It’s nearly the equinox: time for my Spring patterns report. As I mentioned back in December, I’ve been busy with other projects. I’m happy to share that my campaign to save Hanrahan’s, a historic Hamilton hotel turned tavern, was successful! (Read my latest op-ed | front page news | local news coverage.)
Huge thanks to now-retired columnist Paul Wilson, who first got the word out about this fascinating Edwardian hotel.
Recently, there’s also been some major pattern industry news. More on that in a moment — but first, a look at the first patterns of the decade.
Vogue’s second pattern by Richard René, the new designer for Laroche, is an oversized, colour-blocked pantsuit from the Spring 2019 collection.
Last June, British Vogue’s Venetia Scott paired the Laroche jacket with trousers by Issey Miyake.
From Rachel Comey, the Agave pantsuit, as worn for the Spring 2019 lookbook by Guinevere van Seenus.
The Divide pant also comes in cropped and colour-blocked versions, or embellished with sequins:
Comey’s licensing with Vogue Patterns began in Spring, 2010. A decade later, the company finally gave the popular designer a catalogue cover.
The new Zandra Rhodes pattern is a boho bias dress with contrast sleeve and hem flounces. Fine finishing details include narrow hems and a bias-bound neckline.
McCall’s has a fresh new logo for 2020, when the company celebrates its 150th anniversary. But thus far, no new designer patterns.
And this month, Britain’s IG Design Group Plc completed its acquisition of CSS Industries, the parent company of McCall’s and Simplicity. (Details at Design Group’s site and Business Wire.) CSS acquired The McCall Pattern Company in 2016 and Simplicity Creative Group in 2017.
Will Design Group revive Vogue Patterns Magazine, a storied publication that dates back a century, or divest the pattern side of the business entirely? Stay tuned for more coverage of McCall’s 150th and other milestones for 2020!
This season, Vogue patterns have a new format. For Fall 2019, illustrations are out, and photography is in, even for the company’s house line. Also consolidated is the line branding and numbering, which used to differ between licensed and internal designs. Paris Originals, Designer Originals, even Vogue designer knockoffs — they all have the same new look.
Autumn means outerwear, and Laroche comes through with a chic trench coat with interesting details: a storm flap, arm band, and oversized belt carriers.
The coat is a design from Fall 2017, Adam Andrascik’s last collection for Laroche. The original also sports a collar hook and jumbo belt buckle.
Vogue noted the alternate version in tobacco leather — also seen in the Swiss magazine, Annabelle, which has a nice view of the shoulder dart.
From the late Paco Peralta, a cropped jumpsuit with Custom Fit sizing (for multiple cup sizes). The contrast insets are a signature touch, also seen on the bestselling V1550.
There are two new patterns by Rachel Comey. First, the coat ensemble at the top of this post: a collarless, raglan-sleeved coat and the Oscillate skirt, a gored, high-waisted skirt with notched waistband detail.
Comey’s Fall 2018 collection was modelled by Guinevere van Seenus, in a lookbook shot by Annie Powers and styled by Vanity Fair’s Samira Nasr.
The second Rachel Comey is the Steadfast jumpsuit, a cropped-leg style with square armholes and wrap overlay.
For Pre-Fall 2017, the designer showed it layered, jumper-style, with a blouse.
As worn in white by the editor Giannie Couji:
Vogue’s latest Gucci adaptation includes a jacket, dress, and pleated skirt. (Also sized for petites.)
Some will recognize the long, tan Gucci jacket from Peter Schlesinger’s photobook for Pre-Fall 2018 (last seen in my Summer post). Pair with a print dress and coronet for the full maximalist effect.
Gucci’s red, cardigan-style jacket and pleated skirt were a key look for Spring 2018.
As seen in the brand’s digitally painted Spring ’18 ad campaign:
Vogue’s other Custom Fit design for Fall is a version of Roland Mouret’s Royston dress.
First presented for Resort ’18, the Royston is an update of the hit Galaxy dress. For an even more faithful copy, serge the sleeve edge and add an exposed zipper. The dress is currently available in navy, white, and red through Roland Mouret’s webstore, or at Selfridges in new-season pink:
The Royston dress is also the basis for Mouret’s Clovelly bridal gown.
And rounding out the Fall collection, a version of an Alexander McQueen coat reminiscent of Spring ’99 Givenchy. (Includes petite sizing.)
Metamorphosis was the theme of Sarah Burton’s Fall 2018 collection for McQueen. Military touches in red and black referenced the Household Cavalry, the Queen’s bodyguard. Exhibit A: Burton’s asymmetrical blanket coat, as worn on the runway by Stella Tennant.
A closer look at the fringed edge reveals a meticulous finish on the reverse:
Those military colours are also seen in this season’s ad campaign featuring Kate Moss. McQueen Fall 2019 was inspired by the textile mills of Northern England, where Burton grew up.
Cover look V1627 is an archival design by Zandra Rhodes, as worn by the Latvian-American model Ana Kondratjeva.
Rhodes reissued her 1973 Field of Lilies dress — renamed the Summer, in memory of Donna Summer — for Matches Fashion’s recent 30th anniversary. The designer commissioned Claire Rothstein to take the mother-and-daughter portrait at the top of this post, in which Pat Cleveland and her daughter, Anna, both model the dress. The original is printed silk chiffon.
Inspired by Alessandro Michele’s Gucci, the new Very Easy Vogue pyjama is illustrated with ribbon trim, and in a version of the Gucci Flora print.
For Gucci Pre-Fall 2018, in place of a more conventional lookbook, American artist Peter Schlesinger shot a photobook on location in Rome. Called Disturbia, it was inspired by the films of Dario Argento, the director behind the original Suspiria.
A variation of the Gucci Flora pyjamas in printed silk twill.
Michele paired a full-length version of the trousers, trimmed in the distinctive Gucci ribbon, with a faux-fur coat.
The Pre-Fall 2019 ad campaign features another version of the Gucci Flora pyjama, as seen in the ancient ruins of Selinunte, Sicily. Vogue’s reference kimono top and pant (on pre-order at Neiman Marcus) is silk georgette.
The new Tracy Reese sundress has a cowl neckline, criss-cross back, and midriff that extends into waist ties. (See WWD for recent news.)
Martha Graham was the inspiration for Reese’s Spring 2015 collection, where the dress was shown with a kimono jacket in the same botanical print.
There are two patterns from Rachel Comey. The first: the Willow peasant top and Basin pant with grosgrain waistband. Judging from the pattern number, it may have been delayed from the Spring release. Hopefully this doesn’t signal the wrapping up of the designer’s contract. (See: Laroche?)
Both pieces made their début in Comey’s country-and-western themed Pre-Fall 2016 collection, shot by New York street photographer Gus Powell. The original Willow top (right) is rayon gauze.
For Fall 2016, Comey showed the top in a cute print. Later, it could even be seen in a lace and gingham combo.
The second Rachel Comey is a pair of unisex shirts. The unisex / menswear angle is welcome, since Comey made her name with men’s shirts. (See my earlier post.)
The Selleck shirt is short-sleeved, with seam interest, while the Tre shirt is a long-sleeved button-down. Both were shown in Comey’s Spring 2017 15th anniversary collection, which saw the launch of her unisex line.
After a decade of licensing, Simplicity has released a swimwear design by Cynthia Rowley. The colour-blocked one-piece is called the Heather, and retails in Rowley’s signature neoprene.
The new pattern also includes a button-front maxi dress with ruffle sleeves. Add bodice tucks and you have the Nairobi kaftan — Rowley’s opening look for Spring 2017. The original caftan dress is 100% cotton.
Finally, a stealth bridal pattern: Very Easy Vogue V9373, a version of a Stella McCartney gown that was the first change of a newly minted duchess. (More at Vogue.)
The bride’s silk crepe, open-backed gown was an advance look at the Stella McCartney Made With Love collection, which launched in autumn, 2018.
Make in cruelty-free, sustainable fabrics for the authentic Stella McCartney touch.
Finetti also showed a longer, front-zip version of V1587. Just trim down the A-line skirt and add a midriff panel:
This season’s backless showpiece is by Adam Andrascik for Laroche: a long-sleeved dress with front bodice drape and slim, layered skirt. Use a semi-sheer fabric for the full effect.
The original is textured silk georgette in a chartreuse-tinged shade of La La Land yellow.
Andrascik showed two takes on the backless V1589 dress. (A famously backless, ’70s Guy Laroche gown is a perennial inspiration for today’s Laroche designers. French actor Mireille Darc’s gown, worn in the 1972 comedy Le grand blond avec une chaussure noire, also informed Hilary Swank’s Oscar dress.) Here, the V1589 dress is seen backstage:
On a black, sleeveless version, bead chains dangled from silver appliques:
Judging from the pattern number, the second Laroche may have been delayed from Vogue’s spring release. From Marcel Marongiu, it’s a long-sleeved dress with contrast collar, cuffs, and curved contrast panels in front and back.
Revered American designer Claire McCardell was the inspiration for Marongiu’s last collection for Laroche. The V1577 dress was shown both long-sleeved and sleeveless:
As a grey and white coat dress, it swaps the button placket for jumbo exposed zippers:
Marongiu’s shift dress version, with giant paillettes, was featured in the Laroche advertising campaign by Steve Hiett. Hiett also photographed the V1589 dress for Spring ’17:
New from Rachel Comey: the Popcorn dress. The Comey staple is shown in Spring 2017’s seersucker.
The pullover dress works for both solids and prints—even print-mixing with contrast skirt inserts. The current version is black rayon.
In her Spring 2007 collection, presented at the Altman building during New York Fashion Week, Comey showed the dress both loose and belted.
A closer look reveals the print-mixing. There are only two prints here, with one, reminiscent of Biba’s famous banana print, in three colourways:
The Summer patterns include two lace looks from Rebecca Vallance: a cutout dress and the Dolce Vita jumpsuit. (There’s one dress left at the Outnet.) The Dolce Vita is a cropped, wide-leg jumpsuit tied with grosgrain ribbon:
The jumpsuit is from Rebecca Vallance Summer 2016.
Simplicity’s latest from Cynthia Rowley is a flounce-sleeved lace dress with two neckline variations. Choose from off the shoulder or scoop neck.
Rowley presented her Spring 2017 collection in a “feathered snow globe” at her West Village townhouse. (See WWD.) As photographed by frequent collaborator William Eadon, the S8599 dress is layered, maximalist-style, under an appliquéd satin smock:
The original dress had a contrast back bodice:
Seeing designers’ alternate looks for the Spring/Summer pattern designs, it’s striking how Vogue no longer provides variant views in their designer line, whereas for Simplicity, it’s built in to the business. But armed with reference photos, it’s easy to transform a design.
Have you seen the new Fall patterns? I post the designer photos to the @PatternVault Twitter. From now on, they’ll also have a more permanent home here on the blog.
(Speaking of Twitter, I’ve started posting non-fashion tweets to a new, personal account: @DrSarahSheehan.)
Simplicity’s latest Cynthia Rowley pattern came out after the Summer 2017 release and branded for the company’s 90th anniversary celebrations. The pintuck ruffle dress was seen in short and maxi lengths in Rowley’s Resort 2016 collection.
The setting for William Eadon’s photos might look familiar from The Royal Tenenbaums: the grand staircase of Brooklyn’s Grand Prospect Hall was the location where Margot went out for ice cream.
Vogue’s new Guy Laroche pattern is an off-the-shoulder dress from the Spring 2016 collection, Adam Andrascik’s second for the house.
For a biker look—an Andrascik trademark—try it in leather with chain accents:
Or cut off below the waistband to make a jacket:
Rachel Comey fans are spoiled for choice with three new Rachel Comey patterns. Vogue’s Fall lookbook cover shows Comey’s Karloff coat in Pre-Fall 2016’s floral brocade. One of the coat’s earliest incarnations was in buffalo plaid with camel contrast:
Two of the Comey patterns are from the Fall 2016 collection—which will be familiar to those of you who follow Anne at Pretty Grievances.
V1556 is a raw-hemmed, sleeveless dress shown worn as a jumper. With sleeves it becomes the Cumberland dress.
The pleated, bishop-sleeved Bartram dress is pure sewist bait in silk jersey.
Update on shopping local: Thanks to everyone who’s provided me with updated information about designer royalties from pattern sales. Since publishing this post, I’ve learned that Simplicity pays royalties to all licensed designers, including on web sales.
For other brands: if you would like to know whether royalties are being paid for online sales of designer patterns, you could contact the companies directly for more information.
Last month, Rachel Comey celebrated her label’s 15-year anniversary with an outdoor presentation of unisex looks for Spring 2017. For home sewers, Comey’s ongoing licensing with Vogue Patterns has made her one to watch. Here’s a look at highlights of her patterns so far.
Born in Manchester, Connecticut, Rachel Comey (b. 1973) originally trained as a sculptor. After moving to New York, she consulted for Theory while designing clothes for local performers like Gogol Bordello—a connection that led her and the band to the Whitney Biennial. She launched her menswear collection in September, 2001, followed by women’s wear in 2004. Comey has developed a cult following for her footwear, prints, and general “bullshit-free kookiness.”
Comey was introduced to home sewers in the February/March 2010 issue of Vogue Patterns magazine with two patterns, Vogue 1161 and 1170:
The originals showcase Comey’s leopard and man-with-umbrella prints, both from the Fall 2009 collection.
Powerhouse Vogue 1247 includes an A-line miniskirt and the Navigator top, a design that was produced over multiple seasons (available in the shop):
Vogue 1298 is a pattern for Comey’s Tippet dress. (She also designed an open-backed Tippet top.) The Tippet is an apron dress with raised hem and straps drawn together in back:
The dress was shown in a different print in the Spring 2011 collection:
Also from 2012, Vogue 1323 is a top and pants ensemble consisting of the Syndicate blouse and cuffed Saunter pant. The trousers were also produced in textured velvet and various prints:
Vogue 1406, known as the Surveillance dress, has an asymmetrical neckline, back godet, and ruched waist detail:
Here’s the original star-print Surveillance dress on the Fall 2013 runway:
Comey’s batwing Wades dress is available as Vogue 1482. The diagonal front seam conceals a pocket:
From the same collection, Vogue 1507 includes the Bowtie top and slim Expedition pants with an asymmetrical front closure:
Vogue 1501 is a pattern for the Delane dress, a sleeveless, mock two-piece dress with pleating details. The original shows off Comey’s Collage print; the design was also produced with a contrast front bodice and in a single, solid colour:
The latest Rachel Comey pattern is the long-sleeved Silt jumpsuit, Vogue 1523 (click to view in the shop):
The Botanical-print Silt jumpsuit was part of the Fall 2015 collection’s closing look:
Interestingly, Comey was quoted in the New York Times’ recent article on the McCall Pattern Company (“Needle, Thread, Instagram”):
The New York designer Rachel Comey has licensed her patterns to McCall since 2010, where they appear under the Vogue Patterns brand. She didn’t do it for the money. “I just like the tradition of it,” Ms. Comey said. “Sewing is a great craft. It’s exciting and confidence building. I wanted to support it.”
Now if only we could source those Rachel Comey prints…