The Matrix Costume Patterns

The Matrix costume, 2017 D0801 envelope - Simplicity, "The Leaders in Cosplay Sewing"
Simplicity D0801 (2017) Matrix costumes. Image: Etsy.

Ready for a cybergoth revival? The Matrix is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, and Variety has just announced that there will be a Matrix 4, to be directed by Lana Wachowski and again starring Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss.

The costumes in the first Matrix were hugely influential. Working within a tight budget, costume designer Kym Barrett (Romeo + Juliet, Us) placed the emphasis on texture and movement, using low-cost materials like PVC and a wool blend for Neo’s coat. The rebels were also outfitted in custom accessories, with boots by Barrett and bespoke eyewear by Richard Walker.

On March 31st the fight for the future begins. Poster for The Matrix (1999) Image: IMDb

The first Matrix film even inspired John Galliano’s Fall 1999 couture collection for Dior. Presented at Versailles, the collection mixed futuristic raver-couture with more fanciful references like “Gainsborough in Persia.” (“The dresses are evil, evil,” Galliano was quoted saying. “But you have to have the Romantic. They die for that, my ladies.”) As Vogue’s Hamish Bowles wrote, the couture clients warmed more to the 18th-century looks than to “Matrix cybervixen.”

Dior By John Galliano - Couture Collection Fall Winter 1999-2000. Le 19 juillet 1999, dans la cadre de la présentation de la Collection haute couture Automne- Hiver, 1999-2000 de Christian DIOR par John GALLIANO à l'Orangerie du château de Versailles. ici le styliste posant avec un groupe de jeunes mannequins androgynes, dont certains sont des hommes torse nu, portant un maquillage épais et charbonneux de longs cheveux lisses, trois filles portent des bérets. (Photo by Jean-Claude Deutsch/Paris Match via Getty Images)
John Galliano with models backstage at the Dior couture show, the Orangerie at Versailles, July 19, 1999. Photo: Jean-Claude Deutsch. Image: Paris Match via Getty Images.
Dior evening dress in satin and lime green glitter PVC, L'Officiel Sept 1999
Dior haute couture by John Galliano, L’Officiel, September 1999. Photo: Randall Bachner. Editors: Bernât Buscato and Luciano Neves. Image: jalougallery.com.
Molly Sims photographed in Christian Dior haute couture by John Galliano by Ruven Afanador
Dior haute couture by John Galliano on the cover of Vogue Paris, September 1999. Model: Molly Sims. Photo: Ruven Afanador. Image: Molly Sims.

It wasn’t until 2003’s big-budget sequel, The Matrix Reloaded, that Neo got his famous cassock coat.

Keanu Reeves as Neo on the cover of French Premiere, October 2003. Image: Famous Fix.

The first Matrix-inspired costume patterns came out in 2003.

Trinity, Neo, and Morpheus in a promo image for The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
Promotional image for The Matrix Reloaded (2003) Image: Foxtel Movies.

Simplicity’s Neo and Morpheus / “Men’s and Teen’s Duster” must have sold well: the pattern was rereleased with an updated envelope in 2017. (See top of post.) Now backlisted, it’s still available from the company website.

Morpheus and Neo costume pattern (The Matric Reloaded) - Simplicity 5386
Simplicity 5386 (2003) Matrix costumes. Image: Etsy.

Thanks to the sequel’s higher budget, Barrett designed Trinity’s pieces for better-quality PVCs (then newly available), with patent leather used for closeups. For the women’s pattern, Trinity’s PVC bustier-coat ensemble effectively devolves into its separate elements: a princess-seamed duster, corset top, and pants. The pattern calls for stretch vinyl, leather-like fabrics, and synthetic patent leather.

Trinity costume pattern (The Matrix Reloaded) - Simplicity 5380
Simplicity 5380 (2003) Matrix costume. Image: Etsy.

The following year, Butterick and McCall’s released men’s and children’s Neo patterns, but none for Trinity. Both cassock coats share an authentic, if painstaking touch: lots of covered buttons.

Witch + Neo from the Matrix costume pattern - Butterick 4314
Butterick 4314 (2004) Image: eBay.
Adult and children's Neo / Matrix costume - McCalls 4546
McCall’s 4546 (2004) Matrix costume. Image: eBay.

It would be another decade before Andrea Schewe designed a more accurate Trinity duster. Released in Simplicity’s 90th anniversary year, the PVC duster was paired with a Kingdom Hearts cosplay coat.

Kingdom Hearts and Trinity from the Matrix costume pattern - Simplicity 8482 (2017)
Simplicity 8482 (2017) Kingdom Hearts and Matrix costumes. Image: Etsy.

Here’s S8482 with more sci-fi (Firefly and Rogue One) in the seasonal catalogue:

Trinity, Zoe Washburne, Jyn Erso, and Kingdom Hearts costume patterns. Find the Adventure - Simplicity Autumn 2017 catalogue
Find the Adventure – S8482 and S8480 in Simplicity’s Autumn 2017 catalogue. Image: Simplicity.

There’s no word on the costume designer yet, but production on the new Matrix begins in 2020.

Trinity character poster featuring Carrie-Anne Moss - The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
The Matrix Reloaded Trinity character poster (2003) Image: IMDb.

Jill Kennington

Winter Looks: Jill Kennington in Vogue 1676 by Elio Berhanyer, Vogue Pattern Book International Winter 1966
Jill Kennington in Vogue 1676 by Elio Berhanyer, Vogue Pattern Book International, Winter 1966. Image: eBay.

British model-turned-photographer Jill Kennington turns 75 today.

Born and raised in Lincolnshire, Jill Kennington (b. 1943) moved to London at 18, working at Harrods and staying with her aunt, who was a buyer there. Scouted by Michael Whittaker, the founder of the Whittaker Enterprises agency, she was hired as a house model at Norman Hartnell before she could finish the agency course.

Vogue Pattern Book, UK edition, Summer 1966
Vogue Pattern Book International, Summer 1966. Image: Vintage Chic.

Kennington was one of two models in John Cowan’s famous shoot in the Canadian Arctic. (See the full editorial at vogue.com.) You might recognize her from Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blow-Up. (Read her reminiscences in Vanity Fair.)

"The Girl who went out in the cold" editorial - Georges Kaplan ostrich feather coat; Halston hat.
At Resolute Bay, Vogue, November 1964. Photo: John Cowan. Image: Pleasure Photo.
Jill Kennington (left) with Peggy Moffitt and other London models in Michelangelo Antonioni's Blow-Up
Jill Kennington (left) in Blow-Up (1966) Image: Vanity Fair.

That’s Kennington in Emmanuelle Khanh’s dress pattern in Queen magazine. (Previously seen in my Butterick Young Designers post.)

Butterick Emmanuelle Khanhdress_pressphoto1965
Butterick 3718 by Emmanuelle Khanh, Queen, August 11, 1965. Image: Amazon.

Here she models some mod knitwear by Mary Quant:

Patons 101 Courtelle Double Knitting no. 9702 by Mary Quant (ca. 1966) - price 9d
Patons no. 9702 by Mary Quant (ca. 1966)

Kennington can be seen on some of Vogue’s earliest Givenchy patterns. This evening dress was also featured on the cover of the February retail catalogue:

1960s Givenchy evening dress pattern feat. Jill Kennington - Vogue Paris Original 1698
Vogue 1698 by Givenchy (1967)

In Vogue 1707 by Fabiani:

Jill Kennington in Vogue 1707 by Fabiani on the cover of the Vogue retail catalogue, April 1967
FABIANI 1707: Vogue Patterns catalogue, April 1967. Image: Etsy.

More Vogue Paris Originals and Couturier patterns featuring Kennington:

1960s Marc Bohan for Dior cerise dress suit pattern Vogue Paris Original 1725
Vogue 1725 by Marc Bohan for Christian Dior (1967) Image: eBay.
1960s Laroche dress and coat pattern Vogue Paris Original 1737
Vogue 1737 by Laroche (1967) Image: Vintage Pattern Wiki.
1960s Simonetta dress pattern Vogue Couturier Design 1746
Vogue 1746 by Simonetta (1967) Image: Blue Gardenia.
1960s Lanvin dress pattern Vogue Paris Original 1747
Vogue 1747 by Lanvin (1967) Image: eBay.

In a flight-themed British Vogue editorial, wearing Young Fashionables hooded jumpsuit Vogue 6376:

"Out of the Blue," Vogue UK Feb 1967 Traeger
Vogue 6376 in British Vogue, February 1967. Photo: Ronald Traeger. Image: Youthquakers.

Happy birthday, Ms. Kennington!

Jill Kennington photographed by Lichfield, 1964 - NPG London
Jill Kennington, 1964. Photo: Lichfield. Image: National Portrait Gallery.
Jill Kennington photographed by William Klein in Pierre Cardin, Weekend Telegraph, fall 1965
Is Paris dead? Jill Kennington in Pierre Cardin, Weekend Telegraph, September 3, 1965. Photo: William Klein. Image: eBay.
Jill Kennington photographed by Helmut Newton for Queen magazine, January 1966
Jill Kennington in Queen, January 5, 1966. Photo: Helmut Newton. Image: Pinterest.
1960s Queen Christmas cover featuring Jill Kennington photographed by David Montgomery
Jill Kennington on the cover of Queen‘s Christmas issue. Photo: David Montgomery. Image: eBay.

Red Carpet Roundup

Vogue 1078 by Damian Yee for Guy Laroche on the runway
Vogue 1078 on the runway. Image: Vogue Italia.

Will you be watching the Oscars on Sunday? Here’s a roundup of my posts on red carpet dressing.

Hervé L. Leroux for Guy Laroche – Hilary Swank chose her Oscars gown from Leroux’s debut collection for Laroche. Vogue Patterns released two designs from this collection: cocktail dress V2899 and a backless evening pantsuit. (Bonus: check out this red Laroche gown on 1stdibs.)

Vogue 2937 by Hervé L. Leroux for Guy Laroche

Damian Yee for Guy Laroche – Leroux’s successor at Laroche has two evening designs with Vogue Patterns, including this gown from the house’s Jubilee collection.

Vogue 1078 by Damian Yee for Guy Laroche

Clash of the Titans: Goddess Gowns – My first Oscars post on the Academy Awards staple. This late ’40s gown might be this blog’s most-pinned image:

McCall 7862

Rock the Caftan – A non-Western formal alternative with origins in ancient Persia.

Billie Blair in Dior caftan V1346

Red Carpet Fashion: Evening Pantsuits – A trend that continues to pick up steam (see Hannah Marriot, “Red-carpet rebels: why trousers for women are a political act“).

Donna Karan bustier pantsuit pattern Vogue 1076

Jane Fonda in Yves Saint Laurent at the 44th Academy Awards, April 1972. Image: tumblr.
Jane Fonda in Yves Saint Laurent at the 44th Academy Awards, April 1972. Image: tumblr.

Marisa Berenson

Marisa Berenson in Vogue 7827 on the cover of Vogue Pattern Book, June/July 1970
Marisa Berenson on the cover of Vogue Pattern Book, June/July 1970. Photo: Otto Storch.

Marisa Berenson (b. 1947) turns 70 today. Though best known for her work as a film actor in movies like Visconti’s Death in Venice (1971), Cabaret (1972), and Barry Lyndon (1975), Berenson grew up wanting to be a fashion model. Her career was launched when she met Diana Vreeland at a society ball, and she became one of the most successful models of the ’60s and ’70s. For more, see the visual biography Marisa Berenson: A Life in Pictures (Rizzoli, 2011).

Marisa Berenson promoting Kubrick's Barry Lyndon on the cover of Interview, Jan. 1975
Marisa Berenson as the Countess of Lyndon on the cover of Andy Warhol’s Interview, January 1975. Image: eBay.

As far as I know, Berenson appears on only one pattern envelope: Vogue 2369 by Oscar de la Renta. Taken in a New York interior, the photo was also published in a 1970 Vogue Pattern Book feature on the designer:

1970s Oscar de la Renta dress pattern feat. Marisa Berenson, Vogue 2369
Vogue 2369 by Oscar de la Renta (1970) Image: Etsy.

Berenson can also be seen in Vreeland-era pattern editorials in Vogue magazine, like this shoot by Guy Bourdin (see my earlier post):

Marisa Berenson photographed by Guy Bourdin in Vogue pattern 6916
Marisa Berenson in Vogue, August 15, 1966. Photos: Guy Bourdin.

Irving Penn’s “Look Marvellous” editorial, showcasing clothes in American fabrics, included Berenson in Vogue 7017 and Vogue 7022 (via Youthquakers):

Marisa Berenson photographed by Irving Penn in Vogue 7017 and 7022, shown in Forstmann and Anglo wool
“Look Marvellous”: Marisa Berenson in Vogue, January 15, 1967. Photos: Irving Penn. Image: Youthquakers.

This Gianni Penati editorial shows two Vogue Paris Originals by Marc Bohan for Dior, Vogue 1787 and Vogue 1792:

Marisa Berenson photographed by Gianni Penati in Dior patterns 1787 and 1792
“Hit Knits: the geometric jerseys.” Marisa Berenson in Vogue, June 1967. Photos: Gianni Penati.

The issue of Vogue Pattern Book with the Berenson cover (shown above) includes more of her editorial work. In “New Evening Splendour,” she wears the cover look, caftan Vogue 7827, as well as Vogue 7834 and Vogue 7836:

New Evening Splendour: Marisa Berenson in Vogue 7836 caftan, 1970
Vogue 7836 caftan, Vogue Pattern Book, June/July 1970. Photo: Otto Storch.
Marisa Berenson in Vogue 7827 caftan 1970
Vogue 7827 caftan, Vogue Pattern Book, June/July 1970. Photo: Otto Storch.
Marisa Berenson in poncho and trousers Vogue 7834, 1970
Vogue 7834 poncho and pants, Vogue Pattern Book, June/July 1970. Photo: Otto Storch.

Berenson also models some jumpsuits in a summer portfolio—Vogue 7697 in a groovy print:

7697 Vogue Pattern Book, June/July 1970
Vogue 7697 in Vogue Pattern Book, June/July 1970.

High-waisted jumpsuit Vogue 7818:

Marisa Berenson wears Vogue 7818 jumpsuit, 1970.
Vogue 7818 in Vogue Pattern Book, June/July 1970.

And short jumpsuit and wrap skirt Vogue 7812:

Marisa Berenson in Vogue 7812, 1970
Vogue 7812 in Vogue Pattern Book, June/July 1970.

Happy birthday, Ms. Berenson!

Marisa Berenson on the Tom Ford Spring 2011 runway
Marisa Berenson on the runway for Tom Ford’s Spring 2011 collection. Photo: Terry Richardson. Image: Harper’s Bazaar.

Rock the Caftan

Grès caftan by Irving Penn for Vogue, Sept 1963
“Arab déshabillé from Grès.” Vogue, September 1963. Photo: Irving Penn.

Caftans, long, loose-fitting tunics with origins in ancient Persia, have been gaining momentum as an alternative to more structured formal dress. With any luck, there will be some caftans among the goddess gowns at tomorrow’s Academy Awards ceremony.

They say Tsarina Alexandra was the first westerner to make a fashion statement in a caftan, when she dressed as a seventeenth-century Tsarina for a costume ball in 1903. Paul Poiret also advanced the caftan cause, but it was not until the 1950s that the garment really began to influence western fashion. Here’s a look at caftan patterns from the 1950s to now.

Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna as the 17th-century Tsarina Maria Ilyinichna
Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna as the 17th-century Tsarina Maria Ilyinichna. Photographed by L. Levitsky for the album of the February 1903 fancy dress ball at the Winter Palace. Image: Pinterest.
Tsarina Alexandra's Tsarina Maria Ilyinichna masquerade costume
Tsarina Alexandra’s Tsarina Maria Ilyinichna masquerade costume. Image: The Hermitage Amsterdam.

1950s

In the mid-1950s, Christian Dior and Cristóbal Balenciaga’s experiments with silhouette were partly inspired by eastern traditional dress. Dior’s Fall 1955 couture collection (Y line) included caftan-inspired ensembles—coats with high, side-front slits that reveal a slim dress underneath:

1950s Gruau illustration on the cover of Vogue Paris
A Dior caftan design on the cover of Vogue Paris, September 1, 1955. Illustration: René Gruau. Image: Librairie Diktats.
1950s Dior caftan-inspired designs in L'Officiel
Three designs from Christian Dior’s Fall 1955 haute couture collection. L’Officiel, September and October 1955. Photos: Pottier. Images: jalougallery.com.

You can see echoes of the Dior caftan look in contemporary sewing patterns like McCall’s 3525 and 3532, both from late 1955:

1950s dress and unlined coat pattern - McCalls 3525
McCall’s 3525 (1955) Image: Etsy.

McCall’s 3532, called a “slim caftan-and-dress ensemble,” was featured on the cover of McCall’s news leaflet and in the company’s “Make the Clothes that Make the Woman” advertising campaign.  According to the ad, the design is ideal for the season’s “Oriental” fabrics, such as silk twill and raw silk tussah:

McCalls March 1956 3532
McCall’s news, March 1956. Image: eBay.
Sunny Hartnett in a McCalls ad 1956
“Make the clothes that ‘make’ the woman”: McCall’s printed patterns ad, 1956. Model: Sunny Harnett; hat by Adolfo of Emme. Image: eBay.

A Vogue version of the Dior caftan ensemble, Vogue 8759, is available as a reproduction from EvaDress.

1960s

Caftans became popular in the 1960s in tandem with the increasing interest in eastern cultures. The Madame Grès version at the top of this post is cut on the bias, producing geometric seaming detail. The caption reads, “Coup of bias-work by Grès—because this piecing-together of bias angles is sinuous, stark, ravishingly Moroccan.”

This dress from Jean Patou by Michel Goma, Vogue 1699, has what the envelope calls a “caftan neckline.” The model is Beate Schulz:

1960s Patou caftan dress pattern - Vogue 1699
Vogue 1699 by Patou (1967) Model: Beate Schulz. Image: Vintage Patterns Wiki.

This circa 1968 Vogue caftan pattern has optional flexible trim:

1960s caftan pattern Vogue 7497
Vogue 7497 (ca. 1968) Image: Etsy.

Other patterns from the late 1960s and early 1970s also reference eastern dress. From 1967, McCall’s 9026 is labelled as an abba in two lengths. Abba is an alternate spelling of aba, commonly abaya: a traditional Arab garment, long, loose-fitting, sleeveless, and made from a single rectangle of fabric. (Today, caftans often function as abayat.) The model is Veronica Hamel:

1960s abayat pattern - McCalls 9026
McCall’s 9026 (1967) Model: Veronica Hamel. Image: Etsy.

Burnoose patterns were marketed as resort wear. A pompom-trimmed version of McCall’s 2377 was photographed for the cover of McCall’s Summer 1970 catalogue:

1970s burnoose pattern - McCall's 2377
McCall’s 2377 (1970) Image: Vintage Patterns Wiki.

Marola Witt models Simplicity’s burnoose in the July 1967 issue of Simplicity Fashion News. (Thanks to Mary of PatternGate for the reference.) The text promotes the design’s ‘Arabian’ exoticism: “be exotic in a JIFFY: … the burnoose, born in Arabia, brought up to date here”:

"Be exotic in a JIFFY." Marola Witt models Simplicity 7173 in Simplicity Fashion News, July 1967
“Be exotic in a JIFFY.” Marola Witt models Simplicity 7173 in Simplicity Fashion News, July 1967. Image: Etsy.

1970s

This Halston caftan pattern from McCall’s also includes a top and pants (you can buy yourself a copy from the shop):

1970s Halston caftan, top, and pants pattern - McCall's 3590
McCall’s 3590 by Halston (1973)

This flowing Dior caftan, modelled by Billie Blair, has lots of neckline detail, full-length sleeve openings, and pockets:

1970s Christian Dior caftan pattern feat. Billie Blair - Vogue 1346
Vogue 1346 by Christian Dior (1975) Model: Billie Blair. Image: Etsy.

Vogue 1515 by Nina Ricci is a caftan that’s open in front and attached at the neckline to a handkerchief-hemmed underdress:

1970s Nina Ricci caftan pattern - Vogue 1515
Vogue 1515 by Nina Ricci (1976)

1980s

It’s harder to find post-1970s designer caftan patterns. This wide-sleeved, Oscar de la Renta caftan is trimmed with contrast bands. When worn, the side seams swing forward to raise the hemline in front:

1980s Oscar de la Renta caftan pattern - Vogue 1027
Vogue 1027 by Oscar de la Renta (ca. 1983) Model: Alva Chinn.

1990s

From Issey Miyake, Vogue 2315 is a caftan-inspired summer dress:

1990s Issey Miyake dress pattern - Vogue 2315
Vogue 2315 by Issey Miyake (1999) Image: Etsy.

2000s

Caftan patterns started making a comeback (of sorts) in 2009. Simplicity 2584, a caftan-inspired tunic by Cynthia Rowley, is out of print but still in demand:

Cynthia Rowley dress or tunic pattern - Simplicity 2594
Simplicity 2584 by Cynthia Rowley (2009) Image: Etsy.

Ralph Rucci’s floor-length caftan, Vogue 1181 (now out of print), has an abaya silhouette and interesting construction details—overarm darts, shaped lower sections, and a hook and eye above the low neckline:

Chado Ralph Rucci caftan pattern - Vogue 1181
Vogue 1181 by Chado Ralph Rucci (2010)

The design is from Chado Ralph Rucci Resort 2009:

Rucci Resort 2009 caftans
Two caftans from the Chado Ralph Rucci Resort 2009 collection. Model: Alexandra T. Images: style.com.

Matthew Williamson’s short caftan, available as a free pattern from the Guardian, is also a 2009 design:

A caftan look from Matthew Williamson's Spring 2009 collection. Photo: Jason Hetherington
A caftan look from Matthew Williamson’s Spring 2009 collection. Photo: Jason Hetherington. Image: The Guardian.

And Heather Lou’s printed chiffon caftan is a Fashion Star pattern by Nikki Poulos, McCall’s 6552 (now out of print):

Nikki Poulos caftan pattern - McCall's 6552
McCall’s 6552 by Nikki Poulos (2012) Image: Etsy.

Would you sew a caftan?

Patterns in Vogue: Striking Gold

Detail, "Striking Gold" photo by Deborah Turbeville, 1979
Detail, Vogue, November 1979. Photo: Deborah Turbeville.

“Striking Gold,” a 1979 editorial by the late Deborah Turbeville, includes a two-page Vogue Patterns spread that has a festive sparkle.

Turbeville’s photo shows four seated models dressed in shimmery charmeuse and lamé; two wear off-the-rack clothing. The two featured patterns (at centre and far right) were made up in gold-pistachio lamé from Bloomingdale’s (click to enlarge):

Striking Gold: Vogue Patterns photographed in gold-pistachio lamé by Deborah Turbeville, 1979
Striking Gold: Vogue Patterns. Vogue, November 1979. Photo: Deborah Turbeville.

The patterns are Vogue 2105 by Christian Dior and Very Easy Vogue 2182 by Oscar de la Renta.

You can see the rest of the shoot at Sighs and Whispers (larger scans at the Fashion Spot).

Happy holidays, everyone!

Yves Saint Laurent for Dior: Vogue Patterns

Isabella Albonico photographed by Leombruno-Bodi in Dior pattern 1471 for Vogue, January 1st, 1960
Detail of Vogue 1471 by Yves Saint Laurent for Christian Dior, Vogue, January 1, 1960. Photo: Leombruno-Bodi.

For Paco Peralta.

Before Vogue Patterns introduced Yves Saint Laurent with patterns from the Mondrian collection, the company had already licensed the designer’s work for the house of Dior. (Read more at the Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent, or see Dustin’s post here.)

Yves Saint Laurent was appointed head designer at Dior after Christian Dior’s death in 1957. Dior had been his mentor; in 1955 he hired Saint Laurent to work at his new boutique, later promoting him to accessories and couture. Richard Avedon’s famous Dovima with Elephants shows a velvet evening dress designed by Yves Saint Laurent while he was still assistant designer:

Avedon's Dovima with Elephants and YSL sketch for Dior, 1955
Richard Avedon, Dovima with Elephants, Evening Dress by Dior, Cirque d’Hiver, Paris, 1955, and sketch by Yves Saint Laurent.

(Images: Enticing the Light and Encore! Life.)

Saint Laurent’s first collection for Dior, Trapèze (Spring 1958 haute couture), was a huge success, and his later work at the house continued its play with proportion. L’Officiel’s spring preview issue for 1958 featured an illustration of a Dior trapeze dress by René Gruau:

L'Officiel mars 1958: Gruau illustration of a black Dior trapeze dress
Christian Dior trapeze dress on the cover of L’Officiel, March 1958. Illustration: René Gruau. Image: jalougallery.com.

The young Yves Saint Laurent designed six haute couture collections for Dior; Vogue’s licensing represents his last three collections for the house, from 1959 to 1960.

Christian Dior label, fall-winter 1959 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Christian Dior label, automne-hiver 1959. Image: Metropolitan Museum of Art.

1. Christian Dior Haute Couture Fall/Winter 1959

Saint Laurent’s second Fall/Winter couture collection for Dior was controversial; L’Officiel declared its aesthetic “femininity pushed to the extreme.” Suits were shown with severely cropped jackets, and the skirt silhouettes included voluminous tiers and hobble skirts.

The first Dior patterns were promoted with illustrations by Esther Larson in the late 1959 issues of Vogue Pattern Book and Vogue Printed Pattern News (thanks to the White Cabinet for the ID):

Vogue 1472 on the cover of Vogue Pattern news for December 15th, 1959
Vogue Printed Pattern News, December 15, 1959. Illustration: Esther Larson.

Anticipating demand for this high-profile addition to Vogue’s designer patterns, Vogue Pattern Book noted that the new patterns would be available in stores after November 10th:

Esther Larson's illustrations of Dior patterns in Vogue Pattern Book, December 1959-January 1960.
Dior patterns in Vogue Pattern Book, December 1959-January 1960. Illustrations: Esther Larson. Image: Make Mine Vogue.

The first Dior patterns were photographed by Joseph Leombruno and Jack Bodi, the couple who worked as Leombruno-Bodi. In Vogue magazine’s first issue for 1960, Isabella Albonico modelled the two dress ensembles, Vogue 1471 and 1470:

For the first time Vogue patterns from designs by Dior. Vogue 1 Jan 1960
Vogue patterns from designs by Dior, Vogue, January 1, 1960. Photos: Leombruno-Bodi.

Leombruno-Bodi also photographed the new Dior patterns for Ladies’ Home Journal. The accompanying text for Vogue 1470 suggests that the hobble skirt silhouette was considered extreme: “Dior’s famous ‘hobble’ skirt makes a charming mid-season costume … The pattern also includes details on how to make the dress without the band at the bottom of the skirt for less extreme effect.” The model on the left is Anne St. Marie (click to enlarge):

Nora O'Leary, "Christian Dior: Yours for the Making," with hats by Vincent-Harmik, Maria Pia, and John Frederics - Ladies' Home Journal Jan 1960
Nora O’Leary, “Christian Dior: Yours for the Making,” Ladies’ Home Journal, January 1960. Photos: Leombruno-Bodi. Image: Internet Archive.

Vogue 1470 is a striking dress and jacket ensemble. The short jacket has three-quarter sleeves and bow trim at the waist, while the dress has short sleeves, low V-neckline, and the collection’s distinctive pouf-hobble skirt banded at the knee. The original was navy tweed:

1950s Christian Dior dress and jacket pattern - Vogue 1470
Vogue 1470 by Yves Saint Laurent for Christian Dior (1959) Dress and jacket.

Here’s the envelope description: One piece dress and jacket. Skirt, with or without puffed tunic, joins the bodice at the waistline. Wide V neck-line with band finish. Short kimono sleeves. Short fitted jacket, joined to waistband, has concealed fastening below notched collar; below elbow length sleeves. Novelty belt.

Vogue 1471 is a close-fitting, double-breasted jacket with matching dress. The original was black-and-white tweed:

1950s Christian Dior dress and jacket pattern - Vogue 1471
Vogue 1471 by Yves Saint Laurent for Christian Dior (1959) Image: Make Mine Vogue.

The envelope description reads: One piece dress and jacket. Flared skirt joins the bodice at the waist-line. Single button closing below the wide V neck-line with extension band finish. Above elbow length and short sleeves. Double breasted jacket has notched collar and below elbow length sleeves. Novelty belt for version A.

Vogue 1472 seems to have been the most popular of the three patterns. The voluminous coat and skirt suit were modelled by Nena von Schlebrügge:

1950s Christian Dior coat and suit pattern - Vogue 1472
Vogue 1472 by Yves Saint Laurent for Christian Dior (1959) Image: Vintage Pattern Wiki.

Here’s the envelope description: Coat, suit and scarf. Double-breasted hip length jacket has a notched collar and below elbow length sleeves with buttoned vents. Slim skirt. Double-breasted, full coat in two lengths has a large shaped collar. Concealed pocket in side seams. Below elbow length sleeves joined to dropped shoulder armholes. Straight scarf.

In the next issue of Vogue Pattern Book, the Vogue 1472 coat is called “the newsmaking original Dior coat that tops the suit… Note the extras here: the enormous buttons, the slashed side seams, the stitched collar, the scarf to match. Your own extra: a towering cloche of the checked fabric”:

Photo of Nena von Schlebrügge in Vogue 1472 in Vogue Pattern Book Feb/Mar 1960
Vogue 1472 in Vogue Pattern Book, February/March 1960. Image: eBay.

2. Christian Dior Haute Couture Spring/Summer 1960

Saint Laurent’s Spring 1960 collection for Dior was characterized by rounded silhouettes and vibrant colour. L’Officiel noted its straight suits with jackets cut on the bias to achieve the suppleness of a knitted cardigan.

Vogue 1012, introduced in the August/September 1960 issue of Vogue Pattern Book, includes a collarless, single-breasted skirt suit and sleeveless blouse with crisscross back. The jacket in view A is cut on the bias:

1960s Christian Dior suit and blouse pattern - Vogue 1012
Vogue 1012 by Yves Saint Laurent for Christian Dior (1960) Image: Vintage Pattern Wiki.

The envelope description reads: Suit and blouse. Short, straight jacket buttons below collarless away from normal neck-line. Welt pockets. Below elbow length kimono sleeves. Skirt has soft gathers from very shallow yoke. Easy fitting overblouse has shoulder straps crisscrossed at back.

This suit is similar to Vogue 1012, but has a more conventional button front:

Le tailleur dépouillé de Christian Dior, photographed by Philippe Pottier, L'Officiel 457-58 (1960)
Christian Dior’s pared-down suit, L’Officiel, April 1960. Photo: Philippe Pottier. Image: jalougallery.com.

These Guy Arsac editorial photos of a red “boule” coat and teal dress show the collection’s play with colour and silhouette:

Triomphe de la couleur, le manteau "Boule" de Christian Dior, Guy Arsac 1960 L'Officiel 455-56
“Boule” coat by Christian Dior, L’Officiel, March 1960. Photo: Guy Arsac. Image: jalougallery.com.
Dior silk dress by Yves Saint Laurent, Guy Arsac 1960 LOfficiel 457-58
Silk dress by Christian Dior, L’Officiel, April 1960. Photo: Guy Arsac. Image via jalougallery.com.

3. Christian Dior Haute Couture Fall/Winter 1960

Yves Saint Laurent’s controversial final collection for Dior, le Beat look, was inspired by Left Bank icon Juliette Gréco and the Beatniks of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. It was innovative for its infusion of youthful, bohemian street style into the couture, with Beat elements including leather jackets, knitted turtlenecks, and plenty of black.

Vogue produced two patterns from this collection, drawn from the more conventional designs. Vogue 1041 is a skirt suit and matching, loose coat with a big standing collar and side slits:

1960s Christian Dior suit and coat pattern - Vogue 1041
Vogue 1041 by Christian Dior (1960) Image: Vintage Pattern Wiki.

Here’s the envelope description: Suit and coat. Easy fitting jacket has high buttoned closing below neck-band. Vent opening in side front seams. Bracelet length and elbow length sleeves. Slightly gathered skirt has outside stitched front panel concealing pockets. Seven eighths length loose coat has opening in side seams. Away-from-neck-line standing neck-band. Bracelet length kimono sleeves.

Philippe Pottier photographed the purple coat ensemble for L’Officiel‘s winter collections issue:

Christian Dior tweed ensemble photographed by Philippe Pottier for L'Officiel octobre 1960
Christian Dior tweed ensemble, L’Officiel, October 1960. Photo: Philippe Pottier. Image: jalougallery.com

Vogue 1041 was photographed for Vogue magazine by Henry Clarke:

Vogue 1041 by Dior photographed by Henry Clarke - Vogue Nov 15th, 1960
Vogue 1041 in Vogue, November 15, 1960. Photo: Henry Clarke.
Vogue 1041 by Dior photographed by Henry Clarke - Vogue Nov 15th, 1960
Vogue 1041 in Vogue, November 15, 1960. Photo: Henry Clarke.

Vogue 1049 is a skirt suit and sleeveless overblouse. The blouse is worn over a barrel skirt with attached underbodice for a dropped-waist effect. The jacket of view A is designed to be worn open:

1960s Christian Dior suit pattern - Vogue 1049
Vogue 1049 by Yves Saint Laurent for Christian Dior (1961) Image: Etsy.

The envelope description reads: Suit and blouse. Box jacket has cut away fronts and simulated buttoned closing or complete buttoned closing, below standing band collar. Easy fitting overblouse with optional tied belt has bateau neck-line. Above elbow length sleeves and sleeveless. Slightly barrelled shaped skirt attached to bodice.

The dotted black ensemble in duchesse velvet was photographed for this Chatillon Mouly Roussel advertisement in L’Officiel:

Ensemble de Christian Dior en duchesse velours de Chatillon Mouly Roussel
Chatillon Mouly Roussel ad showing an ensemble by Christian Dior, L’Officiel, October 1960. Image: jalougallery.com.

I also found the black suit in a later L’Officiel composite:

A Dior suit by Yves Saint Laurent - Dior 1000modèles Beat
A Dior suit by Yves Saint Laurent, L’Officiel 1000 modèles no. 81 (2007). Image: jalougallery.com.

These William Klein editorial photos featuring Dior Fall 1960 designs capture the Beat collection’s youthful spirit:

Dorothea McGowan and Sara Thom in Dior, with Little Bara, photographed for Vogue by WIlliam Klein
Dorothea McGowan and Sara Thom in Dior, with Little Bara. Vogue, September 1960. Photo: William Klein. Image: Pleasurephoto.
Dorothea McGowan in Dior, with Little Bara, photographed for Vogue by WIlliam Klein
Dorothea McGowan in Christian Dior. Vogue, September 1960. Photo: William Klein. Image: The Fashion Spot.

For more of Yves Saint Laurent’s work for Dior see L’Officiel 1000 modèles’ Dior special issue.