Manuel Pertegaz, Fashion Designer, 1917 – 2014

I am incredulous that until now, I didn’t know about Manuel Pertegaz, a Spanish designer of the 1950s, who – get this – was invited to take over the House of Dior when Christian died in 1957.   Pertegaz politely declined. I guess that opened the way for Yves St Laurent and the rest is fashion history. Apparently he was happy in Spain designing for Spanish royalty, as well as Spanish and American VIPs including Jackie Kennedy!

Would fashion history have taken a slightly different turn, if he had accepted?  We’ll never know. He lived to be a ripe old 96 years, and passed away in 2014, leaving behind an amazing body of work. By the way, he dressed Spanish royalty as well as American VIPs such as Jackie Kennedy.   Here is an obit write up in the New York Times.

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The image above is what threw me into a loop when I pulled an old forgotten booklet out of my shelf.  Er, this is a paper doll book, but the real charm for my inner history nerd were the 1950s fashions it depicted.  It’s by Dover Publications. They might publish it in a different form now.

manuel-pertegaz-vestido Pinterest image

During a brief research on Pertgaz, these images were found on Pinterest with Suzy Parker modeling the original at left. One of the captions describes this image thusly: “Suzy Parker in green taffeta evening coat by Manuel Pertegaz. Photo by Henry Clarke, British Vogue, 1954”.  Another caption describes the left image this way: “Suzy Parker wearing billowy bow-ties coat by Pertegaz in front of tiled scenery at the restaurant Villa-Rosa in Madrid”.  It’s an “opera coat”. The image on the right seems to be a fashion show, where we get to see what the model is wearing underneath the billowy coat.

Does anyone wear an opera coat these days? Nobody that I know.  But myself and people I do know would absolutely wear this coat designed by Katherine Tilton for Butterick patterns! It has the same tiered, gathered elements of the Pertegaz but is so modern.

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The Butterick (#6253) pattern has a hood, a zipper closure and is made in a stable knit – and is very 21st century.  I want to thank Butterick and Katherine Tilton for creating such a wearable, modern piece.  041007-green-peasant-skirt_lg

There’s a prairie skirt vibe to both items, almost 60 years apart! Which means that the prairie skirt is a timeless classic.   The image above courtesy of a 2007 post on CraftStylish .


Pertegaz pattern

By the way, Pertegaz designs were available as Vogue Patterns, and if you’re a collector, find them here on Etsy.  Too bad there is no pattern for the green taffeta opera coat. Maybe the Butterick pattern can be made in green taffeta. Seriously.

Let me at some fabric……….


4 thoughts on “Manuel Pertegaz, Fashion Designer, 1917 – 2014

  1. What is it with those Spanish designers? As if the ladies pulled the hoop skirts up to their necks, modest to the core? Balenciaga has a couple that are almost as huge (you could bring in a host of uninvited guests in one of them).
    As for opera coats, I am working on two. Both are replacements for worn out cocoon coats, one in velvet, one in linen on the bias. When you review the ballet, you dress for the ballet. And since reviewing doesn’t pay what it used to, it’s all thrifted materials.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Lisa! I think that the enormous volume may have worked over the high volume dresses of the 50s — for people who went to gala events. Since the silhouette has slimmed down, Pertegaz’s opera coat is best relegated to the history books. But the Butterick pattern is quite wearable. That will be my next project. We’ll see if it’s a pass or fail.

      Liked by 1 person

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