This is the fourth and final part of my amazing trip last week to help M sort out her collection of vintage clothing
Horrockses Fashions’ first collection launched in April 1946 included ‘Dresses, Hostess Gowns and Beach Wear all made from Horrockses Fine Cottons’. Cotton was the ideal fabric for summer-wear and as the sale of the parent company’s cotton cloth was the reason the Fashions brand was created – it made perfect sense to produce collections of beach wear too which were included in collections from the very beginning. Here we see an outfit from their 1947 collection in a Picture Post piece (top right) from May of that year and some examples from the late 1940s.
M’s collection includes Horrockses Fashions’ beachwear from the 1950s. The most stunning is this playsuit that was included in the exhibition at the Fashion & Textile Museum in 2010. Made from white cotton pique with a small repeating design in blue – the suit has a coordinated jacket, which was a common feature of this kind of ensemble.
The button-through skirts produced by Horrockses provided the perfect cover-up for beach clothing and leisure wear.
There are a few unpicked outfits, for example, this red ensemble with an overdress.
Horrockses Fashions produced a number of designs using towelling fabric as can be seen in the pink and white spotted beach robe. The candy striped stole in cotton from 1956 sports a capacious fringed pocket (it bears the Horrockses Fashions and a size 12 label – why?)
Not everything M has saved is by Horrockses. This exquisite swimsuit with embroidered flowers has no label and was discovered in the attic. It has never been worn as M thought it was just too beautiful.
Well this ends the Kid in a Sweet Shop adventure – I can’t imagine ever repeating the experience. Now the real work starts, some of M’s collection will find its way into a number of museums, some will be sold and some will be kept and treasured. I hope in time to be able to record which items will be accessible in museum collections and I also hope to be able to publish contemporary photographs of the garments being worn – so watch this space.