Ready for a cybergoth revival? The Matrix is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, and Variety has just announced that there will be a Matrix 4, to be directed by Lana Wachowski and again starring Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss.
The costumes in the first Matrix were hugely influential. Working within a tight budget, costume designer Kym Barrett (Romeo + Juliet, Us) placed the emphasis on texture and movement, using low-cost materials like PVC and a wool blend for Neo’s coat. The rebels were also outfitted in custom accessories, with boots by Barrett and bespoke eyewear by Richard Walker.
The first Matrix film even inspired John Galliano’s Fall 1999 couture collection for Dior. Presented at Versailles, the collection mixed futuristic raver-couture with more fanciful references like “Gainsborough in Persia.” (“The dresses are evil, evil,” Galliano was quoted saying. “But you have to have the Romantic. They die for that, my ladies.”) As Vogue’s Hamish Bowles wrote, the couture clients warmed more to the 18th-century looks than to “Matrix cybervixen.”
It wasn’t until 2003’s big-budget sequel, The Matrix Reloaded, that Neo got his famous cassock coat.
The first Matrix-inspired costume patterns came out in 2003.
Simplicity’s Neo and Morpheus / “Men’s and Teen’s Duster” must have sold well: the pattern was rereleased with an updated envelope in 2017. (See top of post.) Now backlisted, it’s still available from the company website.
Thanks to the sequel’s higher budget, Barrett designed Trinity’s pieces for better-quality PVCs (then newly available), with patent leather used for closeups. For the women’s pattern, Trinity’s PVC bustier-coat ensemble effectively devolves into its separate elements: a princess-seamed duster, corset top, and pants. The pattern calls for stretch vinyl, leather-like fabrics, and synthetic patent leather.
The following year, Butterick and McCall’s released men’s and children’s Neo patterns, but none for Trinity. Both cassock coats share an authentic, if painstaking touch: lots of covered buttons.
It would be another decade before Andrea Schewe designed a more accurate Trinity duster. Released in Simplicity’s 90th anniversary year, the PVC duster was paired with a Kingdom Hearts cosplay coat.
Here’s S8482 with more sci-fi (Firefly and Rogue One) in the seasonal catalogue:
There’s no word on the costume designer yet, but production on the new Matrix begins in 2020.
Cover look V1627 is an archival design by Zandra Rhodes, as worn by the Latvian-American model Ana Kondratjeva.
Rhodes reissued her 1973 Field of Lilies dress — renamed the Summer, in memory of Donna Summer — for Matches Fashion’s recent 30th anniversary. The designer commissioned Claire Rothstein to take the mother-and-daughter portrait at the top of this post, in which Pat Cleveland and her daughter, Anna, both model the dress. The original is printed silk chiffon.
Inspired by Alessandro Michele’s Gucci, the new Very Easy Vogue pyjama is illustrated with ribbon trim, and in a version of the Gucci Flora print.
For Gucci Pre-Fall 2018, in place of a more conventional lookbook, American artist Peter Schlesinger shot a photobook on location in Rome. Called Disturbia, it was inspired by the films of Dario Argento, the director behind the original Suspiria.
A variation of the Gucci Flora pyjamas in printed silk twill.
Michele paired a full-length version of the trousers, trimmed in the distinctive Gucci ribbon, with a faux-fur coat.
The Pre-Fall 2019 ad campaign features another version of the Gucci Flora pyjama, as seen in the ancient ruins of Selinunte, Sicily. Vogue’s reference kimono top and pant (on pre-order at Neiman Marcus) is silk georgette.
The new Tracy Reese sundress has a cowl neckline, criss-cross back, and midriff that extends into waist ties. (See WWD for recent news.)
Martha Graham was the inspiration for Reese’s Spring 2015 collection, where the dress was shown with a kimono jacket in the same botanical print.
There are two patterns from Rachel Comey. The first: the Willow peasant top and Basin pant with grosgrain waistband. Judging from the pattern number, it may have been delayed from the Spring release. Hopefully this doesn’t signal the wrapping up of the designer’s contract. (See: Laroche?)
Both pieces made their début in Comey’s country-and-western themed Pre-Fall 2016 collection, shot by New York street photographer Gus Powell. The original Willow top (right) is rayon gauze.
For Fall 2016, Comey showed the top in a cute print. Later, it could even be seen in a lace and gingham combo.
The second Rachel Comey is a pair of unisex shirts. The unisex / menswear angle is welcome, since Comey made her name with men’s shirts. (See my earlier post.)
The Selleck shirt is short-sleeved, with seam interest, while the Tre shirt is a long-sleeved button-down. Both were shown in Comey’s Spring 2017 15th anniversary collection, which saw the launch of her unisex line.
After a decade of licensing, Simplicity has released a swimwear design by Cynthia Rowley. The colour-blocked one-piece is called the Heather, and retails in Rowley’s signature neoprene.
The new pattern also includes a button-front maxi dress with ruffle sleeves. Add bodice tucks and you have the Nairobi kaftan — Rowley’s opening look for Spring 2017. The original caftan dress is 100% cotton.
Finally, a stealth bridal pattern: Very Easy Vogue V9373, a version of a Stella McCartney gown that was the first change of a newly minted duchess. (More at Vogue.)
The bride’s silk crepe, open-backed gown was an advance look at the Stella McCartney Made With Love collection, which launched in autumn, 2018.
Make in cruelty-free, sustainable fabrics for the authentic Stella McCartney touch.
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.
In honour of Burns Night, a guide to Outlander patterns.
Outlander is now in its fourth season; it’s been renewed for two more. Adapted from the popular series by Diana Gabaldon, the time-travelling romance has plenty of source material: Gabaldon is currently working on her ninth Outlander book.
Sunday’s season finale will be the last episode to feature costumes by Terry Dresbach. Trisha Biggar is the new costume designer for season 5. Biggar, who is from Glasgow, is best known for her work on the Star Wars prequel trilogy.
In 2017, Simplicity’s unofficial Outlander patterns prompted Dresbach to take down her website. (It’s back now.) The next year, McCall’s started releasing official, licensed Outlander patterns.
Simplicity’s adapted-from-Outlander patterns are by American Duchess, a historical costuming company based in Reno, Nevada. The three patterns are based on Claire’s costumes in seasons 1 and 2: 18th-century Highland dress and an unusual court gown. There’s also a free pattern for her crocheted cowl.
It was this version of Claire’s red dress that caused such consternation online. Claire wears the original during her visit to Versailles in “Not in Scotland Anymore,” the episode that earned Outlander its first Emmy nomination for costume design. It was also seen in promotional materials for season 2 (see top of post). The pattern is still in print, but as with Simplicity’s Game of Thrones patterns, the colour was soon changed to a less provocative teal.
McCall’s started licensing official Outlander patterns in 2018. (Company founder James McCall was a Scottish immigrant, and McCall’s UK — McCalls Ltd — is not a pattern company, but a Highlandwear outfitters.) McCall’s Outlander patterns cover both women’s and men’s costumes, with many available as instant downloads. For the first few releases this meant Claire and Jamie Fraser, or 18th-century Scottish highlander garb.
Next came the couple’s wedding clothes: Jamie’s frock coat and Claire’s wedding dress.
Outerwear was the focus of the Summer release, with patterns for Claire’s fur-trimmed riding jacket and Jamie’s leather coat.
Jamie is still wearing the coat in season 2, when he joins up with Bonnie Prince Charlie. Dresbach suited the latter not in the Stuart, but the MacQueen tartan.
This fall, we finally saw a costume for British officer Jonathan “Black Jack” Randall, plus Claire’s blue riding jacket-and-waistcoat combo from season 3’s Emmy-nominated episode, “Freedom & Whisky.” The title is a Burns quote, and the episode sees Claire sewing the outfit herself, for time travel. A costume book lies open by her sewing machine, and her ensemble looks to be based on a memorable riding habit in Janet Arnold’s classic, Patterns of Fashion.
This year, McCall’s Outlander patterns caught up to the show with this caraco jacket and skirt. The jacket looks to be one of Claire’s remade outfits, courtesy of Jamie’s aunt Jocasta.
Slàinte! To freedom and whisky.
Update (April 2019): This new release includes Claire’s peplum jacket and fichu (scarf), plus a chemise:
In memory of Eiko Ishioka, who would have been 80 this year, a look at costume patterns based on her work.
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.
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.)
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 gown features white peacock embroidery and a molded basque with four-piece cups.
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.
Simplicity also offered Snow White’s dress from the film’s Bollywood finale, moving the giant bow down from the shoulders.
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.