In memoriam: Emanuel Ungaro

Anh Duong and models in Emanuel Ungaro Haute Couture photographed by Deborah Turbeville, 1985
Emanuel Ungaro Couture at the Château de Raray, Vogue, December 1985. Photo: Deborah Turbeville.

Farewell to Emanuel Ungaro, one of the great couturiers to emerge from the twentieth century.

Read his Vogue obituary.

Emanuel Ungaro photographed by Irving Penn, 1985
Emanuel Ungaro photographed by Irving Penn, Vogue, December 1985. Image: Vogue.com.

Patterns in Vogue: Peter Lindbergh, 1944-2019

"Seeing Spots" by Peter Lindbergh - Vogue pattern 7054 Women's robe and shorts (1987) "Additional information: shorten shorts."
Naomi Campbell photographed by Peter Lindbergh for “Seeing Spots,” Vogue, June 1990. Editor: Grace Coddington.

Peter Lindbergh died yesterday. He was 74. (Read the WWD obituary.) The German photographer was a frequent collaborator of Grace Coddington’s. In these images, the duo captured Naomi Campbell and Anna Getaneh in silk pyjamas made from Vogue Patterns.

The patterns are Vogue 7054 and 7079.

Peter Lindbergh's "Nude Study" - Vogue pattern 7079 Men's robe (1987) in silk chiffon
Anna Getaneh photographed by Peter Lindbergh for “Nude Study,” Vogue, November 1989. Editor: Grace Coddington.

Biba: McCall’s Patterns

1970s Biba cover - 19 magazine, January 1971 photographed by David Tack
A Biba look on the cover of 19 magazine, January 1971. Photo: David Tack.

I started this blog eight years ago this month. To celebrate, here’s a look at some all-but-forgotten licensing: patterns by Barbara Hulanicki for Biba.

Ingrid Boulting wearing Tiger Lily dress by Biba at Lacock Abbey, British Vogue, July 1970. Photo: Norman Parkinson
Ingrid Boulting wears Biba’s Tiger Lily dress at Lacock Abbey, British Vogue, July 1970. Photo: Norman Parkinson. Image: Iconic Images.

Biba might be the biggest brand you’ll never see on a pattern. Born in Warsaw, Biba founder Barbara Hulanicki (b. 1936) grew up in Palestine and Brighton, where she attended Brighton Art School. She worked as a fashion illustrator before starting the Biba label with her husband, Stephen “Fitz” Fitz-Simon. Sometimes called the first lifestyle brand, Biba was a runaway success in Swinging London, selling everything from cosmetics to couture.

Biba designs for Seventeen - McCall's Pattern no. 2725
Biba design for Seventeen, Brighton Museum, 2013. Image: The cherry blossom girl.

In 1970, Hulanicki licensed patterns with McCall’s as a way to launch her brand in North America. The main promotion was in Seventeen Magazine, as it was Seventeen editor Rosemary McMurtry who first approached Hulanicki about the idea. Hulanicki mentions the McCall’s deal in her memoirs, as well as The Biba Years, 1963-1975, which she co-wrote with Martin Pel, curator of Brighton’s Biba and Beyond: Barbara Hulanicki.

Book cover for Barbara Hulanicki and Martin Pel's The Biba Years, 1963-1975 (V&A 2014)
Barbara Hulanicki and Martin Pel, The Biba Years, 1963-1975 (V&A 2014) Image: V&A.
Biba label - the Costume Institute
Image: Costume Institute.

Around New Year’s, 1971, Seventeen readers could peruse the new Biba patterns in a dreamy Sarah Moon editorial shot in Paris. Among the models was Ingrid Boulting, the face of Biba Cosmetics (another Sarah Moon project). As Hulanicki writes in her memoir, From A to Biba, the setting for the shoot was the round tower of Au Printemps, the storied Paris department store. The printed fabrics — cotton satin, rayon crepe, cotton voile, twill, and broadcloth — were all Tootal for Biba, and available at retailers like Macy’s in New York. (More at Sweet Jane. Seventeen scans courtesy of Musings from Marilyn.)

Sarah Moon's "Biba Boutique" McCall's editorial in Seventeen Magazine, Jan. 1971
“Biba Boutique,” Seventeen Magazine, January 1971. Photos: Sarah Moon. Images: Musings from Marilyn.
Sarah Moon's "Biba Boutique" McCall's editorial in Seventeen Magazine, Jan. 1971
“Biba Boutique,” Seventeen Magazine, January 1971. Photos: Sarah Moon. Images: Musings from Marilyn.
Sarah Moon's "Biba Boutique" McCall's editorial in Seventeen Magazine, Jan. 1971
“Biba Boutique,” Seventeen Magazine, January 1971. Photos: Sarah Moon. Images: Musings from Marilyn.

The patterns were even covered more than once in Women’s Wear Daily.

Robert Melendez Biba illustration in Women's Wear Daily, 1971
From “Viva Biba,” WWD, January 5, 1971. Illustration: Robert Melendez. Image: Shrimpton Couture.

The designs consisted of a top and skirt, separates and a hat, a long-sleeved dress and short-sleeved coatdress, and a midi or maxi dress, all in junior sizes only. Two included a matching choker. Customers could see the Biba logo in McCall’s retail catalogues, but the pattern envelopes give no indication they’re Biba designs.

1970s Biba pattern McCall's 2725
McCall’s 2725 by Biba (1971)
1970s Biba pattern McCall's 2728
McCall’s 2728 by Biba (1971)
1970s Biba pattern McCall's 2746
McCall’s 2746 by Biba (1971)
1970s Biba pattern McCall's 2747
McCall’s 2747 by Biba (1971)

McCall’s Pattern Fashions featured the Biba patterns in a four-page illustrated portfolio called “Seventeen Magazine Pattern Selections.” The write-up emphasizes Biba’s novelty in North America: Now Seventeen Magazine brings Biba to America … You, too, can be a Biba girl without crossing the Atlantic.

Seventeen Magazine Pattern Selections: Now Seventeen Magazine brings Biba to America in an exclusive group of McCall's patterns
Biba patterns in McCall’s Pattern Fashions, Spring 1971.
Seventeen Magazine Pattern Selections: You, too, can be a Biba girl without crossing the Atlantic
Biba patterns in McCall’s Pattern Fashions, Spring 1971.

Curiously, the Biba patterns aren’t in McCall’s back index, but one of them appears in this croquet-themed textiles ad — at left, in printed Dacron crepe:

McCall's Pattern Fashions Spring 1971 Klopman
Klopman advertisement in McCall’s Pattern Fashions, Spring 1971.

The peplum blouse with short “mushroom” sleeves (McCall’s 2725, view B) is very similar to a Biba evening suit seen in a 19 cover portfolio by David Tack. (Cover at top of post.) Like Seventeen, the British teen magazine also published its feature around the time of New Year’s, 1971.

Have you sewn any of the Biba patterns?

David Tack, Biba screen-printed satin evening suit in 19 magazine, January 1971
Biba screen-printed satin evening suit in 19 magazine, January 1971. Photo: David Tack. Image: Vintage-a-Peel.

Alexander McQueen 50

Vanitas Skull by Gary James McQueen poster for the 2018 McQueen documentary - "The fearless, rebellious and extraordinary life of Alexander McQueen"
Poster for Ian Bonhôte and Peter Ettedgui’s McQueen (2018) Vanitas Skull by Gary James McQueen. Photo: Dan Tobin Smith ©Lionsgate.

Alexander McQueen would have been 50 today.

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.

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.)

Silhouette News for Fall, 1956

McCalls PB Fall 1956
Anne St. Marie in McCall’s 3793, McCall’s Pattern Book, Fall 1956. Photo: The Dodenhoffs.

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.”

Pattern: McCall’s 3793.