A dreamy Alice Pollock dress

Alice and Ossie

Anyone who knows me knows that I rarely foray into fashion past the early 1960s, but there are a few designers for whom I will make an exception. One of these is Alice Pollock. I feel that Pollock is still quite an underrated designer yet she discovered one of the best design talents of the second half of he 20th century so really deserves to be celebrated more ! (commands high prices, without the level of respect she deserves is what I mean)
Pollock is probably best known for her boutique Quorum which she set up in 1964. Not only was she a wonderful designer herself, but she had an excellent knack for spotting the latest design talent. Quorum is probably best known for the desiger Ossie Clark. Clark started working for Pollock in 1966 after she spotted his designs and ordered a selection of dresses for the Quorum boutique. At the time she was buying dresses from Ossie for £10 a batch (imagine Ossies for £10) The early Ossie garments for Quorum (1966) were mostly plain floaty pieces in cream or white chiffon.  It was Pollock who apparently pushed Ossie Clark to work with Celia Birtwell (apparently she wanted a more organic feel for the designs).
Typically of the swinging sixties though the Quorum brand reached trouble (business management was not either Clark or Pollocks forte- they regularly gave away pieces or they simply disappeared). I’ve found contrasting information as to when exactly Pollock sold out Quorum to Radley. (Some sources say 1967 others 1969) although I think they were receiving some financial backing for sure form 1967 onwards.
So why the all the info about Alice Pollock? It’s all because of this dress. Which I am infact selling at the moment on my ebay here.

 What I particularly love about this is its rouleau loop fastening (something Clark began experimenting with in 1967) it really is a glamorous feature that calls to mind the deco designs of the 30s that were so inspiring designers in the late 60s and early 70s.
I love the quality of the moss crepe too. Another thing which calls to mid older vintage dresses, it really is a beautifully made piece, I can totally see it being appropriate as a wedding dress!
The dress is an absolute dream to wear (I swanned about in it for a good 15 minutes before telling myself, no you can’t keep it you need to sell it, sob). It really does cling to you in a way that the dresses  by this “set” can- Pollock and Ossie Clark mostly although I did once try on a Thea Porter dress that made me feel just as wonderful.
As you can probably tell I’ve attempted to do my research into the designs of Alice Pollock and I am a little bit stumped by this, it is difficult to give an exact date, although I have seen very similar pieces by her dating to 1973, so I would take a stab that this is an early 70s piece.

All in all a lovely piece. What I am intrigued about is when did Alice Pollock actually dissapear as a designer? I think the latest Pollock I’ve ever seen is 1974…the mind boggles.

6 thoughts on “A dreamy Alice Pollock dress

  1. I was her lodger for a year; she was married to a school friend, Nick Pollock, at the time. She was a really, really interesting landlady. We lived in Britannia Road, Fulham. This was at the time that the photo of her and Ossie Clarke lying head to toe, by David Bailey, was taken. I remember the excitement when it was published. She had two small children; she would put the babies in a wicker basket and take them to the Quorum workshop (in Radnor Walk, if I remember right) and park them under the machines where they would be well looked after by the machinists. Radley got involved at that time, and finally took over. The other name associated with Quorum was ‘White Light’, but I never knew much about the business side.
    Later, Alice went into the second hand American clothes business, called ‘Phlip’ or ‘Flip’, belonging to her American boy friend at the time. I think it was in King’s Road- I’d lost contact with her by then.
    I’d be really interested to know what’s become of her since. She was certainly someone you could never forget.

  2. I am trying to find out who worked for them as say Machinist or cutter, design assistant role, sample machinist. My aunt worked in the fashion industry at that time. I have just found headed notepaper in her house clearance with Whitelight clothiers and 52 Radnor walk so i think she may have worked for them. Is there an archive for the company please that may be able to help.

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