On Wednesday this week i was a super lucky lady and got invited along to the Laura Ashley press day. HUGE thanks to my lovely friend Naomi Thompson for getting me the invite to come along. It was an interesting day where I got to meet lots of fabulous people, and also a great chance to see pieces from both the Laura Ashley archive and their A/W 2013 collection too.
I turned up to the event wearing one of a number of Laura Ashley vintage dresses I own. I adore Laura Ashley dresses for their extremely good quality. I chose to wear one of my early 70s numbers, but I have quite a few examples from the 1970s and 80s. The one I wore is a novelty hunting print and exhibits Ashley’s love for Victoriana in both its design and use of print that has more than a whiff of the Bloomsbury set/ William Morris to it. I wore my dress with a Jack Wills jacket embellished with two Tatty Devine brooches.
As you can see I had to wear sky scraper high Office platforms with the dress, I think at 5ft 3 I was a bit too short for it!
This is the label in the dress. The bramble logo came in in 1972, and I assume this is an early to mid 1970s example of Laura Ashley. I’m always on the hunt for more Laura Ashley’s with either this label or the white label with Laura Ashley in black, so do get in contact if you have one you are looking to sell!
So back to the press day itself, we arrived and were greeted by some lovely ladies from the team who were excited by mine and Naomi’s choice of outfits (Naomi rocked an 80s dress by the brand). i had my picture taken…alot!
The Autumn winter pieces on show looked great. Their were two particular looks “field trip” and “homegrown” that I really liked. Top of both mine and Naomi’s wishlist was this gorgeous plummy burgundy riding jacket. There were quite a few jackets in this style in the collection which I think will be perfect for Autumn winter.
Another of my favourite pieces was a cute printed jumper (seen in the middle of the rail below).
There were also lots of pieces featuring the archive prints but using them in a fresh and modern way. I adore the way that the Laura Ashley brand regularly references their past without just re-creating it all the time. The monochrome pieces that took their inspiration from very early Laura Ashley were particularly forward looking.
The homewares too were pretty swoon worthy. I loved this chair that reminded me of an Art deco shell chair (it was also incredibly conformable)
And their were lots of gorgeous printed bed covers and wallpapers too. (The scented candles were ever so fresh…perhaps not what you would expect for Autumn Winter scents, but lovely nonetheless).
But, undoubtedly my favourite part of the day was getting to look at the pieces from the archive. I’ll be writing a more in-depth history post soon, but for now I’ll leave you with a few interesting snapshots from the mini exhibition. For such a small space it really was packed with information. With my background in design I particularly liked being able to see both the designs themselves and the finished garments. It really demonstrated how a company archive can be a living thing that is functional as well as keeping a record of the companies history.
This was my absolute favourite piece in the archive.
I felt that it really left me with a stronger understanding of where Laura Ashley was getting her design inspiration from. It also left me wanting to see more of the images that Jane Ashley took as a photographer for the brand. My sincerest thanks to the amazing archivist Angela for giving up so much of her time to speak to me too!