Costumes after Eiko Ishioka

Google doodle celebrating Eiko Ishioka's work in Tarsem Singh's The Fall (2006)
Google doodle celebrating Eiko Ishioka, 2017. Image: Google.

In memory of Eiko Ishioka, who would have been 80 this year, a look at costume patterns based on her work.

Eiko on Stage (Callaway, 2000) Image: abebooks.

Eiko Ishioka (1938-2012) is best known as the costume designer for The Cell and Bram Stoker’s Dracula, for which she won an Academy Award in 1993. Her last film project was Tarsem Singh’s Mirror Mirror, starring Julia Roberts and Lily Collins.

Poster for Mirror, Mirror (2012). Image: IMdB.

McCall’s and Simplicity both released patterns based on the film. McCall’s 6629 came in adult and children’s sizes. (Out of print, but details still on the Cosplay by McCall’s site.)

McCall’s 6629 / 240 (2012) Image: Etsy.

On the left—view D with collar E and feathered backpiece F—is Julia Roberts’ wicked queen. Ishioka’s original gown has panniers and miles of cartridge pleating:

The Queen (Julia Roberts) and Brighton (Nathan Lane) in Mirror Mirror (2012). Photo: Jan Thijs ©Snow White Productions, 2011.

The gown features white peacock embroidery and a molded basque with four-piece cups.

Julia Roberts as the Queen in Mirror Mirror. Image ©Snow White Productions, 2011.

View B (top right) is clearly Lily Collins’ Snow White, but so is view A. It’s the dress with floral basque and skirt, seen early in the film, which Ishioka topped with one of the most memorable capes in cinema.

Snow White (Lily Collins) in Mirror Mirror (2012). Image ©Relativity Media, 2011.
Lily Collins in Mirror Mirror (2012). Image ©Relativity Media / Richard Crouse.

Simplicity also offered Snow White’s dress from the film’s Bollywood finale, moving the giant bow down from the shoulders.

Simplicity 1728 (2012)
Simplicity 1728 (2012) Image: eBay.
Snow White (Lily Collins) in Mirror Mirror (2012). Photo: Jan Thijs ©Relativity Media.

The Costume Designers’ Guild gave Ishioka a posthumous award for Mirror Mirror. (For more on the production, see Wired.) And since her on-screen version, all yellow capes seem to point back to Snow White’s.

Caitriona Balfe wears Terry Dresbach's yellow cloak in Outlander, season 2 (2016)
Claire (Caitriona Balfe) in Outlander, season 2 (2016). Image: Starz / Life According to Jamie.
Alberta Ferretti coat, Fall 2017. Images: Moda Operandi.
Jordan Prentice, Joey Gnoffo, Sebastian Saraceno, Lily Collins, Martin Klebba, Mark Povinelli, Ronald Lee Clark, and Danny Woodburn in Mirror Mirror (2012). Photo: Matthew Rolston
Jordan Prentice, Joey Gnoffo, Sebastian Saraceno, Lily Collins, Martin Klebba, Mark Povinelli, Ronald Lee Clark, and Danny Woodburn in Mirror Mirror (2012). Photo: Matthew Rolston ©Relativity Media 2011.

Winter/Holiday 2018 Designer Pattern Highlights

Simplicity 8733 by Cynthia Rowley FW 2017 lookbook photo by William Eadon
A look from Cynthia Rowley Fall 2017. Photo: William Eadon. Image: Vogue Runway.

The new designer patterns for Winter/Holiday 2018 amp up the drama with sparkle and embellishment.

Vogue’s designer cover looks are by Badgley Mischka. Gracing both catalogue and magazine covers is Nadja Giramata, a Rwandan-French model represented by Elite New York.

Vogue 1604 by Badgley Mischka, Vogue Patterns lookbook, Winter/Holiday 2018. Model: Nadja Giramata. Image: McCall’s.

Here and on the retail catalogue cover, she wears Badgley Mischka’s strapless popover gown with back detail. The original is stretch crepe with velvet ribbon.

Vogue 1604 by Badgley Mischka
Vogue 1604 by Badgley Mischka (2018) Image: McCall’s.

The popover gown is from Badgley Mischka’s Fall 2017 collection, which was inspired by the women of the interwar period.

A look from Badgley Mischka's Fall 2017 collection
A look from Badgley Mischka’s Fall 2017 collection. Image: Vogue Runway.

Other versions of the gown omit the grommets and embellish the flounce with lace or appliqué. The white dress is cocktail length:

Guipure lace and appliqué details on two dresses from Badgley Mischka
Guipure lace and appliqué details on two dresses from Badgley Mischka. Images: The Outnet.

The second Badgley Mischka pattern is a top and skirt ensemble with pearl-embellished cuffs.

Nadja Giramata in V1605 by Badgley Mischka, Vogue Patterns, December/January 2018-19. Photo: Jack Deutsch. Image: McCall’s.

The designers used stretch velvet for the top and a lustrous satin for the draped evening skirt with bow accent.

Vogue 1605 by Badgley Mischka
Vogue 1605 by Badgley Mischka (2018) Image: McCall’s.

Photographer Jack Deutsch shared another shot of the ensemble on Instagram.

Ana Kondratjeva in Vogue 1605 by Badgley Mischka, 2018. Photo: Jack Deutsch via Instagram.

Combine the two looks and you get this current-season design:

Navy beaded sleeve popover gown, Badgley Mischka Fall 2018
Beaded sleeve popover gown, Badgley Mischka Fall 2018. Image: Badgley Mischka.

New from Paco Peralta: a three-quarter sleeved top and high-waisted skirt, shown in brown, sequinned tweed. The sculpted shapes reference early Pierre Cardin.

Vogue 1602 by Paco Peralta
Vogue 1602 by Paco Peralta (2018) Image: McCall’s.

Look closely and you’ll see that all the side seams line up. This drawing shows an earlier version, without the princess seams:

Paco Peralta sketch for Vogue 1602 ©McCall’s/Paco Peralta.
Paco Peralta sketch for Vogue 1602 ©McCall’s/Paco Peralta.

From Sharon Lombardo for Anne Klein, an open-front tuxedo jacket and skinny stretch pants. The originals were crepe and ponte knit.

Vogue 1606 by Anne Klein
Vogue 1606 by Anne Klein (2018) Image: McCall’s.

The minimalist jacket was available in colours including claret, bright red, and basic black. Here’s a similar stitched shawl collar as seen in the Spring 2016 campaign.

Vivien Solari in Anne Klein's Spring 2016 ad campaign. Photo: Nathaniel Goldberg
Vivien Solari in Anne Klein’s Spring 2016 ad campaign. Photo: Nathaniel Goldberg. Editor: Laura Ferrara. Image: Instagram.

Simplicity’s latest Cynthia Rowley design is a bell-sleeved dress with whimsical appliqués. The pattern also includes a top.

Simplicity 8733 by Cynthia Rowley
Simplicity 8733 by Cynthia Rowley (2018) Image: Simplicity.

The Rowley original is wool with metallic leather appliqués. William Eadon photographed it against a giant satin bow for the seasonal lookbook (at top of post).

Cynthia Rowley dress with appliqué detail, Fall 2017. Images: Moda Operandi.

The rose appliqués made other appearances in the collection: on a jumper and wide-leg trousers.

Cynthia Rowley Fall 2017
Cynthia Rowley Fall 2017. Photo: William Eadon. Image: vogue.com.

Bonus: From Vogue’s Fall release, a version of Alberta Ferretti’s Venetian coat:

V9340_a
Very Easy Vogue 9340 after Alberta Ferretti (2018) Image: McCall’s.

The version shown in Milan was midi length (view C) in unlined, mustard cashmere.

Yoon Young Bae in Alberta Ferretti FW 2017. Image: Vogue Runway.

The pattern’s centre-seam hood is adapted from the original.

Alberta Ferretti hooded bow tie coat, Fall 2017. Images: Moda Operandi.

The coat features in Tim Walker’s ad campaign, which was styled by none other than Carine Roitfeld, the former editor of Vogue Paris.

Lexi Boling in Alberta Ferretti Fall 2017 ad campaign. Photo: Tim Walker. Editor: Carine Roitfeld
Lexi Boling in Alberta Ferretti’s Fall 2017 ad campaign. Photo: Tim Walker. Editor: Carine Roitfeld. Image: Alberta Ferretti.

Hack the pattern for a hooded cape—in opulent velvet for festive soirées:

Lineisy Montero, Lexi Boling, and Kiki Willems in Alberta Ferretti Fall 2017 ad campaign. Photo: Tim Walker. Editor: Carine Roitfeld
Lineisy Montero, Lexi Boling, and Kiki Willems in Alberta Ferretti’s Fall 2017 ad campaign. Photo: Tim Walker. Editor: Carine Roitfeld. Image: Alberta Ferretti.

Summer 2018 Designer Pattern Highlights

Guy Laroche by Adam Andrascik, Spring 2017
A look from Guy Laroche Spring 2017. Image: vogue.com.

The new designer patterns for Summer 2018 play with texture and special fabrics. Lace, seersucker, matelassé, waffle georgette, even a laser-cut textile makes an appearance.

Vogue’s summer cover look is by Nicola Finetti.

Nicola Finetti dress V1587 on the cover of Vogue Patterns lookbook, Summer 2018
Vogue 1587 by Nicola Finetti, Vogue Patterns lookbook, Summer 2018. Image: McCall’s.

The matelassé cocktail dress with shaped hemline and flounce sleeves is from Nicola Finetti Fall 2016.

Nicola Finetti dress pattern Vogue 1587
Vogue 1587 by Nicola Finetti (2018) Image: McCall’s.

Finetti also showed a longer, front-zip version of V1587. Just trim down the A-line skirt and add a midriff panel:

Nicola Finetti Fall 2016
Nicola Finetti Fall 2016. Images: Not Just A Label.

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.

Guy Laroche dress pattern by Adam Andrascik Vogue 1589
Vogue 1589 by Adam Andrascik for Guy Laroche (2018) Image: McCall’s.

The original is textured silk georgette in a chartreuse-tinged shade of La La Land yellow.

Guy Laroche by Adam Andrascik Spring 2017 V1589
Guy Laroche by Adam Andrascik, Spring 2017. Image: vogue.com.

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:

Guy Laroche by Adam Andrascik Spring 2017
Guy Laroche by Adam Andrascik, Spring 2017. Image: vogue.com.

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.

Marcel Marongiu for Guy Laroche dress pattern Vogue 1577
Vogue 1577 by Marcel Marongiu for Guy Laroche (2018) Image: McCall’s.

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:

Guy Laroche dress by Marcel Marongiu, Spring 2015
Guy Laroche by Marcel Marongiu, Spring 2015. Image: Guy Laroche.
Guy Laroche dress by Marcel Marongiu, Spring 2015
Guy Laroche by Marcel Marongiu, Spring 2015. Image: Guy Laroche.

As a grey and white coat dress, it swaps the button placket for jumbo exposed zippers:

Guy Laroche coatdress by Marcel Marongiu, Spring 2015
Guy Laroche by Marcel Marongiu, Spring 2015. Image: Guy Laroche.

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:

Guy Laroche Spring 2015 giant pailette shift dresses by Marcel Marongiu
Guy Laroche Spring 2015 by Marcel Marongiu. Images: Guy Laroche.
Guy Laroche Spring 2015 ad campaign photographed by Steve Hiett
Guy Laroche Spring 2015 and Spring 2017 ad campaigns by Steve Hiett.

New from Rachel Comey: the Popcorn dress. The Comey staple is shown in Spring 2017’s seersucker.

Rachel Comey's Popcorn dress pattern, Vogue 1585
Vogue 1585 by Rachel Comey (2018) Popcorn dress. Image: McCall’s.

The pullover dress works for both solids and prints—even print-mixing with contrast skirt inserts. The current version is black rayon.

Rachel Comey's Popcorn dress in black rayon, 2017
Rachel Comey’s Popcorn dress, 2017. Image: Rachel Comey.

In her Spring 2007 collection, presented at the Altman building during New York Fashion Week, Comey showed the dress both loose and belted.

Rachel Comey Spring 2007
Rachel Comey Spring 2007. Images: ELLE.
Rachel Comey SS 2007 backstage
Backstage at Rachel Comey Spring 2007. Photos: Randy Brooke/WireImage.

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:

Rachel Comey Spring 2007
Rachel Comey Spring 2007. Images: firstVIEW.

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:

Rebecca Vallance Dolce Vita jumpsuit pattern Vogue 1591
Vogue 1591 by Rebecca Vallance (2018) Image: McCall’s.

The jumpsuit is from Rebecca Vallance Summer 2016.

Rebecca Vallance Summer 2016
Rebecca Vallance Summer 2016. Image: Rebecca Vallance/Instagram.

Simplicity’s latest from Cynthia Rowley is a flounce-sleeved lace dress with two neckline variations. Choose from off the shoulder or scoop neck.

Cynthia Rowley ruffle sleeve lace dress pattern Simplicity 8599
Simplicity 8599 by Cynthia Rowley (2018) Image: Simplicity.

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:

CynthiaRowleySpring2017_5 William Eadon
Cynthia Rowley Spring 2017. Photo: William Eadon. Image: vogue.com.

The original dress had a contrast back bodice:

Cynthia Rowley red lace ruffle sleeve dress SS 2017Cynthia Rowley red lace ruffle sleeve dress back SS 2017

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.

Nicola Finetti Fall 2016 photographed by Marissa Alden
Nicola Finetti Fall 2016. Photo: Marissa Alden. Model: Morven MacSween. Image: Instagram.

Harem Scarum

Pucci dice: affascinate lo sceicco (Sheikh) - Vogue Italia editorial photographed by Gian Paolo Barbieri
Pucci tunic and harem pants, Vogue Italia, January 1968. Photo: Gian Paolo Barbieri. Image: Pleasurephoto.

The early ’90s are back—and so are sarouel, or harem pants. Here’s a look at vintage patterns for this distinctive trouser style.

Like caftans, sarouel originated in ancient Persia. Persian sirwāl became Turkish şalvar, entering the Western fashion vocabulary via Ottoman culture and the early modern vogue for turquerie.

Tilda Swinton in 18th-century Ottoman dress in Sally Potter's Orlando
Tilda Swinton in 18th-century Ottoman dress in Sally Potter’s Orlando (1992) Photo: Liam Longman. Image: Pinterest.

Şalvar were introduced to Western women’s clothing in the 19th century as part of the Rational Dress movement: Amelia Bloomer conceived her eponymous trousers as “Turkish pants.” (On cycling bloomers see Jonathan Walford, The 1890s Bicycle Bloomer Brouhaha.) Couturier Paul Poiret is usually credited with making “harem” pants fashionable in the period before World War 1.

Bert Green illustration "The Harem Girl," 1911
The Harem Girl. Bert Green for Puck magazine, 1911. Image: Wikipedia.
Lady Sybil (Jessica Brown Findlay) in her new harem ensemble. Downton Abbey, season 1, episode 3
Lady Sybil (Jessica Brown Findlay) on Downton Abbey, Season 1 (2011). Image: Pinterest.

1960s

In the mid-’60s, harem pants enjoyed renewed popularity as glam loungewear. (I Dream of Jeannie started airing in September, 1965.) This Vogue pyjama with matching, dolman-sleeved overblouse has a cuffed trouser option:

1960s pyjama and overblouse pattern Vogue 6435
Vogue 6435 (ca. 1965) Image: Mermaid’s Purse.

Pucci’s interest in harem pants predates the jewelled version at the top of this post: a short, blue harem ensemble was part of his 1965 Braniff flight attendant uniform. These high-waisted palazzo pyjamas also have a cuffed, harem option, as worn by Editha Dussler:

1960s Pucci palazzo pyjamas and jacket pattern Vogue 1692 feat. Editha Dussler
Vogue 1692 by Pucci (1967)

Anne de Zogheb modelled these Pucci harem pyjamas, which feature an intriguing self-lined skirt with side openings:

1960s Pucci harem pyjama pattern Vogue 2094 feat. Anne de Zogheb
Vogue 2094 by Pucci (1969)

1970s

Bouffant knickers are a variation on the harem pant. This gold brocade, coat-and-knickers ensemble from Yves Saint Laurent’s Winter 1970 haute couture collection evokes the hippie trail. The model is Viviane Fauny:

1970s Yves Saint Laurent haute couture coat and knickers pattern Vogue 2501
Vogue 2501 by Yves Saint Laurent (1971) Image: Vintage Pattern Wiki.

From 1976, this Kenzo pattern includes a cuffed harem pant option. (A copy is available in the shop.)

1970s Kenzo pattern Butterick 4793
Butterick 4793 by Kenzo (1976)

Hot pink harem pants catch the eye on this Very Easy Vogue pattern, which also includes palazzo pants and a maxi skirt:

1970s maxi skirt, harem or palazzo pant pattern Very Easy Vogue 9633
Vogue 9633 (ca. 1977) Image: Etsy.

1980s

This gold satin pair, from Krizia, has no side seams:

1980s Krizia pattern - harem pants detail - McCall's 7307
McCall’s 7307 by Krizia (1980) Image: PatternVault shop.

In the early ’80s, the dropped-crotch, Zouave style of harem pant came to the fore. This Simplicity pattern includes Zouave pants in two lengths:

1980s Zouave and harem pants pattern Simplicity 5538
Simplicity 5538 (1982) Image: Etsy.

The trousers in this Versace ensemble evoke the harem silhouette, with draped volume tapering to a fitted ankle (see my Versace post for more photos):

Early 1980s Gianni Versace tunic and draped pants pattern Vogue 2702
Vogue 2702 by Gianni Versace (ca. 1981) Image: PatternVault shop.

Very Easy Very Vogue got on the dropped crotch bandwagon with three styles of Zouave pants—view C with side drape:

1980s Zouave dropped-crotch pants pattern Very Easy Very Vogue 9591
Vogue 9591 (1986) Image: Etsy.

1990s

By the early ’90s, hip-hop musician MC Hammer had made so great an impact on popular culture that his characteristic trousers were known as “hammer pants.” Simplicity’s official MC Hammer unisex pants pattern came with not one but two iron-on transfers. (See envelope back here. There was even a doll clothes pattern for the MC Hammer action figure.) Drop-crotch pants could also be found as Butterick Classics and a unisex costume pattern.

Hammer time! 1990s official unisex MC Hammer pants pattern Simplicity 7455
Simplicity 7455 by MC Hammer (1991) Image: Vintage Pattern Wiki.

Issey Miyake designed these lowest of the low dropped-crotch pants, as worn by Phina Oruche:

1990s Issey Miyake pattern including dropped-crotch pant Vogue 1328 feat. Phina Oruche
Vogue 1328 by Issey Miyake (1994) Image: Etsy.

Recent patterns heralding the return of the sarouel include McCall’s 5858, Kwik Sew 3701, and the unisex Burda 7546. If the trend continues, perhaps we’ll see a pattern for Rachel Comey’s Pollock trouser…

Dancers from the robbinschilds company (Pollock sarouel pant), Rachel Comey Resort 2016
Dancers from the robbinschilds company, Rachel Comey Resort 2016. Image: Vogue.com.

You and Me and Rainbows

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.

Taste the Infinite

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.