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Yves Saint Laurent Mondrian Dress

October 26, 2021

Earlier this year my children took part in a ‘Time Travel Week’ at school where each year group learnt about a different decade in recent history. They learnt about the fashions, music and popular culture of the decade in question as well as notable events. My daughter’s class was learning about the 60s, and so they were invited to dress up in something related to the 60s. My mind went straight to the 1965 Yves Saint Laurent Mondrian inspired dress. I have a hardback set of Taschen ‘Fashion’ books that now seem difficult to get hold of, and as I opened Volume 1 to find the dress I had in mind, it ACTUALLY OPENED ON THAT VERY PAGE!!!! I took that as a sign, and committed to the idea!

My daughter was actually not that keen on the dress at first. I think she was hoping for something more flower power and hippy, but I managed to talk her into letting me make this dress instead by showing her loads of images of it and reading about it with her, so that she began to appreciate the importance of this YSL collection in fashion history, and that it really is one of the most standout fashion moments of the 60s.

I am aware that there is a Vogue pattern available that is inspired by this design, but I didn’t really feel the need to track it down. Instead I used a pattern for a basic shift dress and adapted it.

The pattern was an adult pattern so I cut the smallest possible size, made a toile, and then redrafted it to fit my daughter. She didn’t need the bust darts, so I removed those by rotating them to the centre front neckline, which is cleverly hidden by the central black dividing line on the finished dress front.

I have to confess I didn’t piece together the fabrics – I cheated! I chose various sections of primary-coloured cottons, placed them on in my own design, and sewed black wide ribbon over the edges to join it all together.

I kept the back of the dress plain white and inserted a lapped zipper. Because the fabric was quite heavy white cotton twill, I didn’t need to line it, and it held its A-line shape really well.

My daughter was absolutely over the moon with the dress, and I was really pleased with how well it turned out, and also slightly jealous that she had this amazing dress that fitted her so beautifully and was inspired by the wonderful artist Piet Mondrian, and the amazing designer Yves Saint Laurent.

I think it’s one of my favourite things I have ever made.

One Comment
  1. anne carter permalink
    October 26, 2021 11:00 am

    Almost like a piece of patchwork! It is a fun dress and teaching art too.

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