Who was Biki anyway? Actually Elvira Leonardi Bouyeure was a grand-daughter of Puccini. Fancy that! She was born in 1906 and died aged 92 in 1999. She was famous for designing for Maria Callas and apparently numbered the items so that Callas could put an elegant outfit together. How appropriate for a SWAP.
This is a nice blog post about her if you are interested.
A number of her outfits were available in the 1960s from Spadea. Here are a few images. I was interested that so many of them are very fitted across the diaphragm, with interesting bust darts. The black and white drawings do have a certain amount of charm, but hand drawn, colourless sketches were created to appeal to more experienced dressmakers who wanted to make up the Designer outfits when the more mainstream pattern companies eschewed named designers.
My pattern is from Spadea – and I haven’t seen it written up anywhere. I was attracted to it as I love skirts that are just a bit different and this one has two for the price of one. Interesting skirt patterns are fairly rare I find.
Anyway enough of the pictures. When I bought the pattern the envelope art implied it would look good in a tweedy wool, perhaps with a navy or black leather waist band. As my SWAP this year is a summer collection I decided to would use a fairly solid cotton instead. I made up the pencil skirt in a nice, light blue gabardine, using the left over silver octopus fabric to make a waistband. This was a bit of a risky decision as the silver is a jersey, pretty unstable and not the easiest material to work with. The deep box pleats in the front of the skirt tuck into bound button holes in the waist band. It fastens at the back, with a buckle. I had to buy a vintage buckle on the internet as they are virtually impossible to find in shops.
I left the skirt long – at its original length – although I generally prefer a shorter look. It has a box pleat at the back too and I thought it needed the length to make the most of this.
Technical SWAP notes (not for the general reader)
And just to recap on my plans as I have had a more careful read of the SWAP rules. I have kept the same items but changed the categories a little. This is because the combo is supposed to complement and extend both pack 1 and 2, so I have put my patterned items here. I am hoping they will work together too, although two patterns can be a bit overwhelming. Also I am keeping my options open on the pink dress. As for the pant suit I have to buy fabric so it might be pink, purple, mauve or green. I am waiting for samples at the moment. The original plans are here.
Pack 1 – Purple. The Cardin suit and matching purple blouse
Pack 2 – Blue and light mauve. This Spadea skirt, a purpley blue blouse and the Fabiani mauve dress
Combo; Patterned fabrics. A Cardin blouse in hand painted silk, and the other Spadea skirt (Style II) in the iris printed silk chiffon
Wildcards; the Pucci pant suit plus a pink YSL dress (the waxy one if I don’t have much time, or the Mondrian shift with sequins if I can find the time.