Our Man in Leather: Bobby Breslau for Vogue Patterns

June 18, 2017 § 1 Comment

Vogue 2184, 2153.

Bobby Breslau in Vogue Patterns, May/June 1979. Photo: Charles Tracy.

“Our Man in Leather”: Vogue Patterns introduced Bobby Breslau, one of the company’s rare designers of accessories, with a winking acknowledgement of the gay community.

Bobby Breslau designs the softest leather in the world. His BigPouch and family of Little Pouches sensualized the bag world, becoming classics in their own time! Soft, sensuous, supple and totally functional, with a size and design for every occasion.

Bobby Breslau biographical note, Vogue 2184 (1979). Image: Etsy.

Bobby Breslau (ca. 1943-1987) was a friend of Halston, Stephen Burrows, and Keith Haring; photographer Charles Tracy, who took Breslau’s portrait, was a member of the same social circle. Breslau’s training was in the garment industry, but a toy commission from Halston set him on the path of accessory and furniture design. His tactile, unstructured style of bag showed a sculptor’s eye for colour and texture; the New York Times called it “the handbag of the 1970’s.” (See Robin Givhan’s The Battle of Versailles and Suzanne Slesin, “Beyond the Fringe: A Designer’s Zany World in Leather.”) Breslau was the manager of Keith Haring’s Pop Shop until his death from complications of AIDS in early 1987.

Breslau bag in Halston: An American Original (1999)

Breslau bag for Halston in Elaine Gross and Fred Rottman, Halston: An American Original (1999) Image: Behind the Seams.

In 1979, Breslau licensed two bag patterns with Vogue. Each design could be made in three sizes. Vogue 2153 is a “draw-stringer and scarf tie-up”:

1970s Bobby Breslau handbag pattern Vogue 2153

Vogue 2153 by Bobby Breslau (1979) Image: Etsy.

Vogue 2184 is a saddlebag and roll pouch:

1970s Bobby Breslau handbag pattern Vogue 2184

Vogue 2184 by Bobby Breslau (1979) Image: Etsy.

Just as Breslau’s unconstructed bag is back, so too are the brights of ’79. As Hannah Marriott writes, a trend for Lego colours is predicted for spring 2019…

Vogue Patterns May Jun 1979

Model with Breslau bag, Vogue Patterns, May/June 1979.

The World of Anna Sui

May 30, 2017 § 1 Comment

Tim Blanks, The World of Anna Sui (Abrams, 2017)

Tim Blanks, The World of Anna Sui (Abrams, 2017). Image: Abrams.

The World of Anna Sui opened at the Fashion and Textile Museum in London last weekend. It’s the museum’s first retrospective on a living American designer, with an accompanying book by Tim Blanks—out today from Abrams.

The World of Anna Sui, 26 May - 1 October 2017, London

Image: Joshua Jordan / Fashion and Textile Museum.

Anna Sui licensed her work with Vogue Patterns for some 16 years, from the mid-1990s to 2011. Read my series on Vogue patterns by Anna Sui:

1990s Anna Sui dress pattern V1619 on the cover of Vogue Patterns catalogue, September 1995

Vogue Patterns introduces Anna Sui for Vogue Attitudes: Vogue Patterns catalogue, September 1995. Image: eBay.

I’ve just listed this pattern for two dresses from Sui’s Mudd Club collection:

2000s Anna Sui stretch knit dress pattern Vogue 2551

Vogue 2551 by Anna Sui (2001) Image: PatternVault on Etsy.

For more on Sui and her work, see Tim Blanks’ essay for the Business of Fashion, “Anna Sui, America’s Most Underrated Fashion Designer.”

Anna Sui coat in Peter Lindbergh Factory-themed shoot for Bazaar, 1995

Faux Mongolian lamb coat by Anna Sui, Harper’s Bazaar, August 1995. Photo: Peter Lindbergh.

Kirsty Hume in Anna Sui, with Donovan Leitch, photographed by Arthur Elgort for "Seasoned Simplicity," 1995

Kirsty Hume wears Anna Sui in Vogue, September 1995. Photo: Arthur Elgort. Editor: Grace Coddington.

Karen Elson in Anna Sui, photographed by Tim Walker for "Under the Boardwalk," 2003

Karen Elson in Anna Sui, Vogue, June 2003. Photo: Tim Walker. Editor: Grace Coddington. Image: Vogue.com.

Pucci 70th Anniversary

May 4, 2017 § Leave a comment

McCall's 3980 by Emilio of Capri photographed on the beach by Howell Conant, McCall's Pattern Book, Spring 1957

A dress by Emilio of Capri in McCall’s Pattern Book, Spring 1957. Photo: Howell Conant.

Pucci has been in the news this week with the announcement that Josephus Thimister will consult on the next collection, following the departure in April of head designer Massimo Giorgetti. (See WWD.) The house of Pucci is also celebrating its 70th anniversary this year.

Before becoming a Vogue Couturier in the 1960s, Emilio Pucci designed exclusive patterns for McCall’s. Howell Conant photographed Pucci’s earliest pattern designs, including the harlequin dress above, for McCall’s Pattern Book. For more on Pucci see my Mad Men-era series post, The Europeans.

Happy 70th anniversary, Pucci!

1960s Pucci Vogue Couturier sewing pattern Vogue 1351

Vogue 1351 by Pucci (1964) Image: PatternVault on Etsy.

Mei Xiao Zhou for Guy Laroche: Vogue Patterns

March 14, 2017 § 6 Comments

Guy Laroche advertising campaign, Fall 2001

Guy Laroche advertising campaign, Fall 2001.

Word is Guy Laroche patterns are set to return after a two-year hiatus. (The last Laroche, and last Paris Original, to be released was V1450 in Summer, 2015.) In anticipation, my ongoing Laroche series resumes with a look at the early 2000s designs of Mei Xiao Zhou.

Born in the Netherlands, Mei Xiao Zhou came to a career in fashion after working as a ballet dancer and video director in New York and Tokyo. He spent six years as an assistant to Thierry Mugler before he was hired as head designer at Guy Laroche. (See WWD, “Guy Laroche Taps Zhou.”)

Zhou designed two collections for Laroche, both presented in 2001.

1. Guy Laroche Prêt-à-porter Fall/Winter 2001 (shown March 2001)

Mei Xiao Zhou’s first collection for Laroche radiated energy, with vibrant colour and prints underlining the skillful cut. (See WWD, “Static State, Forties-Something, and the ‘Casino’ Factor.”) Here’s the collection image from L’Officiel 1000 modèles:

Guy Laroche Fall 2001 collection by Mei Xiao Zhou

Guy Laroche Fall 2001 collection by Mei Xiao Zhou in L’Officiel 1000 modèles. Image: jalougallery.com.

The hardest to find of Zhou’s Laroche patterns, Vogue 2650 is a bias-cut, halter-neck wrap dress that can be made in cocktail and evening length (both size ranges available in the shop):

Fall 2001 Mei Xiao Zhou for Guy Laroche bias dress pattern Vogue 2650

Vogue 2650 by Mei Xiao Zhou for Guy Laroche (2002) Image: PatternVault on Etsy.

Vogue 2650 by Mei Ziao Zhou for Guy Laroche - two runway versions

Guy Laroche Fall 2001 runway. Images: firstVIEW.

Vogue 2668’s trouser suit includes a short jacket with three-quarter sleeves. On the runway, the revers on the red version revealed a flash of sequins:

Fall 2001 Mei Xiao Zhou for Guy Laroche pantsuit pattern Vogue 2668

Vogue 2668 by Mei Xiao Zhou for Guy Laroche (2002) Image: Etsy.

Vogue 2668 - white and red versions on the Guy Laroche Fall 2001 runway

Guy Laroche Fall 2001 runway. Images: firstVIEW.

Vogue 2689 is a sleek skirt suit with concealed closure and clavicle-framing standing collar. The skirt has a zippered side slit:

Fall 2001 Mei Xiao Zhou for Guy Laroche skirt suit pattern Vogue 2689

Vogue 2689 by Mei Xiao Zhou for Guy Laroche (2002) Image: PatternVault on Etsy.

Vogue 2689 - two versions on the Guy Laroche Fall 2001 runway

Guy Laroche Fall 2001 runway. Images: firstVIEW.

L’Officiel included one of Zhou’s op-art print pieces in the Sixties-inspired editorial “Mille neuf cent soixante-trois“:

Mariacarla Boscono in Guy Laroche by Mei Xiao Zhou photographed by Nicolas Hidiroglou, 2001

Guy Laroche, L’Officiel, October 2001. Model: Mariacarla Boscono. Photo: Nicolas Hidiroglou. Editor: Jennifer Eymère. Image: jalougallery.com.

2. Guy Laroche Prêt-à-porter Spring/Summer 2002 (shown October 2001)

For his romantic second collection for Laroche, Zhou covered the runway in water, sending out looks with an Asian influence in a palette of white, yellow, ochre, chocolate brown, and black. (See L’Officiel 1000 modèles and AP, “Louis Vuitton Show Goes Creative.”) Here’s the collection image:

Guy Laroche Spring 2002 collection by Mei Xiao Zhou

Guy Laroche Spring 2002 collection by Mei Xiao Zhou in L’Officiel 1000 modèles. Image: jalougallery.com.

Raquel Zimmerman in an all-white look from Mei Xiao Zhou's Spring 2002 collection for Guy Laroche

A look from Mei Xiao Zhou’s Spring 2002 collection for Guy Laroche. Model: Raquel Zimmerman. Image: livingly.

The Spring 2002 campaign echoed the runway’s aquatic motif:

A backless dress in Guy Laroche advertising campaign, Spring 2002

Guy Laroche advertising campaign, Spring 2002.

Because this collection is not well documented online, it’s difficult to identify corresponding sewing patterns. Vogue 2752 looks to be one of the canary yellow suits, with flared kimono sleeves and rounded lapels that match descriptions of the show:

Vogue 2752 by Mei Xiao Zhou for Guy Laroche

Vogue 2752 by Mei Xiao Zhou for Guy Laroche (2002) Image: PatternVault on Etsy.

Although I can’t confirm it, Vogue 2736 may also be a Spring 2002 design. The jacket has a bustier-effect bias inset, and the pants have high slits in the back seams:

2000s Guy Laroche pinstriped pantsuit pattern Vogue 2736

Vogue 2736 by Guy Laroche (2003) Image: Etsy.

Mei Xiao Zhou brought the verve of Mugler to his runway shows for Laroche. Although his first collection was well received, the house was sold to a new parent company, which hired a new designer for Fall 2002 (Laetitia Hecht). Like other designer patterns of this period, Zhou’s Laroche patterns highlight the widening gulf between catwalk and sewing-editorial styling—which is ultimately the gulf between the fashion and home sewing industries.

Previous Laroche posts:

Patterns in Vogue: On the Move

January 19, 2017 § 1 Comment

1980s Geoffrey Beene dress pattern Vogue 1771 photographed for Vogue by Denis Piel

Detail, Vogue, August 1986. Photo: Denis Piel.

“On the move” is the concept for a mid-’80s Denis Piel pattern editorial featuring designs from Geoffrey Beene’s career line.

Here, Vogue 1770, Beene’s wrap jacket and skirt, is shown in wool jersey from Jasco Fabrics, with dress Vogue 1771 in Horikoshi silk crepe (Bally briefcase; Donna Karan bags; Omega belt; bracelets by Eric Beamon):

Vogue 1770 and 1771 by Geoffrey Beene, photographed for Vogue by Denis Piel

Vogue 1770 and 1771 by Geoffrey Beene, Vogue, August 1986. Photos: Denis Piel.

On the left, Vogue 1771’s jacket is made reversible in red and black wool coating, with wool gabardine trousers and a silk charmeuse tank made using Vogue 1773 (wool from Anglo Fabrics; silk from Hi Fashion Fabrics). At right, Vogue 1773’s coat becomes a raincoat in cotton back polyurethane from Waldon Textiles, with a cotton corduroy contrast from Majestic Mills (Omega belt; bags, Maud Frizon and Prada):

Vogue 1771 and 1773 by Geoffrey Beene, photographed for Vogue by Denis Piel.

Vogue 1771 and 1773 by Geoffrey Beene, Vogue, August 1986. Photos: Denis Piel.

In the back of the magazine, readers could find sewing tips for making the jacket reversible and giving the coat a contrast collar:

Details on Vogue 1770, 1771, and 1773 by Geoffrey Beene

Details on Vogue 1770, 1771, and 1773 by Geoffrey Beene, Vogue, August 1986.

Vogue 1770, 1771, 1773 by Geoffrey Beene

Pattern images: Vintage Pattern Wiki, Design Rewind Fashions.

James Galanos: Vogue Patterns

December 16, 2016 § 3 Comments

Silk burnooses by Galanos photographed by James Moore for the cover of Harper's Bazaar, October 1966

Silk burnooses by Galanos on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar, October 1966. Photo: James Moore. Image: eBay.

This week, a look at the late James Galanos’ licensed Vogue patterns. (See my McCall’s post here.)

James Galanos Vogue pattern envelope flap with biographical note

James Galanos Vogue pattern envelope flap. Image: eBay.

1960s

"Vogue Americana presents The Masterful Touch of James Galanos": Maud Adams wears V1854 by Galanos

Maud Adams wears Vogue 1854 by James Galanos on the cover of the Vogue Patterns catalogue, January 1968. Image: eBay.

Vogue Patterns introduced James Galanos patterns in late 1967, with two dress designs modelled by Maud Adams and Lauren Hutton. The counter catalogue promotes Galanos’ “masterful touch” with an alternate shot of Vogue 1854, an A-line dress with side pleats at right front and left back:

1960s James Galanos dress pattern - Vogue Americana 1854

Vogue 1854 by James Galanos (1967) Model: Maud Adams. Image: Vintage Patterns Wiki.

Lauren Hutton models Vogue 1855, a coat dress with double inverted pleats in the back:

1960s James Galanos coat dress pattern feat. Lauren Hutton - Vogue 1855

Vogue 1855 by James Galanos (1967) Model: Lauren Hutton. Image: eBay.

This short, wrap-effect evening dress has square armholes and front pleats concealing pockets:

1960s James Galanos evening dress pattern - Vogue 2071

Vogue 2071 by James Galanos (1969) Image: Etsy.

1970s

Later Galanos patterns were photographed on location in New York, where the designer showed his collections. This dress goes one further than Vogue 1855 and has double inverted pleats in both front and back:

1970s James Galanos dress pattern - Vogue 2269

Vogue 2269 by James Galanos (1970) Image: Vintage Pattern Wiki.

Jumpsuit Vogue 2524 features a shoulder yoke, pintucks, and wide, corded belt:

1970s James Galanos jumpsuit pattern - Vogue 2524

Vogue 2524 by James Galanos (1971) Image: Vintage Pattern Wiki.

The latest Galanos pattern I’ve seen is Vogue 2639, a long-sleeved evening dress with front slit and waistline smocking detail:

1970s James Galanos evening dress pattern - Vogue 2639

Vogue 2639 by James Galanos (1971) Image: Vintage Pattern Wiki.

A dreamy illustration made the cover of the news leaflet:

1970s Galanos evening dress Vogue 2639 illustrated by Ron Becker for Vogue Pattern Fashion News

Vogue 2639 by James Galanos on the cover of Vogue Pattern Fashion News, January 1972. Illustration: Ron Becker. Image: eBay.

For more on James Galanos, see Hamish Bowles’ obituary for Vogue or watch LACMA’s 1996 documentary, Galanos on Galanos (with thanks to Jen O of the Pintucks blog).

Donna Mitchell, "Black silk ottoman cloqué sheath wreathed in feathers by Galanos" photographed by Melvin Sokolsky for Bazaar, fall 1963

Feather-trimmed sheath in silk ottoman cloqué by Galanos on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar, November 1963. Photo: Melvin Sokolsky. Model: Donna Mitchell. Image: Paper Pursuits.

James Galanos: McCall’s Patterns

November 27, 2016 § 4 Comments

Gold and black metallic evening gown built over a pellon and black silk taffeta by James Galanos, 1954

Metallic evening gown by James Galanos photographed at the Costume Institute, 1954. Image: Bettmann / Getty.

James Galanos died last month. He was 92. According to his obituary in the New York Times, Galanos authorized only two licenses: furs and fragrance. But he also licensed commercial sewing patterns—first with McCall’s, and later with Vogue Patterns. This post looks at Galanos’ 1950s patterns with McCall’s.

Jean Patchett photographed by Nina Leen in Galanos, 1959

Jean Patchett in Galanos, Life magazine, February 23, 1959. Photo: Nina Leen. Image: Life archive.

Born in Philadelphia to Greek parents, James Galanos (1924-2016) was a graduate of the Traphagen School of Fashion. He worked with Hattie Carnegie, Hollywood costume designer Jean Louis, and Robert Piguet before founding his own, LA-based label in 1951. He retired in 1998, the year after LACMA mounted a retrospective of his work. Galanos won the devotion of celebrities and socialites with his virtuoso technique and flawless craftsmanship.

Galanos label

Image: the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

1950s

McCall’s introduced designer exclusives by “James Galanos, brilliant young star of American fashion” with two patterns for winter 1956-57. The Galanos designs—full-skirted formal gowns in two lengths—were prominently featured in the holiday issues of McCall’s Pattern Book and the company’s monthly news leaflet.

Clothes to make you beautiful this Christmas: Galanos gown McCall's 3895 on the cover of McCall's Pattern Book, Winter / Holiday 1956-57

McCall’s 3895 by Galanos on the cover of McCall’s Pattern Book, Winter 1956-57. Image: eBay.

"Holiday news: Galanos designs for McCall's" - illustration of McCall's 3894 and 3895, 1956

“Holiday news: Galanos designs for McCall’s.” McCall’s news leaflet, December 1956.

According to the news leaflet, McCall’s 3894 is “a fabulous ball gown to make in brocade.” The molded bodice is a trademark Galanos touch:

1950s James Galanos evening dress pattern McCall's 3894

McCall’s 3894 by Galanos (1956) Image: the Vintage Pattern Wiki.

McCall's 3894 by Galanos in McCall's Pattern Book, 1956

McCall’s 3894 by Galanos in McCall’s Pattern Book, Winter 1956-57. Image: eBay.

McCall’s 3895 is a bow-trimmed evening gown. As the leaflet notes, “Beautifully low-cut in back, it can be cocktail length.” Recommended fabrics included heavy satin, peau de soie, brocade, and taffeta:

1950s James Galnos evening dress pattern McCall's 3895

McCall’s 3895 by Galanos (1956) Image: eBay.

A Galanos design in the McCall's catalogue, February 1957

A Galanos design in the McCall’s catalogue, February 1957. Image: Etsy.

In spring, 1957, McCall’s released two more Galanos patterns: the lavishly full-skirted McCall’s 4045 and 4046.

1950s Galanos evening dress and petticoat pattern McCall's 4045

McCall’s 4045 by Galanos (1957) Image: eBay.

Here, the back bodice extends into a front yoke. The skirt and petticoat were to be made in organdy, nylon, or silk organza:

1950s Galanos evening dress and petticoat pattern McCalls 4046

McCalls 4046 by Galanos (1957) Image: eBay.

The new Galanos patterns were promoted in the March issue of McCall’s magazine (“Galanos designs: Black-and-white for summer evenings”) and in the company’s “Make the Clothes that Make the Woman” advertising campaign.

"Make the Clothes that Make the Woman - with exclusive McCall's patterns by Galanos, Givenchy, Trigère, Sybil Connolly, Emilio of Capri!" McCall's 4046 by Galanos

“Make the Clothes that Make the Woman” advertisement featuring McCall’s 4046 by Galanos, spring 1957.

In the Summer 1957 pattern book, the designs are illustrated in green linen and flower-embroidered organdy:

James Galanos patterns illustrated in McCall's Pattern Book, Summer 1957

James Galanos patterns illustrated in McCall’s Pattern Book, Summer 1957.

Today, Galanos’ McCall’s patterns are quite scarce. Perhaps customers balked at the extravagant yardage: the skirt for one dress took over 20 yards of narrow fabric. Galanos’ work with sheer layers continued into the following decade, as seen in this 1961 editorial by Gordon Parks:

"Full-length evening dress is draped in pink and rose with a light orange hem. Like most Galanos styles, this one is deceptively simple but it is intricately and artfully constructed so that it is not bulky despite the amount of chiffon used -- 75 yards in all." Life, April 14, 1961.

Gloria Vanderbilt in a chiffon evening dress by Galanos, Life magazine, April 14, 1961. Photo: Gordon Parks. Image: Shrimpton Couture.

Next: James Galanos’ Vogue patterns.

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