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.
Wonderful, Kate. I am absolutely in love with the first dress. The suit is special, too.
Yes I see what you mean with the shoulders . The Burberry ones seem MUCH more exaggerated though . I think it will look really nice . I think you can have faith in mr Castillo .?
That suit is beautiful and I think would suit your figure beautifully, just as it is. I love those 3 black and white photos, especially the photographic styling, which was dachieved without the aid of computers.
You wouldn’t want to make the gravy for the roast dinner with those sleeves.
Those Castillo Lanvin designs are beautiful, and epitomise the sewing dilemma – the stuff one would most like to make cannot be worn, at least by mere mortals. The drop shoulder on your sixties pattern is an integral part of the design, perhaps you can do a toile or trial run in an inexpensive fabric to see if indeed it isn’t your look. I think you might have a nice surprise.
I do love the shape of the jacket you’re going to make, especially the hem. It’s really unusual.
Jenny (the lilac cat)
I’m obviously watching way too much American presidential race TV as the ice cream man on the pattern you are going to make up immediately reminded me of Bill Clinton!! Look forward to seeing this jacket come together.
The shoulder detail has a great casual look….. I have been admiring that pattern for a while, I love the simple blouse…..
Between the jacket and the blouse that is a lot of fabric swirling around. The jacket and a closer fitting top might look more modern, especially if the jacket is a nice soft lofty wool?
Looking forward to your outcome! I wonder how many ice cream cones melted away during the photo session?
Yes, that is what I am thinking. I have it basted now and it is roomy, but as you say Ceci – a closer fitted top underneath may work.
I love the way the guy is ogling the lady’s ice cream in the right hand picture! He’s clearly eaten all his own and wondering if he can nick hers while she’s posing.
Whilst researching for a Victorian costume a while ago I read somewhere (I think on Threads) about dropped shoulders and how the bottom of the armscye has to be raised otherwise you would not be able to move your arms. This and the wide sleeves which echo the stand out back of the jacket all contribute to the boxy shape which gives it its style. So altering any one of these details would detract from it. The hem detail is very neat. I too thought I wouldn’t suit this shape but I had one for my son’s wedding a few years ago and it was fab over a fitted dress with kitten-heeled shoes.
Three quarter length gloves are of course de rigueur with this outfit. And the hat if you dare.
Thanks Jenny – I think all your observations are right. Although it is a departure for me I am often suprised that with the right partners (not a hat or gloves this time!) these items can work with a modern wardrobe. I am keen on the skirt too.
Fabulous post. I pinned a few of those lovely vintage photos to my Pinterest board, especially love the ice cream cone poses. I love your vintage pattern. Dropped shoulders have always fascinated me, although I can’t tell you why:). My pattern stash is full of them! Can’t wait to see how this jacket turns out.
Hang on while I pick my jaw off the floor…THOSE CUFFS! OMG what a beautiful shirt. Utterly impractical, utterly delicious. Thanks for another designer to read up on!
Absolutely wonderful Elaine – what drama, especially with the tight trousers.
Does Bill Clinton eat ice cream on a stick??? I wonder……….
Some beautifully sculptural garments. Possibly a little impractical but who cares. The suit is rather lovely, it would be good to see it made up and worn.
I am very much looking forward to seeing your version of this divine and interesting pattern. I don’t need another vintage pattern, but your posts always make me want these designers!
Balenciaga first designed a jacket like this one and Burda has taken it up recently. I think it will suit you well. And I would definitely opt for the long gloves if such a style suited my but helas! But you can, lucky you! I am looking forward to see the garment.