Alexander McQueen Fabric, Part 1: Prints

Jack the Ripper McQueen sketch
Sketch by Alexander McQueen, Central Saint Martins MA graduate portfolio, Jack the Ripper Stalks his Victims, Fall/Winter 1992. Pencil on distressed paper with fabric swatches. Image: Alexander McQueen.

As part of this blog’s celebration of Savage Beauty in London, I’ll be devoting two posts to Alexander McQueen fabrics. (See my earlier roundup post here.) First: a look at McQueen’s distinctive prints.

McQueen’s fellow Central Saint Martins student Simon Ungless, who went on to become director of the School of Fashion at San Francisco’s Academy of Art University, designed the barbed hawthorn print in McQueen’s graduate collection, Jack the Ripper Stalks his Victims (Fall 1992; interview here. Oberto Gili photographed Isabella Blow in the coat for British Vogue.) Ungless also designed the swallow print in The Birds (Spring 1995):

Coat in pink silk satin printed in thorn pattern, Alexander McQueen FW 1992
Coat, pink silk satin printed in thorn pattern by Simon Ungless, lined in white silk with encapsulated human hair, Alexander McQueen Fall/Winter 1992 (Jack the Ripper Stalks His Victims). Photo: Sølve Sundsbø. Image: Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Mr Pearl and Plum Sykes in two swallow print looks, Alexander McQueen Spring/Summer 1995 (The Birds)
Two swallow print looks, Alexander McQueen Spring/Summer 1995 (The Birds) Models: Mr. Pearl and Plum Sykes.
Silk jacket with swallow print, Alexander McQueen SS 1995 (The Birds)
Silk jacket, Alexander McQueen Spring/Summer 1995 (The Birds). Image: Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Freelance print designer and Central Saint Martins Textiles tutor Fleet Bigwood designed fabrics for Alexander McQueen’s first three seasons. (See Fleet Bigwood: Breaking the Rules at Texprint, or the BBC’s Blast videos.) The top in this ensemble from Nihilism (Spring 1994, McQueen’s third collection) was printed using an iron filing paste that was rusted through exposure to air and salt water (see Louise Nutt on Pinterest; full collection at the Fashion Spot, or video here):

Fleet Bigwood rust-printed top, Alexander McQueen SS 1994
Ensemble featuring a Fleet Bigwood print for Alexander McQueen’s Spring/Summer 1994 collection (Nihilism). Image: Pinterest.

In 2002, immediately after presenting his award-winning Central Saint Martins graduate collection, Jonathan Saunders was hired to design prints for Alexander McQueen’s Spring 2003 collection, Irere. Working with designer Christopher Pearson—a member of the Alexander McQueen design team from 2001 to 2006 and a founding member of the company’s fashion print department—Saunders produced Irere’s celebrated Bird-of-Paradise prints (see the V&A on Irere):

Jonathan Saunders bird-of-paradise feather print for Alexander McQueen, SS 2003
Feather print for Alexander McQueen, Spring/Summer 2003 (Irere). Image: Christopher Pearson / Cargo.
Alexander McQueen Irere SS 2003 prints by Jonathan Saunders
Alexander McQueen Spring/Summer 2003 (Irere). Models: Frankie Rayder and Roos van Bosstraeten. Images: style.com.

The following year, Pearson co-designed the Alexander McQueen skull scarf with Jennefer Osterhoudt, who was head of accessories for McQueen at Givenchy and later at Alexander McQueen. The pattern is based on a skull scarf found in Camden Market:

Skull print by Christopher Pearson and Jennefer Osterhoudt for Alexander McQueen, 2002
Skull print by Christopher Pearson and Jennefer Osterhoudt for Alexander McQueen, 2002. Image: Christopher Pearson / Cargo.

For McQueen’s later collections, the prints were produced by a team of designers that included textile design interns who might be hired back after graduation. From 2006 to 2011, the company’s head print designer was Central Saint Martins graduate Holly Marler, who is now head of embroidery, fabric, and print design at Temperley London.

Lilly Heine, now head of print fabric development at Dries Van Noten, interned with Jonathan Saunders and later Alexander McQueen as a textiles student. (See her profiles in the Frankfurter Allgemeine [German only] and the Independent.) During her internship at Alexander McQueen, Heine designed some prints for La Dame Bleue (Spring 2008). The collection’s rainbow bird-of-paradise print appeared on several looks including the feather-collared Bird of Paradise dress—recently worn by FKA twigs to perform at the V&A’s Savage Beauty gala:

Alexander McQueen bird-of-paradise prints, SS 2008 Isabella Blow collection
Alexander McQueen, Spring/Summer 2008 (La Dame Bleue). Models: Taryn Davidson and Viviane Orth. Images: style.com.

Torunn Myklebust, today a senior print designer at Givenchy, also did a textile design internship at Alexander McQueen. As an intern, Myklebust worked on prints for Natural Dis-Tinction Un-Natural Selection (Spring 2009), and she rejoined the company in late 2009. (Read an interview in Natt&Dag [Norwegian only]; see Myklebust’s tumblr.) The wood-grain digital print from the Spring 2009 collection was later used for the endpapers of Andrew Bolton’s Savage Beauty catalogue:

Wood-grain digital print, Alexander McQueen SS 2009
From a silk/synthetic ensemble by Alexander McQueen, Spring/Summer 2009 (Natural Dis-Tinction Un-Natural Selection). Image: Metropolitan Museum of Art.

In her review of the Spring 2009 collection, Sarah Mower identified engineered prints as a trend out of London: “bright, multicolored allover prints, engineered to fit around jackets, leggings, and cocoon dresses—new on the Paris runway, but also part of a general trend emanating from London’s young designers.” The Spring 2009 advertising campaign, shot by Craig McDean, features a jacket and leggings in one of the collection’s crystalline digital prints:

Heidi Mount in Craig McDean's Spring 2009 campaign for Alexander McQueen
Alexander McQueen Spring 2009 ad campaign. Photo: Craig McDean. Image: styleregistry.

In her Savage Beauty interview with Tim Blanks, Sarah Burton discusses McQueen’s meticulous design process when working with patterned fabrics such as prints or jacquards. From Fall 2009 on, McQueen would drape the initial design using a rough version of the fabric, with the team producing miniature, 3-D paper dolls to show the pattern placement. When a working version of the fabric was ready, he would finalize the pattern placement on a mannequin, after which the print or jacquard would be re-adjusted to match at the seams. Only then would it be sent into production. (See Andrew Bolton, Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, pp. 229-30.)

Frederic Alexander, who worked as an assistant to Holly Marler and now designs for his own label, Saint Etienne, worked on prints for Alexander McQueen’s Pre-Fall 2009 and Fall 2009 collections. The Escher-inspired magpie houndstooth print recalls Simon Ungless’ swallow print:

Floral and magpie houndstooth prints, Alexander McQueen Pre-Fall and FW 2009-10
Floral print design for Alexander McQueen Pre-Fall 2009; magpie houndstooth print design for Alexander McQueen Fall/Winter 2009-10 (The Horn of Plenty). Images: Saint Etienne / Cargo.
Alexander McQueen Pre-Fall and Fall 2009
Alexander McQueen Pre-Fall 2009 and Fall/Winter 2009-10 (The Horn of Plenty). Images: style.com.

Advances in inkjet technology enabled the thirty-six circle-engineered digital prints in Plato’s Atlantis (Spring 2010). (For further technical discussion of textiles in Plato’s Atlantis, see the Savage Beauty section of the Alexander McQueen website.) Freelance textile designer Chinsky Cheung interned at Alexander McQueen and returned to the company for several collections, including Plato’s Atlantis. In an article published in Hong Kong’s Milk magazine, she shows aspects of the design process including pattern placement:

Alexander McQueen SS 2010 look 3 print placement
Alexander McQueen Spring/Summer 2010 (Plato’s Atlantis). Model: Karmen Pedaru. Images: style.com and Chinsky Cheung / Milk magazine via Augustine Wong.

(For more scans see Augustine Wong’s post, The Queen of the Prints.)

Dress, digitally printed silk satin and silk chiffon, Alexander McQueen SS 2010
Dress, digitally printed silk satin and silk chiffon, by Alexander McQueen, Spring/Summer 2010 (Plato’s Atlantis). Image: Victoria and Albert Museum.

The Fall 2010 menswear (An Bailitheoir Cnámh – the Bone Collector) and women’s Pre-Fall 2010 collection had the same catacombs print:

Catacomb print, Alexander McQueen Fall 2010 men's / women's Pre-Fall 2010-11
Two catacomb print looks, Alexander McQueen Fall/Winter 2010-11 menswear (An Bailitheoir Cnámh) and Pre-Fall 2010. Images: style.com, Alexander McQueen.

The textiles in McQueen’s posthumously presented Fall 2010 collection (known as Angels and Demons) were patterned with digitally manipulated images drawn from early religious painting and sculpture. (See Dazed Digital and the V&A on the collection.) Some of the patterns were not prints but jacquards, while the reworked Old Master prints looked back to pieces like the Fall 1997 Campin crucifixion-printed jacket:

Richard Fairhead's photo of Alexander McQueen Byzantine lion jacquard, Dazed magazine 2010
Alexander McQueen Byzantine lion jacquard, Dazed magazine, October 2010. Photo: Richard Fairhead. Image: Dazed Digital.
Alexander McQueen dress with print based on Stefan Lochner's 15th-century Altarpiece of the Patron Saints of Köln,
Dress, silk print based on Stefan Lochner’s Dombild Altarpiece with underskirt of gilded feathers, Alexander McQueen Fall/Winter 2010-11. Image: Victoria and Albert Museum.
Alexander McQueen jacket with Robert Campin 15th c. crucifixion print, FW 1997-98
Jacket, Alexander McQueen Fall/Winter 1997-98 (It’s a Jungle Out There). Photo: Sølve Sundsbø. Image: Metropolitan Museum of Art.

For more on digital prints, see the webpage for the Phoenix Art Museum’s 2013 exhibit, Digital Print Fashion (more in Corbin Chamberlin, “Phoenix Art Museum Embraces New Technology with ‘Digital Print Fashion’ Exhibit“). If you’re interested in designing your own digital prints, Kathryn Brenne recently wrote a primer for Vogue Patterns magazine’s February/March 2015 issue, and Melanie Bowles and Ceri Isaac have published a textbook on the subject, Digital Textile Design (Laurence King, 2nd ed. 2012).

With thanks to Kate Bethune.

Next: Alexander McQueen and tartan.

Alexander McQueen Roundup

Brit Wit: Alexander McQueen in Vogue, October 1997
Vogue, October 1997. Photo: Sean Ellis. Stylist: Isabella Blow.

The London incarnation of Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty has just opened at the Victoria and Albert Museum. (See British Vogue on the additions to the Costume Institute show.) Accompanying the exhibition is a full calendar of events, including a two-day conference in early June. The exhibition catalogue is available in hardcover and paperback from the V&A, with a North American edition to be published by Abrams in May.

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty in London

Alexander McQueen catalogue - Abrams

Several London galleries are hosting related exhibitions. At Proud Galleries, McQueen: Backstage – The Early Shows by Gary Wallis presents Wallis’ behind-the-scenes photographs from McQueen’s early career (to April 5, 2015; book). Tate Britain’s Nick Waplington/Alexander McQueen: Working Process brings together Nick Waplington’s photographs of The Horn of Plenty (FW 2009), recently published in his 2013 book (to May 17, 2015). At the Gallery at Foyles, Inferno: Alexander McQueen – Photographs by Kent Baker will present backstage photographs from Dante (FW 1996) (March 20 to May 3; book). And next month, London College of Fashion’s Fashion Space Gallery will host Warpaint: Alexander McQueen and Make-Up (April 30 to August 7, 2015).

Lee doing cartwheels across the lawn, Hilles House, 1994

Nick Waplington/Alexander McQueen: Working Process at Tate Britain

Untitled by Kent Baker, from Alexander McQueen's Dante collection, 1996

Warpaint: Alexander McQueen and Make-Up

To celebrate the opening of the London retrospective, here’s a roundup of my posts on sewing patterns by Alexander McQueen, both for Givenchy and his own label:

4 Givenchy McQueen patterns - Vogue 2086, 2157, 2343, 2228

Caitriona Balfe / McQueen kimono jacket

Vogue 2248 by Givenchy

Vintage Jumpsuit Patterns

1970s jumpsuit or playsuit pattern - Vogue 8331
Vogue 8331 (1972) Image: Vintage Pattern Wiki.

Versatile and contemporary, jumpsuits and their cousins, playsuits and rompers, have become increasingly popular in the last few years. Jumpsuits—or all-in-ones, if you’re British—seem poised to move beyond a trend this summer.

The modern women’s jumpsuit has origins in two different garments: beach pajamas and the boiler suit. These twin origins mean jumpsuit styles range from fluid loungewear to utility-inspired or tailored designs. (See Vogue Italia for a short history of the jumpsuit.) Here are some favourite all-in-one patterns from the 1930s to the 1990s.

1930s–1940s

Beach pajamas, often worn with a matching bolero, had become one-piece by the early 1930s. This McCall’s design combines flowing trousers with geometric seaming details in the bodice and hip yoke. A reproduction is available from the Model A Ford Club of America:

1930s beach pajama pattern - McCall 6432
McCall 6432 (1931) Image: Model A Ford Club of America.

(See my earlier beachwear post here; for more on beach pajamas, see the FIDM Museum blog and Amber Butchart’s essay for British Pathé.)

The boiler suits of wartime utility wear are said to have made bifurcated clothing more acceptable for women. This Vogue pattern from ca. 1940 includes both a hooded mechanic suit with cuffed trousers and a more casual, short-sleeved version shown in a dotted print:

1940s Rosie the Riveter all-in-one hooded boiler suit pattern - Vogue 8852
Vogue 8852 (1940) Image: Vintage Patterns Wiki.

This early 1940s pajama ensemble with T-back halter bodice was not just for the beach—the envelope says it’s for “beach, dinner or evening”:

1940s pajama ensemble pattern - McCall 4075
McCall 4075 (1941) Image: Vintage Patterns Wiki.

1950s

In the postwar period, more tailored jumpsuits emerged as a choice for casual sportswear. This early 1950s pedal-pusher coverall has cuffed sleeves and pants and a front zipper closure:

1950s pedal-pusher coverall pattern - McCall's 8520
McCall’s 8520 (1951) Image: Vintage Patterns Wiki.

From the late 1950s, this trim, one-piece slack suit from Vogue came in two lengths and with a matching overskirt:

1950s jumpsuit and skirt pattern - Vogue 9898
Vogue 9898 (1959) Image: Vintage Patterns Wiki.

1960s

The jumpsuit—sometimes called a culotte or pantdress—truly comes into its own in the later 1960s. Here Birgitta af Klercker models Vogue 2249, a loungewear design by Emilio Pucci (previously featured in my goddess gown post):

1960s Pucci lounge pajamas pattern - Vogue 2249
Vogue 2249 by Pucci (1969) Image: Vintage Patterns Wiki.

In this late 1960s Butterick Young Designers pattern, Mary Quant combines a trim, zip-front jumpsuit with a low-waisted miniskirt for a sleek, futuristic look:

1960s jumpsuit pattern by Mary Quant - Butterick 5404
Butterick 5404 by Mary Quant (1969) Image: Etsy.

1970s

Both pajama and menswear-inspired styles continue into the 1970s. Famous for her palazzo pajamas, Galitzine designed this bi-coloured lounge pantdress with criss-cross halter bodice:

1970s Galitzine lounge pantdress pattern - Vogue 2731
Vogue 2731 by Galitzine (1972) Image: The Blue Gardenia.

From Calvin Klein, Vogue 1453 marks a return to the boiler suit style. With cargo pockets, self belt, and wide, notched collar, the jumpsuit could be made long or short, with long or short sleeves:

1970s Calvin Klein jumpsuit pattern - Vogue 1453
Vogue 1453 by Calvin Klein (1976) Image: Vintage Patterns Wiki.

1980s

This Bob Mackie disco jumpsuit or evening dress pattern for stretch knits dates to 1980. (See my earlier Bob Mackie post here.) The jumpsuit has a plunging neckline, waistline pleats, and tapered, bias pants designed to crush at the ankles:

McCall's 7134 1980s Bob Mackie disco jumpsuit or evening dress pattern
McCall’s 7134 by Bob Mackie (1980)

An instance of the late 1980s jumpsuit trend, this shirtdress-style jumpsuit by Donna Karan has a notched collar, welt pockets, and cuffed or seven-eighths length kimono sleeves:

1980s Donna Karan jumpsuit pattern - Vogue 2284
Vogue 2284 by Donna Karan (1989) Image via eBay.

1990s

Also by Donna Karan, Vogue 2609, ca. 1990, is a long-sleeved, tapered jumpsuit for stretch knits with neckline variations, front pleats, and stirrups. View C has a contrast bodice with self-lined hood:

1990s Donna Karan jumpsuit pattern - Vogue 2609
Vogue 2609 by Donna Karan (1990) Image: The Blue Gardenia.

From 1996, Vogue 1821 by DKNY is almost vintage. It’s a novel suit consisting of a single-breasted jacket and wide-legged, halter jumpsuit:

1990s DKNY jumpsuit pattern - Vogue 1821
Vogue 1821 by DKNY (1996) Image: eBay.

Finally, this pattern is not yet vintage, but a jumpsuit collection would be incomplete without Vogue 2343, Alexander McQueen’s tailored, tuxedo jumpsuit for Givenchy haute couture Spring/Summer 1998 (earlier post here):

1990s Alexander McQueen for Givenchy couture jumpsuit pattern - Vogue 2343
Vogue 2343 by Alexander McQueen for Givenchy (1999) Image: PatternVault shop.

With their demanding fit, jumpsuits are ideal for home sewers. And they’re not just for the tall and leggy: many of the later jumpsuit patterns are marked as suitable for petites.

If you’d like to try your hand at an early all-in-one, Wearing History has a repro pattern for 1930s beach pajamas, and Simplicity 9978 includes a 1940s boiler suit.

Vogue 2248 by Alexander McQueen for Givenchy

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I made the first of my patterns by Alexander McQueen for Givenchy: the cowl-neck sheath dress, Vogue 2248. (See my earlier post here.)

Vogue 2248 by Alexander McQueen for Givenchy (1999) Dress with contrast cowl neck.
Vogue 2248 by Alexander McQueen for Givenchy (1999)

I had planned to make the dress in my default black, and had even bought some mesh for the contrast cowl neck. But when I started looking back over runway photos from Givenchy’s neo-noir Fall 1998 ready-to-wear collection, I was struck by the palette of neutrals, electric blue, and especially the combination of oxblood with red.

Givenchy FW1998 Frankie Rayder and Sunniva Stordahl
Models: Frankie Rayder and Sunniva Stordahl. Images: firstVIEW.
Givenchy FW1998 by Alexander McQueen - runway photos by Thierry Orban
Photos: Thierry Orban. Images: Corbis.

(There’s a blue version of the original sleeveless dress on eBay. The dress fabric is a nylon/acetate/elastane blend, with acetate lining, and the back zipper reaches all the way up through the cowl.)

I made View B, the sleeveless, mid-calf version, in oxblood with a red cowl neck. I hit Designer Fabrics and found some oxblood wool, red mesh for the contrast cowl, and Bemberg for the lining. The pattern recommends chiffon for the contrast, but I wanted to stick with the mesh used for the runway version. I was a little stumped as to interfacing for the contrast, and even bought some tomato red tricot to use before learning that the best interfacing for mesh is more mesh.

I wanted a close fit, so I ignored the sizing and went by the finished garment measurements printed on the pattern, including 1″ ease at bust and waist and a little more in the hips. I also lengthened the skirt by 1.5″ to achieve the correct length.

Technical drawing for Vogue 2248
Technical drawing for Vogue 2248

This was my first dart-fitted dress, and I had fun sewing my very first contour darts—eventually realizing the virtues of even a makeshift tailor’s ham. The cowl neck is cut on the bias, but this didn’t pose any problems, since the mesh handles much better than chiffon.

With the full lining and absolutely no stretch, the dress feels very old-fashioned to wear. One thing I misjudged was the bodice/cowl part of the bodice—I cut the right size in the bust, but didn’t distribute the extra waist length I was adding between the above-waist and shoulder areas, so it’s a bit on the high side and the cowl neck has a closer fit than in the runway photo. It would have been simpler to cut a size up and take the bodice in at the sides. The “interfaced” mesh is also a little bulky; the extra layer was probably unnecessary.

Since the Fall 1998 collection was inspired by Blade Runner, it seemed appropriate to take photos of the dress at the David Cronenberg: Evolution exhibition at TIFF Bell Lightbox. In the Interzone area, devoted to Naked Lunch (1991), visitors could have their photo taken with a Mugwump:

With the Mugwump at TIFF's David Cronenberg: Evolution

Naomi took some photos of me upstairs at an extension of the Cronenberg show called Body/Mind/Change (BMC). Visitors to the biotech facility BMC Labs can observe the production of personalized POD (Personal On-Demand) implants, which are held awaiting pickup by their hosts. The BMC Labs facility is still open if you’d like to create your own POD implant:

Pod Wants to Know You.
Image: BMC Labs.

Here I am in the POD holding area:

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A closer view of the mesh cowl neck:

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The cowl fastens in the back with hooks and thread eyes:

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The lab staff let me hold a brand-new red POD (rara avis—most are colourless):

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We were delighted to find BMC Labs at the end of our visit: it was the perfect backdrop for the dress given McQueen’s futuristic, sci-fi inspiration for his collection for Givenchy. I’m crossing my fingers for a red POD of my own…

Free Designer Pattern: Alexander McQueen Kimono Jacket

SHOWstudio Alexander McQueen kimono jacket photographed by Nick Knight
Alexander McQueen Scanners kimono jacket. Photo: Nick Knight. Image: SHOWstudio.

Alexander McQueen would have been 44 today. On the occasion of his birthday, here’s a look back at the free pattern McQueen shared with SHOWstudio: the Scanners kimono jacket.

The original kimono jacket was made of black silk, and was shown on the runway with a matching pencil skirt and long gloves (worn by a pre-Outlander Caitriona Balfe):

Caitriona Balfe models the Alexander McQueen kimono jacket available from SHOWstudio
Caitriona Balfe in Alexander McQueen’s Fall 2003 runway show. Image: firstVIEW.

The kimono jacket is drawn from Scanners, Alexander McQueen’s Fall/Winter 2003 collection. (The invitation to the show was printed with brain scans—CAT scans of the designer’s brain.) This was the year McQueen received his CBE from Queen Elizabeth II, as well as the CFDA’s International Award and his fourth British Fashion Designer of the Year. The models walked across a snowy tundra and along a raised wind tunnel; the design references represented a journey eastward through Siberia, Tibet, and Japan, mixed with geometric prints and McQueen’s signature tailoring. (See Suzy Menkes, “The Collections / Paris: A stellar McQueen; elegance at Viktor & Rolf.”)

Here are the collection images from L’Officiel 1000 modèles (click to enlarge):

LOfficielno33_2003_ScannersA
Alexander McQueen Fall 2003 collection (Scanners). Image: jalougallery.
LOfficielno33_2003_ScannersB
Alexander McQueen Fall 2003 collection (Scanners). Image: jalougallery.

Watch the runway video (kimono jacket at about 6:10):

Kimono-inspired designs are a thread running through McQueen’s work. Here are a few more kimono looks by Alexander McQueen, from Eclect Dissect—Givenchy couture, Fall 1997 (as on the McQueen / Nick Knight album cover for Björk’s Homogenic); La Dame Bleue, in memory of Isabella Blow; and the posthumous Fall 2010 collection:

McQueen kimonos: Eclect Dissect Givenchy Couture FW 1997, La dame bleue McQueen SS 2008, McQueen FW 2010
Kimono-inspired looks from Eclect Dissect, Givenchy Haute Couture Fall 1997; La Dame Bleue, Alexander McQueen Spring 2008, and Alexander McQueen Fall 2010. Images: L’Officiel 1000 modèles and style.com.
Alexander McQueen kimono jacket pieces at SHOWstudio
Image: SHOWstudio.

Download the kimono jacket pattern

Size: US size 6 / UK size 8 approx. (bust 32″ – waist 24″) *

Fabric requirements: approx. 1.75 metres (about 2 yards) of 60″ fabric / over 3 metres (about 3.25 yards) of 39″ fabric *

See the SHOWstudio submissions gallery here. Toronto’s Mel of inside out inside has made an adapted version in Lida Baday fabric. Blithe of blithe stitches has a post on her metallic Hablon version and also a detailed tutorial.

Update: Useful for comparison: the photos of this gold brocade version of the McQueen kimono jacket on 1stdibs:

Back view, Alexander McQueen gold brocade silk blend kimono jacket, 2003
Alexander McQueen silk blend kimono jacket, 2003. Image: 1stdibs.

* Sizes and yardages are approximate and are drawn from Mel and Blithe’s notes on their versions of the kimono jacket.

Year of the Snake: Vogue 2086 by Alexander McQueen for Givenchy, Part 1

Naomi Campbell modelling a green python strapless dress on the runway - Alexander McQueen - Givenchy Fall 1997 ready-to-wear

I’m a little late to the party, but—as part of Anne of Pretty Grievances’ Jungle January event, I thought it would be fun to use a reptile print to make the strapless dress from Vogue 2086, the first of Vogue Patterns’ Givenchy patterns by Alexander McQueen.

Vogue 2086 (1998) Strapless sheath and jacket with pierced front.
Vogue 2086 by Alexander McQueen for Givenchy (1998) Strapless dress and jacket. Model: Jacki Adams.

The dress and jacket are from the Fall 1997 prêt-à-porter, McQueen’s first ready-to-wear collection for Givenchy. (See my earlier post here.) As you can see from this Richard Avedon campaign photo, animal prints were a feature of the collection:

Honor Fraser in Givenchy by Alexander McQueen Fall/Winter 1997 Richard Avedon
Givenchy Fall 1997 advertising campaign. Model: Honor Fraser. Photo: Richard Avedon.

The runway collection included not only leopard lace but also leopard dresses, skirts, and coats. (Fashion TV even has a highlights video of the leopard looks on the Givenchy runway; full runway video starting here.) Leopard lace was also used in this strapless catsuit, modelled by Shalom Harlow:

Shalom Harlow in Givenchy by Alexander McQueen, Fall 1997 RTW. Images: Vogue Italia Collections / Fashion Channel.

McQueen showed versions of the Vogue 2086 sheath in both leopard and emerald green python:

leopard / green python - Givenchy FW 1997 rtw by Alexander McQueen
Michele Hicks and Naomi Campbell in Givenchy Fall 1997 RTW by Alexander McQueen. Images: jalougallery.

Coming soon: a post on my reptile print PVC version of the Vogue 2086 strapless dress.

New McQueen for Givenchy Section in the PatternVault Shop!

Now in the PatternVault shop: a new section devoted to Vogue patterns by Alexander McQueen for Givenchy!

(Go straight to the McQueen for Givenchy section.)

A couple years ago I started collecting these patterns as I found them. After the overwhelming response to my Alexander McQueen Patterns series, I’ve decided it’s time to share them with the world…

Here’s what you’ll find in the shop:

Givenchy by Alexander McQueen pattern, Vogue 2086

Alexander McQueen for Givenchy strapless sheath dress & jacket — Vogue Paris Original 2086

Givenchy by Alexander McQueen pattern, Vogue 2467

Alexander McQueen for Givenchy double-breasted pantsuit — Vogue Paris Original 2467

Givenchy by Alexander McQueen pattern, Vogue 2183

Alexander McQueen for Givenchy double-breasted pantsuit or coat dress — Vogue Paris Original 2183

Givenchy by Alexander McQueen pattern, Vogue 2228

Alexander McQueen for Givenchy faux fur-trimmed skirt suit — small size range — Vogue Paris Original 2228

(Available in small and medium size ranges; see the medium here.)

Givenchy by Alexander McQueen pattern, Vogue 2653

Alexander McQueen for Givenchy pantsuit or skirt suit — Vogue Paris Original 2653

Givenchy by Alexander McQueen pattern, Vogue 2628

Alexander McQueen for Givenchy asymmetrical double-breasted dress — Vogue Paris Original 2628

Givenchy by Alexander McQueen pattern, Vogue 2486

Alexander McQueen for Givenchy pantsuit with tailcoat — Vogue Paris Original 2486

Givenchy by Alexander McQueen pattern, Vogue 2343

Alexander McQueen for Givenchy Couture tuxedo jumpsuit — Vogue Paris Original 2343