Tag Archives: House of Lanvin 1920s twenties

Paris Ideas, Butterick Pattern, 1926

Soulie’s sketches of Paris designer fashions, Delineator, January 1926.

Two designers showing strongly banded dresses were featured in Delineator‘s January report from Paris. And a strongly banded Butterick pattern appeared in the same issue.

Butterick dress pattern 6543 (right) shows Paris influence.

The designer dress by Lanvin has a “silver girdle” molding the hips and its “divided front tunic” is trimmed with silver, perhaps silver stitching. (Custom embroidery is still a mark of couture.)

A closer look at the Lanvin design, which features silver bands on a black dress. Winter, 1925-1926.

Striking, contrasting bands down the center front give impact to this Butterick pattern (right) from January 1926:

Butterick 6543, right, offers a charming solution to “authentic Twenties style” for women who don’t want to exaggerate the width of their hips.

“Crepe satin used with its reverse side” would give a very subtle effect; here, chiffon velvet seems to be suggested, although applying those straight bands to velvet would not be easy sewing. Heavy crepe de Chine would be an easier-to-handle choice.

Right, a good example of the subtle effect of reversible crepe satin; this 1927 dress uses the matte and shiny sides of the same fabric.

The flared sleeves of Butterick 6543 are very like the Lanvin couture design, although the bands ate placed differently.

Here is the alternate view of patterns 6561 and 6543:

Alternate views of Butterick patterns 6561 and 6543.

Note the short-sleeved summer version of 6543; the suggested border print fabric would make a dress that looked very different from its dark winter version.

Happy New Year, 1926!

This banded evening dress by Jenny was also illustrated in January 1926 — It’s not for the timid:

A banded evening design by Jenny, a very successful couturier in the 1920’s. For more about those deep armholes, click here.

In “orchid pink crepe satin embroidered with pink pearls and blue flowers worked at hip and shoulder,” it would be modified to suit the woman who ordered it. It was probably available in other color choices — and with a sheer “modesty” insert in the deep V neckline, if required.

Click here for another daring neckline by Jenny. UK vintage clothing dealer and blogger Blue 17 wrote a good, illustrated Jenny tribute: Click here to read it.

For a much less elaborate Butterick dress from 1926 — which used a slimming contrast tie to good effect, see 6553, at right:

Butterick 6559 and 6553, Delineator, January 1926. Cape optional.

The long ties are important to the effect of these dresses, distracting from the horizontal line at the hips, adding the illusion of width to the shoulders and drawing our eyes up, closer to the face.

Butterick 6559 (left) makes good use of a border print.

Wishing you a very happy 2019!


Filed under 1920s, evening and afternoon clothes, Tricks of the Costumer's Trade, Vintage Couture Designs, Vintage Styles in Larger Sizes

Lanvin Couture in Two Versions for Two Clients, 1924-25.

Two dresses, House of Lanvin, Paris, 1924-1925. From the Collection of the Metropolitan Museum, NY.

Two dresses, House of Lanvin, Paris, 1924-1925. From the Collection of the Metropolitan Museum, NY.

I’m sorry that these two dresses are not on exhibit now; they really opened my eyes when I saw them several years ago, side by side like this, and I would love to know more.

They surprised me because, although I knew that couturiers make adjustments for private clients, this seems to be an illuminating example of how much a designer is willing to tinker with a design to suit individual customers. It’s possible that one of these gowns with the Lanvin label was altered at a later date [the Met doesn’t say], but the difference in the sleeves, for example, seems to be original to me. The Met hasn’t supplied much information, but click here to see the image at a larger size, and here to see the label.

Sleeve detail. Original photo courtesy of Metropolitan Museum.

Sleeve detail. Original photo [lightened to show detail] courtesy of Metropolitan Museum.

For a long time, most of the women who could afford couture were “women of a certain age,” so it’s not surprising that, for example, a dress shown on the runway with a completely see-through bodice — or open to the waist — may have a layer of concealing, flesh colored lining added for private clients.

What I love about these two dresses is the way that one has been modified for a smaller, and possibly younger, client.

Two bodices, Lanvin 1924-25. Metropolitan Museum.

Two bodices, Lanvin 1924-25. Courtesy of Metropolitan Museum.

The sheer fabric in the neckline (cut lower and gathered, on the left dress), the length of the bodice, and the shape and decoration of the sleeves, are all adjusted to flatter two different clients. Because the dress on the left is for a shorter woman, the appliqued trim has been carefully rescaled to fit. (Imagine the dress on the right, cut at same the waist length as the left one. The waist seam would be almost touching the trim. Because they aren’t perfectly side by side, it’s hard to be sure, but the dress on the right curves in at the natural waist and then curves out toward the hip.) The dress on the left seems to be made for a more girlish body.

Skirt differences, two Lanvin dresses from 1924-25. Collection of Metropolitan Museum.

Skirt differences, two Lanvin dresses from 1924-25. Collection of Metropolitan Museum.

Look at the trim on the skirts. This is not a case of simply shortening the black part around the hem. The scale has been adjusted; where the bodice is shorter, the light colored part of the skirt is longer, to compensate, and the whole dress remains beautifully proportioned.

Two dresses from Lanvin, 1924-25; Metropolitan Museum Costume Collection.

Two dresses from Lanvin, 1924-25; Metropolitan Museum Costume Collection.

Lanvin’s “robes de style” — with these dropped, but semi-fitted waists and full skirts, unlike most 1920’s couture — were often aimed at a younger client or a debutante.

Lillian Gish in a Robe de Style, Delineator magazine, Spring of 1925.

Lillian Gish in a Robe de Style [designer not named]Delineator magazine, Spring of 1925. Photographed by Kenneth Alexander.

“The immemorial symbol of growing up is to put up your hair. So the debutante is letting her hair grow to her shoulders, waving it softly and dressing it in a tiny roll at the nape of the neck.”

Click to see an earlier example of a “Robe de Style” by Lanvin, 1922.  Although this fashion could be worn by women who were long past their debuts, Butterick aimed its full-skirted 1920’s patterns at young women and teens.

“For the young girl Paris suggests . . . .” Fashion report, Butterick’s Delineator magazine, Feb. 1924.

This dress (below), which has floral trim and a contrast hem like the Lanvin gowns, comes from a Paris design house called “orange.”

Center: a gown suitable for the

Center: a Paris gown suitable for the “fille d’honneur” at a wedding, designed by “orange.” Delineator, Feb. 1925.

“A frock that would be altogether charming for the “fille d’honnneur” of a wedding-procession begins and ends with a yoke and band of green chiffon. The frock itself is of white mousseline de soie garlanded with pink and green embroidered roses and leaves. From orange.”

Butterick offered these patterns — probably influenced by Lanvin — for Misses aged 15 to 20 in January, 1925.

Party dresses for Misses (age 15 to 20), Butterick patterns Nos. 5755, 5714, 5743. Delineator, Jan. 1925.

Party dresses for Misses (age 15 to 20), Butterick patterns Nos. 5755, 5714, 5743. Delineator, Jan. 1925.

However, this “robe de style” — designed by Jeanne Lanvin — for 1926 is definitely sophisticated:

Robe de Style, Lanvin, 1926. Collection of the Metropolitan Museum/

Robe de Style, Jeanne Lanvin, 1926. Collection of the Metropolitan Museum.

I wonder if some clients asked for the “nude” triangle filling in the very low bodice to be higher — or lower, or not there at all.


Filed under 1920s, Vintage Couture Designs, Vintage Garments: The Real Thing, Vintage patterns