James Galanos: Vogue Patterns

Silk burnooses by Galanos photographed by James Moore for the cover of Harper's Bazaar, October 1966
Silk burnooses by Galanos on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar, October 1966. Photo: James Moore. Image: eBay.

This week, a look at the late James Galanos’ licensed Vogue patterns. (See my McCall’s post here.)

James Galanos Vogue pattern envelope flap with biographical note
James Galanos Vogue pattern envelope flap. Image: eBay.

1960s

"Vogue Americana presents The Masterful Touch of James Galanos": Maud Adams wears V1854 by Galanos
Maud Adams wears Vogue 1854 by James Galanos on the cover of the Vogue Patterns catalogue, January 1968. Image: eBay.

Vogue Patterns introduced James Galanos patterns in late 1967, with two dress designs modelled by Maud Adams and Lauren Hutton. The counter catalogue promotes Galanos’ “masterful touch” with an alternate shot of Vogue 1854, an A-line dress with side pleats at right front and left back:

1960s James Galanos dress pattern - Vogue Americana 1854
Vogue 1854 by James Galanos (1967) Model: Maud Adams. Image: Vintage Patterns Wiki.

Lauren Hutton models Vogue 1855, a coat dress with double inverted pleats in the back:

1960s James Galanos coat dress pattern feat. Lauren Hutton - Vogue 1855
Vogue 1855 by James Galanos (1967) Model: Lauren Hutton. Image: eBay.

This short, wrap-effect evening dress has square armholes and front pleats concealing pockets:

1960s James Galanos evening dress pattern - Vogue 2071
Vogue 2071 by James Galanos (1969) Image: Etsy.

1970s

Later Galanos patterns were photographed on location in New York, where the designer showed his collections. This dress goes one further than Vogue 1855 and has double inverted pleats in both front and back:

1970s James Galanos dress pattern - Vogue 2269
Vogue 2269 by James Galanos (1970) Image: Vintage Pattern Wiki.

Jumpsuit Vogue 2524 features a shoulder yoke, pintucks, and wide, corded belt:

1970s James Galanos jumpsuit pattern - Vogue 2524
Vogue 2524 by James Galanos (1971) Image: Vintage Pattern Wiki.

The latest Galanos pattern I’ve seen is Vogue 2639, a long-sleeved evening dress with front slit and waistline smocking detail:

1970s James Galanos evening dress pattern - Vogue 2639
Vogue 2639 by James Galanos (1971) Image: Vintage Pattern Wiki.

A dreamy illustration made the cover of the news leaflet:

1970s Galanos evening dress Vogue 2639 illustrated by Ron Becker for Vogue Pattern Fashion News
Vogue 2639 by James Galanos on the cover of Vogue Pattern Fashion News, January 1972. Illustration: Ron Becker. Image: eBay.

For more on James Galanos, see Hamish Bowles’ obituary for Vogue or watch LACMA’s 1996 documentary, Galanos on Galanos (with thanks to Jen O of the Pintucks blog).

Donna Mitchell, "Black silk ottoman cloqué sheath wreathed in feathers by Galanos" photographed by Melvin Sokolsky for Bazaar, fall 1963
Feather-trimmed sheath in silk ottoman cloqué by Galanos on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar, November 1963. Photo: Melvin Sokolsky. Model: Donna Mitchell. Image: Paper Pursuits.

James Galanos: McCall’s Patterns

Gold and black metallic evening gown built over a pellon and black silk taffeta by James Galanos, 1954
Metallic evening gown by James Galanos photographed at the Costume Institute, 1954. Image: Bettmann / Getty.

James Galanos died last month. He was 92. According to his obituary in the New York Times, Galanos authorized only two licenses: furs and fragrance. But he also licensed commercial sewing patterns—first with McCall’s, and later with Vogue Patterns. This post looks at Galanos’ 1950s patterns with McCall’s.

Jean Patchett photographed by Nina Leen in Galanos, 1959
Jean Patchett in Galanos, Life magazine, February 23, 1959. Photo: Nina Leen. Image: LIFE archive.

Born in Philadelphia to Greek parents, James Galanos (1924-2016) was a graduate of the Traphagen School of Fashion. He worked with Hattie Carnegie, Hollywood costume designer Jean Louis, and Robert Piguet before founding his own, LA-based label in 1951. He retired in 1998, the year after LACMA mounted a retrospective of his work. Galanos won the devotion of celebrities and socialites with his virtuoso technique and flawless craftsmanship.

Galanos label
Image: Metropolitan Museum of Art.

1950s

McCall’s introduced designer exclusives by “James Galanos, brilliant young star of American fashion” with two patterns for winter 1956-57. The Galanos designs—full-skirted formal gowns in two lengths—were prominently featured in the holiday issues of McCall’s Pattern Book and the company’s monthly news leaflet.

Clothes to make you beautiful this Christmas: Galanos gown McCall's 3895 on the cover of McCall's Pattern Book, Winter / Holiday 1956-57
McCall’s 3895 by Galanos on the cover of McCall’s Pattern Book, Winter 1956-57. Image: eBay.
"Holiday news: Galanos designs for McCall's" - illustration of McCall's 3894 and 3895, 1956
“Holiday news: Galanos designs for McCall’s.” McCall’s news leaflet, December 1956.

According to the news leaflet, McCall’s 3894 is “a fabulous ball gown to make in brocade.” The molded bodice is a trademark Galanos touch:

1950s James Galanos evening dress pattern McCall's 3894
McCall’s 3894 by Galanos (1956) Image: Vintage Pattern Wiki.
McCall's 3894 by Galanos in McCall's Pattern Book, 1956
McCall’s 3894 by Galanos in McCall’s Pattern Book, Winter 1956-57. Image: eBay.

McCall’s 3895 is a bow-trimmed evening gown. As the leaflet notes, “Beautifully low-cut in back, it can be cocktail length.” Recommended fabrics included heavy satin, peau de soie, brocade, and taffeta:

1950s James Galnos evening dress pattern McCall's 3895
McCall’s 3895 by Galanos (1956) Image: eBay.
A Galanos design in the McCall's catalogue, February 1957
A Galanos design in the McCall’s catalogue, February 1957. Image: Etsy.

In spring, 1957, McCall’s released two more Galanos patterns: the lavishly full-skirted McCall’s 4045 and 4046.

1950s Galanos evening dress and petticoat pattern McCall's 4045
McCall’s 4045 by Galanos (1957) Image: eBay.

Here, the back bodice extends into a front yoke. The skirt and petticoat were to be made in organdy, nylon, or silk organza:

1950s Galanos evening dress and petticoat pattern McCalls 4046
McCalls 4046 by Galanos (1957) Image: eBay.

The new Galanos patterns were promoted in the March issue of McCall’s magazine (“Galanos designs: Black-and-white for summer evenings”) and in the company’s “Make the Clothes that Make the Woman” advertising campaign.

"Make the Clothes that Make the Woman - with exclusive McCall's patterns by Galanos, Givenchy, Trigère, Sybil Connolly, Emilio of Capri!" McCall's 4046 by Galanos
“Make the Clothes that Make the Woman” advertisement featuring McCall’s 4046 by Galanos, spring 1957.

In the Summer 1957 pattern book, the designs are illustrated in green linen and flower-embroidered organdy:

James Galanos patterns illustrated in McCall's Pattern Book, Summer 1957
James Galanos patterns illustrated in McCall’s Pattern Book, Summer 1957.

Today, Galanos’ McCall’s patterns are quite scarce. Perhaps customers balked at the extravagant yardage: the skirt for one dress took over 20 yards of narrow fabric. Galanos’ work with sheer layers continued into the following decade, as seen in this 1961 editorial by Gordon Parks:

"Full-length evening dress is draped in pink and rose with a light orange hem. Like most Galanos styles, this one is deceptively simple but it is intricately and artfully constructed so that it is not bulky despite the amount of chiffon used -- 75 yards in all." Life, April 14, 1961.
Gloria Vanderbilt in a chiffon evening dress by Galanos, Life magazine, April 14, 1961. Photo: Gordon Parks. Image: Shrimpton Couture.

Next: James Galanos’ Vogue patterns.

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?

Maud Adams

Maud Adams and Roger Moore - Octopussy poster detail

How many pattern models can say they’ve been a Bond girl? Since the Toronto International Film Festival is underway, this instalment in my models series focuses on Swedish model-turned-actor Maud Adams, whose film credits include The Man with the Golden Gun (1974), Rollerball (1975), and Octopussy (1983). (To see the other series posts, click the ‘models’ tag below.)

Before getting into film acting in the 1970s, former Miss Sweden Maud Adams (née Wikström, b. 1945), worked as a model in Paris and New York for publications including Vogue, McCall’s, and Vogue Patterns. McCall’s 1044 sees her modelling a check suit by Laird-Knox:

Maud Adams models a Sixties suit pattern by Laird-Knox, McCall's 1044
McCall’s 1044 by Laird-Knox (1968) Image via the Vintage Patterns Wiki.

Maud Adams appears on many Vogue designer patterns of the later ’60s, such as this one for a dress by Patou:

Maud Adams models on the cover of Vogue 1809 by Patou
Vogue 1809 by Patou (1967) Image via the Vintage Patterns Wiki.

Here she wears a dress and matching scarf by James Galanos:

Maud Adams models Vogue 2004 by James Galanos
Vogue 2004 by James Galanos (1968) Image via Stitches and Loops.

And here Adams models the maxi version of Vogue 1847, a fabulous halter dress by Pierre Cardin:

Maud Adams modelling a 1960s Pierre Cardin maxi dress pattern, Vogue 1847
Vogue 1847 by Pierre Cardin (1967) Image via Etsy.

Maud Adams also appears on several late Sixties covers of Vogue Pattern Book. Here’s a selection:

Maud Adams on the cover of Vogue Pattern Book, Aug/Sept 1967
Vogue Pattern Book, August/September 1967. Image via eBay.
Maud Adams on the cover of Vogue Pattern Book, Feb/Mar 1968
Vogue Pattern Book, February/March 1968. Image via eBay.
Maud Adams on the cover of Vogue Pattern Book, August/September 1968
Vogue Pattern Book, August/September 1968. Image via flickr.