You and Me and Rainbows

June 23, 2017 § 3 Comments

Early 1970s juniors/teens' bolero, skirt, and hip-hugger pants pattern Simplicity 9376

Simplicity 9376 (1971) Image: Etsy.

Happy Pride! This year you can celebrate all summer with 2017’s rainbow trend. (See Lauren Cochrane, “The rainbow’s not over – it’s the style symbol of the season.”) It’s a vintage motif with roots in the ’70s and ’80s.

The ’70s rainbow trend was well underway before Gilbert Baker created the rainbow flag in 1978. (Read MoMA’s interview.) The groovy teens’ pattern shown above came with rainbow appliqués. Maija Isola’s Sateenkaari (Rainbow) print for Marimekko appeared the same year as Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon:

Maija Isola Sateenkaari fabric for Marimekko, 1973

Maija Isola Sateenkaari printed fabric for Marimekko, 1973. Image: Etsy.

As did this Time-Life sewing book entitled Shortcuts to Elegance:

Shortcuts to Elegance: The Art of Sewing

Shortcuts to Elegance: The Art of Sewing (1973) Image: Etsy.

From McCall’s Carefree line, this iron-on alphabet transfer pattern lets you spell whatever you like in rainbow caps:

1970s iron-on rainbow transfer alphabet McCall's 5567

McCall’s 5567 (1977) Set of full colour iron-on transfers.

Meredith Gladstone’s circa 1980 children’s décor pattern, “Cloud Room,” includes a rainbow pillowcase and rainbow-lined sleeping bag:

Early 1980s Meredith Gladstone children's decor pattern Vogue 2360

Vogue 2360 by Meredith Gladstone (ca. 1980) Cloud Room. Image: Etsy.

With the right print, home dressmakers could sew everything from rainbow dresses to coverups:

Early 1980s dress and bolero pattern Butterick 3767

Butterick 3767 (1981) Image: Etsy.

Early 1980s one-piece bathing suit and coverup pattern Butterick 3902

Butterick 3902 (1981) Image: Etsy.

For those making their own Cheer Bear Care Bear, Butterick’s envelope explained the rainbow’s significance as a “traditional symbol of hope,” as well as “a cheerful reminder that things are getting better and even bad times can bring something beautiful”:

1980s Care Bears pattern for Cheer Bear toy Butterick 6230 ©American Greetings Corporation

Butterick 6230 (1983) Cheer Bear. Image: Etsy.

1980s Cheer Bear pattern envelope back, Butterick 6230

Envelope back, Butterick 6230 (1983). Image: Etsy.

Hallmark’s Rainbow Brite licensing with McCall’s included a children’s costume, Rainbow Brite and Twink toys, and a set of mobiles.

Rainbow Brite costume with Rainbow Brite and Twink dolls - McCall's 9231, 9254, 9238 - McCall's Crafts patterns, 1984

Rainbow Brite patterns on the cover of McCall’s Crafts catalogue, ca. 1984.

1980s Rainbow Brite doll pattern McCall's Crafts 9238

With a Rainbow Brite doll—share in the power of the rainbow. McCall’s 9238 (1984) Image: Etsy.

1980s Rainbow Brite Twink doll pattern McCall's Crafts 9231

With a Twink doll—create some color of your own. McCall’s 9231 (1984) Image: Etsy.

1980s official Rainbow Brite costume pattern McCalls 9254

McCall’s 9254 (1984) Rainbow Brite costume. Image: ecrater.

1980s Rainbow Brite mobile pattern McCall's 9523 / 769

A rainbow for your own—McCall’s 9523 / 769 (1985) Image: Etsy.

Of course, there’s no need to find the perfect rainbow fabric. All it takes is the right array of colours…

Eugenia Volodina photographed by Steven Meisel in an Alexander McQueen dress from Irere, Vogue Italia, February 2003

Alexander McQueen dress (Irere, SS 2003), Vogue Italia supplement, February 2003. Photo: Steven Meisel. Model: Eugenia Volodina. Image: The Fashion Spot.

Our Man in Leather: Bobby Breslau for Vogue Patterns

June 18, 2017 § 1 Comment

Vogue 2184, 2153.

Bobby Breslau in Vogue Patterns, May/June 1979. Photo: Charles Tracy.

“Our Man in Leather”: Vogue Patterns introduced Bobby Breslau, one of the company’s rare designers of accessories, with a winking acknowledgement of the gay community.

Bobby Breslau designs the softest leather in the world. His BigPouch and family of Little Pouches sensualized the bag world, becoming classics in their own time! Soft, sensuous, supple and totally functional, with a size and design for every occasion.

Bobby Breslau biographical note, Vogue 2184 (1979). Image: Etsy.

Bobby Breslau (ca. 1943-1987) was a friend of Halston, Stephen Burrows, and Keith Haring; photographer Charles Tracy, who took Breslau’s portrait, was a member of the same social circle. Breslau’s training was in the garment industry, but a toy commission from Halston set him on the path of accessory and furniture design. His tactile, unstructured style of bag showed a sculptor’s eye for colour and texture; the New York Times called it “the handbag of the 1970’s.” (See Robin Givhan’s The Battle of Versailles and Suzanne Slesin, “Beyond the Fringe: A Designer’s Zany World in Leather.”) Breslau was the manager of Keith Haring’s Pop Shop until his death from complications of AIDS in early 1987.

Breslau bag in Halston: An American Original (1999)

Breslau bag for Halston in Elaine Gross and Fred Rottman, Halston: An American Original (1999) Image: Behind the Seams.

In 1979, Breslau licensed two bag patterns with Vogue. Each design could be made in three sizes. Vogue 2153 is a “draw-stringer and scarf tie-up”:

1970s Bobby Breslau handbag pattern Vogue 2153

Vogue 2153 by Bobby Breslau (1979) Image: Etsy.

Vogue 2184 is a saddlebag and roll pouch:

1970s Bobby Breslau handbag pattern Vogue 2184

Vogue 2184 by Bobby Breslau (1979) Image: Etsy.

Just as Breslau’s unconstructed bag is back, so too are the brights of ’79. As Hannah Marriott writes, a trend for Lego colours is predicted for spring 2019…

Vogue Patterns May Jun 1979

Model with Breslau bag, Vogue Patterns, May/June 1979.

Taste the Infinite

June 11, 2017 § 5 Comments

Eight ways to wear an infinity dress - sketch by Lydia Silvestry in Vogue

Eight ways to wear an infinite dress. Sketch by Lydia Silvestry in Vogue, October 1976.

Summer means weddings and infinity dresses—or, if a couple is particularly on-trend, infinity bridesmaid jumpsuits.

TwoBirds bridesmaid jumpsuits, 2016

TwoBirds bridesmaid jumpsuits, 2016. Image: Instagram.

China Machado’s summer 1973 resort set was a precursor to the infinity garments of the mid-1970s. Like the infinity dress and its cousins, Machado’s pieces call for two-way stretch knits; but Grace Mirabella’s Vogue featured the design in muslin, as worn by Beverly Johnson:

Very Easy Vogue 2881 by China Machado (1973)

Very Easy Vogue 2881 by China Machado (1973) Image: Sew Exciting Needleworks.

Beverly Johnson in Vogue, May 1973. Photos: Kourken Pakchanian

Beverly Johnson in Vogue, May 1973. Photos: Kourken Pakchanian. Image: Youthquakers.

Lydia Silvestry trademarked “The Infinite Dress” and licensed it with McCall’s in 1976. As the pattern envelope says, “One size dress can be worn an infinite number of ways. See enclosed guide sheet illustrating 13 ways dress can be worn, or try creating your personal version.” (See Carmen Bouchard / Carmencita B’s posts about this pattern here.)

McCall's 5360 by Lydia Silvestry (1976)

McCall’s 5360 by Lydia Silvestry (1976) Image: PatternVault on Etsy.

Silvestry also licensed her infinite jumpsuit as a pattern featuring Maud Adams. I think this pattern has my favourite fabric note: For best results use a Lightweight, Non-cling Stretchable Jersey-type Knit Fabric such as Rosewood Fabric’s LA GRAND QUE of 100% QIANA, Burlington’s AMBROSIA of 100% Dacron Polyester, Millikin’s SURE THING of 100% Dacron Polyester. (Click to view in the shop.)

1970s Infinite Jumpsuit pattern by Lydia Silvestry McCall's 5529

McCall’s 5529 by Lydia Silvestry (1977) Image: PatternVault on Etsy.

From Carol Horn, this dress has strapless and colour blocking options:

1970s Carol Horn dress pattern Vogue 1573

Vogue 1573 by Carol Horn (ca. 1977) Image: Etsy.

Also one-size, the Seven Way Wonder Dress seems to have been Butterick’s answer to the Infinite Dress. A winter retail catalogue shows the Wonder Dress as black tie wear:

Butterick 5230 (ca. 1977)

Butterick 5230 (ca. 1977) Image: Vintage Pattern Wiki.

Butterick Feb 1977

The Wonder Dress – Wear It 7 Smashing Ways! Back cover of the Butterick retail catalogue, February 1977. Image: eBay.

Meanwhile, Simplicity had the Wonder Wrap Jiffy Jumpsuit and Jiffy Multi-Wrap Dress:

1970s Wonder Wrap Jiffy knits Jumpsuit pattern Simplicity 7957

Simplicity 7957 (1976) Image: Etsy.

1970s Jiffy knits dress pattern Simplicity 8086

Simplicity 8086 (1977) Image: Etsy.

Vogue released two Very Easy infinite dress patterns in spring, 1977:

Vogue 1640 (1977)

Vogue 1640 (1977) Image: Sew Exciting Needleworks.

Vogue 1641 (1977)

Vogue 1641 (1977) Image: Etsy.

Vogue 1641 is seldom seen, despite being illustrated by Antonio and photographed in Antigua for Vogue Patterns magazine:

1970s Antonio illustration of Vogue 1641, Very Easy Vogue news

Vogue 1641, Very Easy Vogue Patterns, May 1977. Illustration: Antonio. Image: Patterns from the Past.

Clotilde wears Vogue 1641, photographed by Albert Watson in Antigua, 1977

Vogue 1641 in Vogue Patterns, May/June 1977. Model: Clotilde. Photo: Albert Watson. Image: The Fashion Spot.

Is that Patti Hansen modelling the Glamour Plus Dress?

It's the Glamour Plus Dress!! Butterick 5683 (ca. 1977)

Butterick 5683 (ca. 1977) Image: Vintage Pattern Wiki.

Fast forward to 2000, when McCall’s released an infinite dress by Debra Moises (Debra and Moises Diaz). The envelope shows 5 variations:

Debra Moises dress pattern McCalls 2781

McCall’s 2781 by Debra Moises (2000) Image: eBay.

In early 2011, the New York Times ran a story about the trend for convertible garments (see Ruth La Ferla, “Convertible Clothing Is a New Twist for the Cost-Conscious“). Butterick featured an infinite dress (now out of print) on the cover of that year’s Spring catalogue:

The Infinite Dress: Drape it... Wrap it... Make it your own! Butterick 5606 on the cover of Butterick's Spring 2011 catalogue

Butterick 5606 on the cover of the Butterick catalogue, Spring 2011. Image: Issuu.

Butterick 5606 in the Butterick catalogue, Spring 2011

Butterick 5606 in the Butterick catalogue, Spring 2011. Image: Issuu.

Last summer, as part of their Archive Collection, McCall’s reissued their 1970s-era infinite dress and jumpsuit as a single pattern (still in print). These patterns are usually adapted somewhat from the vintage originals:

M7384 in McCall's lookbook, Early Summer 2016

’70s Chic with Infinite Looks: M7384 in McCall’s lookbook, Early Summer 2016. Image: Issuu.

It’s easy to see why infinity dresses remain popular, with their carefree resort vibe and minimal fitting requirements. And on the pattern envelopes, the hall of mirrors effect never gets old, does it?

For more discussion and links, see Michelle Lee’s post.

Donna Karan's Infinity Dress, 2011

Donna Karan’s jersey Infinity dress, 2011. Image: New York Times.

Tania Mallet

June 6, 2017 § 1 Comment

Tania Mallet photographed by Brian Duffy for British Vogue, 1963

Tania Mallet wears Mary Quant and James Wedge on the cover of British Vogue, October 1, 1963. Photo: Brian Duffy. Image: eBay.

Model and Bond girl Tania Mallet (b. 1941) was born in Blackpool to English and Russian-English parents. (Her mother, Olga Mironoff, was Helen Mirren’s paternal aunt.) She began working as a model in the late 1950s after taking a course at the Lucie Clayton Charm Academy. You may recognize her from her role as Tilly Masterson in Goldfinger (1964).

Tania Mallet as Tilly Masterson in Goldfinger (1964). IMDb image ©Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.

Mallet’s modelling work in the 1960s included editorials for Vogue patterns and Vogue Knitting Book.

Tania Mallet in Vogue Knitting Book no. 60 (Jubilee edition), 1962

Tania Mallet in Vogue Knitting Book no. 60 (Jubilee edition), 1962. Image: Etsy.

The earliest patterns I’ve found featuring Mallet are by French and Italian designers—Jacques Heim and Simonetta:

1960s Jacques Heim suit pattern feat. Tania Mallet, Vogue Paris Original 1258

Vogue 1258 by Jacques Heim (1963) Image: Pinterest.

1960s Simonetta dress and coat pattern feat. Tania Mallet, Vogue Couturier Design 1265

Vogue 1265 by Simonetta (1963) Image: eBay.

Later patterns are by London designers like Ronald Paterson and Jo Mattli:

1960s Ronald Paterson dress pattern feat. Tania Mallet, Vogue Couturier Design 1391

Vogue 1391 by Ronald Paterson (1964) Image: Vintage Pattern Wiki.

1960s Jo Mattli dress and coat pattern feat. Tania Mallet, Vogue Couturier Design 1407

Vogue 1407 by Jo Mattli (1964) Image: Etsy.

1960s Jo Mattli two-piece dress pattern feat. Tania Mallet, Vogue Couturier Design 1661

Vogue 1661 by Jo Mattli (ca. 1967) Image: Etsy.

This daffodil evening ensemble was featured in my Bellville Sassoon post:

1960s Belinda Bellville evening ensemble pattern feat. Tania Mallet, Vogue Couturier Design 1677

Vogue 1677 by Belinda Bellville (ca. 1966) Image: Etsy.

Here Mallet wears a goddess gown by John Cavanagh:

1960s John Cavanagh evening gown pattern feat. Tania Mallet, Vogue Couturier Design 1687

Vogue 1687 by John Cavanagh (ca. 1966) Image: eBay.

In this ad for Sekers Fabrics, she wears Forquet gown Vogue 1693 in striped ‘Hero’ lurex:

Tania Mallet wears Vogue 1693 by Federico Forquet in striped lurex (with Vogue 1758 by Ronald Paterson and Vogue 7158)

Tania Mallet wears Vogue 1693 by Federico Forquet (with Vogue 1758 by Ronald Paterson and Vogue 7158). Sekers Fabrics advertisement, 1967.

Full marks for hats and coiffure, don’t you think?

Tania Mallet photographed by Eugene Vernier for the cover of British Vogue, 1961

Tania Mallet in Pucci on the cover of British Vogue, July 1961. Photo: Eugene Vernier. Image: Vogue UK.

Tania Mallet photographed by Harry Meerson forthe cover of Jardin des Modes, 1962

Tania Mallet in Pierre Cardin on the cover of Jardin des Modes, March 1962. Photo: Harry Meerson. Image: Jardin des Modes Covers.

Tania Mallet photographed by Henry Clarke for the cover of British Vogue, 1962 (Brania earrings)

Tania Mallet on the cover of British Vogue, July 1962. Photo: Henry Clarke. Image: eBay.

The World of Anna Sui

May 30, 2017 § 1 Comment

Tim Blanks, The World of Anna Sui (Abrams, 2017)

Tim Blanks, The World of Anna Sui (Abrams, 2017). Image: Abrams.

The World of Anna Sui opened at the Fashion and Textile Museum in London last weekend. It’s the museum’s first retrospective on a living American designer, with an accompanying book by Tim Blanks—out today from Abrams.

The World of Anna Sui, 26 May - 1 October 2017, London

Image: Joshua Jordan / Fashion and Textile Museum.

Anna Sui licensed her work with Vogue Patterns for some 16 years, from the mid-1990s to 2011. Read my series on Vogue patterns by Anna Sui:

1990s Anna Sui dress pattern V1619 on the cover of Vogue Patterns catalogue, September 1995

Vogue Patterns introduces Anna Sui for Vogue Attitudes: Vogue Patterns catalogue, September 1995. Image: eBay.

I’ve just listed this pattern for two dresses from Sui’s Mudd Club collection:

2000s Anna Sui stretch knit dress pattern Vogue 2551

Vogue 2551 by Anna Sui (2001) Image: PatternVault on Etsy.

For more on Sui and her work, see Tim Blanks’ essay for the Business of Fashion, “Anna Sui, America’s Most Underrated Fashion Designer.”

Anna Sui coat in Peter Lindbergh Factory-themed shoot for Bazaar, 1995

Faux Mongolian lamb coat by Anna Sui, Harper’s Bazaar, August 1995. Photo: Peter Lindbergh.

Kirsty Hume in Anna Sui, with Donovan Leitch, photographed by Arthur Elgort for "Seasoned Simplicity," 1995

Kirsty Hume wears Anna Sui in Vogue, September 1995. Photo: Arthur Elgort. Editor: Grace Coddington.

Karen Elson in Anna Sui, photographed by Tim Walker for "Under the Boardwalk," 2003

Karen Elson in Anna Sui, Vogue, June 2003. Photo: Tim Walker. Editor: Grace Coddington. Image: Vogue.com.

Sixth Anniversary Sale!

May 28, 2017 § 8 Comments

Dorothea McGowan in McCall's 5550 by Pierre Cardin, 1960

Dorothea McGowan in Pierre Cardin, 1960. Photo: Ron Harris. Image: PatternVault on Etsy.

To celebrate the six-year anniversary of my Etsy shop, I’m having a sale: 30% off everything in the shop.

Halston caftan McCall’s 3590. Image: PatternVault on Etsy.

To receive the discount, use the coupon code:

YEARTHESIXTH

The sale runs from today, May 28th, until midnight EDT on Saturday, June 3rd. Support independent research and help keep this blog advertising-free!

Mei Xiao Zhou bias dress for Guy Laroche. Image: PatternVault on Etsy.

Happy shopping!

Motherhood, 1971

May 14, 2017 § 3 Comments

Maternity dress pattern Vogue 7952 photographed by Art Barclay, 1971

Vogue 7952 in Vogue Pattern Book, August/September 1971. Photo: Art Barclay.

In honour of Mother’s Day, some maternity images from an early ’70s Vogue Pattern Book.

That’s Vogue 7952 by the red Volkswagen bug. (Shoes: Charles Jourdan.) The other maternity patterns are Vogue 7382 and Vogue 8079.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Maternity dress pattern Vogue 7382 photographed by Art Barclay, 1971

Vogue 7382 in Vogue Pattern Book, August/September 1971. Photo: Art Barclay.

Maternity top and pants pattern Vogue 8079 photographed by Art Barclay, 1971

Vogue 8079 in Vogue Pattern Book, August/September 1971. Photo: Art Barclay.

1970s family road trip maternity editorial with VW beetle - Vogue Pattern Book, Aug/Sept 1971

“Motherhood” in Vogue Pattern Book, August/September 1971. Photos: Art Barclay.

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