SHOWstudio’s latest Design Download is an Alexander McQueen dress.
A current-season design, it was the opening look in Sarah Burton’s Spring 2020 collection for McQueen.
This romantic collection drew comparisons with the couture, featuring reworked old patterns and past-season fabrics, as well as Irish linens, damask or beetled, fine wool suiting from the north of England, and hand embroidery worked by the entire McQueen studio.
“I love the idea of people having the time to make things together, the time to meet and talk together, the time to reconnect to the world.” – Sarah Burton
The dress re-envisions its show-opening counterpart in Alexander McQueen’s Eshu, named for the Yoruba trickster god and presented 20 years ago in a disused Hitchcock studio. (See Suzy Menkes, “London Crowns Its Fashion Kings,” and Savage Beauty.) As SHOWstudio notes, Burton’s “articulated puff-sleeve dress [is] a reimagining of the Autumn/Winter 2000 Eshu dress, originally crafted in calico with a focus on the silhouette.”
Steven Klein photographed Björk in a denim variation for Vogue’s September issue:
In the same issue, the designer portfolio opens with a group portrait of McQueen and his team for Eshu, including model Liberty Ross, Isabella Blow, jeweller Shaun Leane, and the young Sarah Burton.
Burton’s dress makes repeated appearances in the Spring 2020 campaign:
Also worn by Imaan Hammam in Masha Vasyukova’s campaign video (music by Isobel Waller-Bridge):
The pattern download comes in A4 sheets, with a test line to check the scale.
I started this blog eight years ago this month. To celebrate, here’s a look at some all-but-forgotten licensing: patterns by Barbara Hulanicki for Biba.
Biba might be the biggest brand you’ll never see on a pattern. Born in Warsaw, Biba founder Barbara Hulanicki (b. 1936) grew up in Palestine and Brighton, where she attended Brighton Art School. She worked as a fashion illustrator before starting the Biba label with her husband, Stephen “Fitz” Fitz-Simon. Sometimes called the first lifestyle brand, Biba was a runaway success in Swinging London, selling everything from cosmetics to couture.
In 1970, Hulanicki licensed patterns with McCall’s as a way to launch her brand in North America. The main promotion was in Seventeen Magazine, as it was Seventeen editor Rosemary McMurtry who first approached Hulanicki about the idea. Hulanicki mentions the McCall’s deal in her memoirs, as well as The Biba Years, 1963-1975, which she co-wrote with Martin Pel, curator of Brighton’s Biba and Beyond: Barbara Hulanicki.
Around New Year’s, 1971, Seventeen readers could peruse the new Biba patterns in a dreamy Sarah Moon editorial shot in Paris. Among the models was Ingrid Boulting, the face of Biba Cosmetics (another Sarah Moon project). As Hulanicki writes in her memoir, From A to Biba, the setting for the shoot was the round tower of Au Printemps, the storied Paris department store. The printed fabrics — cotton satin, rayon crepe, cotton voile, twill, and broadcloth — were all Tootal for Biba, and available at retailers like Macy’s in New York. (More at Sweet Jane. Seventeen scans courtesy of Musings from Marilyn.)
The patterns were even covered more than once in Women’s Wear Daily.
The designs consisted of a top and skirt, separates and a hat, a long-sleeved dress and short-sleeved coatdress, and a midi or maxi dress, all in junior sizes only. Two included a matching choker. Customers could see the Biba logo in McCall’s retail catalogues, but the pattern envelopes give no indication they’re Biba designs.
McCall’s Pattern Fashions featured the Biba patterns in a four-page illustrated portfolio called “Seventeen Magazine Pattern Selections.” The write-up emphasizes Biba’s novelty in North America: Now Seventeen Magazine brings Biba to America … You, too, can be a Biba girl without crossing the Atlantic.
Curiously, the Biba patterns aren’t in McCall’s back index, but one of them appears in this croquet-themed textiles ad — at left, in printed Dacron crepe:
The peplum blouse with short “mushroom” sleeves (McCall’s 2725, view B) is very similar to a Biba evening suit seen in a 19 cover portfolio by David Tack. (Cover at top of post.) Like Seventeen, the British teen magazine also published its feature around the time of New Year’s, 1971.
SHOWstudio’s latest Design Download is a dress by Dutch wunderkind Iris van Herpen.
The sheath dress is from Hacking Infinity, Iris van Herpen’s Fall 2015 ready-to-wear collection, which explored the idea of terraforming. (Read more at the designer’s site, or see Suzy Menkes on her 2015 studio visit.) The collection’s leather and 3D-printed shoes are by Noritaka Tatehana.
Science, technology, and science fiction are strong influences for Van Herpen, and Vogue’s reviewer cited Paul Verhoeven’s Total Recall as an intro to the terraforming concept. Several looks referenced the stillsuits from David Lynch’s Dune.
The plissé material, seen in the SHOWstudio piece, appeared both as one element in a mix, and for entire garments in black and bronze.
For Fall 2015, Van Herpen developed a fine, metallic fabric woven from silk and stainless steel. The translucent silver material was coaxed into “a sheen of nebula-like colors” with heat and hand-burnishing. Plisséed and pleated into circular forms, it evoked planetary bodies and infinity.
The pattern download comes in A4 sheets, with a test line to check the scale.
Notes: Prints on 100 A4 sheets. Plissé panels are hand-sewn to base dress.
Fabric recommendations: Plissé panels: plissé or printed fabric on a cotton base fabric. Stretch fabric is recommended for the skirt. Straps & facings: silk, non-stretch fusible interfacing. Lining: silk or cupro.
Notions: Back zipper.
The competition is still open. Will you be entering?
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.
Tonight at New York Fashion Week, Ralph Lauren celebrates his company’s 50th anniversary. Here’s a look at highlights of Ralph Lauren patterns from the ’70s to the ’90s.
Ralph Lauren started out in menswear, and Vogue Patterns’ first licensing with the brand was for men’s designs. The company released its first Polo by Ralph Lauren patterns in the summer of 1975.
That’s Polo Ralph Lauren on the right in Vogue Patterns’ American Bicentennial issue:
This Polo trench is classic for any gender:
Vogue’s licensing of Ralph Lauren women’s wear began in 1979. The earliest Ralph Lauren women’s patterns are for Annie Hall and Western looks like those shown in his Fall 1981 Santa Fe collection—prairie skirts, fringe, and serapes worn with cowboy boots and concho belts.
Ralph Lauren’s Spring 1984 Safari collection is said to have been inspired by Out of Africa, perhaps with a dash of Picnic at Hanging Rock.
Late ’80s Vogue Career designs by Ralph Lauren feature British model Saffron Aldridge, then the face of the brand.
Tartan was one of the main takeaways from Ralph Lauren’s Fall 1991 collection. (As L’Officiel observed, “For Ralph Lauren, tartan isn’t a fashion, it’s a lifestyle.”) Vogue released two patterns from this collection, a dress and trouser ensemble.
Although the envelope for the dress shows it in solid red, the tartan looks had pride of place on the holiday covers, both Vogue PatternsMagazine and the December catalogue.
The tartan pieces had already been promoted that same season in the Fall ’91 advertising campaign and a Grace Coddington / Linda Evangelista cover and editorial (“A Shot of Scotch”) in Vogue’s September issue.
Some later covers showing Ralph Lauren in a less WASP-y mode:
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.
Have you seen the new designer patterns for Spring 2018?
Badgley Mischka are celebrating their fifth wedding anniversary this March, so it’s a treat to see their work on the cover of Vogue’s Spring lookbook. (Click their portrait for my 2013 Just Married post.)
The Spring collection also marks the return of Tracy Reese. (The Detroit native was last seen in Vogue Patterns in 2016.) The new Reese design is a dress with contrast yoke and sleeves—great for those matching sheer/opaque print combos:
Sew Today’s latest issue tipped us off to Reese’s comeback:
The dark floral was a signature print in her Fall 2016 collection, where it could be seen on dresses, sheer blouses, and a long, cuffed skirt:
Reese was inspired by Detroit for this collection, and she opened her presentation with a short film starring local model Catherine Nako:
The film stills are by Detroit-based cinematographer Ray Rushing.
Bonus: I published my Winter/Holiday post before the McCall’s Winter release, which included two Nicole Miller patterns. This asymmetrical top and flared trousers look to be from the Spring 2017 collection:
Miller’s Gladiator gown uses contrast binding to punctuate the classic goddess dress. (Still available in white from the designer’s retail site.)