Jill Kennington

Winter Looks: Jill Kennington in Vogue 1676 by Elio Berhanyer, Vogue Pattern Book International Winter 1966
Jill Kennington in Vogue 1676 by Elio Berhanyer, Vogue Pattern Book International, Winter 1966. Image: eBay.

British model-turned-photographer Jill Kennington turns 75 today.

Born and raised in Lincolnshire, Jill Kennington (b. 1943) moved to London at 18, working at Harrods and staying with her aunt, who was a buyer there. Scouted by Michael Whittaker, the founder of the Whittaker Enterprises agency, she was hired as a house model at Norman Hartnell before she could finish the agency course.

Vogue Pattern Book, UK edition, Summer 1966
Vogue Pattern Book International, Summer 1966. Image: Vintage Chic.

Kennington was one of two models in John Cowan’s famous shoot in the Canadian Arctic. (See the full editorial at vogue.com.) You might recognize her from Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blow-Up. (Read her reminiscences in Vanity Fair.)

"The Girl who went out in the cold" editorial - Georges Kaplan ostrich feather coat; Halston hat.
At Resolute Bay, Vogue, November 1964. Photo: John Cowan. Image: Pleasure Photo.
Jill Kennington (left) with Peggy Moffitt and other London models in Michelangelo Antonioni's Blow-Up
Jill Kennington (left) in Blow-Up (1966) Image: Vanity Fair.

That’s Kennington in Emmanuelle Khanh’s dress pattern in Queen magazine. (Previously seen in my Butterick Young Designers post.)

Butterick Emmanuelle Khanhdress_pressphoto1965
Butterick 3718 by Emmanuelle Khanh, Queen, August 11, 1965. Image: Amazon.

Here she models some mod knitwear by Mary Quant:

Patons 101 Courtelle Double Knitting no. 9702 by Mary Quant (ca. 1966) - price 9d
Patons no. 9702 by Mary Quant (ca. 1966)

Kennington can be seen on some of Vogue’s earliest Givenchy patterns. This evening dress was also featured on the cover of the February retail catalogue:

1960s Givenchy evening dress pattern feat. Jill Kennington - Vogue Paris Original 1698
Vogue 1698 by Givenchy (1967)

In Vogue 1707 by Fabiani:

Jill Kennington in Vogue 1707 by Fabiani on the cover of the Vogue retail catalogue, April 1967
FABIANI 1707: Vogue Patterns catalogue, April 1967. Image: Etsy.

More Vogue Paris Originals and Couturier patterns featuring Kennington:

1960s Marc Bohan for Dior cerise dress suit pattern Vogue Paris Original 1725
Vogue 1725 by Marc Bohan for Christian Dior (1967) Image: eBay.
1960s Laroche dress and coat pattern Vogue Paris Original 1737
Vogue 1737 by Laroche (1967) Image: Vintage Pattern Wiki.
1960s Simonetta dress pattern Vogue Couturier Design 1746
Vogue 1746 by Simonetta (1967) Image: Blue Gardenia.
1960s Lanvin dress pattern Vogue Paris Original 1747
Vogue 1747 by Lanvin (1967) Image: eBay.

In a flight-themed British Vogue editorial, wearing Young Fashionables hooded jumpsuit Vogue 6376:

"Out of the Blue," Vogue UK Feb 1967 Traeger
Vogue 6376 in British Vogue, February 1967. Photo: Ronald Traeger. Image: Youthquakers.

Happy birthday, Ms. Kennington!

Jill Kennington photographed by Lichfield, 1964 - NPG London
Jill Kennington, 1964. Photo: Lichfield. Image: National Portrait Gallery.
Jill Kennington photographed by William Klein in Pierre Cardin, Weekend Telegraph, fall 1965
Is Paris dead? Jill Kennington in Pierre Cardin, Weekend Telegraph, September 3, 1965. Photo: William Klein. Image: eBay.
Jill Kennington photographed by Helmut Newton for Queen magazine, January 1966
Jill Kennington in Queen, January 5, 1966. Photo: Helmut Newton. Image: Pinterest.
1960s Queen Christmas cover featuring Jill Kennington photographed by David Montgomery
Jill Kennington on the cover of Queen‘s Christmas issue. Photo: David Montgomery. Image: eBay.

Vintage Designer Menswear: Vogue Patterns

1970s Bill Blass men's jacket, sweater, shirt and necktie pattern with vintage Nikon camera - Vogue 2917
Vogue 2917 by Bill Blass (1973) Image: PatternVault shop.

It’s been some time since Vogue offered designer menswear patterns. In the 1970s and 1980s, home sewers could choose from licensed designs for everything from men’s shirts to outerwear and three-piece suits. In celebration of Father’s Day, here’s a selection of vintage menswear patterns from Vogue Patterns.


Vogue introduced designer menswear patterns in the early 1970s with designs by Bill Blass and Pierre Cardin. From Cardin, Vogue 2918 is a double-breasted coat in two lengths:

1970s Pierre Cardin men's coat pattern - Vogue 2918
Vogue 2918 by Pierre Cardin (1973) Image: Etsy.

1975 saw the release of some his-and-hers Valentino patterns. Vogue 1180, a men’s jacket and pants pattern, was photographed with a women’s Valentino ensemble, Vogue 1178:

1970s Valentino men's jacket and pants pattern - Vogue 1180
Vogue 1180 by Valentino (1975) Image: Vintage Patterns Wiki.

Polo by Ralph Lauren was introduced to Vogue customers in the summer of 1975. The safari-style Vogue 1237 and 1238 were photographed in India:

Polo Ralph Lauren men's patterns in Vogue Patterns May June 1975
Vogue 1237 and 1238 by Polo Ralph Lauren in Vogue Patterns, May/June 1975. Photos: Steve Horn. Image: Make Mine Vogue.

Also by Polo Ralph Lauren, Vogue 1581 is a double-breasted trench coat with detachable lining:

1970s Polo Ralph Lauren trench coat pattern Vogue American Designer 1581
Vogue 1581 by Polo by Ralph Lauren (c. 1977)

This Christian Dior shirt-jacket and pants is the only men’s Dior pattern I’ve seen:

1970s Christian Dior men's shirt-jacket and pants pattern - Vogue 1609
Vogue 1609 by Christian Dior (ca. 1977) Image: PatternVault shop.

This snappy three-piece suit is by Bill Blass:

1970s Bill Blass men's 3-piece suit pattern - Vogue 1620
Vogue 1620 by Bill Blass (1977) Image: patronescostura on Etsy.

There were two menswear patterns by Yves Saint Laurent: safari suits photographed by Chris von Wangenheim (see Paco’s related post here):

Yves Saint Laurent men's patterns in Vogue Patterns March April 1977
Vogue 1645 and 1644 by Yves Saint Laurent in Vogue Patterns, March/April 1977. Photos: Chris von Wangenheim. Image: Paco Peralta.

Givenchy licensed a trim three-piece suit, Vogue 2112:

1970s Givenchy menswear pattern - Vogue Paris Original 2112
Vogue 2112 by Givenchy (1979) Image: PatternVault shop.

In 1979 the company released a trio of menswear patterns by Calvin Klein—separate patterns for a shirt, jacket, and pants. Vogue 2256 is a pattern for slim, tapered men’s pants; view B is low-rise and flat-front:

1970s Calvin Klein men's trousers pattern - Vogue 2256
Vogue 2256 by Calvin Klein (1979) Image: Etsy.


The menswear releases tapered off in the 1980s. 1980 saw the release of two Bill Blass men’s patterns, for a three-piece suit and close-fitting shirt:

1980s Bill Blass men's shirt pattern - Vogue 2586
Vogue 2586 by Bill Blass (1980) Image: Etsy.

In 1988 Vogue released three menswear patterns by Perry Ellis, for a jacket, shirt, and pants. Vogue 2207 is a loose-fitting jacket:

1980s Perry Ellis men's jacket pattern - Vogue 2207
Vogue 2207 by Perry Ellis (1988) Image: Vintage Patterns Wiki.

Just for fun, I’ll close with this Pierre Cardin robe and pajamas, which included a logo appliqué:

1970s Pierre Cardin men's pajamas and robe pattern - Vogue 2798 - moustachioed man on telephone
Vogue 2798 by Pierre Cardin (c. 1972) Image: Etsy.

With menswear sales catching up with womenswear, perhaps Vogue Patterns will capitalize on this trend by restoring menswear to its designer licensing. I’d be first in line for a Saint Laurent pattern…

Happy Father’s Day!

Make the Clothes that Make the Woman

The slogan for McCall’s Patterns in the mid-1950s was “Make the clothes that make the woman.” The advertising campaign with this slogan shows two identical women, one dressed in McCall’s pattern pieces, the other in the finished garment. It’s a charming campaign from the Golden Age of Advertising. Here’s a selection, in roughly chronological order:

This ad from 1956 shows the model enjoying a fresh strawberry at a party. (Could it be a strawberry social?) The pattern is McCall’s 3562:

McCall's 3562 - McCall's advertisement advert 1956.
McCall’s advertisement, 1956.

The September ad shows Dovima on a trip to Paris, before a mustachioed gendarme. The pattern is McCall’s 3785 by Givenchy:

1950s Givenchy pattern, McCall's 3785 - McCall's advertisement advert September 1956.
McCall’s advertisement, September 1956.

Another travel-themed ad shows McCall’s 3790 with some whimsically stacked luggage:

McCall's 3790 - advertisement advert 1956
McCall’s advertisement, 1956.

This 1957 ad featuring McCall’s 3952 shows a well-dressed tug-of-war:

McCall's 3952 advertisement advert February 1957
McCall’s advertisement, February 1957. Image: Allposters.com.

This Valentine’s Day-themed ad appeared in Vogue’s March 1957 issue. (The pattern is McCall’s 3967.) The model is Suzy Parker:

McCall's 3967 advertisement advert March 1957
McCall’s advertisement, March 1957.

This spring ad shows McCall’s 4046 by James Galanos:

McCall's 4046 advertisement advert April 1957
McCall’s advertisement, April 1957.

In the ad for May 1957, the binocular-wielding model wears an “Instant” dress, McCall’s 4070:

McCall's 4070 advertisement advert May 1957
McCall’s advertisement, May 1957.

This late summer ad looks forward to fall’s collegiate sports games. The design is by Claire McCardell, McCall’s 4208:

1950s Claire McCardell pattern McCall's 4208 advertisement advert August 1957
McCall’s advertisement, August 1957.

Within its variations on the playfully presented scene of leisure, the campaign conveys a visual reminder of one of McCall’s long-standing technologies: the printed pattern. (McCall’s had been producing printed patterns since the 1920s, whereas Vogue only introduced printed patterns in 1956—later outside North America.) Have you seen other ads from this McCall’s campaign?

Quaithe of Asshai – Vogue 2014 by Givenchy

Since Naomi was going as Daenerys Targaryen, this Halloween I went as Quaithe from George R.R. Martin’s series A Song of Ice and Fire. Quaithe is a minor character from shadowy Asshai who meets Daenerys near Qarth; she makes repeated appearances to deliver cryptic prophecies.

Quaithe and Daenerys Targaryen Halloween costumes

In the books Quaithe is hardly described at all apart from her red lacquered mask, so I had a lot of freedom. Asshai, in the fantasy world’s mysterious east, is known for its worship of R’hllor, a fire religion with Zoroastrian echoes. After doing some research into ancient Persian costume, which showed periodic Greek influences, I opted to use my Very Easy late ’70s Givenchy evening dress pattern, Vogue 2014:

Late 1970s Givenchy pattern, Gia in a pink evening dress, Vogue 2014
Vogue 2014 by Givenchy (1978) Model: Gia Carangi. Image: PatternVault shop.

The design may be from the Spring 1978 collection, judging from the similar halter neckline in this campaign image:

Givenchy advertising campaign image, Spring 1978, by photographer Michel Picard.
Givenchy ready-to-wear advertising campaign, Spring 1978. Photo: Michel Picard. Image: styleregistry.

For fabric, I used black Qiana from a deadstock bolt found on Etsy. Qiana is a vintage nylon, a synthetic silk with a little stretch. It’s even in keeping with the ‘exotic’ Qs of the fantasy series.

"Whatever Diane's got I want" Diane von Furstenberg advertisement featuring Beverly Johnson wearing Qiana fabric Cosmo December 1979
Diane’s got Qiana nylon. Diane von Furstenberg advertisement, 1979. Model: Beverly Johnson. Image: eBay.

As a Very Easy Vogue pattern, Vogue 2014 has very simple construction, but also lots of hand-finishing. The hem and slits at top and bottom front are slipstitched, the top edge is blindstitched to the inside bodice, and the back facings and extension are slipstitched over the hooks and eyes that fasten the halter.

I made the size 12 with no alterations, and it worked out just fine. The lines of gather stitching at the ends of the halter fastening are visible, as I discovered, so if I made the dress again I would mark them rather than doing my usual winging it.

Instead of using the 18-inch tassel the pattern calls for, I strung together some mesh beads from Arton Beads on Queen Street West. With stainless steel spacer beads the strand is fairly heavy, but I like the effect when it’s fastened to the back extension.

Naomi found me a shimmery red mask at Malabar, and within a day or so I had a costume:

Quaithe dress, full length - 1970s Vogue 2014 by Givenchy, with Aileron shoes by Gareth Pugh for Melissa
Vogue 2014 by Givenchy (shoes: Gareth Pugh for Melissa)
Quaithe full length, back view - 1970s Vogue 2014 by Givenchy
Vogue 2014 by Givenchy – back view

Here are some detail shots of the bodice and back:

1970s Vogue 2014 by Givenchy - closeup on halter front detail
Vogue 2014 by Givenchy – neckline detail
Quaithe dress back detail with beads - 1970s Vogue 2014 by Givenchy
Vogue 2014 by Givenchy – back detail

Many thanks to our fabulous photographer, Rachel O’Neill, for a fantastic beach shoot in mid-November!

(Cross-posted to We Sew Retro.)

Gia Carangi

Vogue Patterns campaign image showing Gia Carangi walking a Dalmatian. Gia wears Vogue pattern 2060 by Yves Saint Laurent. From Vogue, November 1978
Gia Carangi in Vogue 2060 and 7248, Vogue, November 1978. Photo: Andrea Blanch. Image: giacarangi.org.

One of the fun aspects of vintage patterns is that they sometimes show famous models, familiar to us from the pages of major fashion publications and the work of top photographers. This is the first in an occasional series on prominent models and commercial sewing patterns.

Gia Carangi (1960-1986) is sometimes called the first supermodel. (Cindy Crawford was nicknamed ‘Baby Gia’ when she first moved to New York.) There’s even a blog devoted to her editorials. Starting in 1978, the year of her first major fashion shoot—the Chris von Wangenheim chain link fence shoot dramatized in the HBO movie Gia—Carangi also did some work for Vogue Patterns.

The November/December 1978 issue of Vogue Patterns magazine has a few pages featuring Gia Carangi, including an Arthur Elgort portfolio showing Vogue 2008 by Bill Blass. In most cases, Carangi was photographed for editorials only, but she can be seen on a few Vogue patterns:

Gia Carangi models Vogue 2023, a 1970s pattern by Christian Dior
Vogue 2023 by Christian Dior (1978) Image: eBay.
Gia Carangi models Vogue 2014, a pink evening dress by Givenchy
Vogue 2014 by Givenchy (1978) Image: PatternVault shop.
Gia Carangi models Vogue 2010, a ruffled backless dress by Stan Herman
Vogue 2010 by Stan Herman (1978) Image: PatternVault shop.

Carangi also shot some Vogue Patterns editorials with Andrea Blanch which appeared in Vogue magazine in 1978 and 1979. Here are some of her editorial images promoting designer patterns—two Calvin Klein patterns, Vogue 1878 and Vogue 2027, and Vogue 1988 by Yves Saint Laurent. The Vogue 2027 coat was shortened for the photo shoot:

Gia Carangi models Vogue Patterns by Calvin Klein and Yves Saint Laurent. Vogue, October 1978. Photo by Andrea Blanch
Gia Carangi in Vogue 2027 (Calvin Klein) and 1988 (YSL), Vogue, October 1978. Photo: Andrea Blanch. Image: giacarangi.org.
Gia Carangi models Vogue Patterns by Calvin Klein and Yves Saint Laurent. Vogue, October 1978. Photo by Andrea Blanch
Gia Carangi in Vogue 1878 (Calvin Klein) and 1988 (YSL), Vogue, October 1978. Photo: Andrea Blanch. Image: giacarangi.org.
Gia Carangi models Vogue Patterns. Vogue, October 1978. Photo by Andrea Blanch
Gia Carangi in Vogue 1988 (YSL) and 2027 (Calvin Klein), Vogue, October 1978. Photo: Andrea Blanch. Image: giacarangi.org.

This May 1979 editorial image shows Vogue 2040, a tunic by Edith Head, made up in sheer black silk marquisette:

Gia Carangi wears an Edith Head tunic from Vogue Patterns in Vogue, May 1979. Photographed by Andrea Blanch.
Gia Carangi in Vogue 2040 by Edith Head, Vogue, May 1979. Photo: Andrea Blanch. Image: giacarangi.org.

The famous “Dead” photo was also part of a Vogue Patterns editorial (in the same issue as the Dalmatian photo shown above; the latter shows Vogue 2060, a top by Yves Saint Laurent). The patterns are two Calvin Klein designs: Vogue 1990, a wrap dress, and the pants from Vogue 2027:

Gia Carangi "Dead" photo 1970s Vogue Patterns, Vogue, November 1978. Photographed by Andrea Blanch
Gia Carangi in Vogue 1990 and 2027 by Calvin Klein, Vogue, November 1978. Photo: Andrea Blanch. Image: giacarangi.org.

Click the images to see more Gia Carangi / Vogue Patterns editorial photos.

Your Spring Wardrobe by Givenchy, 1957

1950s McCall's 4005 illustration Givenchy 1957
Illustration of McCall’s 4005 (1957). Image: PatternVault shop.

Lately I’ve been listing a lot of mid-century vintage patterns in the shop, including this 1950s Givenchy pattern from McCall’s:

1950s Givenchy suit pattern McCall's 4005
Detail, McCall’s 4005 by Givenchy (1957) Model: Jacky Mazel. Image: PatternVault shop.

Inside the pattern envelope is an insert introducing Hubert de Givenchy and detailing the production process for these McCall’s “exclusives.” The insert doesn’t mention that Givenchy is a French aristocrat. Instead, it proclaims he was “born to the fashion tradition,” noting his family’s connection to the Beauvais Tapestry Works and his experience at the Parisian couture houses of Jacques Fath, Robert Piguet, and Elsa Schiaparelli.

The insert is emphatic that these French designs are suitable for Americans: “French in feeling and typically Givenchy, they’re still easy to make and easy to wear—admirably suited to the American way of life because Givenchy designed them especially for McCall’s and for you.”

"Givenchy Designs for McCall's Patterns. For the very first time, this celebrated French couturier designs dramatic fashions in his Paris atelier for you to make at home."
Givenchy pattern insert, 1957. Image: PatternVault shop.

We are told how, in 1956, the “tall, blond young Frenchman” flew to America for a tour of McCall’s facilities, then flew back to Paris to create his first exclusive series of designs for the company. The designer constructs his toile on an American dress form; he also produces a finished garment using American fabric. Both toile and garment are “air-expressed” to McCall’s headquarters in New York City. A paper pattern is made from half the toile, and the resulting prototype is compared against the designer’s original.

The last section of the insert, headed “Your Spring Wardrobe Designed by Givenchy,” gives an illustration and description for each of the four spring patterns:

McCall's 4004 pattern by Givenchy

“Givenchy’s all-day ‘runabout frock’ in lightweight flannel. Typical of this dynamic young designer: the wonderful line in the roll-away collar, the way the high-waisted young sash buttons onto the dress. You might also make it in linen or shantung.”

McCall's 4005 pattern by Givenchy

“A suit that cries ‘Givenchy’ in every line. Look at the inimitable cut of the jacket, the rolling curve of the collar. Another Givenchy inspiration: grosgrain-bound buttonholes an inch and a half wide. Givenchy suggests silk or rayon suiting.”

McCall's 4007 & 4006 illustrations patterns by Givenchy

“Givenchy’s young-in-heart evening gown for any age, the belling skirt curved in a prophetic cut-away hemline. Givenchy chose a paper-crisp taffeta, but you could also use polished cotton, silk or satin. The pattern includes a beautifully shaped petticoat.” (4007) “Two flightly [sic] little bow-knots hint at a high waistline on this afternoon frock with bell-shaped skirt buoyed by its own print-bordered petticoat. Givenchy selected a printed tissue-weight taffeta, also suggests silk surah or peau de soie.” (4006)

It’s interesting to see how McCall’s production process for designer patterns differs from Vogue’s, as described in my earlier post. Vogue claimed to adjust Paris originals for American figures, whereas McCall’s exclusives were made directly on an American dress form. Apparently national differences were still an issue, and McCall’s felt it had to address postwar patriotism, even amid continued demand for European designer fashions.