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Horrockses Fashions at the Fashion & Textile Museum

by laurie
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Courtesy of Collection of Richard Dennis

Looking for some inspiration for your summer florals? Go have a look at the new exhibition held by the Fashion Textile & Museum, opening 9th July, Horrockses Fashions – Off the Peg Style in the ’40s and ’50s.

Cotton print sundresses made Horrockses Fashions Limited one of the most respected ready-to-wear labels of the 1940s and 1950s, acclaimed by the press, including publications like Drapers’ Record that commended at the time  ‘their cotton frocks for their superb cut, good colours and unusual designs.’  The full-skirted dresses were made from the finest cotton textiles, treated with a special finish and produced in limited quantities to maintain a certain idea of exclusivity. Very popular among women of every social class, they were also often worn by members of the British Royal family. 

This new exhibition at the Fashion & Textile Museum will draw together fashion photography, archive material, personal stories and obviously beautiful summer dresses, as well as glamorous evening gowns, from private and public collections, to tell the story of the company, its role in post-war British fashion and the link between couture and ready-to-wear clothes over these two decades. It is also meant, through the wealth of materials available, to explore the links between manufacturing, design, and the emergence of ‘brands’. 

Christine Boydell, curator of the exhibition said:  ‘The success of Horrockses Fashions was due to a significant marriage of traditional know-how and fashionable innovation. The concept for the label demanded careful management of the balance between the practicalities of the ready-to-wear business and the creativity of the designers who would provide the up-market fashion upon which the brand was promoted. Something they pulled off with great success.’

Horrockses Fashions – Off the Peg Style in the ’40s and ’50s is accompanied by a book of the same name by the curator Christine Boydell and published by V&A publishing, and a number of great talks and workshops complement the exhibition.

Laurie Guillem

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