I have a few vintage Vogue patterns – from the Vogue Couturier series and Vogue Paris Originals. Making up these patterns is a nice way to access really great dress, costume and coat designs from some of the most famous names of dress design – Yves St Laurent, Dior, Nina Ricci to name a few.
But some of the names of these patterns were not so well known, One of the designers I have been instinctively drawn to is Fabiani, but he is not a designer I had already heard of. Had you?
Alberto Fabiani, was born in 1910 in Tivoli. His parents ran their own fashion house and he went on to apprentice as a tailor in Paris. He took over the family business in 1936 re-naming it Fabiani and it soon became a very successful company. I find his designs particularly intriguing. His garments are sculptured – I love the folding and the crisp look he achieves with wool and other fabrics. There is a spareness to the designs. He is known for his conservative approach but in retrospect I find the designing rather fresh and slightly unusual. In 1955 the New York Times called him “the surgeon of suits and coats”. In 1961 the newspaper called his designs “a quiet marvel of architecture.” I find both these accolades very truthful. Before I knew of this man as a designer I had picked out some of his Vogue patterns as being very contemporary and relevant to me.Here are a few of his designs – the two colour pictures are from the V&A collection. The check cloak is even nicer with its strong contours, fluidity and beautiful wool. Here is a description from the Vogue pattern magazine.
“Italy’s master tailor, creates wonderfully flattering suits, distinguished coats and exquisite evening gowns…and can claim many fashion-firsts.”
In other words, Fabiani was a classic designer, but also innovative. This can be seen in some of the vintage Vogue patterns that are relatively available in the Vogue Couturier Design series.
I really like the side pockets on the white dress, revealed in a long line of silver trimming, that long horizontally striped dress and matching coat, and the bubble hem and deep neckline on that orange dress. These are all classic, neatly tailored outfits, with a little bit of twist. I didn’t buy these. Let me show you the three I have, all of them with the clean lines and high quality tailoring that I love. They are true classics in that they reflect the era (1960s or 1970s) but they also have a timeless quality. And I always go for dress with buttons on them. I want to make all of these dresses up so found it hard to come down to just one for my SWAP.
When I recently suggested some of these items might enter my Sewing with a Plan this year, Jay of Pattern Pandemonium wrote:
I like your designer patterns. I remember that era, getting a fabric with some heft was important to achieve the nicely rolled look of the yoke which is top stitched down. The ideas were simple but the execution exacting.
This has been my experience so far. Many of these dresses are best made with fabrics with some “heft”. The one of the left 1866 suggests “Flannel, Gardine, Linen, brocade and double knit”. The same list is given with 2065 with wool crepe added.
In the end I went for the In Vogue 1065 for my Sewing with a Plan. I hope to make the sleeveless, collarless dress in light mauve linen, with silver buttons. However I am bearing in mind the “heft” point. I may need to swap to one of the other designs and a heavier cloth if I am going to have some success with my Fabiani of Italy dress.