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1950’s and 60 ‘s French haute couture – collaborators

Find the exciting list of collaborators here!

Image Credit: Paris Evenings: Long, Short
Frances McLaughlin-Gill, Vogue © Conde Nast

speaker: Sophie Kurkdjian

From haute couture to ready-to-wear, a revolution in French fashion, 1950s-1960s
Sophie Kurkdjian, PhD, Assistant Professor, American University of Paris

The fifties, considered as the golden age of French haute couture, saw the rise of very important couturiers such as Christian Dior and Yves Saint Laurent. At the same time, the development of ready-to-wear during the sixties allowed a new generation of designers, such as Paco Rabanne and André Courrèges, to propose a new way of dressing, more practical and comfortable. During these two decades, everything changed in fashion : the way designers produce it, the way consumers wear it and perceive their body. 

This talk will present a brief history of these two decades for fashion, addressing the design dimension of haute couture and ready-to-wear at that period, but also touching on the questions of production, of consumption and reception while exploring also the questions of gender and “femininity”, both of them being renewed at that time.


collaborator: l’elegante, Åsa Hedenström

Åsa Hedentröm is a Patternmaker and Technical Designer at Lars Wallin Management AB.
She is also a teacher in patternmaking at Stockholms Tillskärarakademi.

Åsa has got more than 30 years of experience in patternmaking.
Working for over 25 years at one of Swedens most established couture-houses, she has shaped hundreds of spectacular couture- garments, many of them worn by royalties, artists, and other celebrities. All patterns are made by hand and each piece of clothing is unique.

About the dress: The Dress is inspired by the L’Élégante theme. The first layer in the dress contains of a corset and a slip skirt made in a silk crepe.

The top layer is made in silk chiffon which makes the bodice shoulder and neckline transparent, the skirt half cirkular is cut in wide panels. 

The butterfly sleeve is light and flowy transparent made of silk chiffon.

collaborator: le plisse, Mårten Andreasson

Mårten Andreasson is a pattern cutter based in Sweden, currently working at a consultant agency in Stockholm called ‘Pattern Stockholm’.

His passion within the field is draping, corsetry and exploring pattern cutting through experimental methods.

About the dress:

The pattern of the dress I’m sharing with you consists of quite simple straight pieces that folds and gathers together to create volume and shape. They can easily be manipulated by extending and/or reshaping to fit in with the concept of micro pleating which is the signature of Madame Grès.


collaborator: la sculpturale, Sofia M. Westin & Elena Ryleeva

Sofia M. Westin is educated at Swedish School of Textiles in Borås (BFA) and Konstfack School of Arts and Craft in Stockholm (MFA). She now works in the expanded field of fashion design as a freelancer. The core of her work is about educating a new generation of sustainable textile workers with the aim to improve the conditions in the fashion industry at large, nationally as well as globally.  Since 2015 Sofia is also a highly appreciated member of the educating team at The Cutters Academy in Stockholm (Stockholms Tillskärarakademi) where she teaches patternmaking, sewing, draping and design methodology. 

During 2023 Sofia is launching her new initiative named Westin Institute™, the aim of the company is to strengthen the role of young emerging creators by offering solid education and mentoring to push for more critical thinking in the fashion industry from both a theoretical, practical, and social perspective. During 2022-2023 the main project is creating a textile production education for the poorest youth outside of Nairobi, Kenya. 

“I want to contribute to a sustainable development of the fashion industry at large and taking responsibility for the business I have chosen to be a part of by offering solid education and mentoring to the new generation of workers. We all have a responsibility to do what we can to achieve the change needed”.

Elena Ryleeva is a Clothing designer, educator and researcher into draping and pattern-making approaches. EWST fashionlab founder:
Initially trained in women’s bespoke tailoring Elena subsequently completed fashion design studies and got her Master’s degree from Moscow State University of Design and Technology. Upon graduation she was offered a position of a faculty member at the university where she was employed for several years simultaneously managing own bespoke tailoring studio.

Since more than two decades Elena works internationally. That includes running design studio and participating in international collaborative projects in costume, clothing and art – USA, Germany, Indonesia, etc., freelancing for fashion brands and conducting self-funding research in traditional clothing – Asia, Central America. In 2009 Elena was offered a position of senior lecturer in Raffles Education Corporation, Singapore where she quickly developed her carrier and was appointed as academic director in one of the company’s campuses.

In 2015 she set up her own company EWST fashionlab – a platform for skills learning/ upgrading and sharing resource-conscious approaches in clothing design. Currently Elena devotes herself to teaching through this platform and running online and offline courses&workshops while constantly researching the prospects of draping and pattern making.

About the dress from Sofia Westin:

With the images of Elena Rylewska as a starting point I used a piece of basic calico draping it on the dummy. My aim was to create a sculptural yet wearable dress from an abstract pattern with as little resemblance as possible to a regular dress pattern.  
While working with the fabric on the dummy I realized that the shape of the pattern allowed the fold and grain to be altered between CB and CF, this gives you the possibility to place the opening in the center front of the dress for a more youthful look. 
In my suggestion the opening is in the back, CF is placed on fold and cut on the bias which will give the dress a better fit over the chest/bust and lower stomach. 

The result is a fitted dress with sculptural properties in both silhouette and details. The dress is cut from two main pieces: the skirt and the top. The skirt has big pleats on the waistline to create volume, the big pleats on the sides are angled forwards to achieve a more flattering silhouette over the hips. Depending on what material is used the pleats can be pressed down or kept organic.  

Note that my suggestion is a first draft, and some parts need improvement, such as a better solution for the facing in the armholes or a slit in the skirt for better movement.  

Perhaps adding a sleeve or a small collar depending on what style you are looking for.
Why not use a chunky visible zipper in the front to make it sportier.