Nothing says Swinging London like Mary Quant. The pioneer of the Chelsea Look will receive a major retrospective at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2019. (An earlier exhibit, Manchester Art Gallery’s Mary Quant: Fashion Icon, had to close early due to conservation issues.)
The V&A is seeking vintage Quant for the show, including garments — or even photos of garments — made with Mary Quant patterns. See here for more details, or email the curators at email@example.com.Update: submissions are now closed.
Butterick licensed Mary Quant patterns from the mid-’60s to the early ’70s. (See my Mad Men-era post.)
For knitters, there were also ultra-mod knitting patterns. Some of these vintage booklets are available as official reissues, like these ones from Mary Maxim. (More on Ravelry.)
Mary Quant and her husband were profiled in Life magazine as early as 1960. (View story here.)
For his 1963 Life feature on the Chelsea Look, Norman Parkinson photographed Melanie Hampshire and Jill Kennington in these Mary Quant dresses:
Butterick released its first Mary Quant patterns in fall, 1964. Here’s Celia Hammond on the cover of the retail catalogue:
The Butterick Home Catalog hailed Quant as the originator of the Chelsea Look.
The earliest Mary Quant patterns pre-date the Young Designer line. This dress pattern even includes the rosette:
British copies of this dress pattern say “featured in Queen magazine.” Jill Kennington wore this and other Butterick Young Designers in what was billed as “The Queen’s first ever make-it-yourself fashion.”
Here Moyra Swan models a mod scooter dress. Suggested fabrics include linen, jersey, lightweight wool, and knits.
This jumpsuit or playsuit came with a matching mini skirt — “the latest put-togethers”:
What to wear with a Mary Quant mini dress? Why, go-go boots, of course:
By 1970, a Quant jumpsuit was more fluid, with a pointed collar; this pattern also includes a maxi-length cardigan. The catalogue gives a better view of the inflatable chair:
Mary Quant in a more romantic mode means a sheer tunic worn with knickers. View B is a maxi dress.
After 1971 or so, Butterick Young Designer patterns had illustrations, not photos. This Mary Quant dress dates to circa early ’73.
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.
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.)
That’s Kennington in Emmanuelle Khanh’s dress pattern in Queen magazine. (Previously seen in my Butterick Young Designers post.)
Here she models some mod knitwear by Mary Quant:
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:
In Vogue 1707 by Fabiani:
More Vogue Paris Originals and Couturier patterns featuring Kennington:
In a flight-themed British Vogue editorial, wearing Young Fashionables hooded jumpsuit Vogue 6376:
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.
My series on Mad Men-era designer patterns concludes this week with three Butterick Young Designers: Mary Quant, Jean Muir, and Emmanuelle Khanh.
In 1964, Butterick launched its Young Designers line, appealing to the youth market by licensing the work of up-and-coming, international fashion designers. The line would continue through the 1970s with the addition of new designers like Betsey Johnson, Jane Tise, and Kenzo. (For more on the Young Designers line see The Vintage Traveler’s Butterick Young Designers page.)
Mary Quant (b. 1934) was the first designer to be signed to the new pattern line. Born in London, Quant met Archie McNair and her future husband, Alexander Plunket Greene, at art school; together they opened a boutique on the King’s Road, Bazaar, in 1955, selling Quant’s fun, youthful designs. Quant is perhaps most famous as a pioneer of the miniskirt. Butterick released its first Quant patterns, featuring Celia Hammond photographed by Terence Donovan, in the fall of 1964.
Butterick 5475 is a mini-length shirt dress with plenty of details including epaulets, side slits, and a self-buttoned belt:
Also born in London, Jean Muir (1928-1995) showed an early talent for dressmaking and needlework. During the 1950s, after working her way up from the stockroom at Liberty, she was hired as designer for Jaeger; she stayed with Jaeger until 1962, when she founded her first label, Jane & Jane. She launched her eponymous label in 1966. Muir was known for her fluid dresses with charming dressmaker details.
Butterick introduced Jean Muir patterns in the spring of 1965. This short, high-waisted dress dates to the late 1960s; the bodice front and slashed, modified raglan bell sleeves fasten with rows of tiny buttons:
Born in Paris as Renée Mésière, Emmanuelle Khanh (b. 1937) married avant-garde industrial designer Quasar Khanh in the late 1950s, around the same time that she began working as a house model for Balenciaga and Givenchy. Turning her hand to fashion design, Khanh was soon at the forefront of yé-yé fashion (Paris’ answer to Youthquake), designing for brands including Cacharel and Missoni before launching her own label in 1969. (Read a 1964 LIFE magazine article about Khanh here.) Today her company focuses on accessories, particularly eyewear.
Butterick introduced Emmanuelle Khanh sewing patterns in the fall of 1965. This turquoise, suit-effect dress creates interesting effects with topstitching and collar details:
The pattern is Butterick 3718. (Thanks to Jessica Hastings of myvintagevogue for confirming the number.) This photo shows a full-length view of the dress:
It’s interesting to see an established company like Butterick responding to contemporary Sixties youth culture, facilitating access to Youthquake and yé-yé fashion in the process.
Born in Indonesia, Celia Hammond was discovered by Norman Parkinson in the early 1960s and went on to build a career as a top model in Paris and Swinging London.
Hammond may be seen on many designer patterns from Vogue and Butterick from the mid-1960s, always by British designers.
Here she models an LBD with dropped waist and bow-trimmed overblouse by Michael of London (Michael Donéllan):
Hammond modelled for patterns by a few British designers licensed to Butterick’s new Young Designers line, including the first Mary Quant patterns. Here she poses in a Quant dress, Butterick 3288, on a Butterick catalogue cover shot by Terence Donovan:
Jean Muir designed this button-trimmed, mustard-yellow dress for her early label, Jane & Jane:
Hammond also appears on this popular Jean Muir dress pattern, Butterick 4577:
Here she models a suede-trimmed ensemble by Jo Mattli:
This evening dress from Belinda Bellville has a shaped bodice and handy pockets:
By Ronald Paterson, this three-piece ensemble with cutaway jacket is chic in white matelassé with matching buttons:
Richard Dormer photographed Hammond in these two Belinda Bellville designs. Vogue 1795 is an elegant, black-and-white day ensemble, while Vogue 1828 is a short evening dress with tiered, scalloped, bias overskirt:
Here Hammond models another dress by Michael Donéllan, its blouson bodice slashed in back to reveal an attached camisole:
Hammond retired from modelling to devote herself full-time to her work for animal welfare; she remains active for this cause as the founder of the Celia Hammond Animal Trust.
Click the models tag to see more posts in my models series.