Finding “real” dresses in Vogue

Last week I got down to a very important section of my research for my MA dissertation that involved looking at every copy of British Vogue from 1945 to 1960. I haven’t quite got through them all yet, but I have managed the bulk!

My research turned up some interesting ideas/ adverts that will feed into my dissertation but also some fascinating images relating to Horrockses. I’ve been fastidious with keeping a record of any dresses from my collection that were advertised in the magazine, but on this look through I turned up three images that relate to pieces I own.

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First off this image

In this fashion sketch you can just about make out the giraffe print. I believe this is the same print that features on a dress from my personal collection. I had always suspected it dated between roughly 1952 and 1955, but this confirms that the dress dates to 1952. (featured in Vogue June 1952)

The caption reads as follows “Serene sightseer…gay, cool and appropriate all day in a red cotton print skirt, sleeveless black jersey, print scarf eith black reverse- wear it alternatively as a tiny shawl. By Horrockses, £7 19s.

I’ve seen the skirt version of this print in green before, so I am assuming this is what the editorial relates to.

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And here is the dress itself! I will soon have some better pics of this dress (I had it photographed last week) but this is a quick snap of it I took before it was repaired.

You can see this dress in further posts here and here (I’m wearing it in the second of these posts, but I’ll be honest I was feeling a *tad* worse for wear when these pictures were taken!)

And here is another dress I turned up in Vogue.

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Here is the original editorial.

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Here is the dress. I think the print is probably by Graham Sutherland. Sadly my example of this print has seen better days, the fabric under the arms is very thin, and perhaps beyond repair…if anyone thinks it can be tackled though do give me a shout. I’ve actually had this dress around 4 years now but have never shared it on the blog before owing to its poor condition.

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Interestingly you can see that the print also features in the Horrockses book, although you only see a tiny sliver of the fabric in the book, which does not even slightly convey how exciting the print is in reality. I think this whole design must have been an exclusive for Liberty because both the book and Vogue state it as an exclusive despite the two dress designs being slightly different.

And finally do you remember my excitement after I purchased this number the other week?

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Well, I found this featured in Vogue too! (sorry about my bra straps in the second picture, eugh, pet hate).

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Here it is featured in february 1954. It was priced at 4gns, which for a Horrockses was actually very cheap (most were 6gns minimum) I have to admit that the construction of this one isn’t as good as many of my other Horrockses aree, which maybe accounts as to why the price was much lower.

Horrockses and Margaret Meades

A few weeks ago I received a rather exciting email regarding Horrockses, and I suppose this blog posts as both a plea for anyone who owns/ has owned certain dresses and also providing some more information on the brand.

Horrockses during the 40s and 50s employed a large number of different designers to create their printed textiles, some such as Eduardo Paolozzi created only a few desings, whilst others, such as Pat Albeck and Graham Sutherland created huge numbers of designs for the company. Some designers, Albeck is a great example, have a very distinctive illustrative style which can be quickly recognised. Although others output and style was more varied. I know that some of the print designers worked on commissions for the fashion designers at the company (a lobster print created for John Tullis by Pat Albeck is a particular favourite of mine).

A typically Albeck design.

Although I have come across a large number of print designers for Horrockses  a chance search on twitter a few weeks ago turned up researchers gold.

One of the most special Horrockses I have is one printed with “Elizabeth Regina 1953”. Tht tweet related to this very print. The print was designed by Margaret Meades who worked freelance for Horrockses. Her designs weere mostly used in the early years of Horrockses fashions (late forties early fifties). 

Margaret trained at  Manchester College of Art where on graduating she continued to lecture for many years. Margaret was also a member of the Society of Industrial Artists.




Here are a few more of Margaret’s designs which were kindly sent to me by her daughter. It would be great if anyone has the original dresses, so that they can be compared to her designs.

The print above has to be my favourite by Meades, and is also very familiar, I feel sure I have seen this one before!


If you would like to find out more about Margaret Meades do visit the website

http://highlandpaintingandprints.co.uk/index.html

Also! If you have orignal dresses that feature any of the prints i have shown please do send me pics.

liztregenza@hotmail.com

A quick note: All of these designs were sold to Horrockses, but they were not necessarily produced. As I explained in my post for Unmaking things Horrockses always overpurchased on textile designs to retain their design prestige.

You can read my post on Horrockses and marketing here