Designer Inspiration: Chester Weinberg

The other day I was scrolling through instagram, which is one of my favourite pastimes if I have 10 minutes to kill, and I came across this sewing pattern (I’m sorry but I can’t remember whose feed it was on):

Chester Weinberg 1856(image source)

I immediately thought this was a fab 60s dress! (The photo might be slightly less fabulous, however!). I had never heard of Chester Weinberg so I did some googling, and it turns out he was quite a famous fashion designer in the 60s and 70s – he was up there with Oscar de la Renta! “With his daring yet elegant clothes and outsize personality, Weinberg was the undisputed darling of the fashion press, and he was equally beloved by the industry, winning a Coty Award in 1970—the fashion equivalent of an Oscar. He worked with a who’s-who of models, photographers, and editors, and dressed socialites and celebrities including Barbra Streisand, Dionne Warwick, and Nancy Reagan. As an instructor at Parsons School of Design, he mentored the likes of Donna Karan, Isaac Mizrahi, and Marc Jacobs.”1

Chester Weinberg 1(image source)

“Despite all this, his name today is familiar only to a handful of museum curators and vintage fashion aficionados. This is largely because, on April 24, 1985, Weinberg became the first fashion designer to succumb to AIDS. The tragedy of his premature demise—he was 54—was compounded by its terrible timing. Although he’d been working steadily, Weinberg was no longer famous, and his passing went unremarked by the public. Within the industry, his death was willfully ignored.”1

Chester Weinberg 2(image source)

I love these 2 coats – the green of the one above is just amazing and the blue below seems like one of those typically 60s colours. And look at the collar! I think I need a 60s coat in my future…..

Chester Weinberg 5(image source)

This might be my favourite of all the Chester Weinberg clothes I found. I’m trying to think of ways to recreate it. Any ideas of patterns I could use as a starting point?

Chester Weinberg 4(image source)

“The look of a Weinberg is familiar even to those who have never heard of him, for his designs were some of the defining looks of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Black-scarfed models in swirling, long black dresses topped by smock jackets in Jackson Pollock-like yellow silk or apple green mohair, a vivid wool gabardine suit with an empire waist, cinched by a wide contrasting belt, a gray geometric print dress, all are images of “mod.” At the same time, Weinberg’s designs were classically simple and elegant, with details like ribbons, princess seams, inverted pleating, and his signature ruffles. From a navy blue, silk dress with an empire waist to a wool crêpe chemise dress with black lace over a lining of light cocoa, vintage Weinberg is still fashionable.”1

You can see examples of the prints he used below.

I actually really like this fabric – and the style of the dress. I like the detail of the piping around the waist seam, so cute!

Chester Weinberg 3(image source)

This print is definitely right up my street! I like the high neckline and the high waistline.

Chester Weinberg 6(image source)

Chester Weinberg 7(image source)

Chester Weinberg 8(image source)

I can’t decide if I like this coat or think it’s awful……. I think I like the style but the fabric is….not my taste.

Chester Weinberg 9(image source)

“After his company folded, Weinberg designed dresses and sportswear for a company backed by Jones Apparel Group, cashmere sweaters for Ballantyne of Scotland, furs, costumes for the Twyla Tharp ballet As Time Goes By, and patterns for Vogue and Butterick.”1

Obviously I realised he designed sewing patterns, since that’s where I heard of his first, but I still think it’s awesome that a major fashion designed of the time make sewing patterns so people could make his fashions themselves at home. Maybe this is because it was way more common for people to still be sewing all their own clothes in the 60s than it is now. Are there any designers of a similar fame lever doing the same now?

Here is a selection of my favourites of his patterns – all the ones I found were Vogue, so I’d be interested to see any Butterick ones if you know of any. I think I may have to collect all of these – and then go full-on 60s with my clothes!

Chester Weinberg 1783(image source)

Chester Weinberg 1927(image source)


Chester Weinberg 2201(image source)

Chester Weinberg 2154(image source)

Chester Weinberg 2202(image source)


Chester Weinberg 1783(image source)

This coat pattern might be my favourite – I’m clearly in a coat mood at the moment! If you need me I’ll be on ebay…….

Chester Weinberg 1784(image source)





5 thoughts on “Designer Inspiration: Chester Weinberg

  1. Prue Dearing

    What am I talking about !!! they would be mine not my mothers,I am bonkers. I bought a lot of Sterling Cooper and then Biba.

    P x



  2. Pingback: My #VintagePledge – Thrift Make Sew

  3. Pingback: Fashion History – The Early 1960s

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