Blade Runner, Fashion, and Sewing Patterns

October 6, 2017 § 4 Comments

Blade Runner-inspired Vogue Italia cover photographed by Steven Meisel, March 1998

Eugenia Silva wears Prada on the cover of Vogue Italia, March 1998. Photo: Steven Meisel. Editor: Bill Mullen. Image: The Fashion Spot.

Blade Runner 2049, Denis Villeneuve’s much-anticipated sequel to Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, opens today. Here’s a look at the fashion references and influence of the 1982 cult classic. (For Blade Runner’s influence on current fashion and an interview with costume designer Renée April, see Booth Moore, “‘Blade Runner 2049’ Already a Hit on the Fashion Runways.”)

Ryan Gosling in Denis Villeneuve's Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

Ryan Gosling in Blade Runner 2049 (2017) Image: Stephen Vaughan/Warner Bros.

Mugler Angel perfume ad, 2003

Thierry Mugler “Angel” fragrance advertisement, 2003. Image: eBay.

Blade Runner’s BAFTA-winning costume designers, Charles Knode and Michael Kaplan, cite 1940s film noir, with its iconic characters like Humphrey Bogart’s Sam Spade and Rita Hayworth’s Gilda, as their main inspiration. For the replicant Rachael, they also looked to the 1930s and ’40s tailoring of Hollywood costume designer-turned-couturier Adrian. (Kaplan is still in the genre-film spotlight with the new Star Wars trilogy, while the Adrian label—the subject of a recent exhibit—is being revived as Adrian Original.)

Rachael's fur coat and pieced suit - Blade Runner sketches by Michael Kaplan

Rachael costume sketches by Michael Kaplan for Blade Runner (1982). In Dressed: A Century of Hollywood Costume Design (Collins, 2007).

Kaplan used vintage fabrics for Rachael’s Adrian-inspired outfits: “I liked the idea of combining different shades of suiting fabrics to create patterns—something Adrian did. In this case I used amazing vintage suiting woollens in shades of grey and beige, with metallic threads that I was lucky enough to find, which created a subtle luminous quality.” (Source: AnOther mag.) This circa 1944 Butterick suit features Adrian-style piecing:

1940s colour-blocked suit pattern Retro Butterick 6286

Butterick 6286 from 1944 (2015)

In the 1980s, Claude Montana was the go-to designer for the decade’s updated triangular silhouette. (Ridley Scott has acknowledged the decade’s ’40s revival as an important factor in the film’s aesthetic.) This Vogue Individualist design plays up the ’40s influence:

1980s Claude Montana dress pattern - Vogue Individualist 1927

Vogue 1927 by Montana (1987)

In spring, 1997, Blade Runner: The Director’s Cut was one of the first movies to be released on DVD. The following spring, working with stylist Bill Mullen and set designer Jack Flanagan, Steven Meisel photographed a Blade Runner-homage cover and editorial for Vogue Italia’s March 1998 prêt-à-porter issue. Michael Kaplan recalls mistaking the cover for a film still. The editorial features text from Roy’s climactic monologue (“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe…”) with clothes from Prada’s Spring 1998 collection, which paired natural materials with synthetics like latex and plexiglass.

Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion... Prada in Vogue Italia, March 1998

Prada Spring ’98 in Vogue Italia, March 1998. Photo: Steven Meisel. Editor: Bill Mullen. Image: Vogue Italia Archive.

Meanwhile, in Paris, Alexander McQueen referenced Blade Runner in his Fall/Winter 1998 ready-to-wear collection for Givenchy. Visionaire’s Alexander McQueen memorial issue includes an image from Steven Meisel’s fall advertising campaign. (For more on this collection, see my McQueen series post.)

Two looks from Alexander McQueen's for Givenchy Fall 1998 prêt-à-porter

Two looks from Alexander McQueen’s Fall 1998 prêt-à-porter collection for Givenchy. Images: firstVIEW, Corbis.

V2228 and V2248 on the runway - Alexander McQueen for Givenchy, Fall 1998 prêt-à-porter

V2228 and V2248 (under jacket) on the runway – Alexander McQueen for Givenchy, Fall 1998 prêt-à-porter. Images: Corbis.

Givenchy FW 1998 photographed by Steven Meisel in Visionaire 58: Spirit (2010)

Givenchy Fall 1998 by Alexander McQueen in Visionaire 58: Spirit (2010). Photo: Steven Meisel. Image: 1stdibs.

Sewists and Blade Runner devotees are fortunate to have two licensed patterns from this collection:

FW 1998 rtw fur-trimmed suit pattern by Alexander McQueen for Givenchy, Vogue 2228

Vogue 2228 by Alexander McQueen for Givenchy (1998) Image: PatternVault on Etsy.

FW 1998 rtw cowl-neck dress by Alexander McQueen for Givenchy, Vogue 2248

Vogue 2248 by Alexander McQueen for Givenchy (1999) Image: PatternVault on Etsy.

The sleeveless version of the dress seems to have been shown with a jacket on the runway. (Click the image to read about my version, which I wore to TIFF’s Cronenberg exhibit.)

In V2248 by Alexander McQueen for Givenchy at BMC Labs / David Cronenberg: Evolution

In V2248 by Alexander McQueen for Givenchy at David Cronenberg: Evolution, 2014.

Rachael’s chevron-quilted synthetic fur coat gets the most screen time, but it’s her blue brocade coat with standing fur collar that appears to have been McQueen’s main reference for the fur-trimmed coats and jackets. As the pattern reveals, the collar stands with the help of boning.

Rachael (Sean Young) in her quilted faux-fur coat in Blade Runner (1982)

Rachael (Sean Young) in her quilted faux-fur coat. Image: Vogue Italia.

Rachael's fur-trimmed blue brocade coat in Blade Runner (1982)

Rachael’s blue brocade coat. Images: Pinterest, Christies/BladeZone.

Charles Knode fur-trimmed coat sketches for Blade Runner

Charles Knode fur-trimmed coat sketches for Blade Runner. Image: BladeZone.

Blue leather coat with standing fur collar, Alexander McQueen for Givenchy, Fall 1998 rtw

Blue leather coat with standing fur collar, Alexander McQueen for Givenchy, Fall 1998 prêt-à-porter collection. Images: eBay.

(Wool version available here.)

The weathered tones and textures of Mayan Revival—prominently seen in Deckard’s apartment, as played by Frank Lloyd Wright’s Ennis House—form a thread linking the first film, Meisel’s Givenchy campaign, and Villeneuve’s sequel. It was Kaplan’s vision of a dirty retrofuture, rather than glossy futurism, that won him the Blade Runner gig. It will be interesting to see what role revivals play in the new film.

Rachael (Sean Young) visits Deckard's apartment in Blade Runner (1982)

Rachael (Sean Young) in Blade Runner (1982) Image: Restless Things.

Meisel campaign images for Alexander McQueen's Blade Runner collection for Givenchy, FW 1998

Givenchy Fall 1998 ad campaign featuring Alexander McQueen’s Blade Runner collection. Photos: Steven Meisel. Models: Erin O’Connor and Jade Parfitt.

K (Ryan Gosling) in Denis Villeneuve's Blade Runner 2049

K (Ryan Gosling) in Blade Runner 2049 (2017) Image: Vogue Italia.

For more production images for the new film, see the Vogue Italia gallery.

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Horn/Griner, 1972 + Labour Day Sale

August 30, 2017 § 1 Comment

V8206 and V8204 Vogue Pattern Book, 1972

Vogue 8206 and 8204 in Vogue Pattern Book, 1972. Photo: Horn/Griner.

Horn/Griner photographed this military-inspired ensemble for an early ’70s issue of Vogue Pattern Book: the shirt, Vogue 8206, in camo voile and the pleated skirt, Vogue 8204, in khaki gabardine. The vest was available as a knitting pattern in the magazine. (Printed voile by Aquarius Fabrics; Rosewood Fabrics double woven polyester gabardine.) The scene captures the late-summer mood.

This Labour Day weekend, from Thursday, August 31st through Monday, September 4th, customers will receive 15% off everything in the PatternVault shop as part of Etsy’s first Labour Day sale. No coupon required—the new system will show the discounted price. And if you’re new to Etsy, you can use the new guest checkout.

Happy Labour Day, everyone. See you in September.

Photo: Horn/Griner, 1972

Trigère Designs for McCall’s, 1956

August 17, 2017 § Leave a comment

Pauline Trigère, with shears, and Anne St Marie in McCall's 3827 - McCall's advertisement, fall 1956

Pauline Trigère in an ad for McCall’s Printed Patterns, Vogue, October 1956. Model: Anne St. Marie.

Pauline Trigère, who settled in America after fleeing Nazism in Europe, appears in this 1956 advertisement for McCall’s Printed Patterns.

The model wears McCall’s 3827.

Betsey Johnson: Butterick Patterns

August 10, 2017 § Leave a comment

Betsey Johnson sketch for Paraphernalia, 1965. Image: CFDA / Pinterest.

Betsey Johnson turns 75 today. Four decades on, the designer’s 1970s Butterick patterns are still very popular. Here’s a look at Johnson’s early work, with an emphasis on more seldom seen archival images.

Betsey Johnson (b. 1942) has made a career of creating irreverent, youth-oriented clothes that stand a bit outside the mainstream. She learned sewing and pattern drafting while running a dance school as a teen, but got her official start in the business designing for Youthquake boutique Paraphernalia. By 1970 she was the designer for Alley Cat, a junior sportswear label. (For more see Vogue.com and Anne-Marie Schiro, “Betsey Johnson: Honor for a Life of Celebrating Youth.”)

Dale Fahey, Birgitta, and Renée Roberts in Betsey Johnson neon satins (Golo sandals) photographed by Howell Conant, 1966

Models wear Betsey Johnson neon satin dresses in Piper’s Alley, Chicago. Life magazine, November 11, 1966. Photo: Howell Conant. Image: LIFE archive.

Juggler stands in front of Steel Pier's mystery ride and wears fancy-sleeved mini (Betsey Johnson, $34). Life magazine, May 24, 1968

Juggling in a Betsey Johnson mini dress in front of Steel Pier’s mystery ride, Atlantic City. Life magazine, May 24, 1968. Photo: Richard Davis. Image: LIFE archive.

In 1971, Johnson won a Coty Award for her work at Alley Cat (see the New York Times notice). The following year, Butterick launched its Betsey Johnson patterns in the Spring 1972 catalogue. The designs were also cross-promoted (along with Cyrus Clark cotton chintz) with a Barbara Bordnick editorial in Seventeen magazine.

Sunny Redmond in Butterick 6530 Betsey Johnson dress

Butterick 6530 by Betsey Johnson of Alley Cat, Butterick Home Catalog, Spring 1972. Model: Sunny Redmond.

1970s Betsey Johnson Butterick editorial "The Betsey Girl," photographed by Barbara Bornick

Butterick 6533 by Betsey Johnson in “The Betsey Girl,” Seventeen, January 1972. Photo: Barbara Bordnick. Image: Gold Country Girls.

Butterick 6530 by Betsey Johnson in Seventeen, January 1972. Photo: Barbara Bordnick. Image: Gold Country Girls.

1970s Butterick 6535 by Betsey Johnson photographed by Barbara Bordnick for Seventeen

Butterick 6535 by Betsey Johnson in Seventeen, January 1972. Photo: Barbara Bordnick. Image: Gold Country Girls.

Butterick 6532 by Betsey Johnson in Seventeen, January 1972. Photo: Barbara Bordnick. Image: Gold Country Girls.

The earliest of Johnson’s Butterick Young Designer patterns refer to her as Betsey Johnson of Alley Cat, and most seem to predate the founding of her company in 1978. Here’s Butterick 6979 on the cover of the March 1973 issue of Butterick’s news leaflet:

1970s Betsey Johnson Butterick 6979

Butterick 6979 by Betsey Johnson of Alley Cat, Butterick Fashion News, March 1973. Image: eBay.

The young Patti Hansen in Alley Cat:

pink Alley Cat by Betsey Johnson acetate/cotton velvet dress with two Red Cobra necklaces, pink Lurex and stone bracelets by P.C. Designs

Patti Hansen in Alley Cat by Betsey Johnson, Glamour, December 1973. Photo: Rico Puhlmann. Image: Getty.

One of the first items I sold on Etsy was this 1975 issue of Butterick Fashion News with a Betsey Johnson cover. (Click to see inside.) The same embroidered pinafore was featured on the home catalogue cover:

The Romantic Pinafore: Butterick 4090 by Betsey Johnson of Alley Cat, Butterick Fashion News, March 1975. Image: PatternVault on Etsy.

Butterick 4090 by Betsey Johnson of Alley Cat, Butterick Home Catalog, Spring 1975

Butterick 4090 by Betsey Johnson of Alley Cat, Butterick Home Catalog, Spring 1975. Image: eBay.

The pinafore also appears in this cute advertisement with Butterick 4088:

Butterick 4090 and 4088 by Betsey Johnson, 1975

Butterick Betsey Johnson ad in Seventeen, February 1975. Image: Carmen and Ginger.

This Butterick ad shows three Betsey Johnson designs that came with transfers for DIY embellishment (dress Butterick 4679, knit tops Butterick 4676, and skirt/pants Butterick 4678):

Butterick 4676, 4678, 4679 by Betsey Johnson

Butterick ad for Betsey Johnson patterns in Seventeen, 1976. Image: Gold County Girls.

The Spring 1976 catalogue used illustrated photographs to present this DIY series, which also included a hat and shoes (1st page, Butterick 4680; 3rd page Butterick 4681, with Joyce Walker on the right):

Butterick 4680 by Betsey Johnson in the Butterick Home Catalog, Spring 1976

Butterick 4680 by Betsey Johnson, Butterick Home Catalog, Spring 1976.

1970s Betsey Johnson patterns in Butterick 4679, 4676, 4678; 4676, 4681

Betsey Johnson patterns in the Butterick Home Catalog, Spring 1976.

Another 1976 Butterick ad shows a Betsey Johnson jumper (Butterick 4956) with deep ribbon trim—perfect for a late-summer Cape Cod getaway:

Butterick ad for Betsey Johnson patterns in Seventeen, August 1976. Image: Pinterest.

Happy birthday, Betsey Johnson!

Cotton ad feat. Alley Cat by Betsey Johnson in Seventeen magazine, August 1973

Cotton ad featuring Alley Cat by Betsey Johnson in Seventeen, August 1973. Models: Sunny Redmond, Betsey Johnson. Image: FinnFemme.

With thanks to Heidi at Gold Country Girls.

Sixth Blogiversary + Poll

July 11, 2017 § 49 Comments

Butterick 3110 jumpsuit, Butterick catalogue, June 1980

Butterick 3110 jumpsuit, Butterick catalogue, June 1980.

The PatternVault blog turns six today. To celebrate, I’m doing something a little different—I’m hosting a giveaway linked to a poll:

Vogue 2366 by Bill Kaiserman. Vogue patterns catalogue, April 1980

Vogue 2366 by Bill Kaiserman. Vogue Patterns catalogue, April 1980.

To enter the giveaway: (1) Vote in the poll, and (2) Comment to let me know you voted. The winner, chosen at random, will win one $25 CAD gift certificate for the PatternVault Etsy shop.

Poll closes Monday, July 17th. Poll results and winner will be announced Tuesday, July 18th.

With thanks to Elizabeth C., who made sure the two 1980 retail catalogues pictured reached me all the way from Amherst, Massachusetts!

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.

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