In the past few weeks I’ve done what can only be described as “a bit of a whoops” and purchased quite a few more Horrockses. This always seems to happen when I sell a few, that a sudden flurry of the beauties come into my collection.
So first off a quick share of my three most recent purchases:
This little number is erm. Not so little! Uber glamorous late 50s cocktail dress which came from Emma Hasell also a HUGE collector of Horrockses.
This one came from found and loved in Cheshire Street, just off Brick lane. I’ve been picking up some good pieces up in Brick Lane again recently after finding everything hugely overpriced for a while prices seem to have calmed down rather. (I can’t remember exactly what I paid but I think it was £40!)
I nicked this picture of me in the dress from Found and Loved instagram.
And my piece de resistance was this Horrockses. It has to come in my top 5 best Horrockses, partially because the print is fantastic and partially because it has a brilliant story. The dress came to me via The Vintage Emporium (just off Brick Lane) and thanks to my ever wonderful friend Naomi Thompson. As soon as I saw the picture on her iphone I HAD to have it, and had a hunch it was an important piece.
For fellow Horrockses obsessives a quick close up look at the print shows you that the dress has clear hallmarks of Alistair Morton, who was a print designer working with Horrockses particularly in the late 40s. The sketchy exuberant take he had on floral patterns helped to move them away from being just florals and into something more abstracted, less twee and with a greater focus on creating “art fabrics” rather than just textiles for dress. The finely drawn flowers seen in these close ups show striking similarities to another of my dresses by him, dating to 1950. But this one, with its printed label is just a little earlier.
The dress with its longer length and slight off the shoulder style has hallmarks of a late 1940s design and that it is, dating to 1948. Rather fortuitously I remembered the dress had appeared in a slightly different colourway at the Horrockses exhibition at the Fashion and Textile Museum back in 2010.
Not only did the dress appear in the exhibition, but there were also Morton’s original sketches and colourways for the print on display. These had been lent for the exhibition by Abbott Hall where the majority of the Edinburgh Weavers archive is held.
There is one last detail about the dress though that takes it from the realms of “special” to “super special”
Yep. That’s Queen Mary holding the corner of a dress in the same print as mine. The image comes from 1948 when Queen Mary visited the Horrockses headquarters on Hannover square. Pretty special right?
Now to go and hunt out the 1948 Vogues to see if I can find it there at all too!