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Rate the Dress: A Lanvin Robe de Style in two styles

Last week’s Rate the Dress certainly divided opinions!  You were either quite keen on tomato red with huge knee bows and mad, random Irish crochet lace with macrame-esque trim, or totally unimpressed by it.  Most of you fell into the latter camp, but there were enough of you who thought it was fabulous, and deserved a 10, to bring the rating up to a 6.3 out of 10.

(Personally, I love it just for being so utterly wacky, but it does loose a point from me for the awkward engageantes.  And it’s on my to-make list too Caroline!)

This week’s Rate the Dress is inspired by the HSF theme of Heroes, because Lanvin is definitely one of my design heroes.  As with all my heroes, I don’t feel the need to love everything Lanvin does unreservedly.  Every hero is human.  Every designer slipped up once in a while.

Designers are particularly fallible, because ultimately, they served clients, and their designs were customised to fill the wishes of the client.

Case in point: at first glance, these two Lanvin robe de style are identical.  Closer inspection reveals slight differences: one is longer in the waist, with a deeper neckline, and longer, angled sleeves, and a dipped hem.

A pair of Robe de Style, House of Lanvin (French, founded 1889), Jeanne Lanvin (French, 1867–1946), 1924–25, French, silk, C.I.56.49.1 (left), 1979.122.1 (right)

A pair of Robe de Style, House of Lanvin (French, founded 1889), Jeanne Lanvin (French, 1867–1946), 1924–25, French, silk, C.I.56.49.1 (left), 1979.122.1 (right)

Lanvin’s original design still speaks clearly in both interpretations, and without her design sketches (which I haven’t been able to find for this specific dress), we can’t know which is closer to her intentions.  Or perhaps, like me, she was just indecisive, and enjoyed being able to turn both variations into working designs!

In either case, it’s up to you to rate each dress.  Are they equal par, or do you prefer one to the other?  And what will each dresses rating say about the success of the overall design?

Rate each dress (separately) on a Scale of 1 to 10.

The Scroop Miramar Dress, Top & Tunic on Nina & Hvitr

I had a fantastic group of testers for the Scroop Miramar Dress, Top & Tunic – 6 awesome ladies who were nice enough to tell me every little place in the pattern that they found confusing, all the typos and stylistic oddities that I’d left in because you start missing them after you’ve read it a million times, any places where the printing just didn’t quite work, and any fit issues that they had, so that I could make sure that everyone, everywhere in the world, would be able to print and make up the pattern successfully.

Two of my pattern testers were fellow Wellington sewists (and Wellington Sewing Blogger Network members), Nina of SmashtheStash & Hvitr of Historical Living with Hvitr (who you probably recognise from the phenomenal things she makes for the HSF).

Having local testers is really helpful, because it means I can see things in person, and get fussy over the fit in ways it’s hard to do from photographs.

Also, both Hvitr and Nina are extremely detailed and analytical, and Nina is a professional copyeditor who notices the most tiny inconsistencies in my layouts and instructions, and leaves massive print outs with red-marks all over them for me when pattern testing – which basically makes her my favourite person in the world!

Having local testers is also really helpful because you can talk them into doing photoshoots with you, so you get lots of images of the finished garment.  And, being the awesome women they are,  they will even do them on the most Wellington of spring days: when the wind is a howling gale that leaves your hair, clothes, umbrellas, sundry leaves, and unexpected passerbys who didn’t stand firmly enough, plastered against you as you pose.

So we had to work really hard for these photos, and find any sheltered corners we could!

Nina made the dress version of the Miramar in a very lightweight knit in periwinkle blue and white with an abstract marbled pattern:

The Scroop Patterns Miramar Dress, Top & Tunic,

The Scroop Patterns Miramar Dress, Top & Tunic,

The Scroop Patterns Miramar Dress, Top & Tunic,

Nina’s fabric didn’t have quite as much lengthwise stretch as I recommend, so it’s very snug in the arms.  (I also relaxed the fit in the arms slightly based on feedback from pattern testers, and did some adjustments which should fix some of the back wrinkling issues some testers had.  That’s what pattern testers are for – to help smooth the wrinkles!  Not always literally though…. 😉 )

Hvitr made two versions of the Miramar.  A top in a midweight ponte knit, with a subtle dark-blue & black scroll pattern that was giving Nina and I serious fabric envy:

The Scroop Patterns Miramar Dress, Top & Tunic,

Hvitr made the top a size bigger than her measurements, so it could be worn over other garments…

…Such as, her short-sleeved version of the dress, in classic black, with the skirt lengthened to ankle length:

The Scroop Patterns Miramar Dress, Top & Tunic,

(can we all take a moment to admire her crazy-awesome belt and fabulous Jeffery Campbell shoes!  I am loving all the different ways people are styling this!)

The Scroop Patterns Miramar Dress, Top & Tunic,

As you can tell from the hair, even in the most sheltered spots we could find, it was WINDY!  I ended up giving Hvitr an impromptu mid-photoshoot braid, just to help keep her hair out of her face a little:

The Scroop Patterns Miramar Dress, Top & Tunic,

Thank you Nina & Stella for your wonderful help, as pattern testers and models.

Get your own Miramar pattern here!