Free Designer Pattern: Junya Watanabe Dress

Gemma Ward in Junya Watanabe, photographed by Nick Knight
Gemma Ward in Junya Watanabe, 2005. Photo: Nick Knight. Image: SHOWstudio.

To celebrate this week’s opening of PUNK: Chaos to Couture at the Costume Institute in New York, I’ll be posting about two free patterns for punk-inspired designs. (Kristen McMenamy called last night’s Met gala “a costume party for punk”; see Vogue’s red carpet coverage here.) First up is an example of Junya Watanabe’s “heavy-duty couture”: the dress pattern he shared with SHOWstudio.

Gemma Ward photographed by Nick Knight in Junya Watanabe
Back view, Gemma Ward in Junya Watanabe, 2005. Photo: Nick Knight. Image: SHOWstudio.

The Watanabe Design Download was part of SHOWstudio’s Dress Me Up, Dress Me Down project, which saw model Liberty Ross being dressed for a live photo shoot by an online audience. The project—whose name refers to the English title of Pedro Almodóvar’s Átame, Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (1990)—was inspired by pornographic video chats and had the goal of “exploring the idea of control in fashion image-making.” As well as images and video, the project also had a discussion component, with interviews and short essays on fashion and pornography, including an Andrea Dworkin excerpt. In its appropriation of pornographic conventions, the SHOWstudio project can be linked to punk fashion and art like that of Throbbing Gristle’s Cosey Fanni Tutti (recently seen in Pop Life: Art in a Material World).

The Watanabe design was chosen by Liberty Ross from stylist Jonathan Kaye’s draft selection for the June 2005 SHOWstudio event. The dress is from Junya Watanabe’s Fall/Winter 2005 women’s collection—the coming season at the time of the project. The original dress was made in red mohair plaid with a PVC bodice:

Junya Watanabe dress in red PVC and mohair plaid
Junya Watanabe Fall 2005. Model: Cristina Carey. Image:

Watanabe also showed a black version of the dress:

Junya Watanabe dress in black wool and PVC, Fall 2005 women's collection
Junya Watanabe Fall 2005. Model: Ira. Image:

These dresses’ play with textural contrasts carried through the Fall/Winter 2005 Junya Watanabe women’s collection, which paired cotton and textured woolens with synthetics like nylon and PVC. The models wore full-skirted dresses, the skirts sometimes bunched up with ripcords, white shirts with exaggerated collars and ruffles, and coats and jackets made with tweed fused with synthetics. Watanabe referred to the clothes as “hard-core couture.” (See Cathy Horyn, “In Paris, Tweed Tangles With Tulle.”) Here’s the collection image from L’Officiel 1000 modèles:

Junya Watanabe FW 2005 women's RTW - L'Officiel 1000 modèles
Junya Watanabe Fall 2005 ready-to-wear. Image:
Junya Watanabe dress pattern at SHOWstudio
Image: SHOWstudio.

Download the dress pattern

Fabric requirements: for skirt, approx. 2 yards of 50″ fabric*

Notions: #10 Vislon zipper, 3mm and 5mm sealing tape

* source: Craftster sewalong post

Punk: Chaos to Couture

Sid Vicious, 1977, Photograph © Dennis Morris - all rights reserved; Right: Karl Lagerfeld (French, born Hamburg, 1938) for House of Chanel (French, founded 1913), 2011, Vogue, March 2011, Photograph by David Sims
Sid Vicious, 1977. Daria Werbowy in Chanel, Vogue, March 2011. Photos: Dennis Morris, David Sims. Image: Metropolitan Museum of Art.

This year’s Costume Institute exhibition, PUNK: Chaos to Couture, is devoted to punk and its influence on high fashion. The show relates the punk ethos of DIY (do-it-yourself) to the custom-made garments of haute couture, devoting sections to the distinctive elements of punk’s aesthetic vocabulary: embellishments and techniques such as hardware, graffiti, and distressing. In addition to curator Andrew Bolton, the exhibition team includes Nick Knight as creative consultant and design consultant Sam Gainsbury, who was creative director of Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty.

It seems the punk theme is presenting a challenge for some celebrities attending the Met’s Costume Institute gala on Monday. (See Eric Wilson, “Would Anna Settle for a Safety Pin?“) You can watch a live stream from the red carpet this Monday, May 6th at 7pm EDT.

PUNK: Chaos to Couture runs from May 9th to August 14th, 2013. If you can’t make it to New York this summer, the exhibition catalogue is out next week from Yale University Press.

Book cover - Punk: Chaos to Couture by Andrew Bolton (Yale University Press, 2013)
Punk: Chaos to Couture by Andrew Bolton (Yale University Press, 2013) Image: Yale / Google Books.

This week, in the punk spirit of DIY, I’ll be posting about two punk-inspired patterns in my Free Designer Patterns series.