Our Man in Leather: Bobby Breslau for Vogue Patterns

June 18, 2017 § 1 Comment

Vogue 2184, 2153.

Bobby Breslau in Vogue Patterns, May/June 1979. Photo: Charles Tracy.

“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 designs the softest leather in the world. His BigPouch and family of Little Pouches sensualized the bag world, becoming classics in their own time! Soft, sensuous, supple and totally functional, with a size and design for every occasion.

Bobby Breslau biographical note, Vogue 2184 (1979). Image: Etsy.

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.

Breslau bag in Halston: An American Original (1999)

Breslau bag for Halston in Elaine Gross and Fred Rottman, Halston: An American Original (1999) Image: Behind the Seams.

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”:

1970s Bobby Breslau handbag pattern Vogue 2153

Vogue 2153 by Bobby Breslau (1979) Image: Etsy.

Vogue 2184 is a saddlebag and roll pouch:

1970s Bobby Breslau handbag pattern Vogue 2184

Vogue 2184 by Bobby Breslau (1979) Image: Etsy.

Just as Breslau’s unconstructed bag is back, so too are the brights of ’79. As Hannah Marriott writes, a trend for Lego colours is predicted for spring 2019…

Vogue Patterns May Jun 1979

Model with Breslau bag, Vogue Patterns, May/June 1979.

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