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.

In memoriam: Karl Lagerfeld

Esther de Jong in Chanel haute couture by Karl Lagerfeld, Fall 1997. Photo: Karl Lagerfeld. Editor: Amanda Harlech?
Esther de Jong in Chanel haute couture by Karl Lagerfeld, Fall 1997. Photo: Karl Lagerfeld. Image: jalougallery.

Farewell to Karl Lagerfeld. Prolific, influential, and above all, iconic, the designer — who had a lifetime contract with Chanel — was working to the last.

Read the couturier’s Vogue obituary. (Tim Blanks; German Vogue.)

In memoriam: Paco Peralta

Paco Peralta's drawing for V1567 ©2016
Paco Peralta drawing for Vogue Patterns in black and red, his favourite colour combination. ©2016. Courtesy Paco Peralta.

Paco Peralta, the beloved Spanish couturier and mentor to the online sewing community, died on Saturday in Barcelona. He was 57.

Adéu, Paco, dear friend. You will be greatly missed.

Francisco Peralta Rovira, known as Paco Peralta, born February 1, 1962, Huesca, Aragon, died February 2, 2019, Barcelona.

Milliner Cristina De Prada photographed by Germán Saiz in Paco Peralta's designs, 2013. Right: with Stephen Jones, Mabel Sanz, and Fátima de Burnay
Paco Peralta’s close friend, the milliner Cristina de Prada, wearing his designs in a 2013 millinery feature for S Moda. Photos: Germán Saiz. Images: El País.

Free Designer Pattern: Callot Soeurs Pyjamas

Callot Soeurs lounging pyjamas, ca. 1913
Callot Soeurs lounging pyjamas, ca. 1913. Image: LACMA.

This week, a free couture pattern from Callot Soeurs.

Callot Soeurs was one of the old couture houses of Belle Époque Paris, founded in 1895 by the four Callot sisters. Not many Callot Soeurs garments survive, and the house is best remembered for its role in the early career of Madeleine Vionnet. But in 2015, the New Yorker published an article on a collection of Callot Soeurs dresses found stored in Villa La Pietra, a Florentine villa that was once home to American heiress Hortense Mitchell Acton. (See Jessamyn Hatcher, “Twenty-One Dresses.”) Click the image below to see the gallery of Acton’s Callot Soeurs gowns.

Callot Soeurs label inside one of Hortense Mitchell Acton's commissions found at Villa La Pietra, Florence. Photo: Pari Dukovic
Callot Soeurs label inside one of Hortense Mitchell Acton’s commissions found at Villa La Pietra, Florence. Photo: Pari Dukovic. Image: The New Yorker.

LACMA’s Callot Soeurs pyjama ensemble includes a delicate top and harem pants—a radical element of the new women’s silhouette. (See my sarouel post here.)

Here are the museum notes:

This thoughtfully crafted hand-sewn and machine-stitched lounging pajama was made bifurcated by the attachment of the skirt length from the center front of the waist to the center back through the legs. Vertical side-front seams of the skirt were sewn with openings for the feet to create a stylized harem pant. The silk charmeuse skirt draped and outlined each leg while silk tassels at the foot openings would have drawn attention to the wearer’s ankles as she walked. A bifurcated garment of any style during the early 1900s was a provocative fashion that challenged ideas about established gender-appropriate dress.

Callot Soeurs lounging pyjamas, ca. 1913
Detail, Callot Soeurs lounging pyjamas, ca. 1913. Image: LACMA.
Callot Soeurs lounging pyjamas; silk satin embellished shoes, London, England, ca. 1913
Detail, Callot Soeurs lounging pyjamas, ca. 1913. Image: LACMA.
Callot Soeurs sketch by Thomas John Bernard
Callot Soeurs sketch by Thomas John Bernard. Image: LACMA.

Download the pattern here.

Note: Gridded pattern. Does not include seam allowance.

Back waist length: 52 3/8″ (133 cm)

Notions: 10 spherical buttons, 4 5″ (12.7 cm) tassels, cord, 1/2″ (1.3 cm) bias tape, 3/4″ (1.9 cm) trim, ribbon for plackets, hooks and eyes.

For more historical patterns, see the LACMA Costume and Textile Pattern Project.

Pertegaz 1918-2018

Pertegaz (Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, 2004) Model: Laura Ponte. Photo: Antoni Bernad
Pertegaz (Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, 2004) Model: Laura Ponte. Photo: Antoni Bernad. Image: The Cary Collection.

Manuel Pertegaz was born on this day in 1918. Paco Peralta asked me to contribute to his post for the designer’s centenary; see it here.

PERTEGAZ biography - Vogue 2375 envelope flap

Suzy Parker wearing a bow-tied coat by Pertegaz at the Villa-Rose restaurant in Madrid
Suzy Parker wearing a coat by Pertegaz, Vogue, March 15, 1954. Photo: Henry Clarke. Image: Condé Nast.
Iberia flight uniform by Manuel Pertegaz, 1968
Rosa Real, made-to-measure Iberia flight uniform by Manuel Pertegaz, 1968. Image: Iberia.
Model in the El Mirador de Lindaraja inside the Alhambra, Spain wearing a caftan gown
Moyra Swan wears a Pertegaz caftan gown in the Alhambra, Vogue, October, 1968. Photo: Henry Clarke. Image: Condé Nast.

Paco Peralta: Vogue Patterns

Paco Peralta sketch for Vogue 1567 top and skirt pattern
Paco Peralta sketch for Vogue 1567 ©McCall’s/Paco Peralta.

Paco Peralta has seen some major milestones lately. Last fall, the Barcelona couturier became Vogue Patterns’ first Spanish designer in half a century, and this year his blog, BCN – UNIQUE Designer Patterns, is celebrating a decade online. (Like Toronto’s YYZ, BCN is both the airport code for Barcelona and shorthand for the city itself.)

The licensing deal brings a new audience to Peralta’s precision-cut designs. Peralta himself was already a pillar of the online sewing community, both for his fine sewing tutorials and as a purveyor of couture patterns, all hand-traced in his studio not far from Gaudí’s Sagrada Família basilica.

Born in Huesca, Aragon, Peralta studied at Barcelona’s Institut Català de la Moda before apprenticing in some of the city’s couture ateliers, who kept alive the traditions of Balenciaga and Rodríguez. He became interested in commercial patterns in the 1980s, when a friend gave him a copy of Vestidal; his first pattern purchase was a Vogue Individualist design by Issey Miyake.

1980s Issey Miyake coat pattern Vogue 1476 by Issey Miyake (1984)
Vogue 1476 by Issey Miyake (1984) Model: Ariane Koizumi. Image: Etsy.

Peralta may also be the world’s foremost collector of Yves Saint Laurent patterns, and his blog doubles as a window into this private archive. As regular readers of this blog will recognize, any high fashion sewing history owes much to his work.

Yves Saint Laurent Vogue patterns: Vogue 1557 Mondrian dress; Vogue 2598 suit 1971
Couture designs from Yves Saint Laurent’s Mondrian and Libération collections. Images: Etsy / Paco Peralta.

Vogue Patterns introduced Peralta with two designs in last year’s holiday issue. (Click to enlarge.)

Paco Peralta feature in Vogue Patterns magazine, Dec/Jan 2016-17
Introducing Paco Peralta, Vogue Patterns, December/January 2016-17. Photo (L): Eric Hason. Image: Issuu.

You can skip the buttonholes with this short-sleeved jacket: it has a midriff inset instead. For the original ensemble, Peralta used a double-sided Italian wool twill-crepe for the jacket, wool-cashmere for the trousers, and for the shirt, a sturdy Egyptian cotton.

Vogue 1526 by Paco Peralta
Vogue 1526 by Paco Peralta (2016) Photos: Eric Hason. Image: PatternVault shop.
Paco Peralta sketch for Vogue 1526
Paco Peralta sketch for Vogue 1526 ©McCall’s/Paco Peralta.

Peralta also used Italian satin-backed wool twill-crepe for his wrap skirt and coat-length jacket. The latter sports a tuxedo-style shawl collar, while the pussy-bow blouse, made in silk crepe de Chine, has French cuffs:

Vogue 1527 by Paco Peralta
Vogue 1527 by Paco Peralta (2016) Photos: Eric Hason. Image: PatternVault shop.
Paco Peralta sketch for Vogue 1527
Paco Peralta sketch for Vogue 1527 ©McCall’s/Paco Peralta.

This tunic and pants ensemble was the summer bestseller. The long version is a heavy linen, while the short, gaucho version is a lightweight silk/rayon. Both have silk organza insets.

Vogue 1550 by Paco Peralta
Vogue 1550 by Paco Peralta (2017) Photos: Tim Geaney.
Paco Peralta sketch for Vogue 1550
Paco Peralta sketch for Vogue 1550 ©McCall’s/Paco Peralta.

For the holiday season, mix and match with party separates: a dolman-sleeved top and winter-weight handkerchief skirt, shown in cotton knit and silk-viscose duchesse satin.

Vogue 1567 by Paco Peralta
Vogue 1567 by Paco Peralta (2017) Photo: Tim Geaney.
Image: McCall’s.

Coming soon: even more Paco Peralta designs exclusive to Vogue Patterns.

With thanks to my friend, Paco Peralta.
Tany's tartan V1567 by Paco Peralta with sew-in labels
Image: Tany’s Couture et Tricot.