Happy Mardi Gras! To celebrate the last day of Carnival, here’s a look at the star of Helmut Newton’s 1966 Venetian shoot: Italian model and socialite Mirella Petteni Haggiag.
Born in Bergamo, Mirella Petteni moved to Milan to work as a model. As the wife of film producer Robert Haggiag, Petteni was also a society figure with residences in Venice, Tuscany, New York, and Rome’s Palazzo Mengarini. (See T magazine.) She retired from modelling to become an editor at Vogue Italia.
Petteni can be seen on many Vogue Couturier Designs by Italian designers.
Petteni also appears in a Vogue holiday editorial that includes two Vogue Special designs (Vogue 6084 and 6054):
Here she wears Galitzine’s halter and culotte:
Here, in Pucci’s bestselling cape-jacket ensemble, Petteni’s aspirational hair is an added bonus:
It’s been another hot summer here in Toronto. One of my earliest blog posts, Heat Wave!, surveys vintage beachwear patterns. This summer, let’s take a look at a more elusive beast: designer swimwear patterns.
The earliest pattern I’ve seen for designer swimwear is Pucci’s strapless one-piece, McCall’s 3977. This pattern was available in Junior sizes only. The suit was lined in jersey, and could be made with or without the brightly coloured appliqués:
From another Italian designer, Irene Galitzine, Vogue 1288 is a pattern for a bikini, dress, and hat. The bikini consists of a cropped, cowl-neck blouse and bikini pants with side ties:
The 1970s were the heyday of designer swimwear patterns, often with a coordinating coverup, and always for stretch knits. Vogue 1416 is an early design by Donna Karan; from Anne Klein’s collaboration with Penfold, the pattern includes both a maillot and a halter bikini:
From Bill Blass, Vogue 1455 includes a two-piece swimsuit with bra top and bikini briefs:
John Kloss licensed a number of swimwear designs with Butterick. This ad promotes his patterns with a poolside photo of Butterick 4808:
Another Butterick designer, Gil Aimbez, designed this one-piece bathing suit. Contrast bias binding outlines the cut-away sides and bodice seaming detail:
Like the Anne Klein Penfold pattern above, this Penfold pattern includes both one-piece and halter bikini bathing suits. The one-piece and bikini top are cut on the bias:
Both Penfold patterns can be seen in a Vogue Patterns editorial photographed in Antigua:
From spring, 1978, Vogue 1893 seems to have been the only Catalina pattern. Instead of a coverup, it includes three styles of bathing suit: low-backed view A, strapless view B with built-in boning, and blouson view C is a two-piece:
The magazine recommended making the Catalina suits in Thompson of California’s “second skin Tic Toc warp knit polyester crepes” in various prints:
From 1980, McCall’s 7109 includes three one-piece swimsuits by the Italian label Basile: a mock wrap, belted halter-neck and variations on the strapless suit with gathered bust (available in the shop):
Jerry Hall (right) seems to be wearing the view A style in this Basile ad photographed by Irving Penn:
Also from 1980, Bob Mackie’s strapless, colour-blocked swimsuit, McCall’s 7138, was photographed for the July counter catalogue and news leaflet (seen at the top of this post):
Finally, this early ’90s DKNY pattern, Vogue 2897, is labelled ‘dress and bodysuit,’ but was photographed as beachwear:
After a long swimwear pattern drought, the big pattern companies seem to have noticed the renewed popularity of sewing your own, custom bathing suit. For this summer, Simplicity reissued a 1950s bathing suit pattern, Simplicity 4307 / S8139, and The McCall Pattern Company has released a number of new swimwear designs, including one Vogue and two Lisette swimwear patterns.
Two designers with existing pattern licensing, Cynthia Rowley and Rachel Comey, both have swimwear lines. If we voice our support, perhaps we could soon see patterns for Cynthia Rowley surf wear and Rachel Comey Swim…
Whether you’re going out or staying in, palazzo pyjamas are perfect for New Year’s Eve. “Pyjama Game—the palazzo persuasion,” a 1963 Vogue editorial photographed by Gene Laurents, features two Vogue Couturier patterns for evening pyjama ensembles.
Both patterns are by designers based in Rome: Federico Forquet and Irene Galitzine. Vogue 1260 by Forquet is a sleeveless, draped evening dress that’s slit to reveal slim, matching pants. The original was apricot silk crêpe (click to enlarge):
From Galitzine, Vogue 1220 is a three-piece pyjama ensemble consisting of a top and skirt in black cut velvet shot with Lurex paired with trousers in white crêpe. The bold, rope necklace is by Brania:
As always, details could be found in the back of the magazine:
Versatile and contemporary, jumpsuits and their cousins, playsuits and rompers, have become increasingly popular in the last few years. Jumpsuits—or all-in-ones, if you’re British—seem poised to move beyond a trend this summer.
The modern women’s jumpsuit has origins in two different garments: beach pajamas and the boiler suit. These twin origins mean jumpsuit styles range from fluid loungewear to utility-inspired or tailored designs. (See Vogue Italia for a short history of the jumpsuit.) Here are some favourite all-in-one patterns from the 1930s to the 1990s.
Beach pajamas, often worn with a matching bolero, had become one-piece by the early 1930s. This McCall’s design combines flowing trousers with geometric seaming details in the bodice and hip yoke. A reproduction is available from the Model A Ford Club of America:
The boiler suits of wartime utility wear are said to have made bifurcated clothing more acceptable for women. This Vogue pattern from ca. 1940 includes both a hooded mechanic suit with cuffed trousers and a more casual, short-sleeved version shown in a dotted print:
This early 1940s pajama ensemble with T-back halter bodice was not just for the beach—the envelope says it’s for “beach, dinner or evening”:
In the postwar period, more tailored jumpsuits emerged as a choice for casual sportswear. This early 1950s pedal-pusher coverall has cuffed sleeves and pants and a front zipper closure:
From the late 1950s, this trim, one-piece slack suit from Vogue came in two lengths and with a matching overskirt:
The jumpsuit—sometimes called a culotte or pantdress—truly comes into its own in the later 1960s. Here Birgitta af Klercker models Vogue 2249, a loungewear design by Emilio Pucci (previously featured in my goddess gown post):
In this late 1960s Butterick Young Designers pattern, Mary Quant combines a trim, zip-front jumpsuit with a low-waisted miniskirt for a sleek, futuristic look:
Both pajama and menswear-inspired styles continue into the 1970s. Famous for her palazzo pajamas, Galitzine designed this bi-coloured lounge pantdress with criss-cross halter bodice:
From Calvin Klein, Vogue 1453 marks a return to the boiler suit style. With cargo pockets, self belt, and wide, notched collar, the jumpsuit could be made long or short, with long or short sleeves:
This Bob Mackie disco jumpsuit or evening dress pattern for stretch knits dates to 1980. (See my earlier Bob Mackie post here.) The jumpsuit has a plunging neckline, waistline pleats, and tapered, bias pants designed to crush at the ankles:
An instance of the late 1980s jumpsuit trend, this shirtdress-style jumpsuit by Donna Karan has a notched collar, welt pockets, and cuffed or seven-eighths length kimono sleeves:
Also by Donna Karan, Vogue 2609, ca. 1990, is a long-sleeved, tapered jumpsuit for stretch knits with neckline variations, front pleats, and stirrups. View C has a contrast bodice with self-lined hood:
From 1996, Vogue 1821 by DKNY is almost vintage. It’s a novel suit consisting of a single-breasted jacket and wide-legged, halter jumpsuit:
Finally, this pattern is not yet vintage, but a jumpsuit collection would be incomplete without Vogue 2343, Alexander McQueen’s tailored, tuxedo jumpsuit for Givenchy haute couture Spring/Summer 1998 (earlier post here):
With their demanding fit, jumpsuits are ideal for home sewers. And they’re not just for the tall and leggy: many of the later jumpsuit patterns are marked as suitable for petites.
If you’d like to try your hand at an early all-in-one, Wearing History has a repro pattern for 1930s beach pajamas, and Simplicity 9978 includes a 1940s boiler suit.
This week, three newer designers who established their companies in the late 1950s and early 1960s: Guy Laroche, Irene Galitzine, and Federico Forquet.
Guy Laroche (1921-1989)
Guy Laroche worked as assistant to Jean Dessès for seven years before founding his own couture house in 1957. He had an early success with his ready-to-wear line, founded in 1961, helped by a brief stint in New York’s garment industry. Laroche was known for his accessible, youthful designs and use of colour.
Vogue 1102 is a slim, one-shouldered cocktail or evening dress with off-the-shoulder neckline and loose back panel. (Click image for back view.) The dress has a boned underbodice and looped self-trimming at the shoulder:
Irene Galitzine was a Russian-born princess whose mother had fled the Bolshevik Revolution with her and settled in Rome. A former model, she presented her first collection in 1959. Galitzine was famous for her ‘palazzo pajamas,’ evening ensembles featuring wide-legged pants; she also designed part of Claudia Cardinale’s wardrobe for her role as Princess Dala in The Pink Panther (1963). Amusingly, Claudia Cardinale is actually this blog’s top search (she’s mentioned briefly in my first Mad Men Era post). Here she wears a white Galitzine tunic and pants in the film’s first party scene:
At first glance, Vogue 1393 looks like a jumpsuit, but it’s really a chic halter blouse and culotte. The sleeveless blouse has a wrap-around construction and gathers into a high, standing band collar. The matching culotte has a gathered skirt that forms wide palazzo pants in the front:
Federico Forquet (1931-)
Federico Forquet was also born to a family of aristocratic emigrés: his ancestors had settled in Naples after fleeing the French Revolution. The young Forquet worked with Balenciaga, Fabiani, and Galitzine before opening his own studio in 1961. He was known for his elegant, sculptural cut. Forquet also designed the costumes for the early Bertolucci film “Prima della rivoluzione” (1964).
Vogue 1315 is a bow-trimmed sheath dress and jacket ensemble. The dress has a neckline that’s square in the back and scooped in the front with notched detail; contrast bow trim gives a high-waisted effect. The jacket has three-quarter kimono sleeves and a fabulous raised neckline curving up into points at the throat. It seems that, when worn together, the dress’ bow sits outside the jacket. The original was photographed at the Palazzo Annibale Scotti:
With the exception of Guy Laroche, these new designers were based in Rome, reflecting Italy’s burgeoning fashion industry, with its alternatives to the Paris couture, as well as the rise of ready-to-wear.