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.