Mei Xiao Zhou for Guy Laroche: Vogue Patterns

March 14, 2017 § 6 Comments

Guy Laroche advertising campaign, Fall 2001

Guy Laroche advertising campaign, Fall 2001.

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:

Guy Laroche Fall 2001 collection by Mei Xiao Zhou

Guy Laroche Fall 2001 collection by Mei Xiao Zhou in L’Officiel 1000 modèles. Image: jalougallery.com.

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):

Fall 2001 Mei Xiao Zhou for Guy Laroche bias dress pattern Vogue 2650

Vogue 2650 by Mei Xiao Zhou for Guy Laroche (2002) Image: PatternVault on Etsy.

Vogue 2650 by Mei Ziao Zhou for Guy Laroche - two runway versions

Guy Laroche Fall 2001 runway. Images: firstVIEW.

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:

Fall 2001 Mei Xiao Zhou for Guy Laroche pantsuit pattern Vogue 2668

Vogue 2668 by Mei Xiao Zhou for Guy Laroche (2002) Image: Etsy.

Vogue 2668 - white and red versions on the Guy Laroche Fall 2001 runway

Guy Laroche Fall 2001 runway. Images: firstVIEW.

Vogue 2689 is a sleek skirt suit with concealed closure and clavicle-framing standing collar. The skirt has a zippered side slit:

Fall 2001 Mei Xiao Zhou for Guy Laroche skirt suit pattern Vogue 2689

Vogue 2689 by Mei Xiao Zhou for Guy Laroche (2002) Image: PatternVault on Etsy.

Vogue 2689 - two versions on the Guy Laroche Fall 2001 runway

Guy Laroche Fall 2001 runway. Images: firstVIEW.

L’Officiel included one of Zhou’s op-art print pieces in the Sixties-inspired editorial “Mille neuf cent soixante-trois“:

Mariacarla Boscono in Guy Laroche by Mei Xiao Zhou photographed by Nicolas Hidiroglou, 2001

Guy Laroche, L’Officiel, October 2001. Model: Mariacarla Boscono. Photo: Nicolas Hidiroglou. Editor: Jennifer Eymère. Image: jalougallery.com.

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:

Guy Laroche Spring 2002 collection by Mei Xiao Zhou

Guy Laroche Spring 2002 collection by Mei Xiao Zhou in L’Officiel 1000 modèles. Image: jalougallery.com.

Raquel Zimmerman in an all-white look from Mei Xiao Zhou's Spring 2002 collection for Guy Laroche

A look from Mei Xiao Zhou’s Spring 2002 collection for Guy Laroche. Model: Raquel Zimmerman. Image: livingly.

The Spring 2002 campaign echoed the runway’s aquatic motif:

A backless dress in Guy Laroche advertising campaign, Spring 2002

Guy Laroche advertising campaign, Spring 2002.

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:

Vogue 2752 by Mei Xiao Zhou for Guy Laroche

Vogue 2752 by Mei Xiao Zhou for Guy Laroche (2002) Image: PatternVault on Etsy.

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:

2000s Guy Laroche pinstriped pantsuit pattern Vogue 2736

Vogue 2736 by Guy Laroche (2003) Image: Etsy.

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.

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