Duro Olowu

by Erin on November 11, 2005

Duro Olowu dress

Everyone's seen this guy's dresses, right? I mean, they're in each fashmag each month, on radically different people (okay, radically different in the fashmag world, which means models AND actresses AND socialites AND random people employed in the fashion industry). So you've probably seen them. What I don't know is if your eye is caught by them the way mine is. Obviously the large, clashing patterns push my buttons, along with the higher waistline and fullish, knee-length skirt.

In fact, you already that I really like this style, because I posted about a very similar vintage one a few months ago.

I wish one of the big five pattern companies would come up with a knockoff of this, or better yet, hire him to do a pattern with his name on it. This would be easy to sew, and it's very easy to wear. (I know it might make bigger-busted women look pregnant, but I think the fear of looking pregnant is overcomeable. Or ought to be. Really, what does it matter if someone thinks you're in the early stages of pregnancy? It's not like being a leper, and as far as I can tell, nearly everyone who is pregnant looks better pregnant than not. I know I did. So perhaps it should be taken as a compliment. "You look great today! Are you pregnant?")

If I made myself one, I would (of course) do it in two clashing Liberty Varuna wools, and wear it all winter long. Peacock-feather wool for the body and a geometric print for the bands. I'd narrow the sleeves a bit (I hate to have my sleeves trailing in the butter), as well as narrowing the shoulders and armholes, and widen the waistband. And, of course, I'd add pockets.

Click on the image if you want to know what the real thing costs, and where you can buy it.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Jonquil November 11, 2005 at 9:22 am

Very ’70s cut; I love it. And mmm, peacock-feather wool.


Anonymous November 11, 2005 at 9:25 am

That would look SO good on me. I saw one in the window of Intermix the other day and actually went in so I could walk all the way around it and drool discreetly over it while the salesgirls tried to faint at the presence in their shop of a plus-size woman.Damn. It would look SO SO SO good on me.Herself


Erin November 11, 2005 at 9:39 am

It *would* look good on you!Somebody’s got to be knocking these off. Where are they?


Anonymous November 11, 2005 at 1:08 pm

When I was in college in the early ’70s we used to buy Indian dresses in that same shape, and in contrasting prints, for some ridiculously low price. Anyhoo, I’m wondering if Indian retailers might still be carrying something similar?Madelene


Anonymous November 11, 2005 at 1:34 pm

I know that Hotpatterns.com has a pattern like that. It’s called “The Hippy Chick Dress”.


Erin November 11, 2005 at 2:15 pm

They do! And it’s sold out. :-( But it comes in large sizes, too, so Herself, you could get one made!


mb November 11, 2005 at 6:52 pm
jrochest November 11, 2005 at 8:43 pm

I had that identical dress back in high school — well, the identical cut, if not the amazing print.And yes, it was an Indian rayon special, and yes, I wore it till it fell to bits.


Rose November 11, 2005 at 9:54 pm

I just saw the Hippy Chick Dress in person, tonight, and it’s terrific! It had been made up in subdued fabric (deep brown and black velvets), but in cheerier, louder choices it would look much like this. I hear Hot Patterns is trying to get their shipping troubles straightened out (demand exceeded supply when they launched their company a couple of months ago) and they should be up to speed soon. Or so I and all my sewing-fanatic friends hope!


Sue November 15, 2005 at 12:41 pm

>Somebody’s got to be knocking these off. Where are they?I know someone who inherited a few very similar dresses from her Czech mom from the 1970’s. Maybe we need to go to thrift stores in Prague. I’m not convinced that it would look flattering on me at all.


Montessori Louisiana November 22, 2005 at 4:59 pm

Hello all! I just found a pattern that is VERY similar to this dress, and am having the pattern altered just slightly to replicate this dress. Would you believe it’s VERY EASY VOGUE 7820? The woman who’s sewing it for me told me it will only take about two days!! Yippee!!Good luck!


Erin November 22, 2005 at 6:01 pm

Hee! I love that pattern too! Check it out:http://www.dressaday.com/2005/09/always-room-for-one-more.html


Anonymous April 2, 2006 at 4:50 pm

duro olowu has a new website!:http://www.duroolowu.com/cheers


Anonymous April 24, 2006 at 9:45 am

Hey, Love this dress to and have been studying the design but have not seen any pictures of the back of the dress. Does anyone know if it has a belt/tie back behind to give the waist the definition I see in pictures?Curious fashionista in a 3rd world country


Erin April 24, 2006 at 10:14 am

I haven’t seen any pictures of the back, either. In the knockoffs I’ve seen, the more expensive ones are waist-sized (no tie) and the less expensive ones have ties.I just figured out (with my patternmaking book, don’t know why I didn’t look there first) how to convert a set-in sleeve bodice block to a kimono one. Wish me luck …


Nancy March 15, 2007 at 12:56 pm

I don’t think I saw it in the comments yet, apologies if I scanned past it, but did somebody already mention Simplicity 4072? Because it would make something just like that dress (but with a waist tie instead of fitted with a zipper). I have the pattern but haven’t made it yet…mostly because i am dithering between fabrics. Can’t wait to see if you make one!


Anonymous September 30, 2008 at 7:25 am

Have a look at the London Fashion Week channel on http://www.t5m.com/london-fashion-week , with some great fashion coverage. We have just finished filming at London Fashion Week and have some inspiring exclusive videos on our site. We have footage of all the catwalk shows and backstage interviews with the designers. The runway shows and interviews with the celebrities are on there too.


Kim Kruse September 21, 2013 at 4:11 pm

Try the Sew Serendipity Torii tunic. I’m a petite but full-busted gal and it fits me great. It definitely does not look like a maternity dress. http://www.sewserendipity.com/product_info.php?cPath=22_37&products_id=137


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