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.
After 99 years on the newsstand, and just as stores are receiving the new designer patterns for Spring ’19, Vogue Patterns Magazine is ceasing publication.
VPM’s final issue—and the Spring release—sees the return of Thai-American model and photographer Piyawan Chitsamran, a.k.a. Piya Wan.
The late, great Paco Peralta was promoting this pattern just days before his death. (See his design drawing at top of post.) As released, it includes the duster coat, shown in waxed polyester with a cotton poplin lining, and high-waisted gaucho pants. But as he told me, his submission also included the bias top.
Zandra Rhodes is celebrating her label’s 50th anniversary in 2019. This jumpsuit with contrast binding is a Zandra Rhodes staple. The original is silk crepe de chine.
The archival design, done in lipstick-print chiffon, was part of Rhodes’ second Archive collection for Matches Fashion.
A silver version, for Fall 2018, was shot by Bridie O’Sullivan, the filmmaker / photographer behind Rhodes’ upcoming Jubilee documentary. (More at O’Sullivan’s website.)
Badgley Mischka’s formal gown features a halter neckline with lace décolletage overlay.
Add a beaded overbodice for a variation on the V1615 look.
The striped dress on the back cover of the Spring lookbook is adapted from Carolina Herrera Resort ’18.
The sleeveless midi dress is a Vogue Easy Options Custom Fit pattern, meaning it is adjustable for 4 cup sizes.
The original is a linen-cotton denim that Vogue called “the standout material” of the collection’s casual pieces. As Nicole Phelps wrote, “Best of all was the sleeveless dress with contrast stitching, white buttons, and deep pockets.”
Chop off the bodice for a tea-length skirt:
Another Vogue Easy Options design, the hi-low V9360 is Vogue’s adaptation of young London label Palmer Harding.
The Spring 2019 runway version—called the Streep—had dolman sleeves and a gathered back. Red latex gloves optional.
Add some asymmetry to the hemline and you have the Split and Super shirts:
Roland Mouret’s navy Barwick dress was worn by a certain duchess. Vogue shot its adaptation in Mouret’s trademark Peppermint, but the envelope shows the navy dress front and centre.
The Barwick dress, from Resort 2018, is still available from the designer website (link). The original is double wool crepe.
The same front neckline is seen in Roland Mouret’s Noblethorpe dress:
For a more faithful copy, adjust the back neckline and add an exposed zipper.
Finally, although Cynthia Rowley is absent from Simplicity’s Spring release, the company has reissued a late 1940s stole dress from the Simplicity Designer’s Pattern line.
The original fabric suggestions were: Silk, rayon or wool jersey; silk or rayon crepes; monotone or figured pure silk; taffeta; faille.
The new book by the curator of the Commercial Pattern Archive is the first comprehensive study of the sewing pattern industry. Published through Bloomsbury’s academic imprint, Joy Spanabel Emery’s A History of the Paper Pattern Industry: The Home Dressmaking Fashion Revolution traces the history of commercial patterns from their beginnings in early modern tailors’ drafting systems to the 21st century.
Emery is Professor Emerita of Theater at the University of Rhode Island, where she also taught in the fashion department. In addition to her articles on commercial sewing patterns, she is the author of Stage Costume Techniques (Prentice-Hall, 1981).
The materials found in the University of Rhode Island’s Commercial Pattern Archive (CoPA) and the personal archive of CoPA founder Betty Williams are the main sources for the book, which focuses on the pattern industry and its role in the production of everyday clothing. Emery presents her research in short, textbook-style chapters, ending each chapter with a brief summary. In the back, readers will find an index, endnotes for each chapter, and a detailed bibliography with sections for primary sources, secondary sources, and archival collections.
As a special inducement to those who sew, the book also includes an appendix with nine patterns, each laid out on a grid by Susan Hannel, the chair of the University of Rhode Island’s fashion department. The gridded patterns range from an 1850s Demorest basque [bodice], originally published as a pattern sheet supplement in a ladies’ fashion gazette, to a 1960s men’s Nehru jacket from Spadea.
Emery’s book takes a more conservative approach to the material culture of sewing patterns, aiming to lay the groundwork for further study by focusing on the historical timeline of commercial production and technical development. Each chapter traces the industry’s new technologies and companies, mergers and closures as the pattern business landscape shifted from early diversity to today’s conglomerates.
CoPA’s holdings are so extensive that they show not only the industry’s response to dramatic developments in fashion, like the New Look or youthquake, but also to historical events like the First and Second World Wars. A 1918 issue of Butterick’s magazine, The Delineator, shows two women in naval uniform (Butterick pattern no. 1101), while a 1943 McCall’s pattern for Victory aprons is printed with patriotic verse:
(For more on Butterick 1101 see Michelle Lee’s blog post.)
Industry players competed to improve the sewing customer’s experience. We have McCall’s to thank for the printed pattern. Other pattern companies couldn’t duplicate the technique until McCall’s patent expired—although Pictorial Review found a creative workaround with patterns that were both printed and perforated.
It was during the economic boom of the 1920s that the industry produced the first fully conceived designer patterns. As Betty Williams found in her research, McCall’s interwar couture patterns were based on garments purchased from Parisian couture houses for copying purposes. When Williams shared an early McCall Patou pattern with staff at the house of Patou, they agreed that the design looked like the couturier’s work, but were unable to find documentation of a McCall-Patou relationship (Williams 1995).* Intriguingly, Emery mentions a business agreement model along the lines of today’s licensing, but does not go into further detail.
Infelicities of layout and organization occasionally disrupt the flow. Including the discussion of interwar couture patterns in the 1920s chapter means that we read about the 1933 closure of the Paris Pattern Company, and see a 1930s example of a Paris Pattern, before reaching the 1930s chapter. Paris Patterns in fact survived beyond 1933: by the following year, the company seems to have merged with Style and was still releasing patterns for June, 1934.
The text is sometimes marred by typographical errors, as well as errors traceable to data entry errors in the pattern archive. Schiaparelli’s first Vogue Paris Original (no. 1051) is included in the chapter devoted to World War 2 rather than the postwar chapter, and its date is given as 1947 when it should be 1949—the year Vogue Patterns, still owned by Condé Nast, launched its Paris Originals with great fanfare. (See my postwar Schiaparelli post here.)
Countering the claim that commercial pattern designs are already out of fashion, Emery argues that patterns historically allowed their customers to keep abreast of trends, giving some interesting before and after examples of patterns adapted to reflect the new proportions of the postwar New Look.
The question of the relationship between high fashion and the commercial pattern industry is an interesting one. Contemporary high fashion adaptations in pattern form are relatively current. Roland Mouret’s Fall 2005 blockbuster, the Galaxy dress, was adapted in 2006 as Vogue 8280, and Carven’s dress for Spring 2013 was adapted for that season as Vogue 8900 (see As I Said…). Current adaptations can be seen in McCall’s #sewthelook series on Instagram.
But licensed designer patterns are a different story. While trend-setting styles such as those from Yves Saint Laurent’s Mondrian and Ballets Russes collections could count on expedited production, more often there seems to have been a seasonal lag. A 1950s Laroche pattern discussed as typical in a contemporary report, Vogue 1450, is a design from the Spring 1959 couture that was released a season later, in late 1959.
Today, when the production time for a commercial pattern has been cut to as little as four weeks,** it’s still unusual for a new designer pattern to represent the current season. To take some recent examples: of Simplicity’s Cynthia Rowley patterns from the Summer 2015 release, Simplicity 1105 is unusual for being from the current season, Spring/Summer 2015:
In Vogue Patterns’ Fall 2014 release, the Donna Karan, Guy Laroche, and Rachel Comey selections are from the Fall 2013 collections, while the Ralph Rucci coat, Vogue 1419, is from the Pre-Fall 2013 collection:
The fashion industry has changed, and fewer designers are willing to enter into licensing agreements for commercial patterns, let alone license current-season designs. Historical analysis of the pattern industry shows how it has adapted in response not only to economic and social trends, but also to home sewers’ changing relationship with fashion. Emery has taken a much-needed look to the archives in this essential resource.