Bill Blass, noted American designer (1922 – 2002), knew of what he spoke when he expressed this savvy advice. Red, in all its various hues, is a color which commands attention, and therefore, it is no wonder that fashion sketches and dress patterns often feature red. Red also figures distinctly in three months whose “colors” always include red: December’s red and green; July’s red, white and blue; and, of course, February’s red, red, and red.
To celebrate February’s red, I have scoured my Vogue Pattern Book Magazines and my collection of vintage patterns to showcase some beautiful fabric and dress/suit/loungewear designs. No doubt (pardon the pun), Mr. Blass would approve.
The February/March 1957 issue of Vogue Pattern Book magazine shows two pages of “Red – deep and rosy”. While the red coat and two red dresses are obvious “fits” for the section, the mustard yellow suit (raw silk, according to the caption, which would be so elegant!) is completed with a red and green printed silk turban and red pumps. (Hint for viewing: click on the photos to see them larger and clearer.)
That same year, the June/July issue showed this lovely choice in cherry-red pique for “sight-seeing.” No blue jeans and tee shirts for this excursion.
In 1958 (or in 2012), a chic home sewer could make this suit in a red tweed with self or braid binding.
Here is a suit from 1960 with a matching, reversible cape. The cape has arm openings in the side seams and is collarless so that it fits perfectly under the collar on the suit jacket.
Red print fabrics have spun their own charm over the years. Here are four, which seem to epitomize another statement from Bill Blass: “…fabric is an inspiration and a tool.” (See International Vogue Pattern Book October/November 1971, page 27.) I could definitely be inspired by these prints:
And here are classic polka dots, white on red, in a 1957 blouse design.
Vogue Pattern Book’s editors often featured styles for college girls and little girls. Velvet, gingham and candy-striped denim (yes, that’s correct, denim!), all in red, were featured for little girls in the issue for August/September 1960:
These “coeds”, according to the editors of the August/September issue of 1958, were taking a 5-minute study break to model these dorm fashions!
The girl in the harlequin pedal-pusher pants and smock-top looks to me like she’s actually taking a break from her part-time job with the circus, while Miss Muu-Muu is — chatting on the phone! Some things never change, just like the timeless appeal of RED.