March 14, 2017 § 6 Comments
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:
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):
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:
Vogue 2689 is a sleek skirt suit with concealed closure and clavicle-framing standing collar. The skirt has a zippered side slit:
L’Officiel included one of Zhou’s op-art print pieces in the Sixties-inspired editorial “Mille neuf cent soixante-trois“:
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:
The Spring 2002 campaign echoed the runway’s aquatic motif:
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:
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:
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:
February 25, 2017 § 2 Comments
Will you be watching the Oscars on Sunday? Here’s a roundup of my posts on red carpet dressing.
Hervé L. Leroux for Guy Laroche – Hilary Swank chose her Oscars gown from Leroux’s debut collection for Laroche. Vogue Patterns released two designs from this collection: cocktail dress V2899 and a backless evening pantsuit. (Bonus: check out this red Laroche gown on 1stdibs.)
Damian Yee for Guy Laroche – Leroux’s successor at Laroche has two evening designs with Vogue Patterns, including this gown from the house’s Jubilee collection.
Clash of the Titans: Goddess Gowns – My first Oscars post on the Academy Awards staple. This late ’40s gown might be this blog’s most-pinned image:
Rock the Caftan – A non-Western formal alternative with origins in ancient Persia.
Red Carpet Fashion: Evening Pantsuits – A trend that continues to pick up steam (see Hannah Marriot, “Red-carpet rebels: why trousers for women are a political act“).
November 4, 2015 § 6 Comments
Before his positions at Lanvin and Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, Alber Elbaz designed four seasons for Guy Laroche. (Fall 1997 to Spring 1999; see my earlier post here.) The recent news got me thinking about a Guy Laroche pattern that could also be by Elbaz.
Vogue 2368 is so rare that I didn’t see it in time for my first post. It’s a simple, formal design: a sleeveless dress with a big flower at the tucked, asymmetrical neckline:
Here’s the envelope description: Semi-fitted, straight, lined, sleeveless dress, below mid-knee or evening length, has neckline tucks, side zipper and back hemline slit. Purchased flower. Recommended fabrics are silk-like crepe, lightweight wool crepe, and satin-backed crepe.
Vogue 2368 was released in late 1999—earlier than Vogue 2497, a design from Elbaz’ Spring 1999 farewell collection for Laroche. It doesn’t match any of the runway looks from Elbaz’ four Laroche collections, but the palette, neckline detail, and especially the flower (an Elbaz signature at Laroche and Lanvin) seem persuasive. What do you think?
February 20, 2013 § 16 Comments
Oscar season is upon us, and that means goddess gowns. Goddess gowns usually share elements of classical drapery and the simple construction of the toga and chiton. Here’s a selection of patterns for Greco-Roman-inspired evening wear.
This 1920s evening dress from the House of Worth features elegant back drapery, with a beaded appliqué holding more drapery at the left hip:
The illustration for this 1930s Lanvin ‘scarf frock’ plays up the classical mood with a fluted pedestal and ferns:
This late 1940s one-shouldered evening dress has a long panel that can be worn belted in the back or wrapped around the bared shoulder:
Toga-like drapery distinguishes these short, Sixties evening dresses by Pauline Trigère and Jacques Heim:
This late ’60s Yves Saint Laurent evening dress has a classical simplicity, with the bodice gathered into a boned collar:
This Pucci loungewear has culottes on the bottom, but still has that ‘goddess’ flavour (modelled by Birgitta Af Klercker):
Angeleen Gagliano models this mid-Seventies Lanvin evening dress and toga:
This Pierre Balmain evening ensemble, modelled by Jerry Hall, shows a more literal interpretation of classical dress:
Finally, this jersey gown with beaded waistband, from Guy Laroche by Damian Yee, is an example of the recent trend for goddess gowns:
(From the Spring 2007 Laroche collection, the pattern is
still in print now out of print.)
June 4, 2012 § 7 Comments
This week, four milliners who licensed their designs with Vogue in the early Sixties: Sally Victor, John Frederics, Guy Laroche, and Halston.
Sally Victor (1905-1977) was one of the United States’ most prominent and successful milliners. She began her career as a department store buyer in the 1920s; after her marriage to the milliner ‘Serge’ (Sergiu Victor) she turned to designing hats, first for her husband’s salon and, from 1934, at her own custom millinery studio. Victor was known for her wearable yet sophisticated designs showing a diversity of influences.
Vogue 9992 is a pillbox hat with a large bow on the right-hand side:
John-Frederics was founded in 1929 by partners John P. Harberger (1902-1993) and Frederick Hirst (1906-1964). The duo designed hats for Hollywood productions including Gone With the Wind (1939), in which Vivien Leigh wore their straw hat. The label has a confusing history because of the partners’ subsequent name-changes: John P. Harberger changed his name twice, first to John Frederics and later, after the partnership dissolved in 1948, to John P. John; he designed solo as Mr. John, and Frederick Hirst as Mr. Fred. (Vogue also had Mr. John patterns in the 1950s.) It was Hirst who continued the John-Frederics label into the early 1960s.
Vogue 5384 is a simple but dramatic toque with fold-over detail and jewel embellishment:
Guy Laroche (featured in my previous Mad Men era post) started out as a millinery designer. I have seen one hat pattern by Laroche: Vogue 5336, described on the envelope back as a ‘profile toque’ trimmed with knot-tied ends. Version B has contrast trim:
Vogue 5336 was featured in the August/September 1961 issue of Vogue Pattern Book (second from the left):
Born Roy Halston Frowick, Halston (1932-1990) also started out as a millinery designer. In 1957 he opened his own hat shop in Chicago; by 1959 he had relocated to New York to design hats for Bergdorf Goodman. He achieved fame as a milliner when Jacqueline Kennedy wore his pillbox hat to John F. Kennedy’s 1961 presidential inauguration. Vogue’s hat patterns refer to him as Halston of Bergdorf Goodman.
Vogue 7082 is a set of flower-like bridal headpieces made of soft fabric ‘petals’:
This group of milliners, old and new, seem to reflect the fortunes of millinery in the twentieth century. By the Sixties, Sally Victor and John-Frederics were established labels run by senior designers nearing the ends of their careers, while the younger designers, Guy Laroche and Halston, were to leave millinery to focus on fashion design.
May 27, 2012 § 2 Comments
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.
February 27, 2012 § 4 Comments
When Hervé L. Leroux resigned from his position at Guy Laroche, the company chose Damian Yee, an assistant designer at Laroche, to take the helm. (See my earlier posts on Leroux at Laroche here and here.) According to his LinkedIn profile, Yee graduated from Toronto’s Ryerson University and worked at Martine Sitbon, Karl Lagerfeld, and Barbara Bui before joining the staff at Guy Laroche. He is currently a faculty member of École de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne and the Fashion Studies program at École Parsons à Paris.
Damian Yee designed two collections for Guy Laroche, including the Jubilee collection celebrating the house’s fiftieth anniversary. Vogue Patterns licensed two of Yee’s designs for Laroche, one from each collection.
1. Guy Laroche Prêt-à-porter Spring/Summer 2007 (shown October 2006)
Damian Yee’s first collection for Guy Laroche was inspired by the Mireille Darc’s Laroche dress, worn by the actor in Yves Robert’s comedy Le grand blond avec une chaussure noire (1972). (See Yee’s interview here.) You can view this collection at Vogue Italia here; there’s also a FashionTV YouTube video here.
The first Yee/Laroche pattern, Vogue V1047, is an evening gown for stretch knits. This pattern is still in print:
The envelope description reads: Misses’ Dress. Self-lined, gathered, floor length evening dress with keyhole front drape, waistband with wide beaded trim, asymmetrical seam skirt (angled at right side) and left side invisible zipper closing.
Here is a runway photo of the V1047 gown, shown with matching silver sandals:
2. Guy Laroche Prêt-à-porter Fall/Winter 2007-8 (shown March 2007)
Yee’s second collection for the house marked Guy Laroche’s Jubilee. The anniversary collection had a red carpet theme, with luxurious textures, lots of red, and a runway covered in what looks like red PVC. You can view the entire collection online at Vogue Italia, or watch the FashionTV YouTube video here. The show’s sound designer has posted a clearer video (with French program text) here.
Here is the collection image from L’Officiel 1000 modèles:
Vogue Patterns’ selection from the Jubilee collection, Vogue V1078, is a draped jersey evening dress:
The envelope description reads: Misses’ dress. Dress is fitted, self-lined, with front and back gathers, front drape, all in one front and back detail, back zipper, back drape panels and spaghetti straps.
Here is a runway photo of the V1078 evening dress:
When Dior celebrated its fortieth anniversary, Vogue Patterns issued a commemorative pattern, Vogue 1919. (Paco Peralta has a copy on Etsy.) But the Laroche Jubilee pattern is unmarked. Maybe the Laroche anniversary was overshadowed by Dior’s sixtieth anniversary, which also took place in 2007.
It’s hard not to compare Damian Yee’s work at Laroche with Leroux’s. To my eye, the younger designer’s two collections look unfocused, perhaps especially after four seasons of Leroux’s cohesive work. Vogue Patterns seems to have responded by choosing two of Yee’s designs that clearly show his predecessor’s influence. Still, the two draped evening looks are standouts in Vogue’s recent catalogue.