Last week I added another Horrockses to my ever expanding collection, and needless to say it was rather an exciting one!
Here is the dress in question. I purchased this from What the Butler wore in Lower Marsh (near Waterloo). It is a really ace shop and on the same road is Radio Days another high quality veritable emporium of vintage (seriously they have EVERYTHING in that shop!). I have to say actually that my trip up to London restored my faith in vintage shops in London. I had become a bit apathetic towards them and the prices charged, but I went to Brixton, Brick lane and Lower marsh and on the whole found that prices were quite reasonable. I’m not sure whether this just means everyhwere else has come into line with London prices or whether London prices aren’t as high as I remember them being two years ago when I did so much vintage shopping in the capital.
Anyway, after my divergence back to the dress itself. I knew when I saw the dress that it was familiar but I couldn’t quite place a reason as to why. So, on saturday evening I got my research head on and managed to do a bit of digging. The dress in question dates to 1950 and actually feastured in one of Horrockses many advertisements amongst the pages of Vogue, worn by Barbara Goalen.
A little bit more on the dress… this is one of the very few early Horrockses I own. An early Horrockses can be dated by the label (almost a papery feel and printed rather than woven) As a general rule this label is found in dresses dating between 1947-52. Thankfully because of the advertisement this can be accurately dated to 1950.
What I find even MORE interesting about this dress is the fact that it features lots of different Horrockses prints rather than just the one (i’ve tried to photograph as many different elements as I can).And I have seen other Horrockses here and there which feature similar element to this dress- For example this amazing housecoat (I’m afraid it isn’t mine- but the image does come from one of my all time favourite blogs!)
My research has suggested to me, although i never like to say these things for definite, that the print design is by Alastair Morton, certain elements of the overall print are so characteristic of his style I don’t think it really could be by anyone else!
As an aside I highly recommend Alastair Morton and Edinburgh Weavers: Visionary Textiles and Modern Art which features some wonderful examples of Morton’s work (I still don’t own a copy myself yet but spent faaaar too long perusing it in the Victoria and Albert museum bookshop. (*ahem* if someone wants to buy me a copy i would be eternally grateful ; ) )