While Gunne Sax and Jessica McClintock enjoy more notariety and certainly more "collectibility" in the vintage universe, I count Laura Ashley right in there with them on my list of "1970s - 1980s ultra romantic & feminine over -the-top girly-girl dresses".
While Gunne Sax is noted for gauzy, lacy Victorian revival and Renaissance style gowns, and Jessica McClintock for the heavy taffeta, satin and velvet evening wear and ball gowns, Laura Ashely's designs can be easily distinguished by their floral cotton prairie style and 50's styled frocks for both girls and women.
I love the Laura Ashely's story. While she was working and raising two children, she began designing prints for scarves and napkins and the like, and her husband printed them on linen using a machine set up in the attic of their apartment. This was in the late 1950s.
The scarves took off and were being sold in stores, and the business grew, and grew some more, until her designs were being sold world wide and the family moved the business to France.
I have always adored Laura Ashely bedding and linens as well as her delightful fashion designs. I don't very often find Laura Ashely clothing in my inventory buying, as it was an English company, and I suppose not a lot of stores carried their items in the US.
One such item was this 1980s dress I bought a year or so ago. I had it altered down to fit me, and had the skirt brought up to my natural waist. Then I wore it to a friend's wedding and have not worn it since.
I kind of went though a stage that summer where I was trying to "get into" wearing vintage costumes all the time like some bloggers who I admire that wear full vintage regalia every day of their life. I thought if I made an effort I could "get into" it as well. I figured if I was selling it, I needed to wear it!
But it is just not me. I can't do crinolines and cute vintage dresses every day. I have determined that I am just not going to be able to dress like Betty Draper on a daily basis.It's not "my style".
So while I had a lot of fun wearing the dress, I don't plan on wearing it ever again and it takes up a lot of room and I'd like someone else to enjoy it.
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