My Own Little Piece of Givenchy


News of the passing of Hubert de Givenchy reminded me that I have a pattern dating from 1960 for a suit he designed, as the envelope proudly proclaims, “exclusively for McCall’s.”

I bought it in an eBay auction about fifteen years ago, and while I don’t remember what I paid, it couldn’t have been more than $10.

I have never sewn this pattern.  The waist definition and neckline are flattering for my figure type; the “sleeves in one with jacket,” not so much for my sloping shoulders. 

Maybe the right shoulder pads would remedy the problem. (Or is that wishful thinking?)

Whenever I happen upon this illustration, rifling through my pattern stash or leafing through my pattern catalogue, I imagine myself in this chic ensemble.  It’s funny–I just realized that when I look at many of my other patterns I look at them more objectively as projects, as construction challenges, as units in outfits and capsules.

But without fail, when I look at this suit by Givenchy I am transported to a smart restaurant that’s worthy of it. I imagine feeling well dressed but not upstaged by what I’m wearing.

Best of all, I always imagine feeling wonderful in this outfit.

I can’t explain why, but this design captured something special for me when I saw the pattern, and it still does.

That’s staying power.

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2 thoughts on “My Own Little Piece of Givenchy

  1. You may be surprised at how well those kimono style sleeves fit you, especially with the gussets that give them more definition. Part of it is getting used to a slightly different kind of fit. However, when you look at the styles in older movies with these shoulders, they just look so classy! This is a wonderful pattern – aren’t you glad you own it?

    • Thank you for the encouragement. Since I was “diagnosed” with sloping shoulders and told that raglan and kimono sleeves were off-limits I’ve considered letting go of such patterns. But now I’m inclined to test my favorites in muslin and see for myself. I think that some garments with shoulders like this could work for me because of other elements: waist definition, neckline, vertical lines, etc. I know nothing about gussets, but they appear to be in my future. Yes, I love this pattern, and I owe it to myself to give it a go!

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