Trigère Designs for McCall’s, 1956

August 17, 2017 § Leave a comment

Pauline Trigère, with shears, and Anne St Marie in McCall's 3827 - McCall's advertisement, fall 1956

Pauline Trigère in an ad for McCall’s Printed Patterns, Vogue, October 1956. Model: Anne St. Marie.

Pauline Trigère, who settled in America after fleeing Nazism in Europe, appears in this 1956 advertisement for McCall’s Printed Patterns.

The model wears McCall’s 3827.

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Betsey Johnson: Butterick Patterns

August 10, 2017 § Leave a comment

Betsey Johnson sketch for Paraphernalia, 1965. Image: CFDA / Pinterest.

Betsey Johnson turns 75 today. Four decades on, the designer’s 1970s Butterick patterns are still very popular. Here’s a look at Johnson’s early work, with an emphasis on more seldom seen archival images.

Betsey Johnson (b. 1942) has made a career of creating irreverent, youth-oriented clothes that stand a bit outside the mainstream. She learned sewing and pattern drafting while running a dance school as a teen, but got her official start in the business designing for Youthquake boutique Paraphernalia. By 1970 she was the designer for Alley Cat, a junior sportswear label. (For more see Vogue.com and Anne-Marie Schiro, “Betsey Johnson: Honor for a Life of Celebrating Youth.”)

Dale Fahey, Birgitta, and Renée Roberts in Betsey Johnson neon satins (Golo sandals) photographed by Howell Conant, 1966

Models wear Betsey Johnson neon satin dresses in Piper’s Alley, Chicago. Life magazine, November 11, 1966. Photo: Howell Conant. Image: LIFE archive.

Juggler stands in front of Steel Pier's mystery ride and wears fancy-sleeved mini (Betsey Johnson, $34). Life magazine, May 24, 1968

Juggling in a Betsey Johnson mini dress in front of Steel Pier’s mystery ride, Atlantic City. Life magazine, May 24, 1968. Photo: Richard Davis. Image: LIFE archive.

In 1971, Johnson won a Coty Award for her work at Alley Cat (see the New York Times notice). The following year, Butterick launched its Betsey Johnson patterns in the Spring 1972 catalogue. The designs were also cross-promoted (along with Cyrus Clark cotton chintz) with a Barbara Bordnick editorial in Seventeen magazine.

Sunny Redmond in Butterick 6530 Betsey Johnson dress

Butterick 6530 by Betsey Johnson of Alley Cat, Butterick Home Catalog, Spring 1972. Model: Sunny Redmond.

1970s Betsey Johnson Butterick editorial "The Betsey Girl," photographed by Barbara Bornick

Butterick 6533 by Betsey Johnson in “The Betsey Girl,” Seventeen, January 1972. Photo: Barbara Bordnick. Image: Gold Country Girls.

Butterick 6530 by Betsey Johnson in Seventeen, January 1972. Photo: Barbara Bordnick. Image: Gold Country Girls.

1970s Butterick 6535 by Betsey Johnson photographed by Barbara Bordnick for Seventeen

Butterick 6535 by Betsey Johnson in Seventeen, January 1972. Photo: Barbara Bordnick. Image: Gold Country Girls.

Butterick 6532 by Betsey Johnson in Seventeen, January 1972. Photo: Barbara Bordnick. Image: Gold Country Girls.

The earliest of Johnson’s Butterick Young Designer patterns refer to her as Betsey Johnson of Alley Cat, and most seem to predate the founding of her company in 1978. Here’s Butterick 6979 on the cover of the March 1973 issue of Butterick’s news leaflet:

1970s Betsey Johnson Butterick 6979

Butterick 6979 by Betsey Johnson of Alley Cat, Butterick Fashion News, March 1973. Image: eBay.

The young Patti Hansen in Alley Cat:

pink Alley Cat by Betsey Johnson acetate/cotton velvet dress with two Red Cobra necklaces, pink Lurex and stone bracelets by P.C. Designs

Patti Hansen in Alley Cat by Betsey Johnson, Glamour, December 1973. Photo: Rico Puhlmann. Image: Getty.

One of the first items I sold on Etsy was this 1975 issue of Butterick Fashion News with a Betsey Johnson cover. (Click to see inside.) The same embroidered pinafore was featured on the home catalogue cover:

The Romantic Pinafore: Butterick 4090 by Betsey Johnson of Alley Cat, Butterick Fashion News, March 1975. Image: PatternVault on Etsy.

Butterick 4090 by Betsey Johnson of Alley Cat, Butterick Home Catalog, Spring 1975

Butterick 4090 by Betsey Johnson of Alley Cat, Butterick Home Catalog, Spring 1975. Image: eBay.

The pinafore also appears in this cute advertisement with Butterick 4088:

Butterick 4090 and 4088 by Betsey Johnson, 1975

Butterick Betsey Johnson ad in Seventeen, February 1975. Image: Carmen and Ginger.

This Butterick ad shows three Betsey Johnson designs that came with transfers for DIY embellishment (dress Butterick 4679, knit tops Butterick 4676, and skirt/pants Butterick 4678):

Butterick 4676, 4678, 4679 by Betsey Johnson

Butterick ad for Betsey Johnson patterns in Seventeen, 1976. Image: Gold County Girls.

The Spring 1976 catalogue used illustrated photographs to present this DIY series, which also included a hat and shoes (1st page, Butterick 4680; 3rd page Butterick 4681, with Joyce Walker on the right):

Butterick 4680 by Betsey Johnson in the Butterick Home Catalog, Spring 1976

Butterick 4680 by Betsey Johnson, Butterick Home Catalog, Spring 1976.

1970s Betsey Johnson patterns in Butterick 4679, 4676, 4678; 4676, 4681

Betsey Johnson patterns in the Butterick Home Catalog, Spring 1976.

Another 1976 Butterick ad shows a Betsey Johnson jumper (Butterick 4956) with deep ribbon trim—perfect for a late-summer Cape Cod getaway:

Butterick ad for Betsey Johnson patterns in Seventeen, August 1976. Image: Pinterest.

Happy birthday, Betsey Johnson!

Cotton ad feat. Alley Cat by Betsey Johnson in Seventeen magazine, August 1973

Cotton ad featuring Alley Cat by Betsey Johnson in Seventeen, August 1973. Models: Sunny Redmond, Betsey Johnson. Image: FinnFemme.

With thanks to Heidi at Gold Country Girls.

Bad Girls Do It Well

January 12, 2017 § 1 Comment

Late 1950s Eastman Fibers Chromspun ad feat. McCall's 5020 and Pierre Cardin suit McCall's 5099

C’est Vous! 1959 Eastman Fibers advertisement featuring McCall’s 5020 and McCall’s 5099 by Pierre Cardin.

A 1959 Eastman Fibers ad brings a note of intrigue to McCall’s patterns by photographing them in a nightlife setting, on a pair of vampy women.

The patterns are McCall’s 5020, a strapless cocktail dress, and McCall’s 5099, a skirt suit by Pierre Cardin, both shown in Wesco Chromspun fabrics.

Chromspun is the trademark for Eastman colour-locked acetate yarn from Eastman Chemical Products Inc., then a subsidiary of Eastman Kodak—in those days headquartered on Madison Avenue.

Create Your Brilliant Season

December 21, 2016 § 2 Comments

Dovima wears McCall's 4425 for Celanese, 1959

Dovima wears McCall’s 4425 for Celanese, 1959.

A Celanese advertising insert from the late 1950s shows McCall’s festive styles in the latest synthetic silks—top models and more than one tiara from the multinational chemical company that brought you cellulose acetate.

"Create your brilliant season with opulent fabrics of Celanese Contemporary Fibers" - 1959 Celanese insert

Celanese Contemporary Fibers advertising booklet, Fall 1959.

The booklet frames small, full-length photos of McCall’s designs with close-ups showing off the “brilliant” textiles. Here, McCall’s 4999 is shown in Belding Corticelli’s rayon-acetate matelassé, with McCall’s 5057 in Cohama’s Arnel triacetate faille. The model on the right is Simone D’Aillencourt:

1950s dress patterns McCall's 4999 and McCall's 5057

Left, McCall’s 4999 in Belding Corticelli matelassé; right, McCall’s 5057 in Cohama faille. Celanese insert, Fall 1959.

The blue ensemble on the left is McCall’s 5023, made in Celanese Celaperm acetate satin faille from the David Hecht Co. Anne St. Marie poses in McCall’s 5029 in Onondaga rayon-acetate brocade:

1950s dress and jacket ensemble patterns McCall's 5023 and McCall's 5029

Left, McCall’s 5023 in David Hecht Co. satin faille; right, McCall’s 5029 in Onondaga brocade. Celanese insert, Fall 1959.

Here, Dovima wears a shimmering gold version of McCall’s 4425 in Lawrence and Klauber printed crepe satin acetate, while McCall’s 4870 evokes Princess Grace in aqua acetate satin from William Skinner and Sons:

1950s evening dress patterns McCall's 4425 and McCall's 4870

McCall’s 4425 in Lawrence and Klauber printed crepe satin; right, McCall’s 4870 in William Skinner and Sons satin. Celanese insert, Fall 1959.

Dovima closes the booklet in McCall’s 5012, an at-home trouser ensemble shown in orange and tangerine Celaperm acetate satin peau from Wedgwood Fabrics.

Dovima wears McCall's 5012 in Wedgwood Fabrics' satin peau

Dovima wears McCall’s 5012 in Wedgwood Fabrics’ satin peau. Celanese insert, Fall 1959.

For more on the history of Celanese (est. 1918), see the company website.

Happy holidays, everyone!

Richard Avedon and Sally Victor: Simplicity Pattern Book, 1950

November 29, 2015 § 5 Comments

1950s Simplicity Pattern Book detail

Photo: Richard Avedon. Image via PatternVault on Etsy.

During his early period as a fashion photographer, Richard Avedon (1923-2004) did some work for Simplicity, including the Fall-Winter 1950 issue of Simplicity Pattern Book:

Fall-Winter 1950 Simplicity Patterb Book - cover by Richard Avedon

Simplicity Pattern Book, Fall-Winter 1950. Photo: Richard Avedon. Image via vintage4me2 on eBay.

The suit is Simplicity 3310, made in Botany flannels and worn with “[m]atching hat designed for Simplicity by Sally Victor,” Simplicity 3322.

Inside, the hat is shown photographed by Halley Erskine:

1950s Sally Victor hat pattern Simplicity 3322 in Simplicity Pattern Book

Make your own hat from a Sally Victor design. Simplicity Pattern Book, Fall-Winter 1950. Photos: Halley Erskine.

The back cover is a Botany ad, apparently from the same Avedon photo shoot:

1950s Botany ad featuring Simplicity 3322 and 3310

Botany advertisement on the back cover of Simplicity Pattern Book, Fall-Winter 1950.

I have a Canadian copy of Simplicity 3322 in the shop, printed with a special Chatelaine magazine logo:

1950s Sally Victor hat and bag pattern, Simplicity 3322

Simplicity 3322 by Sally Victor (1950) Image via PatternVault on Etsy.

For more on Sally Victor see my Mad Men-era millinery post.

The Smartest Move You Can Make

June 4, 2015 § 1 Comment

Vogue ad April 1957 detail

Now that wedding season is upon us, I wanted to share this bridal-themed ad for Vogue Patterns from spring, 1957. The pattern is a Vogue Special Design, Vogue S-4765 (click to enlarge):

1950s Vogue Patterns advertisement showing Vogue S-4765

The smartest move you can make… Vogue Printed and Perforated Patterns advertisement, April 1957.

The company had a series of these ads, each showing the model bursting out of a bunch of printed and perforated pattern pieces. (Vogue patterns were unprinted until the mid-1950s.) I love how the slogan, “The smartest move you can make,” blurs the distinction between a life decision such as marriage and the choice of pattern brand.

Make the Clothes that Make the Woman (Part 2)

August 4, 2014 § 2 Comments

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, or are a connoisseur of 1950s sewing advertising, you’ve seen images from McCall’s mid-1950s “Make the Clothes that Make the Woman” advertising campaign. (See my earlier post here.)

I’ve found another ad from the campaign. The model is Jean Patchett, and the pattern is McCall’s 3635 —an “Italian drawstring top” and “saucy in-between-length Jamaican shorts” (click to enlarge):

Advertisement for McCall's Printed Patterns, 1956. Model: Jean Patchett.

Advertisement for McCall’s Printed Patterns, 1956. Model: Jean Patchett.

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