July 28, 2016 § 3 Comments
Oscar de la Renta was born in July 1932; he would have turned 84 last week. In honour of his birthday, I’ll be looking at Oscar de la Renta sewing patterns from the 1990s and 2000s. (See Part 1 here.)
The 1990s marked Oscar de la Renta’s fourth decade with Vogue Patterns. From 1990, Vogue 2500 is a dress with pleated overlay and asymmetrical bias collar, chic in a polka dot print. De la Renta was pictured with a model wearing this design in Vogue Patterns magazine (May/June issue); the photo also made the cover of the counter catalogue:
In 1992, de la Renta became the first American to take over a French couture house when he was appointed chief designer at Balmain. He had begun presenting his own collection in Paris the previous year. (See Suzy Menkes, “De la Renta Joins Balmain.”) The cover of the Assouline book pictured above shows Balmain haute couture; a similar tableau was created for the de Young retrospective.
Vogue 1638 is a brightly coloured skirt suit from Oscar de la Renta’s Spring 1995 collection (full video on YouTube here). Its tailored details, like the jacket’s back pleats and martingale belt, won it an Advanced skill rating. The design was featured in a Vogue Patterns suits article (see The Overflowing Stash) and on the cover of the counter catalogue:
This double-breasted skirt suit, shown on the runway in pink satin, must be from the Fall 1995 collection. The recommended fabrics are satin, damask, and gabardine:
Ellen von Unwerth photographed Stella Tennant in a corseted lace Oscar de la Renta dress with flamenco dancer Joaquín Cortés for Vogue’s 1996 September issue:
Two years later, Hillary Clinton wore Oscar de la Renta for her Vogue cover (more here):
Vogue 2361 is a formal dress from the Spring 1998 collection. The skirt is cut on the bias, the bodice and hemline flounces are finished with self fabric binding, and view A has an asymmetrical train. Kirsten Owen modelled the original on the runway:
Just for fun, here’s another editorial photo showing de la Renta’s couture work at Balmain. Ruven Afanador photographed this lace-embroidered gown with matching chihuahua:
This floral print evening dress is a design from de la Renta’s Spring 2000 collection. Piping defines the waist, and the bias train is trimmed with waist pleats and flounces. The original was modelled on the runway by Carmen Kass:
The Fall 2001 collection included two “decidedly gothic black opera coats,” and Vogue Patterns chose one of them for its customers. Vogue 2714 is a full-sleeved, floor-length opera coat trimmed with frog closures and pleated ruffles. The pattern is sometimes numbered “P935 – Best Seller”:
From the Spring 2005 collection, strapless gown pattern Vogue 2889 evokes flamenco with its tiered skirt and draped, drop-waist bodice. The design was shown on the runway with length and bodice variations:
Vogue 2928 is a grand, off-the-shoulder ballgown complete with boned foundation, attached petticoat, and self fabric flowers and appliqués. The gown was the penultimate look in de la Renta’s Fall 2005 collection:
For more on the late designer, see Vogue’s retrospective. Have you made any Oscar de la Renta patterns?
November 16, 2015 § 3 Comments
In honour of Paris, a selection of postwar fashion photography shot on location in the city.
Vogue’s earliest Paris Originals were photographed in Paris, by Vogue editorial photographers including Clifford Coffin and Norman Parkinson.
The eight colour photos were first seen in the March 1st, 1949 issue of Vogue magazine, to announce the new couturier patterns.
(Available as a print from Condé Nast.)
November 10, 2015 § 8 Comments
Whether you call it fake or faux, this season’s fur trend is only fashion’s latest take on synthetic fur.
Many vintage sewing patterns call for fur banding and fur cloth. The reversible coat shown above, Vogue 1019 by Jacques Griffe, is fully lined with the latest black, synthetic fox fur. (Hover for full caption.) More recently there’s Donna Karan’s coat for low-pile fake fur, Vogue 1365, from the Fall 2012 collection:
Here’s a look at vintage patterns that call for fur trim or fur cloth, with an emphasis on the trendy, unusual, and outrageous.
From Winter 1926, this dolman coat by Martial et Armand has a deep fur collar and narrow fur banding at the cuffs:
This opulent, late 1920s evening wrap calls for a length of 4.5″ fur banding. A reproduction is available from EvaDress:
Thirties patterns show many creative uses of fur trim. These two ca. 1933 coats both call for fur cloth accents. McCall 7206 has an attached scarf and contrast lower sleeves, shown in synthetic Persian lamb, while McCall 7207 has a deep fur collar and matching, triangular sleeve patches:
Simplicity 1541’s dramatic, curving collar and pointed cuffs can be made in contrast fur cloth; the fur-trimmed version was illustrated on the cover of the holiday 1934 issue of Simplicity Pattern Magazine. A reproduction is available from the Vintage Pattern Lending Library:
From the autumn of 1939, McCall 3420 is a swagger coat with built-up neckline and optional, tapered lower sleeves and semi-circular shoulder insets. View A is shown in faux Astrakhan (matching hat unfortunately not included):
McCall 3875, a World War 2-era swing coat, can be made with elbow-deep fur cuffs:
This wartime cape pattern, previously featured in my vintage capes post, includes an evening cape with stand-up fur collar:
High-end postwar sewing patterns sometimes assume natural fur will be used and direct the home dressmaker to a specialist. From November 1949, Vogue 1075 is one of the earliest Balmain patterns. The voluminous “melon” sleeves can be made in fur contrast; the envelope back says, “Note: Have fur sleeves made by furrier”:
This Vogue Couturier design includes a wide-necked evening coat with big fur collar and elbow-length sleeves:
From Nina Ricci, Vogue 1217’s cape has a broad shawl collar that can be made in faux fur:
Vogue 1897 is a design from Yves Saint Laurent’s Fall/Winter 1967-68 haute couture collection, inspired by Queen Christina (see Paco’s post here). The fur-trimmed evening cape requires a taffeta stay for the fur trim unless made by a furrier:
David Lean’s Doctor Zhivago (1965) seems to have prompted a fashion for Cossack coats and hats. Vogue-Butterick had Vogue 1983, and McCall’s had this fur-trimmed coat pattern:
There was even a pattern for fur hats for men, women, and children, McCall’s 2966:
Eighties excess brought the more-is-more aesthetic to designs for synthetic fur. McCall’s 7736 is a raglan-sleeved jacket for lightweight fake fur or woolens:
From the Connoisseur Collection, Simplicity 7078 is for fake fur only:
In addition to a hat and stole for fur-like fabrics, accessories pattern Vogue 9981 includes a muff with concealed pocket:
The 1990s were another good time for synthetic fur—so good that Vogue Patterns licensed a designer specializing in faux fur outerwear. Not quite vintage, this reversible coat pattern by Issey Miyake calls for high pile fake fur:
From Alexander McQueen’s Fall 1998 ready-to-wear collection for Givenchy, Vogue 2228’s jacket has a fur-trimmed hem and large, standing fur collar that recalls the 1940s evening cape shown above. (See my earlier McQueen post here.) I have one copy for sale in the shop:
Vogue 2233’s fur-trimmed dress and jacket are from Anna Sui’s Fall/Winter 1998 collection (click to purchase from the shop):
Vogue 2233 is one of the most ’90s patterns ever: Björk meets Britpop. The jacket was worn on the runway by Kirsty Hume—hat by James Coviello:
There was also a pattern for Anna Sui faux-fur accessories, Vogue 7950 (see my earlier Anna Sui series).
Tips for sourcing synthetic fur
- Tissavel: This luxury French faux fur mill is unfortunately now closed, but ends can be found on Etsy.
- Faux Persian lamb/Astrakhan: Available as a special order from Emma One Sock.
- Fur banding: Mokuba carries high-quality synthetic fur banding in various widths.
Working with vintage furs and synthetic fur
Vintage patterns often direct the home dressmaker to a furrier; old sewing books and magazines also provide tips for refashioning vintage furs. (Woman’s Day 5045 came with a special instruction booklet and fur needle.) Claire Shaeffer’s Fabric Sewing Guide includes a chapter on fur.
October 26, 2012 § 6 Comments
Southern beauty queen and model Angeleen (1950-2009) is a familiar face to vintage pattern aficionados. Born Angelina Marie Gagliano, she was also a keen equestrian—she is the model in Chris von Wangenheim’s circa 1975 series Untitled (Woman with horse). (It’s her horse. See prints at Christie’s and Staley-Wise Gallery.) Her son, Jason Storch, has posted a short bio here.
Angeleen did a lot of work for Simplicity, McCall’s, and especially Vogue Patterns in the mid-1970s. Here she is on the cover of a Very Easy Vogue catalogue:
Angeleen can be seen on some of the earliest Vogue patterns from Sonia Rykiel, Chloé, and Calvin Klein:
Here she models Halston’s spiral-cut dress for McCall’s (see Dustin’s recent post on this pattern here):
My personal favourite patterns featuring Angeleen are the ones for ’70s evening wear, like these designs from Balmain and Lanvin:
September 27, 2011 § 2 Comments
This week my series on Mad Men-era designer patterns continues with four designers who established their labels between the early 1940s and 1950: Jacques Griffe, Pauline Trigère, Pierre Balmain, and Pierre Cardin.
Jacques Griffe (1917-1974)
Jacques Griffe was born in the medieval city of Carcassonne, France. After two apprenticeships, first with a tailor and then with a local dressmaker, he worked as a cutter for Vionnet until the house’s closure in 1939. Griffe established his own house in 1942. During the later 1940s he also worked as assistant to Molyneux and moved into Molyneux’s salon after the couturier’s 1950 retirement. Griffe himself retired in 1968. As may be expected from a designer who worked with Vionnet, Griffe was known for the cut and drape of his garments.
Vogue 1264 is a pattern for a dress and matching coat. (Click here to see back views.) The slim dress, which buttons at the left shoulder, has front princess seams and concealed pockets; an optional half belt ties at the back. The coat with cowl back and seven-eighths sleeves is the ensemble’s centrepiece. The cowl is created by an applied shoulder yoke that ties in front like a scarf:
Pauline Trigère (1908-2002)
Pauline Trigère is unique among this week’s designers in that, despite being Parisian by birth, she established an American label rather than a French couture house. Born in Pigalle to Russian-Jewish parents—a dressmaker and tailor in whose shop she worked as a child—Trigère worked as a cutter at Martial et Armand before emigrating to New York City in 1937. She founded her own label in 1943. Like Vionnet before her, Trigère designed using the draping method. According to her New York Times obituary, she was the first designer to use an African-American model, in 1961. Trigère stayed with McCall’s through the 1960s when most of McCall’s designers were moving their licensing agreements to Vogue Patterns. She continued to design clothing collections until 1994. If you’ve seen “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (1961) you’ve seen some of Pauline Trigère’s work: Patricia Neal‘s character was dressed entirely in Trigère designs.
McCall’s 6599, an evening dress with side drape and ribbon belt, dates to 1962. I have this one in my collection. There are grander ’60s Trigère patterns, but I find McCall’s 6599 epitomizes the elegant simplicity for which the designer was famous. The bodice has French darts, and the side drape (which may be faced with contrast fabric) is sewn to the dress front, with an opening at the waist for the ribbon belt:
Pierre Balmain spent a year studying architecture before beginning his fashion career at the houses of Robert Piguet and Molyneux in the 1930s. Before and during the Second World War he worked at the house of Lucien Lelong, where Christian Dior was a fellow employee. Pierre Balmain established the house of Balmain in 1945, and soon became one of the most successful designers of the New Look. He remained chief designer for the house until his death in the early 1980s. Balmain’s architectural training shows in his emphasis on simplicity, form, and perfect construction.
Vogue 1340, modelled by Maggie Eckhardt, is another short evening dress. The dart-fitted dress has cap sleeves, a straight front neckline that dips into a low cowl back, and a curved belt at the raised waist. I love how the belt, cowl and front neckline create a series of curves that undulate around the body:
Pierre Cardin (1922-)
Born in Venice as Pietro Cardini, Pierre Cardin is well-known as a brilliant businessman as well as a fashion innovator. Like Balmain, he studied architecture briefly before turning to a career in fashion. He worked at a number of major houses including Paquin, Schiaparelli, and Dior, where he was head of the tailoring (coat and suit) atelier. The house of Pierre Cardin was established in 1950. Cardin moved his pattern licensing from McCall’s to Vogue in the early 1960s. (See my earlier post for an image of a Cardin/McCall’s pattern from 1960.) Even before his 1964 Space Age or ‘Cosmocorps’ collection, which presented the futuristic sixties look most associated with Cardin today, he was known for his architectural, sculpted garments.
Vogue 1278 is a perfect little skirt suit. The slim skirt falls just below the knee, and the belted jacket has three-quarter sleeves and a link-button closure below the broad, pointed collar. The photograph shows the suit made up in what looks like a stiff, textured wool that accentuates the jacket’s forms:
(Where is Givenchy, you ask? In the early 1960s Hubert de Givenchy seems to have taken a break from pattern licensing. I have seen only one early ’60s Givenchy pattern, and Givenchy’s last set of patterns for McCall’s—four designs for Audrey Hepburn in “How to Steal a Million” (1966)—falls outside our period. You can see Fuzzylizzie’s post on the 1966 patterns here.)
Although I’m organizing designers strictly by the date each founded his or her business, this week’s designers happen to fall into two camps: the first two are drapers (both of whom worked as cutters for venerable Paris couture houses), and the last two are former architecture students. It’s interesting to see evidence of their training in their designs.
Next: London’s Old Guard: Ronald Paterson, John Cavanagh, Michael, and Molyneux.