Paris, je t’aime

1950s Paquin dress pattern Vogue 1101 photographed in Paris by Norman Parkinson
Vogue 1101 by Paquin, Vogue, May 1950. Model: Maxime de la Falaise. Photo: Norman Parkinson.

In honour of Paris, a selection of postwar fashion photography shot on location in the city.

Vogue’s earliest Paris Originals were photographed in Paris, by Vogue editorial photographers including Clifford Coffin and Norman Parkinson.

In this issue, a new pattern service: Paris Original Models chosen from the collections - Vogue Pattern Book, April/May 1949
Vogue Pattern Book, April/May 1949. Photos: Clifford Coffin.

The eight colour photos were first seen in the March 1st, 1949 issue of Vogue magazine, to announce the new couturier patterns.

1940s Robert Piguet pattern Vogue 1053 photographed in Paris by Clifford Coffin
Vogue 1053 by Robert Piguet, Vogue, March 1949. Photo: Clifford Coffin.
1940s Robert Fath dress pattern Vogue 1055 photographed in Paris by Clifford Coffin
Vogue 1055 by Jacques Fath, Vogue, March 1949. Photo: Clifford Coffin.
1940s Paquin pattern Vogue 1057 photographed in Paris by Clifford Coffin
Vogue 1057 by Paquin, Vogue, March 1949. Photo: Clifford Coffin.
1940s Lanvin dress pattern Vogue 1052 photographed in a Paris museum by Clifford Coffin
Vogue 1052 by Lanvin, Vogue, March 1949. Photo: Clifford Coffin.
1940s Schiaparelli suit pattern Vogue 1051 photographed at les puces by Clifford Coffin
Vogue 1051 by Schiaparelli, Vogue, March 1949. Photo: Clifford Coffin.
Molyneux suit and coat pattern Vogue 1050 photographed by Clifford Coffin at Place St. André des arts
Vogue 1050 by Molyneux, Vogue, March 1949. Photo: Clifford Coffin.
1940s Jacques Heim dress pattern Vogue 1056 photographed in Paris by Clifford Coffin.
Vogue 1056 by Jacques Heim, Vogue, March 1949. Photo: Clifford Coffin.
1940s Pierre Balmain suit pattern Vogue 1054 photographed by Clifford Coffin
Vogue 1054 by Pierre Balmain, Vogue, March 1949. Photo: Clifford Coffin.

(Available as a print from Condé Nast.)

1950s Paquin dress pattern Vogue 1101 photographed in Paris by Norman Parkinson
Vogue 1099 by Jacques Heim, Vogue, May 1950. Photo: Norman Parkinson.

Caped Crusaders: Vintage Cape Patterns

Originator 299, a 1950s cape pattern
Originator 299 (c. 1952) Image via the Vintage Patterns Wiki.

The cape trend of the last two years shows no sign of abating. (Read a Fashionising post about the trend here.) In terms of sewing patterns, Donna Karan’s V2924 was ahead of the trend (see Erica B’s version here) and this fall we have V1322 by DKNY. Paco Peralta has several cape designs available including the sculptural Funghi. In vintage reissues, Butterick has re-released some vintage cape patterns in their Retro line: B6329 (from 1935) and B6411 (a reissue of Butterick 4570 from 1948).

I often find myself reaching for the vintage version of a current trend, and I’ll have a cape project to share with you soon. While looking for the right pattern, I was struck by the variety of cape designs over the decades. Here’s a selection of vintage cape patterns from the Twenties to the Eighties.

1920s

Two 1920s patterns in my collection have capes with interesting details. This mid-Twenties pattern for a dress by Renée also includes a cape with button/strap closure:

1920s cape and dress pattern, McCall 4134, "Original Creation by Renee Paris"
McCall 4134 by Renée (1925)

And I still love the pointed yoke of this Miler Soeurs cape (see my grey version here):

1920s cape pattern, McCall 4459 by Miler Soeurs
McCall 4459 by Miler Soeurs (1926)

1930s

The Thirties were a good decade for capes. This 1936 copy of McCall Style News shows a matching cape and dress ensemble:

McCall 8629 illustration, February 1936 McCall Style News cover
McCall Style News, February 1936. Image via Etsy.

Sewing bloggers’ 1930s capes show how contemporary these vintage outerwear styles can look today. Debi’s mid-Thirties cape pattern has a similar look to the ensemble illustrated above, but with a false front creating the illusion of a matching jacket. Click the image to see her finished version:

1930s cape pattern, McCall 8501
McCall 8501 (1935) Image via My happy sewing place.

Puu’s late ’30s cape has a high-collared yoke, arm slits, and rounded, gathered shoulders (click the image for her construction post and see the finished version here):

1930s cape pattern, Simplicity 2522
Simplicity 2522 (c. 1938) Image via puu’s door of time.

1940s

The fashion for capes continued into the Forties. The decade’s strong-shouldered silhouette is visible in these two cape patterns from my collection. The first, from the early ’40s, has a pronounced, boxy shape and optional broad stand-up collar:

Early 1940s cape pattern, McCall 4134
McCall 4134 (1941)

The second cape shades into New Look sleekness, with a narrower collar and lower hemline:

Late 1940s cape pattern, McCall 7179
McCall 7179 (1948)

1950s

In the Fifties, capes showed a de-emphasis on the shoulders and a fullness that carries over to the early ’60s. Vogue 1089 by Robert Piguet is actually from 1949; I thought it might really be a capelet, but the envelope description calls it a “flared cape with diagonal double-breasted closing below soft shaped collar”:

1949 cape and dress pattern, Vogue 1089 by Robert Piguet
Vogue 1089 by Robert Piguet (1949) Image via the Vintage Patterns Wiki.

Here’s an illustration of the Piguet ensemble by Bernard Blossac:

Bernard Blossac illustration of a cape by Robert Piguet, 1949
Bernard Blossac illustration of a cape and dress by Robert Piguet, 1949. Image via Hprints.

This mid-Fifties cape by Jacques Fath has big, buttoned cuffs at the arm vents. The shaped collar is part of the suit underneath:

1950s cape pattern, Vogue 1358 by Jacques Fath
Vogue 1358 by Jacques Fath (1956) Image via the Vintage Patterns Wiki.

1960s

The Sixties were another good decade for capes. On this Vogue Pattern Book cover, Wilhelmina Cooper exemplifies the “thoroughbred look” of Fall 1963 in a tailored yellow cape:

Wilhelmina Cooper models a yellow cape on the cover of Vogue Pattern Book, October/November 1963.
Vogue Pattern Book, October/November 1963. Model: Wilhelmina Cooper. Image via flickr.

This elegant cape by Nina Ricci has a wide shawl collar and is shaped by released inverted darts. The model is Maggie Eckhardt:

1960s cape and dress pattern, Vogue 1217 by Nina Ricci
Vogue 1217 by Nina Ricci (1963) Image via Etsy.

Astrid Heeren models this fabulous mod cape by Pierre Cardin:

Mod 1960s cape pattern: Vogue 1722 by Pierre Cardin
Vogue 1722 by Pierre Cardin (1967) Image via the Vintage Patterns Wiki.

This late ’60s design by Pucci is modelled by Birgitta af Klercker and was photographed in Rome at La Cisterna:

Late 1960s cape pattern, Vogue 2231 by Pucci
Vogue 2231 by Pucci (1969) Image via Etsy.

1970s

As the Seventies progressed, capes generally kept their collars, but gained a new fluidity. This mid-Seventies Halston “poncho-cape” has a collar and button front, but is reversible:

1970s cape pattern, McCall's 3966 by Halston
McCall’s 3966 by Halston (1974) Image via the Vintage Patterns Wiki.

This late ’70s Chloé design by Karl Lagerfeld, featuring Jerry Hall, includes a three-quarter length, circular cape with pointed bias collar. The cape gets its strong shoulders from an inside button and tab at each shoulder:

Late 1970s cape ensemble pattern, Vogue 2020 by Chloé
Vogue 2020 by Chloé (1978) Image via PatternVault on Etsy.

1980s

In the Eighties, fluidity gained the upper hand, as seen in these full, collarless, and unstructured capes by Yves Saint Laurent:

1980s cape pattern by Yves Saint Laurent, Vogue 2790
Vogue 2790 by Yves Saint Laurent (c. 1982) Model: Terri May.
Late 1980s cape by Yves Saint Laurent, Vogue 2163
Vogue 2163 by Yves Saint Laurent (1988) Image via Etsy.

Would you wear a vintage cape, or do you prefer the cape’s more recent incarnations?