Romantic, ultra feminine, steeped in history and covered in diminutive flowers.
It’s always a thrill to get vintage Laura Ashley – it’s so easy to be drawn in by the earthy colours, freshness, excess and the strong streak of nostalgia.
The company began in the 1950s when Laura and her husband Bernard printed scarfs from their London flat to sell in boutiques. From the start the aesthetic was rooted in the past and offered a celebration of country living.
Things really moved on when they opened a factory and design studio in Carno in Wales in 1961. Laura had an instinct for forecasting trends as well as a feel for coordinating fabric and colour.
As the skirts were getting shorter on the Kings Road, Laura was producing a romantic alternative. She recognised that most people did not want to spend their lives in mini skirts and that fewer could pull off the look!
In the 1960s and early 1970s there was a trend for the return of the free flowing, romantic and historical. Laura Ashley dresses had a rural, old-fashioned feel, and were right in step with the craze for nostalgia. The dresses were made from the textiles printed by the company, and the designs were often modern interpretations of antique prints.
The first Laura Ashley lorry was designed with bold 60s lettering, it would travel down from Wales to London where it would be mobbed by excited customers waiting for new styles to arrive.
As fashion moved on during the 1980s the sprigged dresses were often styled with DM’s in a deliberate mix of opposing trends. Early designs remain attractive today, the garments have a comfortable elegance that suits most people.
For this post Rose teamed a soft floral dress with a faux leather jacket, boots and a wide brimmed hat. Appropriately we took the photographs on a stroll in Bridport, Dorset.