Gnyuki Torimaru, or Yuki, is most famous for dressing Princess Diana on her 1986 state visit to Japan. But his licensed sewing patterns date to the year before.
Born in Miyazaki Prefecture, Japan, Gnyuki Torimaru (b. 1937) studied architecture in Chicago before settling in London, where he attended the London College of Fashion. He launched his own label, Yuki, in 1972, after stints at Norman Hartnell in London and Pierre Cardin in Paris. (For more, see Suzanne Kampner, “Out Goes Majolica, In Goes Nothing.”)
Visitors to the Boston Museum of Fine Art can see his blue, pleated gown and other designs in the museum’s extensive Yuki collection.
Torimaru made his name in the 1970s with his draped jersey gowns. Jerry Hall’s cream Yuki gown, seen on the cover of British Vogue and in Barry Lategan’s editorial, “Dare the Ritz,” has a hem that doubles back as a hood. The Boston Museum of Fine Art has a silk version; model-turned-actor Gayle Hunnicutt donated her carnation version to the V&A.
Hunnicutt wore two Yuki pieces in her 1973 British Vogue editorial. The second, low-backed gown is carnation jersey, cut in one piece. She later wore it to a ball at Windsor Castle.
Yuki also designed the costumes for Frank D. Gilroy’s romantic comedy Once in Paris… (1978), which starred his client, Hunnicutt.
Style Patterns’ earliest designer series includes two Yuki designs. Both dresses, one a voluminous one size fits all, showcase his trademark draping.
Misses’ Dress in Two Lengths: Dress is gathered from yoke. Draped sleeves are raglan. Opening is button loops. All edges are topstitched. Suggested fabrics—Fine silk or synthetic jersey, lightweight silk types, lightweight crepe types, crepe de chine, georgette. One size.
Misses’ Dress in Two Lengths: Dress has fitted under-bodice with draped front and back, which is gathered on padded shoulder and forms fluted sleeve. Skirt is slim with centre back split on full length version. Suggested fabrics—Fine silk or synthetic jersey, lightweight silk types, crepe types, crepe de chine.
Click the Style Patterns tag for more British designer patterns.
Last week, Zandra Rhodes returned to London Fashion Week for her Spring 2016 collection. Famous for her colourful, hand-drawn prints, the bohemian cult favourite is also new to Vogue Patterns for Winter/Holiday 2015: Vogue 1472 is the first new Zandra Rhodes sewing pattern in thirty years.
For knitters, the current issue of Rowan Knitting & Crochet has a Zandra Rhodes jacket pattern available as a free download.
Born in Chatham, Kent, Zandra Rhodes (b. 1940) trained as a textile designer at Medway College of Art, where her mother was a lecturer, and London’s Royal College of Art. Rhodes founded her own label in order to build garments around her prints. Her first, 1969 collection, Knitted Circle, was famously worn by Natalie Wood in Vogue magazine; the evening coat is now in the collection of the V&A:
Rhodes became known as the Princess of Punk following her Spring 1977 torn and safety-pinned Conceptual Chic collection, which was partly inspired by Schiaparelli’s Tears dress.
By the 1980s Rhodes was designing for Princess Diana. The princess wore this pink chiffon dress, embellished with crystal beads and pearl droplets, during her 1986 state visit to Japan (now in the collection of Historic Royal Palaces):
In 1985, Style Patterns released a handful of Zandra Rhodes sewing patterns. Rhodes was among the first designers to be included in the company’s short-lived designer line. (See my earlier posts on Bruce Oldfield and Frederick Fox.)
Update: I found a fourth Style pattern by Zandra Rhodes, Style 4398:
Style 4399 is a pattern for a wedding or evening dress in two lengths with characteristic serated frill:
Here’s the envelope description: Misses’ Lined Wedding Dress or Evening Dress in Two Lengths — Dress has shoulder yoke with serrated frill and pointed cape effect on bodice. Skirt has elasticated waistline. Model 1 bead trim is used on yoke and neck tie. Suggested fabrics: Lightweight silk types, crepe de chine, chiffon, shantung, lace, voile, batiste, organza. Lining: Jap silk, crepe de chine. Trim: wide ribbon and pearl beading or narrow ribbon.
Style 4400 is an off-the-shoulder wedding or bridesmaid’s dress with separate petticoat:
The envelope description reads: Misses’ Half-Lined Wedding Dress or Bridesmaid’s Dress and Petticoat — Dress has flounced bodice with elasticated waist. Skirt has layered net frills, with gathered net and ribbon trim. Bride and bridesmaid’s dress has petticoat in fabric and net. Suggested fabrics: Dress, Models 1 and 2: Organza, voile, silk or synthetic sheers, lightweight lace. Lining: silk types, taffeta, satin (nap irrelevant). Net or tulle: silk, nylon. Trim: wide ribbon, sequin trim, narrow ribbon.
The third dress design, Style 4400, has a low back décolletage and multi-tiered skirt:
You can see the same pattern with updated envelope here.
Here’s the envelope description: Misses’ Dress in Two Lengths — Dress has fitted bodice with elasticated waistline. Models 1 and 3 have bodice frill to waistline. Model 2 has shorter bodice frill. Models 1 and 2 have four-tiered skirt flounce. Model 3 has three-tiered skirt flounce. Suggested fabrics: Chiffon, georgette, voile, silk or synthetic sheers, organza. Also: lightweight lining fabric. Trim: wide ribbon; pearl trim (views 1 and 2).
The designs seem to be from Rhodes’ Spring 1985 collection, Images of Woman:
The trim and fabric specifications are catalogues of girliness: lightweight, floaty fabrics to be trimmed with the ribbon, sequins, and pearls. I love how Style 4495 suggests lining fabric as an alternative—perhaps with a budget-conscious youth market in mind.
Ascot begins today. To celebrate, this post is dedicated to commercial patterns by the late milliner to the Queen, Frederick Fox.
(Last year I featured a free pattern for a Stephen Jones hat; see it here.)
Born in Australia to a large family, Frederick Fox (1931-2013) showed an early interest in millinery, refashioning hats for his mother and five sisters in rural New South Wales. After training with several milliners in Sydney, in 1958 he moved to London. By 1964, Fox had taken over Langée to open his own salon.
Fox’s royal commission for Queen Elizabeth II grew out of his work with Hardy Amies in the mid-1960s. Shortly before this commission began, he designed the white leather crash helmets in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). Fox was known for his witty designs, made with fine materials and great technical skill; he is credited with inventing the fascinator. (For more on Frederick Fox, see the recent D*Hub article and Stephen Jones’ reminiscence for British Vogue.)
In the mid- to late 1980s, Frederick Fox millinery patterns were available from Style Patterns. Frederick Fox patterns display the Royal Warrant,* which he held from 1974 until his retirement in 2002.
Style 4788 is a pattern for bridal headpieces and veils. Included are both double- and single-layered veils, attached to three bases: a rose circlet edged with Russian braid, a beaded Juliet cap, and a twisted fabric headband. (The rose circlet may be worn alone.) View 1 was photographed with Style 4787, a bridal gown by Murray Arbeid, Fox’s companion of over 50 years:
Style 1072 is a pattern for a set of hats, including a beret, a turban, and a turban headband:
Do you remember the ’80s hair ornament trend? Style 1157 is a pattern for a set of hair ornaments: a rosette with attached veil, a hair slide with large or small bow in 2 fabrics; and a headband with 2-fabric bow with optional diamante trim:
Style 1249 is unusual for offering a set of bridal hats: a hat with attached veil and narrow brim turned up at the back, and two wide-brimmed, crownless hats (both attached to headbands):
The original owner of my copy of Style 1249 had enclosed magazine pages showing these bridal designs. The text reads, “Head Turners: Hats for that special day by Frederick Fox exclusively for Style.” It could be that, like McCall’s designer patterns in the 1950s, these hats, veils, and headpieces were designed especially for Style Patterns.
* The Queen’s current milliner Rachel Trevor-Morgan is the only milliner on the current list of warrant holders.
With Oliver Hirschbiegel’s Diana opening in North American theatres this weekend, this post is devoted to a designer associated with the Princess of Wales: Bruce Oldfield. The 1985 Lord Snowdon portrait seen on the People cover above shows a Bruce Oldfield velvet dress that the princess also wore to the premiere of Les Misérables. Oldfield began designing for Princess Di in 1980, and for over a decade she was president of Barnardo’s, the children’s charity with which Oldfield has had a life-long relationship.
In the mid- to late 1980s, Bruce Oldfield sewing patterns were released by Style Patterns. (The British pattern company seems to have produced designer patterns only between 1985 and 1988, so high Eighties style is guaranteed.) Here’s a selection of Bruce Oldfield patterns.
This wrap dress or blouse-and-skirt ensemble is gathered into a shoulder yoke for the mid-1980s strong-shouldered silhouette:
Hemline slits add interest to this panelled, double-breasted suit:
In this dress, dolman sleeves are cut into curved side panels, shaped with shoulder pleats for draped volume. Because Style Patterns changed its envelope design in the mid-1980s, this pattern may be found in two alternate versions:
Cindy Crawford models this dress with straight skirt and blouson bodice:
In this dramatic mock wrap dress with dolman sleeves, the belt passes through openings in the side panels:
Bruce Oldfield is best known for his bridal and evening wear. This wedding or evening dress has a ruched bodice, raised front hemline, and optional puffed sleeves:
To continue the Eighties flashback, check out this Bruce Oldfield blog post with archival runway photos and video.