In memoriam: Hubert de Givenchy

March 12, 2018 § 3 Comments

"Couture in Colour": Shalom Harlow in a velvet and organza gown from Hubert de Givenchy's final couture collection (FW 1995)

Shalom Harlow in a gown from Hubert de Givenchy’s final couture collection, British Vogue, October 1995. Photo: Nick Knight. Editor: Lucinda Chambers. Image: TFS.

Farewell to Hubert de Givenchy, truly one of the greats.

Read the couturier’s Vogue Paris obituary.

Patterns in Vogue: Romantic Gestures

December 30, 2017 § 1 Comment

V2270 culotte dress photographed by Ellen von Unwerth, Vogue December 1990

Susan Holmes in Vogue, December 1990. Photo: Ellen von Unwerth. Editor: André Leon Talley. Image: Ma Chérie, Dior.

An opulent early ’90s holiday editorial, shot by Ellen von Unwerth and styled by André Leon Talley, includes one Vogue pattern.

Vogue’s version of culotte dress Vogue 2270 was made up in fuchsia satin from B&J Fabrics.

Late 1980s culotte jumpsuit and jacket pattern Vogue Basic Design 2270

Vogue 2270 (1989) Image: Etsy.

(See Ma Chérie, Dior for the full editorial.)

Happy New Year, all the best for 2018!

Battle On, Xena!

October 31, 2017 § 2 Comments

Lucy Lawless in "Return of Callisto," episode 5 of Xena: Warrior Princess, season 2, 1996

Lucy Lawless in Xena: Warrior Princess, 1996. Image: NBC Universal/Movie Pilot.

Before Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, there was Xena: Warrior Princess. The Hercules spinoff starring Lucy Lawless as a Thracian warrior became a cult hit, thanks partly to that iconic leather armour by Ngila Dickson.

Lucy Lawless' Xena: Warrior Princess costume at the Museum of New Zealand

Image: Museum of New Zealand.

Best known today for her work on Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, Dickson won a New Zealand Film and TV Award for Xena in 1998. The same year saw both an animated Hercules and Xena and official licensed costume patterns from Butterick. (Simplicity had done unofficial Xena patterns in 1997.)

The Butterick costumes call for synthetic leather for the dress and accessories, metallic cord and marker, and cotton Lycra to make your own undershorts. Chakram not included.

1990s official adult's Xena: Warrior Princess costume, Butterick 5726

Butterick 5725 (1998) Official adult’s Xena: Warrior Princess costume.

1990s official children's Xena: Warrior Princess costume, Butterick 5726

Butterick 5726 (1998) Official children’s Xena: Warrior Princess costume.

Happy Halloween!

Blade Runner, Fashion, and Sewing Patterns

October 6, 2017 § 4 Comments

Blade Runner-inspired Vogue Italia cover photographed by Steven Meisel, March 1998

Eugenia Silva wears Prada on the cover of Vogue Italia, March 1998. Photo: Steven Meisel. Editor: Bill Mullen. Image: The Fashion Spot.

Blade Runner 2049, Denis Villeneuve’s much-anticipated sequel to Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, opens today. Here’s a look at the fashion references and influence of the 1982 cult classic. (For Blade Runner’s influence on current fashion and an interview with costume designer Renée April, see Booth Moore, “‘Blade Runner 2049’ Already a Hit on the Fashion Runways.”)

Ryan Gosling in Denis Villeneuve's Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

Ryan Gosling in Blade Runner 2049 (2017) Image: Stephen Vaughan/Warner Bros.

Mugler Angel perfume ad, 2003

Thierry Mugler “Angel” fragrance advertisement, 2003. Image: eBay.

Blade Runner’s BAFTA-winning costume designers, Charles Knode and Michael Kaplan, cite 1940s film noir, with its iconic characters like Humphrey Bogart’s Sam Spade and Rita Hayworth’s Gilda, as their main inspiration. For the replicant Rachael, they also looked to the 1930s and ’40s tailoring of Hollywood costume designer-turned-couturier Adrian. (Kaplan is still in the genre-film spotlight with the new Star Wars trilogy, while the Adrian label—the subject of a recent exhibit—is being revived as Adrian Original.)

Rachael's fur coat and pieced suit - Blade Runner sketches by Michael Kaplan

Rachael costume sketches by Michael Kaplan for Blade Runner (1982). In Dressed: A Century of Hollywood Costume Design (Collins, 2007).

Kaplan used vintage fabrics for Rachael’s Adrian-inspired outfits: “I liked the idea of combining different shades of suiting fabrics to create patterns—something Adrian did. In this case I used amazing vintage suiting woollens in shades of grey and beige, with metallic threads that I was lucky enough to find, which created a subtle luminous quality.” (Source: AnOther mag.) This circa 1944 Butterick suit features Adrian-style piecing:

1940s colour-blocked suit pattern Retro Butterick 6286

Butterick 6286 from 1944 (2015)

In the 1980s, Claude Montana was the go-to designer for the decade’s updated triangular silhouette. (Ridley Scott has acknowledged the decade’s ’40s revival as an important factor in the film’s aesthetic.) This Vogue Individualist design plays up the ’40s influence:

1980s Claude Montana dress pattern - Vogue Individualist 1927

Vogue 1927 by Montana (1987)

In spring, 1997, Blade Runner: The Director’s Cut was one of the first movies to be released on DVD. The following spring, working with stylist Bill Mullen and set designer Jack Flanagan, Steven Meisel photographed a Blade Runner-homage cover and editorial for Vogue Italia’s March 1998 prêt-à-porter issue. Michael Kaplan recalls mistaking the cover for a film still. The editorial features text from Roy’s climactic monologue (“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe…”) with clothes from Prada’s Spring 1998 collection, which paired natural materials with synthetics like latex and plexiglass.

Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion... Prada in Vogue Italia, March 1998

Prada Spring ’98 in Vogue Italia, March 1998. Photo: Steven Meisel. Editor: Bill Mullen. Image: Vogue Italia Archive.

Meanwhile, in Paris, Alexander McQueen referenced Blade Runner in his Fall/Winter 1998 ready-to-wear collection for Givenchy. Visionaire’s Alexander McQueen memorial issue includes an image from Steven Meisel’s fall advertising campaign. (For more on this collection, see my McQueen series post.)

Two looks from Alexander McQueen's for Givenchy Fall 1998 prêt-à-porter

Two looks from Alexander McQueen’s Fall 1998 prêt-à-porter collection for Givenchy. Images: firstVIEW, Corbis.

V2228 and V2248 on the runway - Alexander McQueen for Givenchy, Fall 1998 prêt-à-porter

V2228 and V2248 (under jacket) on the runway – Alexander McQueen for Givenchy, Fall 1998 prêt-à-porter. Images: Corbis.

Givenchy FW 1998 photographed by Steven Meisel in Visionaire 58: Spirit (2010)

Givenchy Fall 1998 by Alexander McQueen in Visionaire 58: Spirit (2010). Photo: Steven Meisel. Image: 1stdibs.

Sewists and Blade Runner devotees are fortunate to have two licensed patterns from this collection:

FW 1998 rtw fur-trimmed suit pattern by Alexander McQueen for Givenchy, Vogue 2228

Vogue 2228 by Alexander McQueen for Givenchy (1998) Image: PatternVault on Etsy.

FW 1998 rtw cowl-neck dress by Alexander McQueen for Givenchy, Vogue 2248

Vogue 2248 by Alexander McQueen for Givenchy (1999) Image: PatternVault on Etsy.

The sleeveless version of the dress seems to have been shown with a jacket on the runway. (Click the image to read about my version, which I wore to TIFF’s Cronenberg exhibit.)

In V2248 by Alexander McQueen for Givenchy at BMC Labs / David Cronenberg: Evolution

In V2248 by Alexander McQueen for Givenchy at David Cronenberg: Evolution, 2014.

Rachael’s chevron-quilted synthetic fur coat gets the most screen time, but it’s her blue brocade coat with standing fur collar that appears to have been McQueen’s main reference for the fur-trimmed coats and jackets. As the pattern reveals, the collar stands with the help of boning.

Rachael (Sean Young) in her quilted faux-fur coat in Blade Runner (1982)

Rachael (Sean Young) in her quilted faux-fur coat. Image: Vogue Italia.

Rachael's fur-trimmed blue brocade coat in Blade Runner (1982)

Rachael’s blue brocade coat. Images: Pinterest, Christies/BladeZone.

Charles Knode fur-trimmed coat sketches for Blade Runner

Charles Knode fur-trimmed coat sketches for Blade Runner. Image: BladeZone.

Blue leather coat with standing fur collar, Alexander McQueen for Givenchy, Fall 1998 rtw

Blue leather coat with standing fur collar, Alexander McQueen for Givenchy, Fall 1998 prêt-à-porter collection. Images: eBay.

(Wool version available here.)

The weathered tones and textures of Mayan Revival—prominently seen in Deckard’s apartment, as played by Frank Lloyd Wright’s Ennis House—form a thread linking the first film, Meisel’s Givenchy campaign, and Villeneuve’s sequel. It was Kaplan’s vision of a dirty retrofuture, rather than glossy futurism, that won him the Blade Runner gig. It will be interesting to see what role revivals play in the new film.

Rachael (Sean Young) visits Deckard's apartment in Blade Runner (1982)

Rachael (Sean Young) in Blade Runner (1982) Image: Restless Things.

Meisel campaign images for Alexander McQueen's Blade Runner collection for Givenchy, FW 1998

Givenchy Fall 1998 ad campaign featuring Alexander McQueen’s Blade Runner collection. Photos: Steven Meisel. Models: Erin O’Connor and Jade Parfitt.

K (Ryan Gosling) in Denis Villeneuve's Blade Runner 2049

K (Ryan Gosling) in Blade Runner 2049 (2017) Image: Vogue Italia.

For more production images for the new film, see the Vogue Italia gallery.

Patterns in Vogue: High-Toned Tweeds

September 21, 2017 § Leave a comment

"High-Toned Tweeds" - Stella Tennant in Very Easy Vogue 9369 tapered tweed pants

Detail from “High-Toned Tweeds,” Vogue, October 1995. Photo: Arthur Elgort. Editor: Grace Coddington.

Arthur Elgort and Grace Coddington’s mid-’90s editorial, “High-Toned Tweeds” (previously seen in my Anna Sui series), features Stella Tennant in stovepipe pants made from a Vogue pattern.

"High-Toned Tweeds" - Stella Tennant in Very Easy Vogue 9369 tapered tweed pants

Stella Tennant in Vogue, October 1995. Photo: Arthur Elgort. Editor: Grace Coddington.

Very Easy Very Vogue trouser pattern Vogue 9369 was made up for the magazine in Tessuti D.B.A. tweed from Encore Fabrics.

1990s easy tapered pants pattern Vogue 9369

Vogue 9369 (1995) Image: Etsy.

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.

Patterns in Vogue: Winona Ryder by Ellen von Unwerth

April 17, 2017 § 1 Comment

Ellen von Unwerth – Heimat at the Taschen Gallery, Los Angeles, 2017. Image: Taschen.

If you’re in LA this month, you can catch Ellen von Unwerth’s new show, Heimat, at the Taschen Gallery (to May 1st, 2017). A catalogue is available in two limited editions.

Ellen von Unwerth, Heimat - Bavarian show catalogue, 2017

Ellen von Unwerth, Heimat (Taschen, 2017) Image: Taschen.

In 1993, von Unwerth photographed Winona Ryder for a Vogue cover feature showcasing the season’s silver trend. One of the silver looks—shown twice—was made using a Vogue pattern.

"Riding High" Winona Ryder Vogue feature photographed by Ellen von Unwerth, 1993. "After three intense, adult dramas and the breakup of one romance and the start of another, Winona Ryder celebrates her twenty-second birthday this month with a stellar performance in The Age of Innocence. She tells David Handelman about her cheery new outlook on life and models this season's silver for Ellen Von Unwerth"

Winona Ryder in Vogue, October 1993. Photo: Ellen von Unwerth. Editor: Camilla Nickerson.

"Riding High" - Winona Ryder Vogue feature photographed by Ellen von Unwerth, 1993

Winona Ryder in V1446 silver leather coat, Vogue, October 1993. Photo: Ellen von Unwerth. Editor: Camilla Nickerson.

"Riding High" - Winona Ryder Vogue feature photographed by Ellen von Unwerth, 1993

Winona Ryder in a Betsey Johnson silver lamé suit and Converse sneakers. Vogue, October 1993. Photo: Ellen von Unwerth. Editor: Camilla Nickerson.

"Riding High" - Winona Ryder Vogue feature photographed by Ellen von Unwerth, 1993

Winona Ryder wears a silver leather coat made using Vogue 1446. Vogue, October 1993. Photo: Ellen von Unwerth. Editor: Camilla Nickerson.

Ryder’s duster is the long, view D version of Vogue 1446, made up in silver leather from Libra Leather.

Vogue 1446 (ca. 1984)

Vogue 1446 (ca. 1984) Image: Sew Exciting Needleworks.

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