roger Prigent shot this cover featuring Tripp in Vogue 8829 made in Moygashel linen (also in Vogue):

1950s Vogue Pattern Book
Vogue Pattern Book, April-May 1956. Photo: Roger Prigent. Image via tumblr.

She appears on this summery Simplicity Pattern Book cover in Simplicity 1625 and Simplicity 1550, a top and skirt made in a matching print:

Evelyn Tripp on the cover of Simplicity's 1956 Summer Simplicity Pattern Book
Simplicity Pattern Book, Summer 1956. Image via eBay.

Inside, she poses in two-piece playsuit Simplicity 1608:

Evelyn Tripp on the beach in playsuit pattern Simplicity 1608
Simplicity 1608 in Simplicity Pattern Book, Summer 1956. Photo: Monroe. Image via eBay.

Tripp also appeared in a 1956 Vogue Patterns advertisement promoting the new printed and perforated patterns. The evening dress pattern is Vogue S-4735:

1950s Vogue Patterns ad featuring Evelyn Tripp in Vogue
“New Vogue Patterns are printed and perforated.” Vogue S-4735 in Vogue, 1956.

Here she wears Vogue 9607, made up in red, on the cover of the holiday 1958 issue of Vogue Pattern Book:

VPBUK DecJan1958-59
Vogue Pattern Book, December-January 1958-59. Image via eBay.

On this spring Butterick Pattern Book cover, she poses in a suit and flower hat, Butterick 8912 and Butterick 8880:

"A New Rise of Femininity" - Evelyn Tripp wears a flower hat on the cover of a late 1950s Butterick Pattern Book
Butterick Pattern Book, Spring 1959. Image via Vintage Chic.

Tripp may also be seen in early 1960s Vogue Pattern Book editorials. Here she wears Vogue 4267, a one-shouldered dress in wool jersey:

1960s Leombruno-Bodi photo of Evelyn Tripp in Vogue 4267
Vogue 4267 in Vogue Pattern Book, October/November 1961. Photo: Leombruno-Bodi.

For more of Evelyn Tripp’s work, see MyVintageVogue or Kristine/dovima_is_devine’s set on flickr.

We Can Be Heroes

Lynda Carter in the Wonder Woman tv show, 1975
Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman, 1975. Image: Warner Bros / Getty Images via IMDb.

Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman isn’t set to open until 2017, but audiences will get a glimpse of Gal Gadot as the Amazon princess in Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016). Marvel’s feminist superhero, Captain Marvel (originally Ms. Marvel) will also get her own movie in 2018. (Guardian story here.)

Panel from Ms. Marvel #1 (1977): Onlookers:
Panel from Ms. Marvel #1 (1977). Image: Talking Comics.

Since the 1930s and ’40s, when Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman made their first comic strip appearances, superheroes have occupied a special place in popular culture. The 2008 Costume Institute exhibit, Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy, explored the influence of superhero costumes on fashion.

Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy exhibition catalogue by Andrew Bolton (with Michael Chabon)
Andrew Bolton with Michael Chabon, Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2008) Book design: Abbott Miller, John Kudos at Pentagram. Image: John Kudos.

With Halloween around the corner, here’s a look at licensed superhero costume patterns from the 1960s to today, with a focus on the place of gender in children’s costuming.

1960s

In 1966, the Batman television show premiered on ABC; just the year before, the 1950s television series Adventures of Superman, starring George Reeves as the Man of Steel, had returned to the airwaves in syndication.

Robin (Burt Ward) and Batman (Adam West) in the 1960s Batman show
Robin (Burt Ward) and Batman (Adam West) in Batman (1966) Image: Wikipedia.

From 1966, McCall’s 8398 is a pattern for “Girls’ or Boy’s Batman, Robin and Superman Official Costumes.” The pattern is copyright National Periodical Publications, Inc., an early version of DC Comics:

1960s Girls' or Boys' Batman, Robin and Superman official costumes McCall's 8398
McCall’s 8398 © National Periodical Publications, Inc., 1966. Girls’ or Boys’ Batman, Robin and Superman official costumes.

The Fall 1966 McCall’s Home Catalog promoted McCall’s 8398 with McCall’s 8562 as “Magical Costumes for the Wonderful World of Make-Believe.” The text reinforces the idea that these superhero costumes were intended for imaginative, active children, regardless of gender: “Now that active young lad or lass with the vivid imagination can be Batman, Robin or Superman at the switch of a colorful costume. Only McCall’s has official patterns for the costumes of these swashbuckling heroes of comic books and TV…” (click to enlarge):

Magical Costumes for the Wonderful World of Make-Believe - McCalls Home catalogue, Fall/Winter 1966-67
McCall’s 8398 in McCall’s Home Catalog, Fall-Winter 1966-67.

1970s

In 1978, the Wonder Woman TV series was still running, and December saw the release of the first Superman movie starring Christopher Reeve.

Christopher Reeve as Superman against the New York City skyline, 1978
Christopher Reeve as Superman, 1978. Image: Keystone / Getty Images via IMDb.

That year, Simplicity released two patterns for children’s superhero costumes: Simplicity 8714, Batman, Robin, and Superman costumes for children and boys, and Simplicity 8720, Catwoman, Batgirl, and Wonder Woman costumes for girls. (‘Child’ often refers to unisex pattern sizing for younger children.) The introduction of female superhero costumes seems to have prompted a sex-division on the pattern envelopes—although the categories could always be subverted by individual children and their parents:

1970s children's Batman, Robin, and Superman costume pattern - Simplicity 8714
Simplicity 8714 (1978) Batman, Robin, and Superman.
1970s Catwoman, Wonder Woman, and Batgirl costume pattern - Simplicity 8720
Simplicity 8720 (1978) Batgirl, Catwoman, and Wonder Woman.

1980s

Later official superhero patterns tend to be movie or TV tie-ins. As in contemporary popular culture, the balance shifts toward male superheroes, but there’s also an oscillation between strict gender categories and more inclusive costuming. The 1980s were the decade of Superman and Supergirl: Supergirl opened in 1984, and there were three more Superman movies ending with Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987).

Helen Slater as Supergirl, 1984
Helen Slater as Supergirl, 1984. Image: Pinterest.

In 1987, Butterick released two superhero patterns, both with iron-on transfers: a Superman and Supergirl play suit for small children (sizes 2 to 6X), and a Superman costume for men and boys. I couldn’t find a corresponding women’s and girls’ Supergirl pattern. The small children’s is a pyjama or jogging suit-style top and pants for stretch knits, with separate cape and skirt; the men’s and boys’ is a spandex stirrup jumpsuit and briefs:

1980s children's Supergirl and Superman playsuits Butterick 5862
Butterick 5862 (1987) Supergirl and Superman playsuits. Image: Etsy.
1980s Superman costume pattern - Butterick 5874
Butterick 5874 (1987) Superman costumes.

(With thanks to Jan Lamm.)

Tim Burton’s Batman (1989) launched a new superhero franchise. Late 1980s Batman pattern Butterick 4201/6313, for men and boys, appears to have been timed to the Tim Burton film, but reflects the now-retro Batman. Like the Butterick Superman, it’s also a stirrup jumpsuit and briefs for spandex blends:

1980s Batman costume pattern - Butterick 6313
Butterick 6313 (1989) Bat Man costumes. Image: Etsy.

1990s

Butterick licensed costumes from Batman Returns (1992) and Batman Forever (1995): Batman, Catwoman, and the Penguin, and Batman, Robin, and the Riddler. The Batman costumes reflect the movies’ increasingly hypermasculine armour, while Catwoman’s sexy, home-sewn catsuit is the only design for women and girls.

Batman Returns Batman costume pattern - Butterick 6377
Butterick 6377 (1992) Batman Returns costumes. Image: Etsy.
Batman Forever Batman costume pattern - Butterick 4172
Butterick 4172 (1995) Batman Forever costumes. Image: Etsy.
1990s official Batman Returns Catwoman costume Butterick 6378
Butterick 6378 official Batman Returns Catwoman costume (1992) Image: Etsy.

Maybe because the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles aren’t human, this Ninja Turtles pattern is gender-inclusive, labelled as for both girls and boys. The design is called a playsuit, not a costume (click the image for envelope back, or see it made up on flickr):

Girls' and boys' Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle playsuit pattern - Butterick 5143
Butterick 5143 (1990) Image: Etsy.

On the other hand, this Captain Planet pattern for children and boys includes a grotesque ‘muscle’ suit. The second character is called Verminous Skumm:

1990s Captain Planet and Verminous Skumm costume pattern - McCall's 5642
McCall’s 5642 (1991) Captain Planet costumes. Image: Etsy.

’90s costume patterns start to show the influence of Japanese television shows—Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Masked Rider, and Sailor Moon. This Sailor Moon costume pattern came in children’s and girls’ sizes:

1990s children's Sailor Moon costume pattern McCalls 7859
McCall’s 7859 / P310 (1995) Sailor Moon costumes. Image: eBay.

Marvel doesn’t seem to have ventured into pattern licensing until the 1990s, when Simplicity’s children’s costume patterns were gender-inclusive. Simplicity 7543 is a child’s Spiderman costume with sleeve webs made from fishnet:

1990s children's Spiderman costume pattern - Simplicity 7543
Simplicity 7543 (1991) The Amazing Spider-Man costume. Image: eBay.

Before the X-Men and Spider-Man movie franchises of the 2000s, there were ’90s animated TV shows based on the comics: X-Men from 1992 and Spider-Man from 1994. In the mid-1990s, Simplicity released several more Marvel patterns, all labelled as unisex Child’s costumes: Spider-Man and Venom (Simplicity 7241), Wolverine and Storm (Simplicity 7246), and Cyclops and Magneto (Simplicity 7251). Wolverine and Storm is my favourite:

1990s X-Men costume pattern - Wolverine and Storm - Simplicity 7246
Simplicity 7246 (1996) X-Men costumes. Image: Pinterest.

Current patterns

This fall, Simplicity released five licensed costume patterns for Marvel and DC superheroes. The women’s DC costumes are featured on the cover of the Halloween catalogue: Wonder Woman (Simplicity 1024) with Batgirl and Supergirl (Simplicity 1036):

Saturday Spooktacular! Simplicity costumes for Halloween 2015
Simplicity Costumes 2015. Image: Simplicity.
Women's Wonder Woman costume pattern - Simplicity 1024
Simplicity 1024 (2015) Wonder Woman costume.

The women’s costumes match those of the comic-book characters, but for the corresponding children’s pattern (Simplicity 1035), all three costumes have been altered to become knee-length, long-sleeved dresses. Batgirl loses her catsuit and Wonder Woman is virtually unrecognizable. What message does this send to children comparing the comic-book illustrations on the envelopes?

Supergirl, Wonder Woman, and Batgirl pattern Simplicity 1035
Simplicity 1035 (2015) Supergirl, Wonder Woman, and Batgirl pattern. Image: Etsy.

The two Marvel patterns, Captain America (Simplicity 1030) and Thor (Simplicity 1038), have a different format. Both from Marvel’s Avengers, the adults’ and children’s sizes share the same envelope, which includes an illustration of the Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America down the left-hand side and a superimposed image of the pattern pieces with the text Sew It Yourself. Both are labelled as boys’ and men’s. The Thor should really be unisex if he’s now a woman:

Marvel Avengers Captain America costume pattern - Simplicity 1030/0225
Simplicity 1030/0225 (2015) Captain America costume. Image: eBay.

(S0225 is the advance version; the S1030 envelope seems to have some strange retouching of the man’s crotch.)

Marvel Avengers Thor costume pattern - Simplicity 1038
Simplicity 1038 (2015) Thor costume. Image: Etsy.

It’s great to see Wonder Woman making a comeback, and the increasing popularity of costuming means we’re likely to see more licensed superhero patterns in the near future. Here’s hoping there will be a Black Widow or Mystique—and it’s not a dress.

Update: Simplicity released several new DC patterns for Fall 2016, including an official Joker pattern and three DC Bombshells patterns—Wonder Woman, Batgirl, and Supergirl:

Official DC Comics The Joker costume pattern - Simplicity 8195
Simplicity 8195 (2016) Joker costume. Image: Simplicity.
Official DC Comics Bombshells Wonder Woman pattern - Simplicity 8196
Simplicity 8196 (2016) DC Bombshells Wonder Woman costume. Image: Simplicity.
Official DC Comics Bombshells Batgirl pattern - Simplicity 8197
Simplicity 8197 (2016) DC Bombshells Batgirl costume. Image: Simplicity.
Official DC Comics Bombshells Supergirl pattern - Simplicity 8185
Simplicity 8185 (2016) DC Bombshells Supergirl costume. Image: Simplicity.

Update, summer 2017: Simplicity’s Early Fall catalogue added more DC patterns: Harley Quinn and DC Bombshells Black Canary, Stargirl, and Batwoman.

Simplicity early autumn 2017
Authentic costumes from DC Comics. Simplicity catalogue, Early Autumn 2017. Image: Simplicity.
Harley Quinn costume pattern Simplicity 8434
Simplicity 8434 (2017) Harley Quinn costume. Image: Simplicity.
DC Bombshells Black Canary costume pattern Simplicity 8431
Simplicity 8431 (2017) DC Bombshells Black Canary costume. Image: Simplicity.
DC Bombshells Batwoman costume pattern Simplicity 8432
Simplicity 8432 (2017) DC Bombshells Batwoman costume. Image: Simplicity.
DC Bombshells Stargirl costume pattern Simplicity 8433
Simplicity 8433 (2017) DC Bombshells Stargirl costume. Image: Simplicity.

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Simplicity 8720 detail

(For more see Dorian Lynskey, Kapow! Attack of the feminist superheroes, and Jill Lepore, The Last Amazon.)

* As I wrote this post, spellcheck failed to recognize the names of female superheroes. Please fix this, WordPress!