Considering a 1960s evening pant suit

I have been thinking for ages about creating an 1960s evening pant suit. Ever since I saw the Italian Fashion exhibition at the V&A last summer. I want to look like Irene Galitzline. Who wouldn’t? I think this would be a nice addition to my SWAP plans as they are separates but also allow an amazing fancy evening look, but also comfort. The beading and bling is attractive as well as an opportunity to wear luxurious fabrics. And great shoes!

1960s evening pants suit
1960s evening pants suit

The pink outfit below was on show at The Glamour of Italian Fashion and I was able to have a really good look at it. I could see lots of hand stitching, not just to attatch the beading at the neck but on the hems. I also managed to find a photograph of Irene wearing the outfit. And a similar design of hers that is also very fetching, and I imagine, comfortable.

The beauty of these garments is that they are simple shapes – narrow legged ankle length pants and a tunic, taking their inspiration from Indian and Chinese traditional outfits.

So for my SWAP I managed to procure a pattern on eBay from the 1970s. This is a good pattern, from the great Emilio Pucci, but from the 1970s rather than the 1960s. And while I am warming to flares I thought with a little judicious alteration I could create a 1960s silhouette from the slightly later pattern. I like the sleeves (but maybe I will stick to Irene’s sleeveless look – it’s easier with soup), the position of the trimming and the overall look, I just want to narrow the trouser legs. And in terms of palette I have some nice heavy weight pink silk that I could use – but this fabric would also be perfect for the second version of my YSL dress. Maybe I will get could do mauve, deeper pink, green or a hand painted pattern – with silver trimming. If I had time I could do some beading at the neckline and ankles rather than using a bought trim. I did however come across some nice old beading on the market at Clitheroe. I bought this slightly battered piece for £4. This would require a different colour of silk for the pant suit. Maybe green or turquoise. Also I have some grey and white fabric that might work, probably as a toile. Also I am thinking with the trousers it is best to have a little bit of elastane in the mix if I taper the trousers.

What do you think?

Emilio Pucci Vogue 2333
Vogue 2333

24 Responses

  1. Love your beaded piece! I would stick with the sleeveless idea and definitely use fabric with some give, if for nothing more than comfort.

  2. Lovely idea, echo finding something with a little stretch for ease of movement.

  3. Stephanie

    Gorgeous. I love the old beading. This is funny as recently I had been thinking about emerald green for my evening jumpsuit instead of navy blue, although with sleeves! No beaded trim on mine however as I am still trying to figure out if I can work an embroidered cummerbund into the design. Can’t wait to see this made up! I think either turquoise or green would be stunning and I would also probably go with sleeveless or even a short sleeve.

    • Oh gosh Stephanie what a great idea. Dark green is just a little bit different and an embroidered cummberbund is a wonderful idea. I also like the idea of a short sleeve on my pant suit. Thanks as ever for riffing with me.

  4. The Beading is a great find. I second sleeveless, and prefer narrower trousers with a beaded trim, if only for the practicality of not having ankles bashed by flapping beaded borders.

  5. Very nice, and the lucky beading purchase will look great on this design.
    I like that you consider the ‘soup’ implications in your design choices!

  6. Lovely trim! If you confine the trim to the top, and not the pants, you will have more versatility (but maybe that’s not your goal)/

    • Good point. I will definately trim the pants, but if I use the bought trimming it can easily be taken off if I find it impractical.

  7. I love these styles from the late 60s. Looking at the pictures you have included in this post, I can’t help thinking that the fashion scene has not produced anything really new since the 80s.

    • This is a really interesting point. I feel a bit the same but I think it may be my perspective. Digital printing is new and very exciting, and I think “scuba” type fabrics might be good for some of the 1960s styles. I may do a blog post on this as it would be interesting to hear other views.

  8. I wore those pant suits the first time around! (and loved them) The beading is lovely. Go for whatever you feel is YOU.

  9. I vote for sleeveless – and the pattern should work with some serious alterations to it. But knowing Pucci, I am sure the construction is impeccable, so the chance for success is just about guaranteed! What a great idea this is – it will be beautiful!

    • I think sleeveless too Karen. I know you know Pucci so this is a good recommendation. I have had a good look at the pattern and it is surprisingly simple. The trousers have only one piece (back and front leg are joined) and facings (which are unfortunately missing). The tunic is basically a torso block with a little flare. So it will be an interesting project. I am now searching for the right fabric.

  10. Sleeveless sounds good.

  11. Not going for this iconic 60s look then? https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/96/94/88/969488dcde3bbb15c546a40f53e25eba.jpg

  12. Sleeveless yes, but I wondered if the beading might be lost against the printed damask.

  13. Another great plan. Would you say you sew more for the actual pleasure of making/learning new skills or to be able to wear some stunning clothes. Some of your recent pics have been glorious – I want to know where/when you are likely to wear such a creation – do you lead a double life as Pussy Galore?

    • Well that is such a good question J – maybe worth an entire blog post. I wouldn’t really get a kick out of making a one hour jersey dress or T shirt to be honest. But basically I make clothes I like to wear. I make suits for work but often wear them separately and mixed up. I go to a few parties and evening work events where I can dress up. Also I think dresses clothes can be dressed down with thick tights and brogues or flashy jackets with jeans. What about you – you always look very smart – especially with regards to great accessories…

  14. I actually like the sleeves, but not that bell shape. (I was given a very pretty sweater that has the bell sleeves and I’m so tempted to just pleat them into rubber bands!) So, if you narrow the sleeves and the pant legs, you’ve undone the whole 60’s effect? Curses. Sleeveless then….and it will be gorgeous with that trim! 🙂

    • I know exactly what you mean, Jen, about flappy sleeves – pleating into rubber bands!I think it will capture the 1960s look so long as the trousers are narrower.

  15. I love this outfit plan! The beading is a wonderful find. A silk with some luster (perhaps a nice, slubby dupioni?) would certainly help play up the 1960s vibe, and I cannot wait to see what you end up deciding to use. And put me down as another vote for sleeveless! =)

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