Gianni Versace: Vogue Patterns

July 30, 2012 § 5 Comments

Versace campaig for Fall 1980: Janice Dickinson photographed by Richard Avedon.

Versace campaign, Fall 1980. Model: Janice Dickinson. Photo: Richard Avedon. Image via

This is the second of two posts on Gianni Versace’s Vogue patterns. (See the first post, on designs by Versace for Genny and Complice, here.)

Today, Gianni Versace may be best known for his flamboyant prints, colour, and embellishment, and designs that exploit the tactile qualities of materials like leather and metal mesh. Besides being celebrity-friendly, Versace was also a master technician and art connoisseur; his designs make myriad references to art history, especially the classical and baroque. His clothes flatter a woman’s curves; indeed, disliking standard mannequins, he designed his own based on the Venus de Milo.

Vogue’s Versace patterns were released from the late 1970s to the early 1980s. Here is a selection:

Vogue 2168 is a pantsuit and blouse modelled by Karen Bjornson and photographed by Patrick Demarchelier:

Vogue 2168

Vogue 2168 by Gianni Versace (1979) Model: Karen Bjornson. Photo: Patrick Demarchelier. Image via eBay.

Clotilde models Vogue 2375, the draped trouser ensemble I featured in last year’s disco best-of:

Vogue 2375 by Gianni Versace (1980). Image via eBay.

Vogue 2534 is a colour-blocked wrap dress with handkerchief hem. I love the hybrid cami/draped bodice, which ties at the left shoulder:

Vogue 2534 by Gianni Versace

Vogue 2534 by Gianni Versace (1980) Photo: Patrick Demarchelier. Image via Fashion Moment.

Here’s the photo that was published in Vogue Patterns magazine; this shoot was also by Patrick Demarchelier:

Gianni Versace handkerchief hem dress photographed by Patrick Demarchelier for Vogue Patterns magazine, July-Augusts 1980

Vogue 2534 by Gianni Versace in Vogue Patterns magazine, July/August 1980. Photo: Patrick Demarchelier. Image via eBay.

(There’s a small size available at Miscellanium on Etsy.) This later campaign image shows Iman in a dress with similar bodice construction:

Versace advertising campaign for Spring 1983: Iman, Lynne Koester, and Lauren Helm photographed by Richard Avedon.

Versace campaign, Spring 1983. Models: Iman, Lynne Koester, and Lauren Helm. Photo: Richard Avedon. Image via

Vogue 2702 is a design for harem pants and a lavishly draped tunic with batwing sleeves and pointed back hem:

Vogue 2702 by Gianni Versace: 1980s pattern for a draped tunic, harem pants, and sash.

Vogue 2702 by Gianni Versace (1981) Image via PatternVault on Etsy.

Here’s an editorial photo of Vogue 2702 from the holiday issue of the magazine:

Vogue 2702 tunic and pants by Gianni Versace photographed for Vogue Patterns magazine, November-December 1981

Vogue Patterns magazine, November/December 1981. Image via Patternaholic.

Vogue 2702’s pleated harem pants make me think it could be from Versace’s Spring 1981 collection, shown in this campaign image by Richard Avedon:

Versace Spring 1981 Models Kim Alexis, Kelly LeBrock, Lisa Taylor, Beverly Johnson, and Rosie Vela photographed by Richard Avedon..

Versace campaign, Spring 1981. Models: Kim Alexis, Kelly LeBrock, Lisa Taylor, Beverly Johnson, and Rosie Vela. Photo: Richard Avedon. Image via

As even this small sample of sewing patterns shows, Gianni Versace’s work was sui generis. It’s a special treat that the general period of the designer’s work covered by Vogue patterns yielded collaborations with prominent photographers including Guy Bourdin, Helmut Newton, Patrick Demarchelier, and Richard Avedon. (In 1986, Versace was the subject of a fashion photography exhibition at Paris’ Musée Galliera; see Christopher Petkanas, “A Dialog with Gianni Versace,” WWD, October 22, 1986.) Several of the Versace patterns give fresh takes on classical drapery, showing Versace’s gift for reinterpretation and innovation through a keen engagement with culture—both high and popular.

Gianni Versace for Genny and Complice: Vogue Patterns

July 24, 2012 § 12 Comments

detail of Vogue 2080 - late '70s pattern by Gianni Versace for Complice

This month marks 15 years since the death of Gianni Versace. This week’s post will be the first of two on Versace sewing patterns, in memory of the late designer.

photo and biography of Gianni Versace from pattern envelope flap:

Before he founded his own company, Gianni Versace (1946–1997) was the designer for the Milanese brands Genny, Complice, and Callaghan, and his first boutique sold his designs for those labels. These editorial images from L’Officiel, photographed at the Tivioli showroom in Milan, show designs from all three, as well as Versace’s new label:


Left: Gianni Versace for Complice and Gianni Versace for Callaghan. Right: Gianni Versace. L’Officiel, February 1979. Photo: Michel Picard. Image via


Gianni Versace and Gianni Versace for Genny. L’Officiel, February 1979. Photo: Michel Picard. Image via

The earliest Versace sewing patterns are drawn from the designer’s work for Genny and Complice. Vogue Patterns welcomed Versace to their designer licensees in 1978, the year he founded his business:

Viva Versace Vogue Patterns November/December 1978

Versace feature in Vogue Patterns magazine, November/December 1978. Image via Etsy.

(The headline reads, “Viva, Versace! Welcome to Vogue’s world! Gianni Versace, the Milanese master of fashion, opens exciting vistas into your sewing life.”)

Vogue Patterns’ first four Versace patterns were designs for Genny and Complice, two from each label.


Versace was the designer for Genny, a label owned by the Girombelli family, from 1973. Vogue 2025 (also shown in the “Viva, Versace” photo above) is an ensemble consisting of a pleated blouse or tunic, tapered pants, and pleated cummerbund:

Vogue 2025 by Gianni Versace for Genny

Vogue 2025 by Gianni Versace for Genny (1978)

The cummerbund is tucked rather than pleated in Vogue 2026, an evening suit that also includes a short, double-breasted jacket with contrast lapels, bias camisole, and sheer skirt with shaped front hemline:

Vogue 2026 by Gianni Versace for Genny

Vogue 2026 by Gianni Versace for Genny (1978)

Here’s the Vogue 2026 evening suit made up in white for a 1979 editorial:

Vogue 2025 by Versace - Vogue Patterns Jan/Feb 1979

Vogue 2025 by Gianni Versace for Genny. Vogue Patterns, January/February 1979. Image via eBay.


Complice was a line Gianni Versace developed for the Girombellis. Vogue 2048 looks forward to the Eighties silhouette with its loose dress or top with standing band collar and slim, tapered pants. As the envelope says, “Purchased belt forms desired blouson”:

Vogue 2048 by Gianni Versace for Complice

Vogue 2048 by Gianni Versace for Complice (1978)

Vogue 2080 is a military-style ensemble consisting of pleated, tapered pants and a blouse with standing collar, button epaulets, and contrast piping trim:

Vogue 2080 by Gianni Versace for Complice

Vogue 2080 by Gianni Versace for Complice (1978)

Just for fun, here are some Versace for Complice campaign images. Guy Bourdin was the photographer for Complice campaigns during this period. These first two, very Interview with the Vampire images are from August 1977:

Vogue Paris, August 1977

Gianni Versace for Complice campaign, Fall 1977. Image via Black Album.

Vogue Paris, August 1977

Gianni Versace for Complice campaign, Fall 1977. Image via Black Album.

This one I’m not sure of the date:

Gianni Versace for Complice campaign image by Guy Bourdin

Gianni Versace for Complice campaign. Photo: Guy Bourdin. Image via

You can see more Guy Bourdin/Versace for Complice photos here.

Next: Vogue patterns by Gianni Versace.

I Heart Disco

August 22, 2011 § 4 Comments

From McCall’s 4046 by Halston (1974).

This week, some favourite disco patterns!

The term ‘disco’ is a little nebulous. Disco music was popular from the mid-1970s to about 1980. Its huge popularity led to an anti-disco backlash that’s come to be symbolized by Disco Demolition Night, a.k.a. the ‘Disco Riots,’ which took place in the summer of 1979 (see Jo Meek, “Earth, Wind and Pyre,” and Joe Lapointe, “The Night Disco Went Up in Smoke”). Studio 54, the famous New York City nightclub that effectively stands for disco hedonism today, was open from 1977 until 1986. In this slideshow, you can see Andy Warhol partying at the club with Bianca Jagger, Liza Minelli, and Halston, as well as Diana Ross, Deborah Harry, and even a young Tom Ford.

For the purposes of this post, I’m going by my personal definition of disco style: glam evening wear that’s more party girl than society doyenne, all from the mid-’70s to the early ’80s. As I edited down my initial list I found the best designs shared elements like fluid draping and halter necks or one-shouldered bodices. Also, of the seven patterns, three are jumpsuits or give the impression of being a jumpsuit. Here’s my disco patterns best-of, ordered chronologically:

1. Vogue 2870 – Lanvin, 1973. Modelled by Karen Bjornson. Bjornson, who is virtually ubiquitous on later ’70s Vogue Patterns, was Halston’s house model. The (fantastic) photo makes the design look like a jumpsuit, but the pattern is actually for evening separates: palazzo pants with no side seams and a halter top with a wide midriff band that gives a cummerbund effect.

Vogue 2870 by Lanvin (1973) Evening top and pants. Image via the Vintage Patterns Wiki.

2. Vogue 2014 – Givenchy, 1978. Modelled by the young Gia Carangi, the late, queer supermodel who was brought back to the spotlight by the HBO movie Gia starring Angelina Jolie. This gorgeous evening dress has a crisscrossed halter neck and calls for an eighteen-inch tassel down the back. I have this one in my collection and plan to make it sometime in a silk or viscose jersey, but I think I need to learn to make tassels first.

Vogue 2014 by Givenchy (1978). Evening dress for stretch knits. Image via the Vintage Patterns Wiki.

3. Vogue 2173 – Chloé, 1979. No disco collection could be complete without this design by Karl Lagerfeld for Chloé. The one-shouldered evening dress comes with a reversible contrast shawl. I don’t know why, but to me this is the perfect late seventies-early eighties colour combination.

1970s Chloé evening dress pattern - Vogue 2173

Vogue 2173 by Chloé (1979). Evening dress, tie, and shawl. Image via momspatterns.

4. Vogue 2307 – Givenchy, 1979. Modelled by Tara Shannon. Another beautifully fluid Givenchy design, with the asymmetrical, one-shouldered bodice balanced by draping at the opposite hip. This is another one in my collection; I have a length of deep purple chiffon (originally used in a Hallowe’en costume) that’s just enough to make the cocktail version, but I haven’t yet found the occasion where I could get away with that much purple chiffon.

Vogue 2307 by Givenchy (1979). One-shouldered cocktail or evening dress. Image via the Vintage Patterns Wiki.

5. Vogue 2313 – Yves Saint Laurent, 1979. Modelled by Tara Shannon. A fabulous opera coat and evening dress ensemble with tie-halter and bow bodice. I love the sorbet colours, graphics and over-the-top drama of this pattern.

Vogue 2313 by Yves Saint Laurent (1979). Evening dress and coat. Image via the Vintage Patterns Wiki.

6. Vogue 2375 – Gianni Versace, 1980. Not a true jumpsuit as I thought (thanks, Dustin!) but a halter neck top and pants with tapered legs, side draping and matching jacket. Check out the illustration’s matching sandals and tone-on-tone, contrast satin cummerbund.

Vogue 2375 by Gianni Versace (1980) Jacket, top, and pants. Image via eBay.

7. Vogue 1014 – Yves Saint Laurent, circa 1982. My notes say this is a top and pleated harem pants but, as the photo shows, it definitely has a jumpsuit effect when made in a single fabric and worn with the top tucked in. It’s interesting to see cuffed and pleated harem pants in the wake of the recent draped harem pants trend. Are we having a disco moment?

Vogue 1014 by Yves Saint Laurent (c. 1982). Top and harem pants. Image via eBay.

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