As many of you know, I started this blog with posts on Alexander McQueen, as a way to commemorate his work. His birthday is a natural time to revisit and reflect on his legacy. Since my last roundup in 2015, for the London version of Savage Beauty, I’ve posted about the designer’s 1998 Blade Runner collection. You’ll also find extensive updates to my inaugural McQueen for Givenchy series: as part of my recent blog redesign, I added additional and improved images from runway, advertising, and editorial.
There are only two weekends left to catch Balenciaga: Master of Couture at the McCord Museum. Anne St. Marie’s look (above) was inspired by Balenciaga.
From the inside note: “The new straight-coat fashion favored by Balenciaga, fall and winter coverage for its own sheath dress and everything else in your wardrobe. In colorful Anglo tweed and coordinated red wool, interfaced with Armo hair canvas to hold its line. Earl-Glo Sanitized taffeta lining; B.G.E. buttons. Emme hat; Mark Cross bag; Superb gloves.”
Nothing says Swinging London like Mary Quant. The pioneer of the Chelsea Look will receive a major retrospective at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2019. (An earlier exhibit, Manchester Art Gallery’s Mary Quant: Fashion Icon, had to close early due to conservation issues.)
The V&A is seeking vintage Quant for the show, including garments — or even photos of garments — made with Mary Quant patterns. See here for more details, or email the curators at firstname.lastname@example.org.Update: submissions are now closed.
Butterick licensed Mary Quant patterns from the mid-’60s to the early ’70s. (See my Mad Men-era post.)
For knitters, there were also ultra-mod knitting patterns. Some of these vintage booklets are available as official reissues, like these ones from Mary Maxim. (More on Ravelry.)
Mary Quant and her husband were profiled in Life magazine as early as 1960. (View story here.)
For his 1963 Life feature on the Chelsea Look, Norman Parkinson photographed Melanie Hampshire and Jill Kennington in these Mary Quant dresses:
Butterick released its first Mary Quant patterns in fall, 1964. Here’s Celia Hammond on the cover of the retail catalogue:
The Butterick Home Catalog hailed Quant as the originator of the Chelsea Look.
The earliest Mary Quant patterns pre-date the Young Designer line. This dress pattern even includes the rosette:
British copies of this dress pattern say “featured in Queen magazine.” Jill Kennington wore this and other Butterick Young Designers in what was billed as “The Queen’s first ever make-it-yourself fashion.”
Here Moyra Swan models a mod scooter dress. Suggested fabrics include linen, jersey, lightweight wool, and knits.
This jumpsuit or playsuit came with a matching mini skirt — “the latest put-togethers”:
What to wear with a Mary Quant mini dress? Why, go-go boots, of course:
By 1970, a Quant jumpsuit was more fluid, with a pointed collar; this pattern also includes a maxi-length cardigan. The catalogue gives a better view of the inflatable chair:
Mary Quant in a more romantic mode means a sheer tunic worn with knickers. View B is a maxi dress.
After 1971 or so, Butterick Young Designer patterns had illustrations, not photos. This Mary Quant dress dates to circa early ’73.
Tonight at New York Fashion Week, Ralph Lauren celebrates his company’s 50th anniversary. Here’s a look at highlights of Ralph Lauren patterns from the ’70s to the ’90s.
Ralph Lauren started out in menswear, and Vogue Patterns’ first licensing with the brand was for men’s designs. The company released its first Polo by Ralph Lauren patterns in the summer of 1975.
That’s Polo Ralph Lauren on the right in Vogue Patterns’ American Bicentennial issue:
This Polo trench is classic for any gender:
Vogue’s licensing of Ralph Lauren women’s wear began in 1979. The earliest Ralph Lauren women’s patterns are for Annie Hall and Western looks like those shown in his Fall 1981 Santa Fe collection—prairie skirts, fringe, and serapes worn with cowboy boots and concho belts.
Ralph Lauren’s Spring 1984 Safari collection is said to have been inspired by Out of Africa, perhaps with a dash of Picnic at Hanging Rock.
Late ’80s Vogue Career designs by Ralph Lauren feature British model Saffron Aldridge, then the face of the brand.
Tartan was one of the main takeaways from Ralph Lauren’s Fall 1991 collection. (As L’Officiel observed, “For Ralph Lauren, tartan isn’t a fashion, it’s a lifestyle.”) Vogue released two patterns from this collection, a dress and trouser ensemble.
Although the envelope for the dress shows it in solid red, the tartan looks had pride of place on the holiday covers, both Vogue PatternsMagazine and the December catalogue.
The tartan pieces had already been promoted that same season in the Fall ’91 advertising campaign and a Grace Coddington / Linda Evangelista cover and editorial (“A Shot of Scotch”) in Vogue’s September issue.
Some later covers showing Ralph Lauren in a less WASP-y mode:
Gnyuki Torimaru, or Yuki, is most famous for dressing Princess Diana on her 1986 state visit to Japan. But his licensed sewing patterns date to the year before.
Born in Miyazaki Prefecture, Japan, Gnyuki Torimaru (b. 1937) studied architecture in Chicago before settling in London, where he attended the London College of Fashion. He launched his own label, Yuki, in 1972, after stints at Norman Hartnell in London and Pierre Cardin in Paris. (For more, see Suzanne Kampner, “Out Goes Majolica, In Goes Nothing.”)
Visitors to the Boston Museum of Fine Art can see his blue, pleated gown and other designs in the museum’s extensive Yuki collection.
Torimaru made his name in the 1970s with his draped jersey gowns. Jerry Hall’s cream Yuki gown, seen on the cover of British Vogue and in Barry Lategan’s editorial, “Dare the Ritz,” has a hem that doubles back as a hood. The Boston Museum of Fine Art has a silk version; model-turned-actor Gayle Hunnicutt donated her carnation version to the V&A.
Hunnicutt wore two Yuki pieces in her 1973 British Vogue editorial. The second, low-backed gown is carnation jersey, cut in one piece. She later wore it to a ball at Windsor Castle.
Yuki also designed the costumes for Frank D. Gilroy’s romantic comedy Once in Paris… (1978), which starred his client, Hunnicutt.
Style Patterns’ earliest designer series includes two Yuki designs. Both dresses, one a voluminous one size fits all, showcase his trademark draping.
Misses’ Dress in Two Lengths: Dress is gathered from yoke. Draped sleeves are raglan. Opening is button loops. All edges are topstitched. Suggested fabrics—Fine silk or synthetic jersey, lightweight silk types, lightweight crepe types, crepe de chine, georgette. One size.
Misses’ Dress in Two Lengths: Dress has fitted under-bodice with draped front and back, which is gathered on padded shoulder and forms fluted sleeve. Skirt is slim with centre back split on full length version. Suggested fabrics—Fine silk or synthetic jersey, lightweight silk types, crepe types, crepe de chine.
Click the Style Patterns tag for more British designer patterns.