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Pride Month Perry Ellis Sewing Patterns

Before I start my post on Perry Ellis, I want to address the controversy of Pride Month. If you do not want to read about members of the LGBTQ community, you may want to skip this blog for the month of June. Remember, you are not required to read this, the members of the website did not necessarily endorse my choice to write about designers who were/are very popular with consumers and yet are part of the LGBTQ community. Please, if you don't have anything nice or constructive to say, keep it to yourself. I know this isn't an issue for most of you and I will be monitoring the comments and deleting anything offensive. Thank You.

Perry Edwin Ellis was born in 1940, an only child in a middle-class family in Portsmouth, Virginia. When he graduated from high school in 1957, he was voted best dressed by his classmates. It seems that that was the beginning of his journey.

After graduating from New York University in 1963 with a Masters's Degree in Retailing, (I had no idea you could get a degree in Retailing!) he started working for a department store in Virginia as a Buyer and Merchandiser to gain experience. During this time, he co-founded a shop called A Sunny Day.

By the 1970s, he was working for The Vera Companies. They were, at the time, famous for their polyester double-knit suits. They approached Ellis to design a line of women's sportswear for them. In 1976, his first line for women was released. He called it Portfolio and the designs were compared favorably to Kenzo. The layered, unconstructed, oversized, natural fibers were the hot trend then. He took that trend and added hand-knit-looking sweaters to the layers. Sweaters would become one of his signature garments for the rest of his short career.

This Perry Ellis pattern is from 1987, after his death. It features his signature shoul

der pads, cropped jacket, and high waisted skirt. Vogue 1914 Perry Ellis pattern is available at The Gingham Life

In 1978 he opened his own fashion showroom on Seventh Avenue with the help of Manhattan Industries, the parent company of his employer The Vera Companies. 1978 was a BIG year for Perry Ellis as his line included shoulder pads, BIG shoulder pads! He endorsed the stacking of shoulder pads one atop of another. (I for one do not miss the 1980s) His signature style of cropped pants and cropped sweaters.

In the early 1980s, Ellis was as well known as influential as Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren. He added his first Menswear line and discarded shoulder pads for women exchanging them for wide capelet collars instead.

In 1982, he won the Council of Fashion Designers of America Designer of the Year Award. He continued to build his brand for both women and men adding fragrance and furs. He now had a staff of 75.

Ellis was highly praised Ellis believed that "fashion dies when you take it too seriously."

1985 VOGUE 1522 is a Perry Ellis design from before his death in 1986. This pattern is available from Candy Goeller Patterns.

In January 1986, Ellis' longtime partner, attorney Laughlin Barker died of Kaposi's Sarcoma, an AIDS-related cancer. At the same time that Barker was ill, people were concerned about Ellis' health. He had lost a considerable amount of weight and although he denied that he was ill, passed out in a receiving line at a party at the Costume Institute in December 1985. After Barker's death, Perry Ellis' health started to decline quickly. He contracted Viral Encephalitis which caused paralysis on one side of his face. Despite this, he insisted on walking the runway at the end of his show on May 8, 1986. He was so weak that two assistants had to hold him up. This would be his final public appearance. Perry Ellis died on May 30, 1986, after slipping into a coma.


This Perry Ellis Vogue Pattern Number 1775 shows his Big shoulder styles, oversized jackets, and high waisted skirts and pants. This pattern is available at

List of Awards

  • During the CFDA awards at New York City's Lincoln Center in 1986, Ellis was posthumously awarded a Special Tribute.

  • Ellis won eight Coty Awards between 1979 and 1984, the last year that they were given.

  • He was presented with the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Fashion Award in 1981.

  • In 2002, Ellis was honored with a commemorative white bronze plaque embedded into the sidewalk on Seventh Avenue in New York in the so-called Fashion Walk of Fame located on the part of Seventh Avenue called "Fashion Avenue."


Perry Ellis Wikipedia

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