Pingouin Créateurs – a pattern adventure from 1985

I wish I kept more of my old knitting patterns, but at least I was smart enough not to get rid of this magnificent pattern booklet from a time when the French yarn company Pingouin was huge and influential. What a marvelous idea to ask five of the most acknowledged designers to design a collection where they could experiment freely according to their personal beliefs and intuition of fashion. As Melka Treanton says in her introduction that the idea of letting the creative and the innovative unite hand knitting and fashion became something between play and fireworks. Azzedine Alaïa, the innovative. Anne Marie Beretta, the strict. Jean Paul Gaultier, the inventor. Thierry Mugler, the daring. Chantal Thomass, the feminine. Knitted evening dresses, beachwear, gorgeous jackets in bold colors as divine today as then, even though the styling is at times very much from its time. The professional finish is outstanding!

You can see pictures of all the 29 garments here: album. I still remember my excitement when I found it in, what used to be my local yarn shop which stopped trading just as Pingouin unfortunately did. My version is translated into Swedish, even though most of the other patterns used to be sold in Danish which has more similar knitting terms to Norwegian. If you want to compare for yourself, take a look here: garnstudio. What I do like about the magazine is not only how mind blowing it felt to realise that you can knit amazing, fashionable garments that do not look homemade but also the professional lay out and fashion styling. Each designer has a portrait page and each design has been given plenty of space, unlike the limited space and page numbers each design is given by publishers today. I have been waiting for a new issue ever since…


14 thoughts on “Pingouin Créateurs – a pattern adventure from 1985

  1. Oh I just love old designs. My family know I love nothing more than a second hand bookshop where I can rummage for old knitting & needle craft books & patterns.

  2. Oh Linda! That is THE boom that I lost several years ago in a house move that I have looked for ever since! In fact I was beginning to think I had invented it as no one has ever even heard of it. Mine was translated to English from French and I loved it. I am always looking out for it when trawling vintage shops etc. but had been losing hope. You’ve reignited it for me 🙂


    • I am very pleased to hear it, Susan! It still blows my mind looking at those designs so many years later! But so does your lovely designs too! 😀

  3. I have an old pattern for a sloppy joe sweater – where can I find a substitute for the Monsieur Pingouin wool?

  4. Oh yes, me too. I also have the Autumn/ Winter 85/86 one too. With a little adjusting you could still wear them today.

  5. Such a shame, an amazing company with amazing patterns etc. Never really knew why they folded…….. Perhaps it’s time for a revival, as there is an upsurge in interest in knitting from celebs etc. I managed to find the Pingouin Createurs 1985 edition with the abs9lutely gorgeous Chantal Thomass white dress pattern which I will remake even though I am now 58! Luckily I am still size 10 and hopefully I will do it justice!
    A timeless classic which has stood the passage of time……..

  6. Opened my Pingouin shop in 1985 and everyone in the town had never seen anything like it. The yarn flew off the shelves even although it was quite expensive. No one could beat their amazing patterns. After 8 years everything just ground to a halt and no one was knitting anymore. I had an amazing 8 years and loved my wee shop. Loved looking at all the old patterns again. Happy memories. My motto. Knitters are nice people.

    • What an amazing story. Thank you for sharing your story! I remember spotting their groundbreaking yarns and patterns in Oslo, probably around the same time. The yarn shop I went to also closed down. But several new ones has since opened in Oslo, where knitting is still very popular.

  7. I Am looking for pattern number 205, knitted in Monsieur.
    I found the this in a the living and loving magazine from 1980.
    I would love to do this for my husband.

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