Monday, September 24, 2012

My First Lanvin--A Robe de Style: Initial Thoughts

After discovering I actually had an interest in the 1920s, one of the first books I ordered (apparently on 25 September 2007, thank you Amazon) was Lanvin by Dean Merceron, and I fell in absolute love with an acid green/yellow robe de style. I decided that one day, it would be mine.

The Dress and the Book

And see? It did become mine!

I still can't get over my luck in finding this color silk. It's from Fabrics and Fabrics in the L.A. Garment District--amazing store, go there if you have the chance! I lined the bodice with cotton batiste. I'm not sure if or what the original was lined with, but this worked really well for me. As for a pattern, I started with a 1950s boat necked sundress and went from there, altering it rather drastically to match the rather unique seamlines of this dress. The skirt is four panels of taffeta, each one scalloped. It has pocket hoops sewn to the edge of the waist. These are just a scaled down version of the hoops in Corsets and Crinolines.

I have a tutorial for the triangle trim here. I wasn't going to fold about a million little triangles--I knew there had to be a way. I figured it out at work one day when I was playing with the fabric belt on my (blue and white spotty) wrap dress.

I was fortunate enough to see another version of the dress at the Musee Galliera. I spent ages in front of it, taking notes, and wishing that I could take pictures. I think "The gathers look machine squished" may be the best bit of fashion note taking ever, not that I'm biased or anything...

Robe de Style Notes

Robe de Style Notes

Robe de Style Notes

Another note of note was "placket--somewhat clumsy--don't stress--they all are!" A note not only about this dress, but the rather surprising lack of detail in many dresses--the one that comes first to mind was a gorgeous, tucked Vionnet dress with the center tucks going off center. I'm about as far from a perfectionist as you can get when it comes to sewing (seriously!), but it's something that would make even me twitch. Also, the machine sewn points of the Vionnet dress that I copied, well, they really should've been sewn by hand!

The dress I studied in person had quite a few differences from the green dress. This is discussed in this post, originally written in 2009.

I'm going to break this up into several posts because although this may seem something of a simple dress, I found it and its details to be really quite fascinating, so you'll just need to bear with me for a bit!


  1. Yay! I've been waiting for you to do a post on this dress! 1920's isn't really my favorite but I do like robes de style.

    1. I'm glad! And they are such fun dresses. And this one is apparently worth four posts, the last of which I'm about to write. It should be an easy one though, as I don't think there's much left to say, just pictures :)