Vogue 1376 vintage Montana dress modelled pictures

So here it is at last, my vintage 80s dress. It seems odd to think of 80s patterns as vintage, given I remember the decade quite well. But at the time I definitely didn’t appreciate fashion and had never heard of Claude Montana.

The pattern is Vogue 1376 from 1984. I’m almost certain the original designer dress is the one in this advert. I did consider constructing a blue cardboard triangle to put on my head but you’ll be pleased to hear sanity prevailed. My styling efforts are limited to 80s style stripy blusher.

This dress is all about the enormous shoulders. The bodice front and back are only joined together from the waist down in order to achieve that very triangular shape. Decency is maintained by side insets placed in the gap and topstitched in place. One of the insets is visible in this side view. What you can’t see here are the two shoulder pads each side required to support the shape.

Here’s a back view. I added quite a bit to the length. I always add 5cm to the bodice on Vogue but on this one I added another 3cm to the skirt. I’m very happy with where the hem has ended up. For once I’ve managed to hit the magic length which covers the knee but doesn’t make my legs look oddly proportioned. I’m wearing ridiculous heels here for photographic purposes but I think this would look OK with flats. I browsed through a lot of YouTube videos of Montana fashion shows while identifying this pattern, and was surprised by how low and practical many of the shoes were. Not how I remember 80s style. Is it just that heels got even higher later on? I remember fashion suddenly declaring that flats were OK after all at some time in the second half of the 90s, and how refreshing it was to be able to find shoes that were both attractive and practical.

There are a lot of details on the back: there’s a button closure, pleats, and a belt. On the original design the belt appears to be patent leather, but I stuck with self fabric and a lot of interfacing for mine. Incidentally the fabric is gaberchino from Empress Mills. I think this design needs something not too heavy, but with a bit of body to it.

The front has the amazing pocket flanges which echo the triangular shoulder shape and the overall outline. The whole thing is very thoughtfully designed.

Surprisingly it’s not all that close fitting, as you can see here. I made my usual size and I seem to have more ease than on the original. I don’t think I’d want it any tighter though.

I’m pleased with this, although who knows how much I’ll get to wear it in the near future. It was a lot of fun to make anyway.

48 thoughts on “Vogue 1376 vintage Montana dress modelled pictures

  1. I agree that it may be a difficult dress to find occasions to wear it but I think it is brilliant. It helps to be tall and slim (like you) to be able to carry these angular\architectural designs.

    1. Thanks! There had to be some advantage to being tall…mind you at my work I was the short one for years and people were forever putting things on shelves I couldn’t reach

  2. This is a great Outfit, in the 80ies I lived in Italy for a while, there were many flat shoes, especially ballerinas on the streets, I remember sandals sometimes with a little plateau, I remember really high heels as we see today much later, after 2000 or so….LG Anja

  3. Looks great and wonderful photos. There are so many interesting details on the dress. – thanks for showing the side gussets.

  4. This is fab and I so admire your skills and confidence. Thanks for the tips and it’s especially helpful to hear where you source your lovely fabrics from. You really rock this !

  5. I don’t know why you thought this was going to be impractical.. It’s fabulous enough to make its own occasion! You might consider a pair of doc martens for a practical 80s vibe, I think they might balance out those shoulders very nicely.

  6. I really like it. Well done. It’s a little bit Devo, and I’ve recently rediscovered my affection for them (and other slight absurdities of the early 80s. Can we have New Romantics back? New New Romanticism, maybe?) The model in the Montana ad looks to have been pinned into the dress from the waist down; she is unlikely to have gotten it over her hips otherwise, the waist is microscopic. I hate it when they do that, it creates utterly unrealistic expectations of the garment. If I recall, the 2-ish inch heel was a standard “High” heel at about this time, and you were supposed to own a pair in every color of your wardrobe plus bubblegum pink.

  7. This looks great on you! I have many Claude Montana patterns to this day. Have not worn any of his looks for awhile. Grown out of what I sewed unfortunately. But still like them a lot.

  8. It’s a brilliant pattern but as others have said you have to be pencil slim
    And I suspect there are a lot of pins at the back in order to achieve the silhouette on the model shot. Yours looks much more authentic but beautiful nonetheless

    1. Yes, it does look pretty implausible. The same dress in the runway video (amazingly, available on YouTube) looks less closely fitted at the waist, although tighter overall than mine

  9. I was a young adult in the 80s. This particular sort of style was very modern and interesting. Always liked the drama of it, but at 5′ tall it was too much everything on me.

    I remember some high heels, buts the common work attire was 2″ inch heels or so. The super high ones were more for dressy occassions.

  10. Wow, you really rock this dress. It looks amazing on you. Agreed – perfect hem length. I don’t “know” anyone who could wear this better. I, like others believe you could easily wear this often. I think it’s pretty practical.

  11. You absolutely rock this dress. I suits your style so well. I think it looks pretty practical actually. I love the pocket flanges and the wide shoulders which at 160cm and tiny, weeny shoulders, I could never get away with. It looks really balanced.

  12. fabulous make, and looks stunning – I used really admire montana clothes in the 80s as his lines were so sharp and clean after the frills of the new romantic style fashions – funny your menion of shoes, my memory of shoes from the 80s, was the main style was court shoe or a brogue/loafter as a work or day shoe, the court would also work as an evening shoe. as this was a time pre-fast fashion the choices were so different

  13. I love it! You should wear it for dinner one night, just for the fun of it! It looks fantastic on you. I honestly thought you were Ms. Swinton, looking at your IG feed.

  14. Great dress – I’d forgotten how much I used to love making the Montana Vogue Patterns I’m sure those glorious shoes could be beaten into submission to make them comfortable.
    Just thinking about designing my winter wardrobe – think you’ve given me some great food for thought.
    Now I make my own patterns it’s really interesting to put in some structured details.

  15. Marvelous! This is where clothing becomes art! Loving all the details. Size is perfect! Mid-late 80’s we young teens wore pumps, ballerina flats and “men’s” shoes (brogues), a bit androgynous. With optional fluo fishnet stockings. Urgh. And scrunchies. Dubble urgh.

  16. That is beautiful and 100% you. On Claude Montana, my first reaction was, “huh, never heard of him”. Then I remembered that all the girls in my class were lusting after Montana jeans. They were all the rage for a while and then the brand just vanished. Thanks for a blast from the past!

  17. Wow, you look great in this dress! As alternative to a special occasion, you could wear this to a meeting where you need to be taken very seriously. A Woman. NOT. To. Be. Messed. With. (I mean this in the best way!)

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