An Exploration into the World of Designer Sewing Patterns

Category: 1980’s

Karl Lagerfeld Pour Chloé.

Karl circa 1975, photograph by Helmut-Newton.

I’ve long been aware of Lagerfeld’s involvement as a designer with the Chloé label, and due to my pattern collecting I had become acquainted with those of his designs that were licensed to Vogue Patterns beginning in 1975. So I recently purchased the book ‘Chloé – Attitudes’ (released October 2013) in the hope of learning more about this period of the label’s history.

Click for a preview of Chloé - Attitudes at Amazon.com.

Click for a preview of Chloé – Attitudes at Amazon.com.

Usually I check out the latest books at two of my favourite book stores for art and fashion books in Sydney (Australia) when I go on a fabric-buying trip for myself to see if any books are worth buying. These trips don’t occur often as I live about four hours drive away from Sydney, but I have to travel that far as it is near impossible to find good fashion and art books and good fabric in rural Australia. I haven’t been to Sydney since early 2013 so I didn’t get a chance to check out ‘Chloé – Attitudes’ before making the purchase online (Occasionally I will buy a book from a bookstore but usually it’s much cheaper to buy online from overseas, and that’s including shipping! The prices of most imports in Australia are notoriously expensive compared to the rest of the world, and that’s with low or no tariffs in the name of free-trade!)

Anyhow, I took a chance and bought the book and was so excited when it arrived in the mail. I think my expectations were a little high as I was disappointed with, what seemed to be, a lack of content. On second and third viewings I came to value the book a little more, but I still feel that there could have been less empty white space and more pictures of the clothes and a little more detail in the text. Still, it would be impossible to cram sixty years of collections into one 273 page book.

The book vaguely captures the spirit of each period of the label’s history, beginning with the creation of the label by founder Gaby Aghion in the early 1950s (approximately 1952-1953) through to Karl Lagerfeld’s twenty year tenure from 1964 to 1984, and then following periods designed by several head designers up to 2013 (including Lagerfeld’s return from 1992 to 1997 which was practically glossed over and paid no attention).

Anyhow, back to Karl.

Lagerfeld came to Chloé with couture credentials after previously working with Pierre Balmain and at the house of Patou (see my previous post here) when he was hired as a designer for Chloé.  When he started, he was part of a team of freelance stylistes (as Prêt-à-Porter designers were often called in those days to distinguish them from Couturiers) who collaborated to design two collections a year. However, although the collections were designed by a team, Lagerfeld’s individual designs were recognised by the press as early as 1965 when the first credit of “Karl Lagerfeld pour Chloé” appeared in Vogue Paris. Eventually, Lagerfeld became the sole designer to work with Gaby Aghion in the studio after the last of the other remaining designers left in 1972. He remained so until he left in 1984 to work for the house of Chanel.

In my opinion, Lagerfeld’s designs for Chloé could at once be fun, chic, sophisticated and novel. I have most of the Chloé patterns from the Lagerfeld era in my collection.

Vogue Patterns released its first Chloé patterns in 1975, which were selected from the Spring/Summer 1975 collection – a time when Lagerfeld was making soft ‘unconstructed’ clothes that were made from beautiful fabrics (as was always the case with the Chloé label) but without the structure of interfacings and interior finishes (such as linings) that would typically be found in Haute Couture garments. One finishing technique utilized at that time was a zig-zag stitch used on the fold of hems and garment edges or, in the case of leather and suede, raw edges instead of traditional hems and finishing techniques (this practice of the zig-zag stitch was also to be found on Sonia Rykiel’s garments from the same period).

Many of the earlier Chloé Vogue patterns featured this zig-zag stitch finishing technique (known as the ‘Original Chloe Finish’ or the ‘Designer’s Finish’) and this technique, along with the lightness and softness of the clothes, was noted in ‘Chloé – Attitudes’:

‘On October 22, 1974, a shocked and thrilled Women’s Wear Daily splashed front-page news that the Chloé collection for spring 1975 had:

Rocked the fashion professionals…. Karl Lagerfeld’s 200 trendsetting models do for unconstructed shapes what Balenciaga once did for constructed clothes…. he ties his delicate crepe blouses and shirts together with a soft scarf belt. He knots material together, lets the woman create the shape for these scarf dresse. He does filmy dresses in multiple layers…. he leaves everything unhemmedfinished with a simple overstitch. His big accessory is a scarf, appearing as a choker, a belt, an ankle-wrap.

‘The press raved about the lightness of lagerfeld’s techniques. Hebe Dorsey, doyenne of the International Herald Tribune, used superlatives:

Lagerfeld’s biggest talent lies in his unconstructed approach to fashion which rests on a deep understanding of fabric. With a minimum of seams, it looks as if his clothes have been put together by sheer magic. As of last season, he developed a new way of finishing his hems, which are cut clean instead of doubled over. There is not the slightest trace of lining…. Some dresses are nothing but a couple of rectangles, the front one folded over the back one…. as a result, everything floats.

Below is the two-page spread introducing ‘Karl Lagerfeld for Chloé’ from the July/August (or Early Autumn) 1975 issue of Vogue Patterns magazine with designs taken from Chloé’s Spring/Summer 1975 collection and, further down, views of the front and back envelope for Vogue pattern 1263. 1263 and 1264 have been accessorized with one of the essential Chloé accessories of the season – the scarf choker.

Vogue Patterns, July/August 1975 a  Vogue Patterns, July/August 1975 b

1263  1263, Back Envelope.

Below is an editorial spread from Vogue Paris, February 1975, and a page from American Vogue, February 1975, both showing clothes from Chloé’s Spring/Summer 1975 collection:

Vogue Paris, February 1975.

Vogue Paris, February 1975.
(Image from: http://www.ciaovogue.com)

Vogue Paris, February 1975.

Vogue Paris, February 1975.
(Image from: http://www.ciaovogue.com)

American Vogue, February 1975.

As shown in ‘Chloé – Attitudes’, this image is from a story shot by Deborah Turbeville at Karl Lagefeld’s home for American Vogue, February 1975. It was captioned:
‘The essence of modern dressing – unstructured, weightless, totally feminine…
Karl Lagerfeld says, “The basic idea is the simplest of all – a blouse and skirt. One must look twice to discover les raffinements de luxe.” Worn here in Karl’s apartment by Marie-France Acquaviva, his “right hand”, and French actress Stephane Audran. Stephan Audran, left, in one of Karl’s ravishing two-piece crepe de chines – the palest boise de rose blouse, two-tone sash, pleated skirt. Marie-France Acquaviva in the thinnest of thin suedes – without hems, without double stitching “suede that becomes skin again.”‘

Below, several photograph’s from the runway of Chloé’s Spring/Summer 1975 fashion show:

Spring-Summer 1975 Fashion Show (a)

Spring-Summer 1975 Fashion Show (b)

Below is a two-page spread taken from the Beauty section of Vogue Paris, May 1975. This spread announces the recent release of the first Chloé fragrance. The model is wearing a dress and scarf (tied around the wrist) from the Spring/Summer collection. Perhaps it is not just coincidence that Chloé singed a licencing deal for a perfume with Elizabeth Arden in 1975 and began licencing its designs to Vogue patterns the very same year… In the book The Beautiful Fall, by Alicia Drake, it is written:

          In early 1975 Chloé and Karl Lagerfeld signed a lucrative perfume deal with Elizabeth Arden in the US to create the first Chloé fragrance. It was a crucial moment for Karl. For it is with this contract and the media profile and cash it generated that, for the first time in his career, Karl moved beyond being the hired hand at Chloé to receiving some of the profit share…

          Significantly, Aghion (Gaby) and Lenoir (Jacques, Aghion’s husband and business partner) chose not to give him shares in the actual company of Chloé, but instead formed a new company with Karl called Karl Lagerfeld Productions, dividing the share count three ways, with 50 shares for Karl, 25 for Gaby Aghion and 25 for Jacques Lenoir. ‘It was supposed to be a company for licences,’ says Gaby Aghion, ‘for the perfumes and for the Karl Lagerfeld line which was launched in Japan only, not in Europe.’ That meant Karl’s profit share was on everything except the Chloé ready-to-wear.

Perhaps that included the revenue from the Vogue Patterns licence? And perhaps the Vogue Patterns deal was a sign of the company reaching out for a multitude of licencing opportunities, as had become the trend for large fashion companies at that time.

Vogue Paris, May 1975.

The organic rounded lines of the Chloé perfume bottle mimic the softness of the clothes from the collection.

Below is Vogue Pattern 1602 (with Lisa Taylor modelling on the front envelope). I’m not sure of the date for this pattern, but it is probably around 1976. I have included this pattern in this post especially to demonstrate the zig-zag-stitch finishing technique (or the ‘Original Chloé Finish’ or the ‘Designer’s Finish’) that was being used for the Chloé collections of the time. You will the find two pages of the instructions from 1602 that show the method of construction utilizing the zig-zag finish. It is used on everything except the separate detached cowl (which I think is really neat-o! Along with the slits in the outer-dress to access the corresponding pockets of the under-dress!)

Just so you know… 1602 also comes with instructions (and pattern pieces of facings) to construct the garments with traditional facings and hems.

1602  1602, Back Envelope.

Instructions for 1602 - Page 3Instructions for 1602 - Page 2

FALL/WINTER 1975/76:

Below is Vogue pattern 1398, of which the design of the garments is similar to those of the Spring/Summer 1975 collection. I think this pattern was released some time in early 1976, along with Vogue pattern 1398 (also below). The envelope photos for both patterns seem to have been photographed in either the same photo shoot or around the same time as the model’s (Angeleen) hair style is the same for both and the blue hue of the clothes is similar.

1398  1398, Back Envelope.

1424  1424, Back Envelope.

Below is a photo by Helmut Newton which appeared in the December 1975 issue of Vogue Paris. I believe that the dress shown is the same design as Vogue pattern 1424 (above) except that the two separate overlapping wrap components of the dress below have been made from two contrasting colors. Therefore I believe that the dress design of 1424 and the designs from 1398 are from the Fall/Winter collection of 1975/76.

Vogue Paris, December 1975.

Also from ‘Chloé – Attitudes’, this photo was published in Vogue Paris, December 1975, and photographed by Helmut Newton. It was captioned:
“Long double crepe wraparound dress. One half of the dress is nude and the other half is black with identical décolleté at the front and back”.
This dress appears to be the same design as that of Vogue pattern 1424, only the two overlapping components of the dress are made from contrasting colors. This contrast two-tone effect could easily be replicated by the home sewer with pattern 1424 if desired.

Below is Vogue pattern 1423. I suspect it comes from the same collection (Fall/Winter 1975/76) as 1424. Consecutive pattern numbers (1423 & 1424) usually indicate that patterns were released at the same time. The zig-zag finish is also utilized with this design. The cape-like handkerchief sleeves are so dramatic and really make this design special.

1423  1423, Back Envelope.

SPRING/SUMMER 1977:

Below are editorial images in which a set of three Chloé patterns appeared in Vogue Patterns magazine for March/April 1977. All three patterns feature a wrapped waist, or ‘waist-maker’ in the form of wrap-around vests or an attachment that doubles as a shawl. Also, further down, are editorial images from the French and American issues of L’Officiel magazine showing variations of Chloé garments with the wrapped-waist, and emphasizing the  ‘waist-maker’ as an important look for the Spring/Summer 1977 season.

Vogue Patterns, March-April 1977 a

Vogue Patterns, March-April 1977 bVogue Patterns, March/April 1977 c

L'OFFICIEL USA Spring Collections Issue 1977, Volume II, No. 2 (a)L'OFFICIEL USA Spring Collections Issue 1977, Volume II, No. 2 (b)

L'OFFICIEL DE LA MODE no 629 de 1977 (a)L'OFFICIEL DE LA MODE no629 de 1977 (b)

L'OFFICIEL DE LA MODE no629 de 1977 (c)L'OFFICIEL DE LA MODE no629 de 1977 (d)

SPRING/SUMMER 1979:

Below are three of my most favorite Chloé patterns and I believe the designs to be from from the Spring/Summer 1979 collection. Vogue 2172 and 2173 can be found in the May/June 1979 issue of Vogue Patterns magazine and 2225 in the July/August 1979 issue. In the editorial pages further down, similarities to the photographs on the front envelopes of 2225 and 2172 can be seen in the form of garment shapes and details, such as the bustier (a very important look in Paris for the season, according to L’Officiel USA, February 1979) and contrast collars, and accessories such as ‘cartwheel’ or ‘saucer’ hats.

2225  2225, Back Envelope.

2172  2172, Back Envelope.

2173  2173, Back Envelope.

Vogue Paris, February 1979, Photogrpah by Guy Bourdin.

Vogue Paris, February 1979, Photogrpah by Guy Bourdin.

Vogue Paris, February 1979, Photogrpah by Guy Bourdin.

Vogue Paris, February 1979, Photogrpah by Guy Bourdin.

British Vogue, April 1979.

Gia Carangi models in these two images from a spread that appeared in British Vogue, April 1979. How exciting are the colors, textures and shapes of these clothes and accessories? I love those lacquered straw ‘cartwheel’ hats, they’re very glamorous!
(Images from: http://devorahmacdonald.blogspot.com.au)

FALL/WINTER 1979:

I found this pattern, Vogue 2323, really exciting when I first discovered its existence several years ago. The silhouette of the clothes combined with the model’s pose (Tara Shannon?) is so sharp, so dynamic. This pattern featured in the November/December 1979 issue of Vogue Patterns magazine so I believe it would be taken from Chloé’s Fall/Winter 1979/80 collection. Check out the Chloé ad campaign for the same season below (images from myvintagevogue.tumblr.com). The collar of the jacket in the first image correlates with the collar of the coat from pattern 2323, and the style of the pants is identical.

2323  2323, Back Envelope.

Chloe_1979_1

(All images for Fall/Winter 1979/80 ad campaign from myvintagevogue.tumblr.com)

Don’t you just love the hats and, especially, the satin spats?

Chloe_1979_2  Chloe_1979_4

Chloe_1979_3  Chloe_1979_5

FALL/WINTER 1981/82:

Here is the Chloé offering from Vogue Patterns for Fall of ’81. Culottes seem to have been a big trend in the early ’80s, there were many designer patterns made available featuring culottes. This pattern, Vogue 2855, from Chloé has an interesting buttoned-down band detail on each leg, continuing down on the left from the asymmetric front opening of the blouse, also with asymmetric collar. I agree with Vogue Patterns‘ statement below of the ‘Artful Handling’ of the sometimes difficult-to-wear culottes. I like this pattern very much. I like the design, I like the styling and the accessories in the photo, and I like Terri May! (the lovely model).

This pattern, curiously, has at sometime been mislabeled in its production as being designed by Claude Montana (visit Vintage Pattern Wikia to see) but can also be found printed with the Chloé’ label on the envelope. Both versions were numbered as 2855.

I know of one other instance where a pattern has been printed with one of two different designer labels. Visit BCN-Unique Designer Patterns to take a look.

Vogue Patterns, November/December 1981.

Vogue pattern 2855, as seen in Vogue Patterns magazine, November/December 1981.

Below is a page taken from the french edition of L’Officiel (L’OFFICIEL DE LA MODE no676 de 1981). Notice the culottes? The cape and sweater are also by Chloé. The cape can also be seen in the illustration, further below, by Antonio that appeared in a 1981 issue of American Vogue. Also illustrated is a skirt with the same buttoned-down detail as the culottes, and a different bodice design with a variation of the buttoned-down front.

L'OFFICIEL DE LA MODE no676 de 1981.

All garments by Chloé.

Vogue, 1981.

Antonio’s illustrations of Karl Lagerfeld’s designs for Chloé, US Vogue, 1981.

In 1984, Lagerfeld’s long tenure at Chloé ended, having been approached by Chanel to reinvigorate the old house (although he was to return to Chloé for a briefer period from 1992 to 1997). Lagerfeld’s last collection at Chloé was for the Spring/Summer season of 1984, so any Vogue patterns by Chloé released in late 1984 or early 1985 onward would likely have been designed by the many new and constantly-changing designers brought in after Lagerfeld departed.

Gaby Aghion, who worked with Lagerfeld for all of his twenty years said of him:

“It was a very, very big pleasure to work with him for so long…. Karl is a very talented man. And I think what he did during his time at Chloe made a big contribution to fashion history”.

The book ‘Chloé – Attitudes’ was released in October last year (2013) as a result of the 60 year anniversary of the house and the first retrospective exhibition of the label ever to be held, which took place at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris, in October of 2012.

One view point of the exhibition 'Chloé - Attitudes' at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris.

One view point of the exhibition ‘Chloé – Attitudes’ at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris.

To commemorate the anniversary, in early 2013 the house also reissued 16 key pieces from its extensive history to create the commemorative ‘Edition Anniversaire’ collection, which was available to buy at Paris retailer Printemps.

So, how about making your own ‘Edition Anniversaire’ piece from a vintage Vogue Chloé pattern? To see more Chloé patterns visit the Vintage Pattern Wikia.

Advertisements

Logos.

I’ve never been a big fan of logos on clothing, especially when they are blatantly plastered on an otherwise ordinary t-shirt or sweat top, however I am comfortable with a subtle embroidered monogram or insignia on a pocket or a button, or when logos are applied in an imaginative or an amusing way.

I’ve put together some patterns that utilize a logo or a monogram as a design feature and I had to ask myself  “would I apply the logo if I were to make the garment from the pattern? Would I be trying to convince the world that it was a genuine designer garment?”.

If anyone asked I’d probably be proud to say that I’d made the garment from a vintage designer pattern and that I’d hand embroidered it myself to the pattern’s specifications. I think there’s a certain charm in that, and I’ll admit, I have actually done it.

For Christmas of 2011, I made my first nephew a pair of jeans from Vogue 2721, the Calvin Klein for kids jeans and skirt pattern, for his first Christmas at six months old. I made the jeans to be worn once he was a bit older, but the smallest size available is a 3, so to save having to wait until he was nearing three years old before he could wear the jeans I graded the size 3 down to a size 2 by using an Australian Standards childrens’ clothing measurements table. I used a light-weight dark indigo denim which I pre-washed for any possible shrinkage and also to eliminate any excess indigo dye. I used heavy beige top-stitching thread, especially to best show the Calvin Klein signature stitching on the back pockets!

Everyone loved the jeans, how could they not? They were so cute! My nephew is almost two years old now, and the jeans have been worn a few times already and they look great. And I must admit that whenever someone was told that I’d made them, I couldn’t help mentioning that “I made them from a vintage Calvin Klein for kids pattern from the early ‘80s”. I didn’t take any photos of the jeans when I made them or while they were being worn, but I’ll try to get some pictures the next time I’m at my Sister’s house and update this post with the pics.

Below is the Calvin Klein for kids jeans and skirt pattern 2721, which was available in size 3, 4, 5, 6, and 6x. It was also available as 2708 for girls in sizes 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14. These two patterns were released in 1981 and featured in the May/June 1981 issue of Vogue Patterns magazine.

27212721 - Pocket

Shortly before 2721, Vogue pattern 2442, the pattern for jeans and skirt for women by Calvin Klein, was released in 1980 and featured in the March/April 1980 issue of Vogue Patterns magazine. The kids’ and womens’ patterns are practically the same styles but proportioned accordingly, and the kids’ jeans and skirt have an elasticized back waist.2442

2442 - Back Envelope

Vogue’s 2442 had it’s own unique sizing chart which must have matched the sizing of the original Calvin Klein Jeans line. The Calvin Klein size 8 body measurements were equivalent to those of the Vogue Patterns regular size 12, so I suppose if you fit into a size 8 pair of Calvin Klein jeans then you would go and buy the size 8 Vogue pattern. Still, I’d bet that this created some confusion back in the day.

2442 - Pocket

The pocket pattern piece and the pocket construction instructions for Vogue 2442.

Below is one of the most famous advertising images from the 1980 Calvin Klein Jeans ad campaign featuring Brooke Shields as model, but below it is one from the 1979 ad campaign with Patti Hansen modelling. As the 1979 ad came out the year before Vogue pattern 2442 did, then it is more likely that we are seeing the same style of jeans on Patti as we are on the Vogue 2442 envelope, and the color of the denim and the stitching seems to be identical, as opposed to the jeans that Brooke Shields modelled which seem to be a lighter colored denim and a more beige or tan stitching.

1980 Ad Campaign for Calvin Klein Jeans with Brooke Shields as model.1979 Ad Campaign for Calvin Klein Jeans with Patti Hansen as model.

Next is a Vogue pattern for men, 2798 by Pierre Cardin. This pattern for mens’ pyjamas and robe features the stylised Pierre Cardin ‘P’ logo on the chest pocket of the robe.

2798

Vogue 2798 was released in the first half of the 1970s, I can’t say exactly when as I must not have that issue of the Vogue Pattern Book. Anyhow, the 1970’s was a time of mass expansion for, and worldwide licensing agreements made, by many fashion houses of the period, and probably most infamously by Cardin. His name and logo eventually appeared on not only clothing and accessories but almost any kind of object you can think of. Cardin was a very inventive Couturier of his day, most remembered for his ‘space age’ designs from the 1960’s, but he also designed some extremely elegant and unique clothes, particularly in the first decade of his career.

2798 - Pocket

The pocket pattern piece and the pocket construction instructions for the Robe of Vogue 2798.

Now for the Valentinos…

Vogue released three patterns of Valentino designs in 1972 that feature an optional monogrammed ‘V’ on a breast pocket as a design feature. 2743 and 2746 featured in the Early Autumn 1972 issue (U.K.). and 2779 featured in the Autumn 1972 issue (U.K.).

27432759    2746

The letter ‘V’ has been used as a graphic element in variations of Valentino’s logo over the decades, and also appeared in the form of hardware on belts, bags, and accessories, as a trim on clothing, and even subtly in the form of design lines in his clothing. A ‘v’ shaped waist seam was a common feature on many of Valentino’s designs from at least the 1960s to the 1980s.

2743, 2746, and 2759 pockets.

The pocket pattern pieces for Vogue 2743, 2746 and 2759, and the pocket construction instructions for Vogue 2743. The embroidery method is a satin-stitch and it is the same for all three patterns. Notice how the style of the ‘V’ varies between the three?

Valentino Garavani and his designs as published in HARPER'S BAZAAR, MARCH 1972.

This editorial photo of Valentino Garavani and two models wearing his designs was shot in the Valentino salon and was published in the March 1972 issue of Harper’s Bazaar magazine. The models are wearing short sleeved tops over blouses similar to those from patterns 2743, 2746 and 2779, only in more vibrant colors and without the monogrammed pockets.

 Last, but not least, YSL!

1836Close-up of the embroidered 'YSL' motif.

Vogue 1836 by Yves Saint Laurent is a little different to the previous patterns as the embroidery motif is printed as an iron-on transfer. The heat-transfer ink was printed onto regular pattern tissue and a total of four transfers, including one test transfer, were included. When I first became aware of this pattern on the internet I assumed that a ready-made embroidered iron-on/fusible motif was included with the pattern, but since purchasing the pattern I have evidently discovered that was not the case. If I’d paid close attention to the list of required notions on the back envelope I would have realized that the logo had to be hand embroidered from a skein of embroidery floss. Below is a scan of the iron-on transfers.

'YSL' Iron-On Embroidery Transfer1836 - Back Envelope

Below: The instructions for 1836 include much more detailed and explicit directions for the application of the embroidery than the Valentino patterns do, which is very useful to someone like me who has never embroidered before. The recommended application method of the monogram is chain-stitch embroidery.

1836 Instructions - Sleeve Embroidery.

It is odd that the placement of the YSL motif is not determined on the pattern tissue, as I did check the tissue of the sleeve pattern and there are no placement lines oe marks, and that it is up to the sewer to decide on the placement. I would find this very irritating if I were to make the jacket.

1836 Transfer Instructions.   1836 Embroidery Instructions.

Yves Saint Laurent, Haute Couture Fall/Winter 1984-85

Here is another example of the house of Yves Saint Laurent using its logo as a design feature, in this case it’s for an evening ensemble from the Fall/Winter 1984 Haute Couture collection, and the ‘YSL’ motif is embroidered with rhinestones and executed by Lanel.

Vogue 1836 was featured in the January/February 1987 issue of Vogue Patterns magazine, so it must have been designed by Yves Saint Laurent for 1986, about the same time that Karl Lagerfeld was emblazoning the number ‘5’ and double ‘C’s’ on anything and everything over at Chanel, making big designer logos fashionable. So we shouldn’t be surprised that this may have been happening at other fashion houses and that the trend even made its way into a Vogue designer sewing pattern. Here’s to hoping that anyone who made the jacket of 1836, and applied the transfer and embroidered the YSL motif, made it from a fabric and a level of skill worthy of bearing the YSL logo!

Robe de Mariée de Christian Dior: Autumn/ Winter 1979-80

 2545

I’ve always thought of this Christian Dior pattern as extremely elegant, and I just love the shape of that skirt! This design was taken from the Christian Dior Haute Couture collection for Autumn/Winter 1979-80, designed by Marc Bohan, and that pegged balloon skirt was a major theme in the collection and was used for evening gowns and cocktail dresses as well as for the traditional climax of an Haute Couture show, the bridal ensemble, translated into pattern form as Vogue 2545.

2545 Back View

I can’t seem to find 2545 in any of my Vogue Patterns magazines from 1979 and 1980, so I can’t identify the exact time of release, but I’m guessing it must have been sometime in 1980. 2545 must have been a  popular pattern as it was still available for purchase in the April 1988 store catalogue, if not later than that. I can see why it would have been popular, it is so beautiful, so classic, and a refreshing alternative to the usual A-line or column silhouette of bridal gowns. It has always reminded me of the gown worn by Grace Kelly when she married Prince Rainier III of Monaco in 1956, hers was designed by Helen Rose, a costume designer from MGM studios. It shares a similar silhouette with the Dior of 1979, both have a slightly similar bell-shaped skirt with deep tucks at the waistline, both have a fitted bodice with long sleeves and a high neckline, and both have a cummerbund to finish the waist.

Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier III of Monaco on their wedding day, 1956.

Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier III of Monaco on their wedding day, 1956.

Below are some images of gowns from the same collection that feature the bell-shaped skirt.

Advertisement: Dior, TARONI.

An advertisement for evening gowns from the Dior collection. Taroni was the supplier of the fabric. Notice how the two gowns on the left feature the same pleated-bow trim as 2545? The bow motif is also repeated as an accessory to be worn in the hair.

Three views of an evening gown by Dior.

Three views of the same evening gown featured in the print advertisement above. It is from the collection of the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Two looks from the Christian Dior AW 1979-80 Haute Couture collection.

Two more looks from the collection. The evening gown on the right is also featured in the print advertisement above.

There is a video on youtube with brief clips of this Haute Couture collection by Dior and also of an Yves Saint Laurent collection from the same season, however I’m quite sure that the Saint Laurent collection is the Rive Gauche (prêt a porter) collection. The picture and sound quality isn’t great but the bridal gown of 2545 is easily recognisable, and also the gowns that precede it with the same shape of skirt can be seen. There’s a gorgeous lilac number in there, too. It’s interesting that both Dior and YSL show very similar trends for daywear in the form of plaid and tartan. I also love seeing the models doing their own make-up surrounded by the buzz of anticipation before the show!

Youtube clip of the Dior Autumn/Winter 1979-80 Haute Couture Collection.

Youtube clip of the Dior Autumn/Winter 1979-80 Haute Couture Collection. Terri May is modelling the bridal ensmble.(As in my Way Bandy post from last year, I apologize that I cannot embed videos into my blog posts, but click on the screen capture for a link to the youtube clip).

I’d be thrilled if someone asked me to make this dress for them for their special day. I would most likely soften the shoulder line by reducing the size of the shoulder pads, or for a wedding held during warmer weather I’d change the bodice to a strapless or sleeveles version  with a more open neckline. But really, the bodice could be adapted in almost any way as long as it was still close fitting, and the dress would still be amazing because it’s all about that fabulous skirt! I have a few copies of 2547 in my pattern collection, just waiting to be used some day…

Copies of 2547 can currently be found on eBay and etsy, including the etsy store ‘patternvault’.

UPDATE: June 14, 2013:

I recently acquired some Vogue Patterns magazines from 1981 and in the March/April issue I found Vogue 2457 included in a two-page bridal feature, along with an Emanuel Ungaro design. I’m not sure if this is the first intance of 2457 showing up in Vogue Patterns magazine, the only other issue could be the Septemner/October 1980 issue, which I don’t yet have in my library.

Here is the two-page spread (remember to right click and open in a new tab to see the larger version):

Brides In Vogue, Vogue Patterns, Page 72, March-April 1981.    Brides In Vogue, Vogue Patterns, Page 73, March-April 1981.

Vogue Patterns Fashion Society – Fashion Pack 2, Fall/Winter 1980.

Here is your second fashion pack for 1980, featuring the ‘FRONT PAGE’ pattern booklet with the latest pattern styles, and a supplementary pattern catalogue (exclusive to Vogue Patterns Fashion Society members), a Fabric Swatch Folio with the latest fabric trends, and many special offers for Fall/Winter 1980. Below is another welcome letter from Edith Head.

Below: The ‘FRONT PAGE’ booklet featuring the latest Vogue patterns. I think the newspaper style/format lacks the sophistication of the Spring 1980 Designer Preview portfolio (in the previous post), anyhow here it is:

                   

                   

Below: Another Vogue Patterns fashion show, this time for Fall/Winter 1980/81.

Below: A special offer was available for members on all patterns in a supplementary catalogue of older and recent patterns. The pages of the catalogue are of the same size and paper quality as the store counter catalogue (I photographed the front and back covers and the designer pattern pages only).

  

  

  

 

Below: A ‘Fabric Folio’ of real fabric swatches. It all looks very Ralph Lauren, Town & Country, on the hunt, etc….

                   

         

Below: An intriguing offer…

Below: For completing and submitting this very detailed survey, a member would be entitled to one free pattern of their choice, not a bad deal!

                   

Below: A brief, yet interesting, history of the Vogue Patterns company, particularly the part about the English printing plant being fire-bombed in WWII.

And that’s all, folks. Sadly I don’t have any more material on this topic. I wonder when the ‘Vogue Patterns Fashion Society’ ceased?

Vogue Patterns Fashion Society – Fashion Pack 1, Spring/Summer 1980.

The famed costume designer-turned-pattern designer, Edith Head, welcomes you to the VOGUE PATTERNS FASHION SOCIETY!

Here is your first fashion pack for 1980, packed with fashion forecasts, trend reports from Paris, and designer pattern previews for Spring/Summer 1980.

Enjoy!

                   

                   

Below: Report on the Spring/Summer 1980 Paris Prêt-à-Porter Collections (7 Pages).

                   

                   

Below: Report on European Street Trends for Spring/Summer 1980 (3 Pages).

         

Below: You could go to your nearest participating store to view Vogue’s latest pattern styles on parade and if you were lucky you might have met Edith head in person, and get your favourite ‘Edith Head’ Vogue pattern personally signed! Do any of these fabric shops still exist? Do tell…

Stay tuned, your Fall/Winter 1980 Fashion Pack will be arriving soon!