Friday, 14 March 2014

H is for Horrockses


I was having a mooch last weekend on the lovely Vix's online emporium of gorgeous vintage delights aka: Kinky Melon's Retro Boutique when I saw this stunning Horrockses Fashions blouse, full of vibrant colours and flowery-ness. It didn't just say 'Buy Me' it damn well shouted it out! So without any hesitation dear reader, I brought it.


The floral design looked familiar to me and after a quick check in the Horrockses fashion lovers bible I realised that my hunch was right: the design was by Alastair Morton who contributed many textile designs to Horrockses from the late 1940s through until the mid 1950s. With its stylised botanical flowers and bright bands this blouse typifies Morton's early designs.


Funnily enough, I drove up to Preston in Lancashire late last year (home to both Horrockses Fashions and its parent company Horrockses Crewdson & Company Limited) to see family and also visit the city's Harris Museum. I wanted to do a bit of research for an article I was writing and knew that the museum has a permanent display about the company's history and also a collection of Horrockses Fashions garments. Coincidentally, the museum was holding an exhibition at the time showcasing some Horrockses dresses and also a very important discovery.

This discovery turned out to be a cache of Horrockses Fashion's textile and dress designs that had been hidden away for decades. It included many 'new' textile designs that even the museum's fashion curator wasn't aware of; all catalogued in a series of books that included for each design: a fabric swatch, a pencil sketch of the garment it was intended for and a studio photo of the dress sample. Something as rare as this has a commercial value so no doubt plenty of people would have been interested in it for the textile designs alone; however luckily for textile and fashion history fans and last but not least Preston's local history, this precious collection is now in the safe hands of the Harris Museum - where it belongs.

I found the exhibition fascinating and the detail in the pencil sketches was amazing, although my photos don't do them justice as it was a bit tricky trying to take them without the glare from the lighting obscuring the shot. However, enjoy the selection below and if you're ever in the area I can definitely recommend a visit to the Harris Museum.

(P.S. If you want another reason to visit Preston, it also has superb charity shops too as I found to my joy....here)









21 comments :

  1. Oh VK, your blouse is scrumptious and those Horrockses dresses a delight! Mmmmm Preston and its charity shops eh? I'll bear that one in mind when we next go up north. xx

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    1. If you go to Preston on a Saturday go and visit the covered market. It has all the usual market stalls such as clothes and sweets etc. but there are also secondhand stalls too where bargains can be found!

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  2. I love your blouse. If my mum wanted something special to wear she always went for Horrockses first. Preston must have changed in ten years, My son Robert went to the University of Lancaster Preston. The secondhand stalls were great though.
    Julie xxxxx

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    1. I can see why your mum choose Horrockses first; their dresses were amazing and the prints so fresh.

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  3. Those dresses are stunning. glad I wasn't around then, those waistbands!!!!!!!!!

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    1. Their waists were tiny weren't they? My mum has some photos of her in the 50s and her waist was so small - unfortunately that genetic attribute passed me by in the womb!

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  4. What a lovely top you got - looks fab on! Can't believe I had no idea about this exhibition and I'm only 30 mins drive from it - must rectify this immediately!

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    1. Hi Helen and thanks for your comment, I'm not sure whether the exhibition is still on as it was December when I visited so best check first :-)

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  5. Ha! I love this blouse and I'm so pleased to see it on yer lovely self! Hurrah for Kinky and for Horrockses.
    It's a fab pattern.xx

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  6. Yep, that Horrockses blouse certainly found it's rightful home, you look gorgeous! xxx

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  7. i visited the museum and marvelled at the displays too.
    Love from Mum
    xx

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    1. The cafe at the museum isn't bad either!

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  8. Those dresses are so lovely. Your blouse really suits you, it's so cheery.

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  9. Replies
    1. They are aren't they? I particularly like the yellow flower sample, I bet that looked stunning!

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  10. Hello again ,,
    Ooh , that blouse is smashing ,,
    I'm pretty sure this may have been part of shorts set , beach wear etc ,, wow ! wouldn't it be good to find the matching shorts and bather , i'm lucky enough to have a dress , bather and shorts in a simular print , cost me a bomb though,, will keep my little eyes peeled for you
    looks great on you liza
    Love Rachel xx

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    1. Thanks Rach. Yes it would be amazing to find the swimsuit and shorts to match! Better get looking!

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  11. Wow this museum sounds amazing! But Preston is too far from London where I'll spend a week for french springbreak. But I'm happy to see those beautiful dresses
    xxx
    Ally

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