Just before we go into SWAP (which may turn out to be all about Gus) I thought I would make something nice for me. I found a pattern by Lanvin-Castillo, who is not a double barrelled designer, but the name of the head designer of Lanvin, who took on the designing after her death, who (most unusually) had his name linked to the house. I don’t know of other examples of this. In fact some of the designers we know very well today, due to them setting up their own houses, of course often worked (invisibly) for other designers before they went it alone, eg Lagerfeld (Chanel), McQueen (Givenchy), Yves St Laurent (Dior).
I had not heard of Castillo, but he was the head designer for Lanvin from 1950 to 1963. Here is a nice blog post about Lanvin. And here are some extraordinary 1950s images of his amazing technical skill and dramatic, tailored garments. I love the modern sack back dress with the important collar. But the pleats are also superb and very difficult to achieve. The pants with the sheer blouse, insect brooch and neat collar is just wonderful.
The reason I came across him is of course because some of his wonderful outfits were licenced to Vogue. Here are a few from the end of his reign, in the early 1960s. The jacket shape is quite distinctive – short and wide, with an important collar and a dropped shoulder.
I bought Vogue 1213. There is something about this model and her beau, leaning into each other, eating (somewhat inelegantly, especially the bloke) an ice-cream. She is wearing a hat, and the suit looks fairly autumnal, although it maybe in a pink, lemon or light blue boucle. I imagine an ice-cream colour. The buttons are nice and extra large in the photograph. The red outfit appeals too with its fancy gilt or sparkly buttons and what looks like a brocade blouse – perhaps more of an evening look. Anyway I fell for the pattern – the shortish sleeves, double breasted jacket and the neat 1960s skirt really appealed with its perfectly placed pockets.
The thing that is worrying me about this outfit is the shape of the jacket. While it is very fetching on Ice-cream girl, the back view (and a quick measurement of the pattern pieces) shows us what is going on. The shoulders are slightly extended, creating a dramatic curve up from the waist, front and back. Although it is hard to see this on the photograph. The back of the jacket stands away from the slim skirt, and the sleeves are quite wide and not tapered towards the wrist. I wouldn’t want to alter this pattern to make the sleeves and back narrower, nor to alter the shoulders as that would detract from the original design. But I am not sure it is going to be the most flattering shape for me – the jacket is cropped and loose fitting. I guess I will make it up – it will be a fun project. I am keen to try the dropped shoulder after seeing some interesting examples at the recent Burberry Makers House exhibition.