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The Wardrobe conversations with collectors Saskia Barlow

The Wardrobe conversations with collectors Saskia Barlow

Introduction Object


Alasdair Peebles – Historical Boyswear Deborah Woolf (Synopsis) – Costume Jewellery and Accessories Joan Benham (Synopsis) – Designer Shoes

Brands Alexandre Stefani – Versace Liz Tregenza – Horrockses Seth Bradley – Moschino

History Rebecca Shawcross (Synopsis) – The History of Shoes William Banks-Blaney – 100 years of Haute Couture Cleo and Mark Butterfield (Synopsis) – 100 years of Affordable Vintage



16 18 44 48

52 54 64 90

102 104 108 138


Geoffrey Marsh (Synopsis) – David Bowie


Susan Rogers (Synopsis) – Personal Collection


Kate Bethune (Synopsis) – The 80s ‘Club to Catwalk’


Image List Bibliography, Further Reading and Useful Links Acknowledgements

160 164 166

Interior of WilliamVintage, London

Preface “You know the greatest thing is passion, without it what have you got?�

Diana Vreeland

Vintage Moschino fabric print

Introduction ‘Collecting is in the air’ Alasdair Peebles - private collector While the subject of material culture has been

We live in a world where there are things everywhere,

researched extensively, collecting studies as a separate

and some might think that it is just a world of excess

subject is relatively new. The interesting thing about

and materialism. As anthropologist Daniel Miller

collecting is that the story of an object begins long

discovered in his book, The Comfort of Things, people

before it features in a collection. Every object has a

who have an intense relationship and connection to

past of its own, a life that has culminated in its being

objects have more fulfilling relationships with other

collected, whether in a museum, or as part of an

people. It seems that that it is based more on value

individual’s private collection. Often the path is rocky,

than on merely possessing. Museums and other formal

with value being the main fluctuating variable: what is

collecting institutions are one way to see historical

one person’s rubbish might be someone else’s treasure.

objects, but without that human interaction, they are

Ultimately, the meaning of these objects evolves over

just objects, sometimes taken out of context or even

time, depending on surroundings and situations, which

not on show at all, but left to remain in storage. By

is why museums and galleries are endlessly popular,

looking into the world of these collectors, one can see

and why collectors rarely find an end point to their

not only pieces of history, but of feelings, emotions


and a glimpse into what makes these people tick, because it is not just an accumulation of things, it is an

As a discourse, Collecting has been discussed at

extension of themselves.

length, with scholars such as Jean Baudrillard noting the difference between possession and usage. When

People engage with objects in a different way from the

something is collected, it is no longer utilised, so its

way they engage with words, so to be able to see and

value and meaning come entirely from the subject.

relate to an object is a more personal and enriching


experience than just reading or being told about it. It is

time, the act of collecting spread from being carried

often the stories that come with an object that intrigue

out just for academic purposes to being carried out

people today, and is a key reason why people collect.

for personal reasons. Cabinets of curiosities are a

Sentimental items are often kept because emotion

well-known phenomenon, beginning as a vehicle for

is projected onto them – the memory of a deceased

showing off exotic items collected to be admired,

loved one might be encapsulated within a piece of

but becoming, as the years went by, a great fashion.

jewellery, which ultimately brings comfort and solace

Often containing a range of items including preserved

through making the loved one immortal. Nostalgia is

fish, stuffed birds and animals, they offered a way for

key, with many people keeping baby clothes or a lock

individuals to make sense of a world that was growing

of hair, old photographs or love letters, and although

before their eyes. How people connect with things

most people wouldn’t say they are actively collecting,

offers insight into human behaviour, through which

it inhabits a similar idea of documenting history in a

the range of connections between objects and human

personal and particular way, turning the everyday

ideas, values and even emotions is displayed.

person into a cultural anthropologist. Personal collecting in the past would rely on processes Collecting







such as auctions, gifts and personal sales. Mary

significantly from the sixteenth century, when the

Antoinette is one person who was well known for

activity of collecting first exploded in Europe. A quest

her wardrobe, as she was dubbed ‘Madame Déficit’

for knowledge through the study of objects and human

as a result of her outrageous spending habits. Sadly,

behaviour was key to keep scholars at the forefront of

most of her vast dress and shoe collection was lost

research, which complemented the flourishing trading

or destroyed in the French Revolution, although a few

empires that proved vital for a collecting culture. Over

items of jewellery and scraps of fabric from garments

Navy blue corduroy suit, made to fit a 3 year old. c. 1900


Image from the David Bowie Is exhibition 2013 Š Victoria and Albert Museum, London


she owned have gone on to sell for thousands at

allows people to buy and sell from all over the world.

auction. One pair of Mary Antoinette’s green silk

Liz Tregenza, a seller and collector featured in The

slippers were sold in 2012 in Paris at auction for

Wardrobe, does the majority of her selling online, and

€50,000 (five times the expected cost). They were

although it may have its downside, (for example, there

included in an auction that featured more than 350

might be more of gamble when it comes to quality),

historical items belonging to various French royal

she knows it’s where the future of modern collecting

families. Often items throughout history have only

lies. It is simply evolving with the times, and because

survived because pieces are given as presents to

people want their results quicker than ever before,

servants. These slippers were no exception, due to the

online trading has widened the door of opportunity.

queen’s manservant, Alexandre-Bernard Ju-Des-Retz passing them on to his descendants. Even today, the

In The Wardrobe, the term ‘collector’ groups together

most amazing and high-quality pieces are from private

those who source, curate and trade fashion and

estates and old personal collections, auctioned off to

accessories as well as private collectors. These people

other collectors and museums.

all inhabit a passion and knowledge that surpasses facts from books. Through the fetish of difference

Although auctions are still taking place and estates

and possession, each subject collected becomes as

are still being sold, there is the newer phenomenon of

important as the next, due to the value projected onto

online selling that is dominating the modern collecting

the items by each collector. It is on the border of public

world. The collector of today might rely on the likes of

and private spheres, allowing the collector to curate

eBay in order to find unusual things at more affordable

and create something that is personal to them. Each

prices. Well-respected traders are using these outlets

collector has spent years and years of researching,

due to ease; many prefer a personal touch and it

learning and acquiring the experience to make them


self-taught experts. The experience gained makes

to take on, with many featuring rules such as a piece

them a unique and valuable resource to museums

of clothing must have all the relevant documentation

and academic researches alike. Most of the featured

and provenance. It is no surprise that this often means

people in The Wardrobe are involved with museums

that immaculate examples of historical clothing

in one way or another, whether they are buying from,

have to be overlooked, but luckily that might mean

lending to or even assisting curators on exhibitions.

a collector can snap up something special. Museums

Museums have a duty to educate, whereas a collector

and collectors come hand in hand, with museums

just has the privilege to enjoy. Passion is the glue that

currently using the collectors’ expertise like never

holds a collection together, and it is that that each

before. The Wardrobe plans to unlock these collector’s

collector has in abundance.

passions and pay tribute to some of these vastly under valued people, because ultimately, museums and their


The subject of acquisition policies and rules

collections sadly only represent a tiny morsel of what

surrounding museums is a theme running throughout

historical treats are out there. These collectors love

The Wardrobe, but although this might be a burden

the thrill of the chase, the excitement of what hasn’t

in some cases, it also allows historical items to enter

been found yet is what drives many of them to keep

the everyday world; It makes the resources that

adding to what they have. There is always one thing

collectors buy from richer. Often there are old rules

they are looking for to make what they already have

and regulations regarding what a museum is allowed


Molly Parnis silk column dress, c. 1967.

Although collectors, such as Charles Saatchi, demonstrate a successful collection that is widely regarded as an insight into objects, it is the small time collectors that offer a more interesting and intimate narrative because it borders on the edge between the private and the public. As Alasdair Peebles, a private collector, states, “It is something to do with particularity and individualism. It’s a way in which people can express subjectivity through activity and engage with the past.� They are objects put together by a personal influence and fantasy, proving no two collection is the same. Collecting is an extension of the self, of the identity of the collector in both emotion and in material terms. The value and nostalgia received from objects spurs them on, fueling the endless pursuit for the next item. The Wardrobe lifts the lid on a range of collectors of fashion and accessories, so in addition to a few private collectors, there are also a number of passionate traders who inhabit this compulsion, and share the same keen eye for detail. The Wardrobe aims to tell the story of vintage and historical fashion, not through the eyes of book smart historical institutions, but the individual people who know their chosen subject intimately, due to the sheer amount of items that have passed through their hands over the years. For it is them that have an overwhelming and undeniable relevance that exists far beyond the boundaries of museum policies.


Utility suit, 1945-52


Object Alasdair Peebles: Historical Boyswear

Deborah Woolf: Costume Jewellery and Accessories

Joan Benham: Designer Shoes 17


Alasdair Alasdair Peebles is the owner of an unlikely Aladdin’s

Over the years, private researcher Alasdair has put

cave hidden away in the heart of London Bridge. With

together a rich and vast collection that aims to prove

his museum standard storage units nestled in his flat,

that boyswear is as worthy of attention as any other

his collection of historical and vintage boyswear is a

subject in fashion history. It is a surprisingly elegant

unique and unusual source of reference. Boyswear

and underestimated field, fighting its corner against

as a subject is severely overlooked and is something

museums and acquisition policies, and although there

that deserves some real recognition. It is always easy

has not been a book yet solely dedicated to boyswear

to focus on the more decorative women’s fashions

throughout history, in no means can it be described as

throughout history, but the various types of clothing for


boys offer something more intricate than first thought.



Alasdair aged seven wearing his Napoleon outfit.

“Collectors have a knowledge that isn’t just facts”

My collection puts the focus on things that have

also an interest of mine - so much so that my Mother

previously been ignored. Although you might say

made me my own Nelson uniform when I was 7. In a

that on paper, womenswear is more decorative and

photo of me in the outfit, you can see me standing

stunning visually than a man’s everyday suit, but

there proud as punch, and I think if you look at that

what people see in museums is a tiny fraction of

photo, almost without words you can see where this

what is out there. Museums produce an extraordinary

collection has come from. So for me I think this has a

dystopia on our view on fashion. Although some of the

certain narcissistic element to it, in a gentle sense, as

clothes I own are less exciting visually, but some are

it is about looking backwards and it is about exploring.

even more beautiful and interesting than you would

From my training as a fine artist, I have always been

imagine. I always found uniforms interesting, from

very visual, and that is why I am interested in, not only

the age of 6 I was obsessed with pictures of soldiers

the clothes, but the representation of the boy. The

in Napoleonic dress. The colours, the detailing and the

clothes are there to be worn, and when you have an

gold lace... I just found them incredibly beautiful. It

image of a boy in these items of clothing, it’s real and

was usually white britches, a blue or a red tunic and


a hat. Naval uniforms, and in particular Nelson, were


A colourful and intricate fancy dress outfit from late 19th to early 19th century. Made in the style of Balkan folk costume, it is in impeccable condition and comes together with matching shoe covers.



This painting of Alexander Constantine Ionides with his Wife and Children by GF Watts (1817-1904) shows a child in an almost identical outfit. The elder child is in a blue version, both complete with the decorative shoe covers. These outfits were chosen to feature in a portrait image to show the pride the family took in its origins.



This illustration and photograph depicts the elusive Norfolk Suit. A garment that, although it was widely worn over a substantial period of time, is impossible to find today. Perhaps due to the quality, material or just the fact that most children owned one, parents didn’t see it special enough to keep.


I like to collect clothing that was worn by boys of

I try to avoid infant clothing because it has a different

around 6 or 7 to around 12 or 13, because when

sense about it, but my favourite ones are garments

you get any older it is difficult to decipher between

that are miniaturisations of older boys’ clothes. If I can

teenage clothing and men’s clothing. School age items

find something that is like a man’s suit but in a tiny size

are so rare, especially if you were to go back to 1850s.

then I am won over by it.


Because I have been collecting for so long, my habits

Most people at the beginning of a collection tend to

have evolved and changed over time. The last item I

collect everything in order to build it up. They are

bought was a Turkish fancy dress outfit. It is in the style

trying to create bulk, and when I personally was at

of Balkan folk costume and is extremely difficult to

that point I found that when I did discover something,

date but it is probably late 19th or early 20th century,

would unearth lots of them. In my case, I found a great

due to finding a beautiful painting from 1840 that

deal of mid 20th century utility period pieces. In recent

features a child in the exact outfit. I love those little

times I have tried to compact down my utility clothing,

coincidences like when you find a photograph or an

but I kept the pieces that were in the best condition

image that links to what you have collected; it is the

and that were most idiomatic. Recently my collection

researcher’s recognition and confirmation.

has slowed, mainly because the things that I want and don’t have, there is a reason for that. My dream would be that I was omniscient and all seeing, but of course that isn’t a reality!


A white summer outfit with matching jacket c.1860. Most probably worn to the beach or similar outing, many don’t realise that younger boys wore dresses. Complete with perfect Russian braiding, that would have matched the outfit worn by the child’s mother.



Louis wears french wool jacket and cotton velvet breeches c.1790. The cut of the jacket with military inspired buttoned lapels belongs uniquely to this moment of the sans culotte and revolutionary fashion. Identical jackets were also worn by adult men.

What is your Holy Grail?

school. They were just ubiquitous. They probably

There is something called a Norfolk Suit, which

special items, so the everyday items get lost. Sailor

was a simple plain brown woolen suit with subtle

suits are always kept by families for example. No one

detailing. They are just everywhere in images, in both

saw beauty in the everyday garments, because they

photographs and paintings. I collect photographs

aren’t much to look at, which is really why most male

and images of historical clothing too, so it is only

collectors collect female dress. It is obviously much

systematic that a lot of them feature boys in these

closer to the notions of artistry and creativity, in both

suits. I have never found one in all my years of

in form and textile content, (unless you are collecting

searching, but because of how much they feature in

from 18th century when menswear does have those

images I know they were worn. I have learnt that they

qualities too), but lots of male clothing since 1800 has

were worn with minor adaptations, that reflected the

very little aesthetic. It certainly has an anesthetic, but

class system. They were worn by the boy who lives

it’s plain, simple, self effacing and modest - but those

in the country estate in Norfolk and they were also

are the values that they wanted to show, because that

worn by the East End boy who attends the local board

is what masculinity was in the 19th century.

haven’t lasted because people only tend to keep


Brown utility suit, c. 1945-52. Worn with a white shirt and a blue tie, decorated with cartoons of jockeys and horses. After downsizing his utility items collection, Alasdair has kept the best quality and most represented pieces.

Aside from the elusive suit, when buying new items for the collection I look for two things - they initially sound contradictory, but curiously they aren’t. I look to fill gaps in my collection and I also look to add pieces to areas of existing strength. It is up to you to guide your collection, and although information and context is good, it sometimes isn’t reliant on that. Consequently, a lot of the pieces I have don’t have provenance, but then again it allows me to go off and do the research myself, and that is really how you gain knowledge. The problem with boyswear is that there is not one book out there specifically on boyswear, so I have had to build up a connoisseurship myself.


Sailor hat dating to around 1912. Typically worn alongside a sailor suit, they were popular for occasion wear.

Without the information available from books, the

could see that it has been seamed then that is another

knowledge I have has been built up through exposure

alarm bell, as it would have just been course cut. Things

over time to real objects, that allows you to get a

like that I only know due to going to auction houses

sense of how an object is. For example, you might

and learning through experience. Aside from this, the

see a garment on eBay that claims to be one thing,

real problem is when you come across something so

but because a collector has seen so many things in

atypical that you haven’t seen anything like it before.

the flesh they will know that it isn’t accurate. There

That can take a few years to find out what it is. I have

could be a garment that is advertised as an early 19th

a number of items in my collection that are enigmas

century coat, but through time you get to know details

- I just don’t know what they are. Collectors do like

that prove it wrong. If I could see it was fully lined I

things that they recognise, because it means they are

would know it wouldn’t be accurate, as it would only

characteristic of the times.

have some lining in the sleeves and a bit elsewhere. If I


A unique and decorative tunic made for a 3 year old. Dated 1825 at the time just after the Napoleonic war, this item is still in perfect condition and one of Alasdair’s favourite pieces in his collection.


How do you use your collection?

up borrowing a number of different things for the exhibition, including a trade catalogue, a duffle coat,

I try to get the word out by doing talks, to let people

a pair of sandals and a few other things. She said I

know I am open to lending out pieces to museums or

helped her quite a lot in the end, and it only became

for TV opportunities. I did lend some utility clothing

apparent to me at the time, because I was having to

to the Museum of London, through a chance meeting

pull a lot of things together for her, with very specific

with Beatrice, who is the Senior Curator of Fashion

requests. They know the framework and the structure

and Decorative Arts. I mentioned that I had a lot of

of the exhibitions, so it enables you as a collector to

boyswear from a certain time period and it just so

be able to get stuck in providing them with the right

happened that a week later she was contacted by

things. Collectors have knowledge that isn’t just facts,

a curator from MOMA [Museum of Modern Art] in

but they have a tendency of knowing other people

New York who was putting together an exhibition

that might have or know something you don’t.

on childhood: ‘A Century of Childhood’. She ended


A rare survival of an item worn extensively by boys (typically aged between five and thirteen years) from the 1830s through to the late 1850s. Stamp inside reads “As exhibited at the Great Exhibition of 1851”. The crown is made from horsehair and it has a japanned peak. The tassel and overall style borrows heavily from military head dress.

Collectors are sometimes overlooked and patronised,

contents of the museum in the next couple of years

but most of the time curators are happy to admit to

or so, so it will only be then when she will begin to

the fact that they can’t know about everything, and

engage and get to know what is there. Collectors

that they do in fact rely a lot on people who have

are looked upon with some degree of envy I believe,

these specialist interests. It strikes me that people

because what curator wouldn’t want to spend more

working in museums are spread so thin, that you don’t

time with their collections? Sadly it’s only a portion of

get the old fashioned type of curator that knew their

their job description.

collection very well and have spent years with it. Today


you get curators that don’t spend any time with their

Collectors know their subject inside and out and up

collections, taking things out of boxes or handling

and down, more so than museums. They might have

them, so they increasingly rely on collectors. I would

a lot of knowledge, but it won’t be situated in such a

love to have indulgent meetings with a curator - in

precise and thorough way. There should be more of an

particular the new curator at Bethnal Green Museum

interaction between collectors and museums, because

of Childhood. Has she got the time to do that? No

we have got so much to get from each other, it is not

probably not. She will probably start recataloguing the

one way traffic.



The jumper dates from the 1930s and is a genuine hand knit Fair Isle. Made very popular in the 1920s by Edward Prince of Wales. “This one belonged to my father and is wonderful quality, quite simply one of the most exceptional Fair Isles I have ever seen.” Alasdair

What keeps you interested after so many years?

My collection keeps my passion ticking over, with

It’s the thrill of the chase. It’s an important thing for

around unarticulated fantasies... Mine is anyway. My

collectors. You tend to ask yourself questions like

favorite pieces are the ones that embody and connect

“Why did you buy that”? There is always a degree

with images I collect. It’s hard to pin point what that

of questioning in any creative enterprise; a sort of

is exactly because it is my notion of historical and

restlessness. There are a few items in my collection

vintage boyswear; my notion of what was worn in a

that would feed my soul forever, but in a collection

certain period. An example of one ‘fantasy’ is that for

they are objects... The thing with clothes is that there

a long time I was looking for sweaters with patterns

is no one wearing them when they are stored. It’s

knitted into the collars, because I found countless

just not right! That is why they look best on a model.

photographs of boys wearing them. In order to make

Clothes can be presented as object but are they? Some

that picture a reality I had to find those pullovers - and

have sculptural or detailing beauty but without those

I did! To view my collection is like taking a glimpse

things it is more of a struggle.

into my personality.

the hope that I will find the few items I am looking for. People have collections because they are shaped


These shoes are extremely tiny, the 50p piece shows the scale and narrow shape of the shoe. It is not clear whether they would have been worn by boys or girls. Dated to the 1830s, they are an unusual, rare and interesting item in the collection.


Louis wears a French silk dress outfit, c. 1760s. One of the more damaged yet valuable pieces in the collection, it displays a beautiful pattern and detail.



Detail of French silk dress jacket. c. 1760s


Deborah Woolf


Deborah Woolf is a successful vintage fashion collector

experience at MTV UK, she spent her time writing and

who owns Deborah Woolf Vintage in London. She

directing image campaign and trailers.

sources props, styles outfits and sells a vast variety of


vintage items, but is particularly famous for her vintage

Today, Deborah offers many different services, including

costume jewellery collection. Deborah has collected

working alongside stylists and fashion designers,

clothing, textiles, ceramics and antiques since she was

sourcing vintage for clients, and hiring different items

a small child. Her love for trading began in her teenage

for advertising campaigns. She also frequently sources

years, where she sold pieces at the Sunday stalls at the

one off or rare pieces personally, by taking the time to

old Swiss Cottage market in London, before moving to

find the best possible result. Although she collects a

Camden Market a few years later. As things progressed,

range of items, from Vintage clothing, accessories &

Deborah moved into the world of TV and film, where

textiles, to home-made objects and folk art, she has a

she worked for many years on TV adverts, music

real interest with unusual print design and jewellery.

videos, branding and art direction. Boasting 9 years of

Deborah specialises in unique and striking costume



jewellery from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. She also has a huge personal collection of costume jewellery in a wide range of materials, including acrylic glass, enamel and unique metals. Some of these are by a range of top designers, and some are, as Deborah describes them, ‘unsigned wonders’ of a particular period. Figural brooches, bracelets and pendants also feature heavily in her collection. Examples of these were sourced by Deborah for sale at the V&A Museum shop to accompany the V&A ‘Cold War Modern’ exhibition from 2008 - 2009. The majority of these were dynamic pieces of jewellery from the 1960s and 1970s, there to reflect the exciting aesthetic of the period. This was the second time Deborah has offered her services to the V&A Museum, due to the success of the items that were sourced and supplied to coincide with the 2007 - 2008 exhibition ‘The Golden Age of Couture 1945-55’, with original vintage 1940s and 1950s shoes, magazines, jewellery, bags and scarves that were sold in the museum shop. After the first exhibition at the V&A, things really started to take off for Deborah, when she opened Deborah Woolf Vintage. The unique thing about the store is that, first and foremost, Deborah is a collector. She prides herself on not being just a ‘resale shop or a dress agency’, as she states: “I don’t take things on commission or buy in bulk; I handpick everything.” Favourite items from her collections include a Jean Muir mini suede dress from the 1960s and a leopard print Biba jacket from the 1970s. Deborah states “All the male pop stars from that era, like Marc Bolan and Brian Eno were seen wearing this signature Biba-style jacket with their platform shoes and skinny flared pants.”



Joan Benham

Every woman has heard of Manolo Blahnik. He is

including ‘Lara’, which are 13 years old but still in great

the legendary shoe designer who catered to Carrie

condition. When in doubt, I wear Lara.” Joan owns a

Bradshaw’s every need, supplying the set of Sex and the

few well known pairs, including the pair made famous

City with its enviable collection of heels. For many, the

by the Sex and the City movie - named ‘Something

hopes of owning a pair is merely a dream, but there is one

Blue’. Worn by Carrie Bradshaw in her wedding to Mr

lady situated in South London who hoards an impressive

Big, the blue stilettos were the statement to all hopeless

and jealousy enduing collection. Joan Benham is on first

romantics that love conquers all.

name terms with Blahnik himself, due to creating a


personal archive that sometimes even the man himself

Engrained in her memory, Joan is sure that she can name

needs access to. As Joan tells the Telegraph, “The first

each and every single pair by name. Her love evolved

pair of Manolos I bought were called ‘Lara’ - they were

from always being drawn to shoes over clothes, with

black and very high. I’d seen them in Vogue, but never

the addiction starting at the likes of Russell and Bromley

considered myself the sort of person who bought

and Charles Jourdan. After discovering the quality and

expensive shoes. I rang the shop and hung up three

comfort of Manolos, she rarely wears anything else.

times before enquiring about them, because I thought

It is the unique and unusual designs that keeps Joan

the assistants might laugh at me. Now I own 356 pairs,

returning again and again. She believes that Blahnik is


Manolo Blahnik ‘Something Blue’ - made famous by Carrie Bradshaw in the first Sex and the City movie.

the brand that is old fashioned and still independent to

Along with the pairs that Joan wears everyday, she

trends - something that she values highly. Joan states,

also has acquired pieces that are so special that they

“I’ve met Manolo a number of times and he’s an adorable

are only enjoyed visually. “I have a few pairs I probably

man. I’ve been to book signings and events. He made

haven’t worn, and some I purposefully won’t wear -

a pair of shoes for me as a gift for my 50th birthday:

Mr Blahnik made all the shoes for Sofia Coppola’s film

yellow sandals called ‘Urang’. When Mr Blahnik was

Marie Antoinette, and afterwards I bought them all.

illustrating one of his books he asked to borrow a pair

People tell me I should put them on eBay, but I’d like

I owned called ‘Chesner’, because he didn’t have them

to keep them for ever and pass them on. I don’t have

anymore.” This illustrates that sometimes even the

children, but my husband has nieces.”

source doesn’t hang on to pieces.


Manolo Blahnik ‘Lara’

Mrs Benham keeps all her shoes in the correct boxes,

Blahnik exhibition at the Design Museum and I wore a

that are due to be moved into a new shoe room. They

pair of shoes called Oscar. A lady who worked at the

are kept in immaculate condition - she tries “not to

Blahnik factory in Italy pointed at my feet and said, ‘I

stomp” when wearing a pair. The team at Manolo

made those shoes.’” Joan hopes to take her love of shoes

Blahnik considers Joan as a key and important client, so

to the grave with her - the last time she met Mr Blahnik

when she visits the store on the first day of each season,

she asked him to design and make a personalised pair

(in both January and August), when the new deliveries

for her funeral: “I’m not so sure whether he knew I was

arrive, the new styles are lined up and waiting for her. “I

serious... but I most definitely was!”

know the staff well and have the girls to dinners at my house”, Joan says, “I went to the launch of the Manolo


Liz in Horrockses with a Brigitte Denhert print, 1960.


Brands Alexandre Stefani: Versace

Liz Tregenza: Horrockses

Seth Bradley: Moschino



Alex My collection officially began in 2005, although I used

My first important piece and the one I believe started

to go regularly to Italy in the early 1990s to track

the collection was a Wild Baroque silk shirt. It was an

down discounted Versace pieces, because I could

expensive buy, and when I mentioned to an art curator

never afford the main collection. I would always go

friend that it was so special I probably wouldn’t even

hunting for the free catalogues that would be on offer

wear it, he introduced me to the notion of collecting

from the boutiques, which I also collect now due to

clothes as art. Back then, only Paris and a few other

how many I own.

major cities had fashion museums, but he pointed out that it was a growing field and therefore having a collection might be useful to them and so potentially it could be an investment.


In the beginning I used to look for good deals, and

particularly rare. I also used to collect items from the

would probably buy a shirt as often as every two or

Versace women’s collection, but at the moment I am

three months, whereas today I tend to save it for the

selling them to be able to invest some more in the

top. I’m not going to lie - I do still enjoy a good deal,

men’s collections. I also used to buy into other areas of

and paying a low price is always a welcome surprise,

the Versace brand, including the second lines such as

but my main interest now is the quality, importance

Versus, Istante and Versatile, but over time my vision

and rarity of the items I collect. Size was something

has narrowed, although occasionally something still

I didn’t worry too much about in the past, but now

will catch my eye if it’s really special.

I only shop for things I myself can wear, unless it is


Alex’s packed wardrobe full of his vintage Versace collection. Alongside his favourite silk shirts are a number of muscle style, geometric and colourful jackets.


It is the colours and the intricate designs that got Alex hooked on Versace, prompting him to take regular trips to Europe from Brazil to find new additions to his collection and everyday wardrobe.

I find pieces in many different places, as they all offer

shirts made with scarves. I do have a great number of

something different. You never know where you might

them, so at the moment I am branching out to other

find something - I have bought from vintage shops,

interesting materials, some of which include rubber,

online, auction houses or just someone selling off their

leather and metal. Some of these less characteristic

own collection. I am always looking for new places and

pieces, I think are also highlights of Gianni Versace’s

opportunities to find items. I have created an online

career as a designer.

community for Versace Vintage Collectors, where I


meet people with similar interests and I often find

My collection is nowhere near finished! There are some

people selling and I have managed to find a number

shirts that I have only seen in catalogues, and some

of pieces that way. I began collecting because I just

that I spent years trying to find after seeing it them

love the different varieties of prints. I personally think

online. Although I do love it when I find a piece that

that the best way to show them off and what were the

I tried on in a boutique decades ago, for a fraction of

most representative of Versace’s work were the silk

the cost today.




A close up of the neckline detailing Alex’s Wild Baroque shirt. It was his first main piece and the beginning of his collection.


I have actually managed to secure my biggest desire

a Versace nut (and who has been going to shows since

- it is a muscle style quilted leather jacket. I own a

the beginning and owns nearly all the catalogues ever

similar one in red and dream of owning one in yellow.

made), to see if he had ever come across them. It took

There is always a list of things that I want and would

him some time but he managed to identify the trousers

honestly spend thousands to get my hands on them.

and sent me the pictures of it. After some searching

There was this one trip I took to Paris in the early

I found a pair on eBay, but initially I was not sure if

nineties, just after the Versace Boutique tour. I was

they were the same ones because although them were

really happy because I had just picked up loads of new

in my size, it stated that the waist measurement was

catalogues, and I saw a man working in a Jean-Claude

in fact 48 inches, until I realised that the pleats and

Jitrois boutique wearing an amazing pair of unusually

drapes would be created by a belt. I reckon that most

draped trousers - they turned out to be Versace. I had

people wouldn’t have recognised them off a model

never seen anything like them anywhere, and just last

due to the unusual look on a hanger - I was the only

year I was describing them to a new friend who is also


I wear my collection everyday, it doesn’t matter how

prints up close, so in a way I am offering knowledge

rare or expensive the item is, I love it and choose to not

to people just from wearing them. Although museums

let it go to waste. Wearing them brings them to life and

are there for education, private collectors have no

gives other people a chance to see something unusual

boundaries, so often the peculiarities of people’s

and so what a genius Gianni Versace was. It surprises

collections are the most interesting part. Also each

people at how contemporary and timeless some of the

piece has a story and a memory, and so it becomes

prints are. Not many people have seen vintage Versace

part of life.



Liz A self taught expert on 1950s Vintage, trader Liz

It follows her interests and research discoveries,

Tregenza has developed her passion for clothes into

as well as documenting the new items regularly

a successful business. She also owns an extensive

joining her collection (with many bought with the

collection of Horrockses dresses, which means she

intention of being sold, but ending up in her wardrobe

gets to spend her time shopping, not only for trade

permanently). Liz’s house in Sutton is bursting treasure

purposes, but for her everyday wardrobe. In addition

chest, with Horrockses dresses and stunning prints

to studying for an MA in History of Design at the Royal

flung over every piece of furniture. Adorned daily in

College of Art, Liz has established herself as a vintage

countless petticoats under her favourite full skirts, Liz

specialist and is in the process of writing her own book.

is a colourful advertisement for the vintage brand and

Her online presence is booming, complete with a blog

her thriving business.

that can get up to an impressive 15,000 hits a month.


Liz in her garden wearing one of her favourite Horrockses dress. This piece is impeccable condition, complete with a Pat Albeck print, c. 1955. Flowers were a typical subject of Pat Albeck, often placed with butterflies to create a feminine and detailed print design.



Horrockses c.1956

My mother and I both collect what she affectionately calls ‘top tat’, which can be anything really, but the primary thing I like the most is clothes. I have items from Victorian times to 1980s retro that I have collected, but my main interest is mid 20th century, so 1940s and 1950s. I love printed cottons, with a focus on Horrockses in particular. I have just set up an Etsy shop to help move some items, because it has got to a point now where I am trying to hone in my collection, and trying to make it slightly more compact. I keep saying I am not going to buy anymore - I got to 50 and said ‘‘I won’t buy anymore’’, got to 60 and said ‘‘I won’t buy anymore’’... and here I am at 66. I was recently asked to be featured on a hoarding television programme, and although I turned it down it definitely made me get rid of a few extra items!


An elegant blue dress that Liz bought in the midst of her blue phase. The dress came with a matching bolero, c. 1955.


‘“When it comes to buying Horrockses I have some kind of weird radar. I can spot one straight off, I don’t have to touch it, it’s just a case of having bought so many.”

Can you remember where it all kicked off for you? I’ve been collecting since I was 7, but I really started collecting vintage around 15, due to a pink Horrockses dress I bought off eBay in 2007. I didn’t really know anything about Horrockses dresses at all, but from buying that one it just sort of snowballed. I started buying before they shot up in price, and got really interested in the brand because of the good condition my first dress was in, which prompted me to buy more. They are all well made and have these fabulous prints, so the more I found out about them the more I fell in love - and the more I bought. I realised that it was relatively easy to track the garments, because they advertised so widely in magazines at the time, there were a lot of surviving garments, and there are great


archives at the V&A. Also, a lot of the designers for Horrockses have worked for big companies, so there is good information out there in that respect too. I think the Horrockses turned into a collection, aside from just loving the dresses, because I could be a historian too. It combines my love for clothes, spending money and history. That is really why I have ended up with so many of them. For my prom I wore a vintage dress, that was the first really lovely piece I had. It was a shift dress from 1961, completely covered in beaded tassels. It was the lady I had bought it off’s favourite party dress. I then went on to buy her dress from her engagement party and the second dress from her wedding. I think that was the thing that kicked off the buying vintage on a big scale: loving the stories behind the garments.


Do you sell any Horrockses?

be, although there is also a fear that I might wear it out. To a certain extent it is inevitable; there will be a day

I did sell one yesterday actually, it went literally within

when you will wear something and it will rip. It’s things

seconds of putting it on my Etsy shop. That made me

like that that make you understand museums, and why

think, “Oh no, should I have done that?”. The reason

they say that things in collections shouldn’t be worn,

I sold that one was because it was similar to one I

but then again a personal collection is different.

already had, and it was too big, so there was not much point in keeping it. I do get quite tempted to sell the

I often buy dresses to sell, then end up keeping them,

plain cotton ones, because once you’ve got a couple,

I think that’s how I’ve ended up with some really

it’s enough, unless it has interesting construction. With

valuable pieces, like I have a couple 1970s Ossie Clark

plain ones, it’s the work of just one person, with printed

dresses. I always seem to buy and keep the later dated

ones you have two. I think that it shows an interesting

items, because I do wonder whether they will go up in

level of history when you have got the two together.

value even further. Items from the 1940s and 50s have

My collection is equally my wardrobe as it’s a private

already hit a good place.

collection. It has become more so now than it used to


Horrockses c. 1955-58. Designed by John Tullis, with a ‘Sophia’ print. Tullis was known for his complex dress patterns, which is due to his training at Molyneux - a couturier in Paris. This is a less complicated design, and this one in particular is a “unit” design: the bodice are made from related but different patterns. This process was used for dresses when quantities were limited. As Liz points out, Tullis was the only fashion designer to ever be credited for his designs. This was probably due to Tullis’ couture credentials, which was also one of the reasons why he was hired in 1950, to bring prestige to the brand. This design has been recently reproduced as a bedding design.

What are you passionate about at the moment?

were both too expensive for me at the time. That’s still

I think it is trying to not buy things that are blue and floral

couple in order to be able to afford it.

something that I really want... I am at a point now that I would spend as much money as I needed to and sell a

- I spent an entire week recently in a different 1940s floral dress every day. It’s just through chance, but I am

Anything Pat Albeck I love, because she was just such

trying actively not to buy anymore blue. I’m into really

an innovative print designer. If I can find anything

strong novelty prints at the moment, and ones with

that include designers or artists outside of the general

people in them. Dancers that you find in American jive

remit I have to have it. I have heard that Lucienne

prints are great; they were popular on British products

Day may have designed some prints for Horrockses.

in the late 1950s. Another dancing themed one I am on

It’s known that Horrockses bought designs off her, but

the hunt for is a Pat Albeck Horrockses with a Sophie

then again they frequently overbought on their prints

Fedorovich print, that has lots of tiny dancers on it.

so they may not have got around to putting them into

Sophie was a theater designer and Pat Albeck turned

production. Eduardo Paolozzi for Horrockses is also a

her designs into prints. I have seen two dresses, but they

desire, but they really are as rare as hen’s teeth.


Horrockses dress c. 1953. The lemon and orange print was designed by Pat Albeck. She also designed a similar one with apples and pears. A relatively new favourite to Liz’s collection, she sometimes wears up to 6 petticoats at any one time to give the full skirts the desired volume.




One unusual thing that I love are Rayne shoes. They did

bad the quality was. It annoys me sometimes when

a collaboration with Wedgewood, so there are Rayne

people make sweeping statements and say “Quality

shoes with beautiful Wedgewood jasper cameos on

was so much better back then” because I have seen

them. I am also still on the hunt for a good 1950s C&A

some really poorly made 50s items that even have shop

dress. I can’t find one anywhere; I think it’s because

labels in them. I want to see just how bad it got even

they were such poor quality they just haven’t lasted.

lower down; was buying a C&A piece the equivalent of

It’s something that I want to look at, to see just how

buying Primark today?

This dress comes together with an image of Queen Mary visiting Horrockses in London, c. 1948. The print is an Alastair Morton design, with an unusual off the shoulder cut.

Queen Mary visiting Horrockses’ London offices 1948 Image courtesy of the Victoria and Albert museum archives, from the Betty Newmarch archive: AAD/1995/16/4/2. From Christine Boydell, (2010). Horrockses Fashions: Off the Peg Style in the Forties and Fifties.




The three different Horrockses labels that spanned 18 years. 1946-52, 1952-58 and 1958-64 respectively.

How do you use your collection, aside from wearing it? I often take some dresses with me when I give a talk. It’s better than just showing a drawing or a picture when talking about fashion of the 40s or the 50s, because people can engage with something physical, rather than just having visuals. My background is working in museums, where I see everything all shut away, which does make me really sad. I know it is essential to conserve garments, but one of the great things in having a personal collection is that I can take it out there, I can get people to engage with it and get people interested. From fashion historian training, I have to say having a personal collection is definitely a good thing, although volunteering at the V&A surprised me in how relaxed they were when handling garments. I suppose if you are allowed to handle things without gloves on, overall you will probably handle the piece less than if you were wearing gloves, because you can’t feel what you are doing. The V&A is great, whereas smaller museums are overly vigilant.


Illustration of a Horrockses dress c.1948.


Horrockses dress, c. 1955. Print designed by Pat Albeck. Although Horrockses used prints from a range of designers, Pat Albeck produced a large amount for the brand. This is a typical Albeck design, with her illustrative style and mixture of flowers and butterflies, it is still in fantastic condition and one of Liz’s favourites.

Do you have to date items you trade or from your collection?

From working for the V&A, I know that they rarely take

Yes, which is a real challenge sometimes, because

overcrowded they don’t want something without

people have always been making things from old

provenance. You also have to think about what

fabric. I think that I’m good at dating things now; I

visitors want to see in exhibitions, but then again if

have handled enough pieces in my time to know. I

they aren’t given the chance, they might not know

have a guidelines that I follow, but when you feel

these other items exist. There is a whole lot of things

something physically in your hands it is very different.

out there that aren’t seen.

anything that is unlabeled. I have some really amazing things that are unlabeled, but because museums are

People often email me asking if I can date things, but you need to see and feel it to be sure. I do pick up

The stories behind the clothes are the most fascinating

a lot of things with provenance, which is great, but

thing - people love to be nosy. I ended up acquiring

at the same time it makes it harder to let an item

one elderly lady’s wedding dress and shoes, and in the

go. You start to worry whether the person you pass

time I bought and received them her daughter told

it onto will bother to remember those tiny details,

me she had passed away. It was really touching and

because I think (coming from a museum background)

sad, and I will never sell those pieces on. Wedding

provenance is something that is important to me

dresses are one thing that I get sent a lot of over the

personally, and some of the earlier collectors such

summer months to sell, but as they sell the best in

as Cecil Cunnington are looked down upon because

winter I end up storing them in huge numbers. It is a

they didn’t log any information. For that reason it is

real fear of mine that I will one day bring home a man

always in the forefront of my mind.

and he will stumble into the room that is stacked full of wedding dresses... He would run a mile!





Liz in Horrockses dress from 1952 with a Pat Albeck Giraffe print.


So what it is about Horrockses specifically that has got you hooked?

difficult to go and talk to people. Luckily I found when

I think it’s about showing off to be honest. I can be a

and why I will never be someone who dresses in just

bit of a snob sometimes - I just love saying “Yes it’s

jeans and a T-shirt. I love seeing my mother squirm

authentic!’’. Quality wise it’s good, and aside from the

and say “What on earth are you wearing?”. That is the

fact that vintage has got a lot more expensive in recent

reaction I hope for from her, although as I get older

times, when I think about what I buy, it works out

she is starting to like more of what I wear... I’m not

cheaper too. From my degree in fashion design, I love

too sure how I feel about that(!). Collecting is a very

to see how clothes are made, and I love just wearing

personal thing, and I am proud of it and enjoy it, as

something a bit different. I was always too lazy to

do my friends when they want to play dress up. One

make my own clothes, so having older clothes like

thing I will admit is there is a hint of embarrassment

these means I can wear something different without

when I take a step back and look at how big it has got

me having to create something. I am also really shy,

- I’ve even had to take the doors completely off the

and was even more when I was younger, so I found it

wardrobe because of the bulge.

I was wearing a 50s dress, often people would come and talk to me. That is definitely a huge thing for me,

Illustration copied from illustration in Vogue, June 1952 of Horrockses dress. Liz notes, the caption of the illustration reads “Serene sightseer…gay, cool and appropriate all day in a red cotton print skirt, sleeveless black jersey, print scarf with black reverse-wear it alternatively as a tiny shawl. By Horrockses, £7 19s.”


“I used to be really shy, but I found that when I was wearing a 50s dress, people would come and talk to me’




Seth Zone7style began back in early 2007 as a humble blog

Looney Toons painter hats from the early 90s. Made

covering my exploits. It started with getting up at 5am

famous by renowned hat maker Dorfman Pacific,

so me and a friend could make it to car boot sales in

they had characters on them like Mickey Mouse and

Surrey and Kent. At that time we were buying art deco

Donald Duck that proved to be popular. We sold them

reproduction and selling it on eBay, and as time went

to many different shops in Central London, and due to

by we started to look more for clothing. We struck gold

the success it made me think about turning it into a

when we discovered a huge collection of florescent

real business.


I approached the Princes Trust for funding and after 6

From there I was working alongside a number of

months of working on a grueling business plan I was

high profile clients who would wear clothing and

granted a start up loan, but by that time my friend

accessories I had sourced in film, television and live

had left to pursue other things. The business remained

performances - so that was great for PR. After 2 years

small up until about 2009 when I decided to step it

of having a showroom in Shoreditch I went into a

up a gear and set up a pop up shop on the top floor

shop together with my eyewear supplier on Redchurch

of a pub in Islington. Not long after the first event I

Street, but not long after that I had moved to New

was approached by an eyewear company to represent

York to pursue other things. I still collect today and

the vintage side of their business, that ended with me

Zone7Style is still running online as a visual archive.

setting up a showroom in Shoreditch.




“I’ve always been obsessed with interesting prints.” My obsessive nature is what spurred me on to collect

It is hard to pin point my inspiration sources as I’ve

interesting prints, as I was always obsessed by detail

been moved by so many different things throughout

right from a young age. I can remember a handful of

my life. It sounds cliché but I’ve always been inspired

the things I was immersed in as a child cruise ships,

by people who choose not to follow the rules.

skyscrapers and cars. If there was something to collect,

Interesting artists, designers, architects and musicians

I would collect it. My bedroom walls were entirely

are always a motivation. I never was one to accept

covered with flyers that came from Rough Trade

what people put in front of me, so I have never

records in Portobello Road, where I used to spend a

watched much television and if I’m honest I do still try

lot of my time. The shoe obsession came from the

to keep my distance from popular culture. Having said

first time I saw a Nike Air Max shoe back in 1994, in a

that, there is real comfort to be found in the familiar

Littlewoods catalogue no less!

realm of conventionalism. London has been one of my biggest inspirations throughout my life, The Notting Hill Carnival was a great and exciting introduction into West Indian culture and that shaped my youth.



Over time my collecting habits have got a lot more

After that chapter the customer base was broad,

refined, so I am currently focusing on cutting back

through focusing in on colourful prints and different

and stripping away the excess. When I first moved to

accessories and brands that appealed to all age

New York I spent weeks clearing out boxes of stuff, it

groups. I am particularly interested in Moschino prints,

was surprising how much I had accumulated. Now I’m

and wrote about them substantially on the Zone7Style

left with the pieces that really mean something to me

blog. I have always thought Franco Moschino was a

and I know it would be really hard for me if I ever had

pioneer, his print archive is one of the greatest in the

to let them go. I still like to focus on collecting Best

world in terms of that loud ‘poppy’ style. He took

Company from Italy and Ralph Lauren is also a label I

everyday common objects and plastered them over

can’t resist. There are also a few holes in my Missioni

stylish shirts and jeans. The fact that there was always

Sport graphic tee collection that I’d like to fill.

an underlying political message behind his clothing is something that I am intrigued by. The last piece I

Of course my initial clients when selling the Looney

bought was a Cheap & Chic shirt with a print of what

Toons hats were around the 18-25 bracket, but at

looks like a Moroccan street seller all over it. Every

the time the New Rave scene was well underway.

piece is different and interesting.




How do things differ in New York to London? They are both very different indeed, with ‘football casual’ defining Europe while hip hop dominated in the States. Now I think it’s all blended together, but I do find that the British consumer continues to be a little more refined than your average American; Basketball and Baseball are so influential out here. I remember when I was in New York back in 1996 my cousin gave me a pile of snapback hats. It was something new to me as hadn’t really paid any attention to them before then. I recently attended the annual Lo-Life BBQ in East New York, which is an annual gathering of Original Lo-Lifes and Lo-heads (collectors of Ralph Lauren Polo). It was amazing to finally meet some of the pioneers of the movement. We did the usual posing for group photos and had a good time. Lo-Life culture has changed but it has strong roots in NYC and the movement continues to grow globally.


Collecting still has an important place in culture today

of the unknown and to bring products to the table that

because as time has gone on and the accessibility of

not many people are familiar with, while staying within

information has become instantaneous, many things

the realms of relevance. I think timelessness is a key

that were less known 10 years ago are now at the

factor, and various fashions continue to stand the test

forefront of fashion. Original movements began

of time. Collectors celebrate the different elements of

without the aid of technology, and instead were

fashion and keep it alive in a time that is dominated by

shaped by the surroundings and people involved; they

technology and fast paced fashion. There is a lot to be

reflected lifestyle and raw culture. We’ve all had to

learnt by the past and it continues to inspire.

really step up our game to dig deeper into the vaults


Dior Haute Couture two piece dress suit, c. 1968.


History Rebecca Shawcross: The History of Shoes

William Banks-Blaney: 100 years of Haute Couture

Cleo and Mark Butterfield: 100 years of affordable vintage


The Elephant Boot is one of four boots made by Lotus for the British Alpine Hannibal Expedition. The expedition aimed to recreate and track Hannibal’s route during his invasion of Italy in the 3rd Century BC. Although often disputed by historians, chroniclers reported that Hannibal crossed the Alps with 37 surviving elephants to take into battle. The expedition’s elephant Jumbo traveled 150 miles in 10 days from France to Susa in Italy, proving it could be done.


Rebecca Shawcross

Rebecca Shawcross is the curator behind the beautiful

The Shoe Collection also contains an extensive range

collection at the Northampton museum of shoes.

of men’s footwear, largely influenced by the fact

Home to the world’s largest accumulation of vintage

that Northampton as a shoemaking town has always

shoes, ranging from ancient Egyptian to contemporary

been known for its manufacturer of men’s footwear,

design. There are over 12,000 items on site, including

both domestic and military. As quoted from the

accessories, such as buckles, laces, shoe horns, trees,

Northampton museum website: ‘In 1660, Thomas

spats, leggings and polish. In addition to shoes, there

Fuller wrote that “the town of Northampton may be

is also a large collection of retail trade and archive

said to stand chiefly on other men’s legs…the most

material, including advertising items, trade journals,

cheapest, if not the best, boots…in England are to be

company catalogues, books and photographs. There

bought in Northampton.”

is also a section dedicated to fine and decorative art,


that features paintings and prints depicting shoes

When Rebecca Shawcross started working at the

and shoemaking. There is also some more unusual

museum a number of years ago, she was met with

material, such as an index of concealed shoes hidden

comments that shoes as a subject might be quite

in buildings; this was often done to bring good luck.

limited, but through learning one on one with the


Jeffrey-West Shoes. Featured in the recent popular exhibition was ‘If We Could Be Heroes’, which celebrated the 25th anniversary of the iconic Northampton based company Jeffery-West.

collections she realised that this was not the case.

social history, styles and methods of making various

Building on her museum background, where she

types of shoes and even the psychology of wearing

worked with exhibitions and collection management,

shoes, such as what shoes express about the wearer.

she has developed her skills and knowledge in every


aspect of shoes. Rebecca states, ‘It has grown from

There is a huge range of shoes from many different

almost nothing to knowing the history of shoe fashions,

places, including a number of really unusual pairs,

the industry in Northampton and further afield, the

such as some ‘impossible’ wet look ‘fetish’ court shoes,

ability to date shoes and facilitate peoples’ enquiries

complete with a seven inch heel. The shoes are dated

whether they be “my grandfather was a shoemaker do

from 1975, and are size 11 which hints that they were

you have any information on him?” to school children

made for the male fetish market. They were purchased

undertaking a project on shoes.’ It is important to

in the 1980s for the museum’s collection. Visually they

note that shoes as a subject overlaps with many other

are stunning, although sadly there is no information

different types of information, such as industrial and

about who wore them or who they were made by.

Vivienne Westwood. ‘Super Elevated Ghillie shoes’ c. 1998.

Rebecca loves the stories behind shoes, and sometimes

when he attended school dances in the 1950s. On the

it is the most unassuming pairs that have the best

death of his father the donor inherited them and wore

history: ‘We accepted as a donation a few years

them at his own wedding in the early 1920s. He too

ago, a pair of black leather Oxfords, that under usual

wore them at many functions including those held

circumstances we would have probably said no to but

at Buckingham Palace and Westminster. He finally

they come with an amazing history attached to them.

donated them to the Shoe Collection because they

In brief they were bought by the donors father in the

had become uncomfortable to wear. So, although they

1920s and then worn at his wedding in 1923. They

look like any other well worn shoes, they have a great

were worn at many functions and loaned to the donor

story behind them.’



William William Banks-Blaney is the founder and heart of

Anderson, which brings together unique items of

WilliamVintage, an unedited and heavenly source

Haute Couture alongside extraordinary Adler jewellery.

for any Couture junkie. With a passion for designers,

With a pop-up store in Selfridges and an online store

William’s London store is filled with rare one off

opening in the Autumn of 2013, WilliamVintage and

pieces from the last 100 years. Vintage expert William

the intimate team behind it are hurtling from strength

hosts the annual WilliamVintage Bafta Dinner with

to strength.

Golden Globe, Bafta and Emmy winning actress Gillian


What is the WilliamVintage look?

don’t go according to size, label or price. If it’s a piece of clothing, obviously in the realm of vintage, that I

I vacillate between block colour or a very loud

like and that has a resonance to me personally then

patterns and very strong tailoring. Whether that is

I will buy it. I don’t really actively go out for a client

Fifties nipped or Sixties A shape. I don’t like ‘polite’, so

who says ‘‘I really want this or that’’, because it’s not

I tend to avoid small prints and detailing; I like either

really my thing. I won’t track or hunt those down, if

total austerity or total exuberance. When I source

you want something specific, go talk to Steve Rellik.

clothing, I go for what I like and what I’m drawn to; I


This dress, while labeled as ‘Martha’, a high end boutique from the 1960s, it is most likely an early Oscar de la Renta. It was discovered by William as a part of a large private collection of 1960s Oscar de la Renta. The dress is an elegant clash of pattern, texture and colour synonymous with Oscar de la Renta of this period. The velvet skirt, chiffon top and gold brocade detailing all combine to create a luxurious version of the Bohemian aesthetic that emerged after the hard modernism of the mid 1960s.



Pierre Balmain, c. 1954. This Balmain dress is made of the finest ivory silk and entirely covered in embroidery worked in silver thread, glass pearls and solid crystal by Maison Lesage. The panel-cutting creates a flowing form that glints as it moves with a finely-shaped bodice and floor-length skirt, gathered and folded at the rear to create volume and a beautiful shape from every angle.

Pierre Cardin beaded dress. Intricate gold and brown beading around the neck, sleeves and hem give beautiful detail to the modernist cut characteristic to the Cardin aesthetic.

The first thought is always “God I bloody love that!”, and then immediately afterwards maybe, “Oh, and so will Nigella [Lawson] or Gillian [Anderson]”, but first and foremost I have to love it. Although I have my own taste, you can buy with different parts of your personality. I can be buying for the more austere and formal event, which I love, but equally that might be a muted plain sixties couture piece... but that doesn’t stop me from getting something bias cut and body skimming from the Thirties in black velvet. They are completely different ‘women’ but each piece has the same sensibility and commonality to the WilliamVintage brand, which is why I think when you walk into the store, people who don’t know what we are or haven’t read much about us, the first thing they might think is it is a contemporary collection, because we cover lots of price points and sizes spanning 100 years. We have Couture and prêt-à-porter, but there is an overall look, and that is because I do only pick up the things that I like. You have to have cohesion.


WilliamVintage, London.


This Dior dress is far from the classic Dior hourglass shape, but shows the high quality detail through the intricate beading and detail. Still in perfect condition, WilliamVintage has dated this garment to 1959.

I have cities that I like going back to for certain styles. It’s good to follow the world spots and the cities that were the best at a certain time. Chicago had a massive construction period in the Thirties, Paris for the Sixties modernism, and New York in the Twenties. If you are into your A-lines you need to head to London; Carnaby street in the Sixties was the whole London scene. There are often tried and tested spots I hit, but equally when I go to a new place it’s not really off the back of doing much research... I tend to just wing it. Sometimes it is just talking to someone in the street, you occasionally have a sense of divination in investigating. I like pitching up in a place thinking “Right, let’s find out whether this is going to be fantastic or a bust!’’


Detail of Dior dress, 1959.

My taste has evolved from many sources over a long period of time, I think because I have always been very visual. As a child I was very into antiques and would read catalogue after catalogue. My degree was in History of Art, which I specialised in the conservation of historic buildings, where I then went into furniture and interior design. It has always been about the buildings we live in, the interiors we sit in or the clothes that are on our back. To me, it is about colours, textures and construction. It has definitely become more personal over time.

What is the most special piece you have ever found? There is one dress that I really wish I had never sold, which is a 1968 AndrÊ Courrèges dress with mint green sequins with beautiful organza backing. It is the only piece I regret saying goodbye to - it was a long time ago and I still think about it. I have the original image of a model wearing it, standing next to Courrèges himself. There is also a piece that I am trying to buy at the minute, to keep, which is almost totally destroyed, but it is just amazing. It is the bodice of a 1950s Dior


This Phyliss Ann two piece dress suit embodies the modernist 1960s style and proportions.


Haute Couture dress, which is entirely made up of Maison Lesarge embroidery with huge crystals. I want to float it on a perspex body in a box because it is just so beautiful. I keep thinking about keeping a personal archive, but there are only a handful of pieces that I would keep if I could, so it would only be small. The one garment that I would just die if I got my hands on it is the Balenciaga wedding dress from the 1967 spring collection. That’s the one. There are pictures of it dotted around, so although I’ve never seen it up close I know it is just the most perfect dress that was ever made. There is one in Madrid at the Balenciaga Museum, and I think there might be one in Tokyo. It’s just perfect. If I ever found that that would be the one I would never let go of, so when I’m 80 I can say, “I used to do this for a living and that is the one that I kept.” It’s the most perfect dress in every way.




Detail of the Phyliss Ann jacket, c. 1960s. The jacket has all the original buttons in colour-matched plastic, each of which is inset with crystals. A simple and elegant addition to a block colour outfit.


The iconic Balenciaga wedding dress from 1967. William’s number one wish, he states that it is ‘the most perfect thing ever’. Embodying the modernist sixties aesthetic, the veil merges into the shape of the dress, coming together to make an elegant and simplistic cone shape.

Although there are a few garments that I just want for

but you won’t have that happen when a lady might

me, overall I think I am just an old fashioned dealer.

spend the same amount on a vintage Balmain. There

I love sending clothes to fresh homes to be loved by

is a bigger resonance than just “because it’s cool this

someone new. I do worry sometimes that they might

season”, there is an understanding and appreciation of

not be kept properly, because in some cases they really

something so special.

are works of art done by the masters, but pieces of clothing are made to be worn. Some of our pieces

We also sell to museums, private collectors and many

are absolutely museum standard in perfect condition,

fashion designers. It goes over a few levels: wear,

but the unique thing with vintage when it’s at a very

absorb and curate. The fashion designers we sell to

high level is that when a woman loves a dress so

don’t just look at it and copy it, they buy a piece to

much that she will part with a considerable amount

absorb it. They study the language of the piece, the

of money, she respects the garment totally. You might

tailoring and the stitching. They study it and continue

get someone walking into Gucci spending £15,000 on

it in a different way.

this seasons ‘it’ dress and completely trash it at a party,



Yves Saint Laurent feather jacket, c. 1970s. 3 different types of feathers create the most amazing silhouette. The voluminous sleeves contrast the fitted cropped back. Truly a statement piece.


A wonderful and iridescent couture dress by Halston, the designer synonymous with the luxurious fashion wave of the 1970s. This dress is constructed in the finest silk, printed with a rainbow like pattern and overlaid with thousands of clear, iridescent sequins that give a glowing, pearlescent feel to the dress. It lined in ivory silk organza.


This chic early Oscar de la Renta dress is a good example of late 1960s glamour and the return to a more luxurious, boho-inspired feeling following the sharp modernism of the mid 1960s. The dress, made of chiffon shot through with gold lurex on a bed of purple, green and ivory batik-inspired print, features sheer voluminous sleeves, an integral neck tie and the original belt.

What do you offer that you might not see in museums?

mannequin, which upsets me greatly, because they

I give people the opportunity to see things that are

garment hasn’t been pressed or reformed, it has just

otherwise just stored away. There are so many pieces stashed away it is such a shame. The Met collection, for example, is so extraordinary and vast, that to take good photographs of all of it (in order to do the clothes justice), it would cost millions and millions of pounds. Some brands like Dior are archived well online, through amazing photographs with the garments on a mannequin with full motion. In contrast, if you go to Balenciaga, it is just photographed on an old seamstress


have Balenciaga that makes me feel ill because it is so beautiful. Those photographs are not great; the been thrown on and shot. They are working through their collection, but there is only so much they can do. I hate that there are loads of items that have gone into museum storage and are not archived online or being utilised in any way. It’s always sad when something has been decided internally that it will never be put inside a glass case for public display, and all they have of it is a crap Polaroid.


An amazing evening dress by Charles Worth, c. 1931. The dress has over 300,000 glass beads sewn onto the long threads hanging from the dress. It shimmers and sounds like glass shattering with every step.

Some are better than others of course, and it is also relevant to take into account the curators and gallery directors. You might have someone as brilliant as Harold Koda [Curator in Charge at The Costume Institute at The Metropolitan Museum of Art] and his team, who are all completely amazing; then you have Olivier Saillard, [the Director of the Musée Galliera in Paris]. I think he is the first curator to really understand a piece of fashion as a piece of art. He thinks about the interaction between the exhibit and the viewer, rather than saying, “Look at this - isn’t it pretty?”. He views that interaction in a different way by remembering that clothes are designed to go against your skin, to be caressed.


Illustration of a silk-taffeta evening dress by John Galliano for Christian Dior.


Illustration of an evening gown by Lanvin, 1950. Image by De Marché for Hapers Bazaar.


Although sometimes museums offer some information

Our youngest client is 17 and our oldest 73, and

in the form of provenance, occasionally I find pieces

although they might want different things in a new

with an interesting back story too. My clients are

piece they all appreciate what we offer. Our primary

always interested and ask if there is an anecdote behind

market is around 30-55. These ladies want to claim

a piece. The romantic view of dresses always having a

their personal style, and are often bored at what is

glamourous history is only somewhat true. Sometimes

available generally. They understand what their body

they are given to housekeepers or forgotten in attics -

does, they understand their good and bad points. The

but personally I love that and find that interesting too

range of styles and occasions we stock for covers many

because I like the randomness of finding something

different aspects of life, so often I will categorise the

really exquisite in the most ridiculous place. That to

store by events - such as ‘Winter’, ‘Cocktail’, ‘Dinner’,

me is almost more exciting. The ladies who come

‘Boardroom’ etc. I have found some spectacular things

through our door come to us not just for that reason,

recently in Paris and the USA, some complete with

but that they know they are going to walk in and find

original corsets and horsehair underskirts. Although

a fabulous dress.

some might need a bit of restoration, we are luckily


Detail of an evening dress by the Parisian couturier Bruyere. The dress, of a very dark grey raw silk, is entirely covered with finely embroidered bugle beading, pear-cut crystals and sequins in an asymmetric pattern.



Illustration of a Richard Avedon photograph of an evening gown by Cristóbal Balenciaga, modeled by Dovima. Harpers Bazaar December 1950.

not limited by rigid museum rules, so we can find

once. Something like that needs to be worn and not

pieces that are unique and beautiful that someone will

kept on a still mannequin, because the other half of its

buy and love, whereas in a museum it just might not

spectacle is when it moves: with every step it sounds

fit in within an exhibition and so it sits in a storage

like breaking mirrors. It’s truly show stopping. We

cabinet. One spectacular dress that I found recently is

give clothes the opportunity to be worn and loved as

a floor length Charles Worth Haute Couture dress from

they deserve to be, after all they were made with this

1931 that is made up of long thin glass beads hanging

purpose in mind.

off threads - with around 300,000 glass tassels in total. It is in perfect condition due to only being worn


Pierre Balmain evening dress, c.1955. A superb example of Haute Couture and one of the most iconic pieces of the 1950s, this dress is created in deep blue silk with a wonderful asymmetric neckline that frames the face and neck without revealing cleavage and has an extremely flattering capped sleeve to enhance the shoulder line. The skirt is beautifully shaped with a rigidity to the silk and features a slanted pocket at each hip, creating a beautiful, wearable dress perfect for a host of occasions.


Although officially an ‘unknown’ dress, it is most likely an early Oscar de la Renta. The dress is a great example of chinoiserie-inspired design - something that was present heavily in the de la Renta house in the period. The gold braid at the neckline and gold braid fasteners at the front are set upon an Eastern-inspired floral pattern in a pink and lilac shot through with lurex.




Cleo and Mark Butterfield

Cleo and Mark Butterfield are both well known in

then went on to open a shop in Portobello in 1970 and

the vintage industry, with their vast collection of rare

then got a stand in Antiquarius antiques centre on the

vintage garments and accessories stashed away in a

King’s Road. I stayed until 1983. That was the heyday

country warehouse situated in the depths of Devon.

of vintage. Everybody wore it then. But I never really

Although Mark has only been interested and involved

just sold vintage clothing, I sold fashion. In this business

in the fashion world since they married 17 years ago,

you’ve got to change with the times. When we started,

Cleo began selling clothes at Portobello Market for

there were more people buying it and fewer dealers.’’

some extra cash. As Cleo told the Daily Mail in 2008, ‘‘I


Stamps from C20, the Butterfield’s Vintage Company, from when Royal Mail celebrated British fashion in 2012.


Cleo’s huge collection of vintage was based in Hoxton,

The thing that makes the Butterfield’s collection

East London, where she would frequently hire out

successful is the sheer size of it. It practically guarantees

pieces for film and television, notably Evita, (starring

visitors, because designers know that they can find

Madonna). Cleo still has pieces that she wore in the

anything they can think of in one place. Cleo and Mark

film today. After Mark joined the business, they moved

know that after a certain amount of time, many pieces

to Devon for more peaceful surroundings. As Cleo and

of history can be lost forever, therefore they keep

Mark told David Hayes from the Daily Mail, “We thought:

buying items in order to stop this happening - “Most

‘How can we make a living in the country?’. When we

of the important pieces from the Twenties and Thirties

were doing vintage fairs we realised most of the people

have already gone.”

we dealt with were designers, so we thought, we know


all about hiring because we have done it for films, so

With years of experience, they know the best places to

we might as well just hire to designers. And unlike a

buy from and what to look for: they spend a great deal

lot of vintage dealers who do the fairs, we haven’t just

of time on buying trips outside of the UK and visiting

got five or six rails of clothes, we have thousands and

vintage fairs, as well as buying from private collectors,

thousands of items.”

proving that there is a process of osmosis with different

Photographs of Cleo from her personal collection.

collectors and collections. Although their collection is

Topshop. As pointed out by David Hayes, ‘‘Some

growing steadily, it is evident that there is less quality

of Kate’s designs are almost exact copies of items

vintage to be found, with Mark stating, ‘’Things are

borrowed from the Butterfields’ collection - the late

getting rarer. We spend a lot of time looking but not a

Sixties print dresses, the Biba-style blouses and even the

lot of time buying.’’

gold chain-mail dresses.’’







It is through collections like the Butterfield’s that

important fashion exhibitions including the 2003 Ossie

designers can find inspiration from vintage items.

Clark retrospective at the V&A Museum, the 2005

Fashion is cyclical, and sometimes something has been

Chanel exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum in New

made in the most spectacular way that is just begging

York and the 2008 Bill Gibb retrospective at the Fashion

to be reabsorbed and remade into something more

and Textile Museum in London. Many famous designers


make use of the collection, including Kate Moss for


Scarlett Cannon wearing the Scarlet Dress designed by Juliana Sissons Š Photograph by Monica Curtin Š Victoria and Albert Museum, London V&A Website 2013


People Geoffrey Marsh: David Bowie

Susan Rogers: Personal Collection

Kate Bethune: The 80s – ‘Club to Catwalk’


Album cover shoot for Aladdin Sane, 1973. Photograph by Brian Duffy © Duffy Archive © Victoria and Albert Museum, London V&A Website 2013


Geoffrey Marsh

The Victoria and Albert Museum 2013 exhibition

Brian Duffy; album sleeve artwork by Guy Peellaert

dedicated to David Bowie was popular hit with the

and Edward Bell; visual excerpts from films and live

public - selling over 40,000 tickets before it had even

performances including The Man Who Fell to Earth,

been opened. The exhibition’s main aim was to delve

music videos such as Boys Keep Swinging and set

into the broad range of Bowie’s collaborations with

designs created for the Diamond Dogs tour (1974)’.

artists and designers. Fashion, film, graphics, design,

Not only did the exhibition include things from Bowie’s

theatre, art were all represented through the display of

professional life, but there were also never-before-seen

over 300 objects. The V&A’s Theatre and Performance

personal items such as handwritten set lists and lyrics,

curators, Victoria Broackes and Geoffrey Marsh chose

sketches done by Bowie himself and diaries - both

the items that were brought together for the first time

musical and personal, original costumes, photography,

outside of the archive. As outlined by the V&A itself,

film, music videos, set designs, Bowie’s own instruments

some of these objects included Ziggy Stardust bodysuits

and album artwork.

(1972) designed by Freddie Burretti, photography by



Pierrot Costume courtesy The David Bowie Archive 2012 image courtesy V&A Images Phaidon Website 2013


David Bowie is exhibition, 2013. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London V&A Website 2013

The collection of David Bowie’s items is documented

album covers that could take more than a year to come

and kept in museum standard by Bowie himself,

out. The costumes were something that were probably

where an archivist has been working on it for years. As

designed only months sometimes days in advance.”

Geoffrey Marsh, the curator for “David Bowie Is’, states,

The amount of items that were available to the team

“There are pictures of him as a baby - a photograph

of curators was vast, and so there were many factors

of Little Richard that he had on his bedroom wall as a

that dictated which pieces were selected for the final

little boy which is in the exhibition. The first few times

exhibition. Different questions had to be considered,

we went there we were working from photographs.

including: “Do the objects work together visually; do

The first thing we actually saw were the costumes.

they tell important stories or illustrate key themes; are

And the strange thing about costumes is that when

they in a condition to be displayed without damaging

they’re sitting in a box, folded up, they don’t look like

them?” There were items that wouldn’t work in an

much. But then you conjure this image of them on

exhibition space, because of their age or structure, so

stage and weirdly, they’re like freeze frames of how

replicas of certain delicate pieces were made.

he saw himself at that moment - even more so than


David Bowie is exhibition, 2013. Š Victoria and Albert Museum, London V&A Website 2013


Some of the garments are well known and iconic, have become so iconic, including the Pierrot costume from Ashes To Ashes. Geoffrey Marsh describes seeing it for the first time in the flesh: “Looking at that, you think, ‘what’s all that about? Where did that come from?’ And I think the thing that got me - my Bowie moment, if you want to call it that - was when I realised that he had made all the drawings for the original designs himself. We have the felt tip pen sketches he made in the show.” Although what was on show was merely the tip of the iceberg in relation to the archive, the rich collection if items on show allowed the V&A visitor to see the evolution of creativity and the world behind the spectacle



Susan Rogers

From the age of 8, Susan Rogers has always been interested in vintage and collecting, with her first

When Susan went to college to study English and

venture being a Jumble Sale at a local village hall in

History of Art and due to existing on a Student

the early 1970s. Rummaging through the clothes piled

Grant, the only way she could acquire new clothes

on trestle tables she found some amazing nylon party

on a regular basis was to buy second-hand. It was by

dresses that were in Vogue for small girls at that time.

frequenting the Oxfam and Save the Children shops

Spending the few pence her parents had given her she

in Cambridge that she built up a collection of Vintage

bought one of these ‘glorious confections’ and used

Fashion. She was able to buy Vintage Liberty print silk

it for dressing up. She remembers an old caravan her

scarves and large wool shawls for ‘next to nothing’, as

and her friend were allowed to play in, that would

well as good quality wool jackets and skirts that saw

frequently be used to reenact scenes from their

her through job interviews and on into working life.

favourite American TV series at the time - “It Takes a Thief” with Robert Wagner.



When Susan went to college to study English and

collection, that doubles up as her wardrobe. She will

History of Art and due to existing on a Student

consider anything for the collection, from a Victorian

Grant, the only way she could acquire new clothes

mourning jacket that that was found at a house

on a regular basis was to buy second-hand. It was by

clearance in Brussels to a beautiful Etro silk waistcoat

frequenting the Oxfam and Save the Children shops

from a charity shop in Leuven. Although she likes

in Cambridge that she built up a collection of Vintage

to wear every piece in her collection, if something

Fashion. She was able to buy Vintage Liberty print silk

catches her eye and it doesn’t quite fit she will often

scarves and large wool shawls for ‘next to nothing’, as

buy it anyway - often lending items to her daughter.

well as good quality wool jackets and skirts that saw her through job interviews and on into working life.

Although she doesn’t spend lots of time looking for specific things - she “appreciates the quality


Since becoming more financially secure, Susan spends

and unique aspect” of Vintage clothing, she admits

more freely on vintage and retro clothes for her

that she does still rummage through vast crates of

handbags hoping to find a Hermes “Kelly� bag.

opportunity to see and use something special. Susan believes that private collectors should be celebrated

Susan makes use of the collection by not only wearing

as they bring together unique pieces that stem from

it - her every day wardrobe typically includes at least

their private passion and personal taste. The thing

one piece of Vintage clothing or jewellery. She also

with personal archives is that they offer a raw and

regularly lends her collection to her daughter Louisa, a

intimate insight into the collector, that is removed

photographer and stylist, who uses it for projects and

from professional curation.

photo shoots. Her love of vintage fashion has produced a unique collection of beautiful pieces that not only offers her a treasure chest of choice to get dressed from in the morning, but offers her close family and friends the


Inside the Club to Catwalk exhibition 2013.


Kate Bethune

Kate Bethune was one of the curators involved in the

one reason why the city’s design was so inventive and

recent V&A exhibition Club to Catwalk. It is the first time

individual at that time. Colleges including St Martin’s

that the V&A have put on an exhibition solely on 80s

and the Royal College of Art nurtured designers through

fashion. It came at the perfect time due to the recent

their advanced training opportunities.

interest in 80s fashion and club scenes. The main aims


of the exhibition was to not only celebrate the emerging

As stated on, that at night, “Young

designers at the time, that were influenced heavily by

designers’ imaginations were sparked by a vibrant

London’s vibrant club scene, but to also demonstrate

London club scene. John Galliano recalled, ‘Thursday

there is more to the simple stereotypes that exist of

and Friday at St Martin’s, the college was almost

the decade. Looks that were celebrated included the

deserted. Everybody was at home working on their

New Romantic style, featuring genuine outfits that

costumes for the weekend’. Designer Georgina Godley

were worn by the likes of Adam Ant and Leigh Bowery.

remembers, ‘Young London was all about taking risks

There was a clear link between the catwalk and the

and creating something out of nothing through passion

club, and how they each inspired the other to reinvent

and ambition’.” The exhibition, far from being merely

‘fashion’. The huge choice of London’s arts education is

a showcase featuring shoulder pads and leg warmers,

At Subway, Derek Ridgers, Black and white photograph, 1986 © Derek Ridgers © Victoria and Albert Museum, London V&A Website 2013


Sketch for customised denim jacket, commissioned by BLITZ magazine John Galliano, 1986 Š Victoria and Albert Museum, London From V&A website 2013


The Cloth, Summer Summit Anita Corbin, 1985 © Anita Corbin © Victoria and Albert Museum, London V&A Website 2013

it offers, through the use of over 90 styled and full

“There seemed to be such a fun, carefree attitude

motion mannequins, “The creative explosion of London

toward fashion design in the 80s. That is not to say that

fashion and the breadth of the creative talents working

people didn’t take their work seriously. Many designers

out of the city during the decade.” As Kate Bethune

we spoke to during the research stages told us that

states, “Prior to the exhibition, the V&A did not have

the 80s was a difficult time to try and forge a career

many examples of club-wear in the collection, and

in fashion. Fashion did not receive the same financial

our 80s collection tended to represent the work of

backing or support that it garners today; many designers

‘catwalk’ designers, although of course not exclusively

had little or no money, and they didn’t know whether

so. Exhibitions are important in exposing gaps in the

they would make it or not. Yet this uncertainty was

permanent collection and, as a result, they enable us

in many respects extremely liberating, and it enabled

to make strategic acquisitions to redress these. The

them to be bold and to take risks with their designs. The

exhibition has a remarkably broad appeal because

exhibition will appeal to people who lived through and

fashion and music are intrinsically linked and are an

experienced the 80s fashion and music scenes, it will

exciting and dynamic combination. It has been great to

be of interest to current fashion students and it will be

see people discovering the breadth and diversity of 80s

appealing to anyone with an interest in fashion or the

fashion for the first time and also to find so many people

creative industries.”

in our club gallery reminiscing about their experiences of the 80s club scene.”




Image List Front cover

Detail of Pierre Cardin evening dress. Courtesy of WilliamVintage.

Back cover

Children’s shoes, c.1830s. Courtesy of Alasdair Peebles and Lucie Jordanna Cohen Photography.


Vintage Versace print, Courtesy of Alexandre Stefani.


Detail of Pierre Balmain dress, c. 1954. Courtesy of WilliamVintage.

Fancy dress in style of Balkan folk costume, from the late/early 19th century. Courtesy of Alasdair Peebles and Lucie Jordanna Cohen Photography.


GF Watts (1817-1904) Alexander Constantine Ionides with his Wife and Children, 1840. Image courtesy of Bugler, C. eds. (2005) Art Quarterly: Autumn. London: The Art Fund. pp.26-27.


Illustration by Saskia Barlow.


Vintage photograph, courtesy of Alasdair Peebles, from his personal collection. Source unknown.


Bianco label 1967. Courtesy of WilliamVintage.


Interior of WilliamVintage. Courtesy of WilliamVintage.


White summer outfit, courtesy of Alasdair Peebles and Lucie Jordanna Cohen Photography.


Detail of Moschino print. Courtesy of Seth Bradley.


Vintage photograph of child from Alasdair Peebles’ personal collection. Source unknown.


Blue suit, c. 1900. Courtesy of Alasdair Peebles and Lucie Jordanna Cohen Photography.


Louis and kite, courtesy of Alasdair Peebles and Nic Jones.


Image from the David Bowie Is exhibition 2013 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.


Utility suit, 45-52. Courtesy of Alasdair Peebles and Lucie Jordanna Cohen Photography.


Molly Parnis dress, c. 1967. Courtesy of WilliamVintage.


Sailor hat - HMS Diadem c.1912. Courtesy of Alasdair Peebles and Lucie Jordanna Cohen Photography.


Pink boys’ tunic c. 1825. Courtesy of Alasdair Peebles and Lucie Jordanna Cohen Photography.


Military style hat. Courtesy of Alasdair Peebles and Nic Jones.


Alasdair’s father’s Fair Isle jumper c.1930s. Courtesy of Alasdair Peebles.

Portrait: Courtesy of Alasdair Peebles and Lucie Jordanna Cohen Photography.


Shoes 1830s. Courtesy of Alasdair Peebles and Lucie Jordanna Cohen Photography.

Image of Alasdair as a child: Courtesy of Alasdair Peebles.


Louis modeling silk French suit. Courtesy of Alasdair Peebles and Nic Jones.

Object 2-3

Object Page: Utility suit, 195-52. Courtesy of Alasdair Peebles and Lucie Jordanna Cohen Photography.

Alasdair: 18





Deborah Woolf Synopsis: 44-45



Horrockses 1956 dress, unknown print designer. Courtesy of Liz Tregenza and Lucie Jordanna Cohen Photography.


Blue Horrockses dress, c. 1955. Courtesy of Liz Tregenza and Lucie Jordanna Cohen Photography.


Horrockses c. 1955-58. Designed by John Tullis, ‘Sophia’ print. Courtesy of Liz Tregenza and Lucie

Detail of Silk coat. Courtesy of Alasdair Peebles and Lucie Jordanna Cohen Photography.

Accessories from inside shop. Courtesy of Lucie Jordanna Cohen Photography and Isabella Thordsen. Accessories from inside shop. Courtesy of Isabella Thordsen.

Jordanna Cohen Photography. 74-75

Horrockses c. 1953. Print by Pat Albeck. Courtesy of Liz Tregenza and Lucie Jordanna Cohen Photography.


Liz portrait. Courtesy of Liz Tregenza and Lucie Jordanna Cohen Photography.


Alastair Morton Horrockses dress, c. 1948. Courtesy of Liz Tregenza and Lucie Jordanna Cohen Photography.


Image of Queen Mary visiting Horrockses in London, c. 1948. Courtesy of the Victoria and Albert museum archives, from the Betty Newmarch archive: AAD/1995/16/4/2. From Christine Boydell, (2010). Horrockses Fashions: Off the Peg Style in the Forties and Fifties.


Illustration by Saskia Barlow.


The three different Horrockses labels. 1946-52, 1952-58 and 1958-64 respectively. Courtesy of Liz Tregenza and Lucie Jordanna Cohen Photography.


Illustration by Saskia Barlow.

Joan Benham Synopsis: 49


Portrait of Joan Benham. Courtesy of Manolo Blahnik Something Blue. Courtesy of Paintthetownfashion & Lara Manolo Blahnik shoe. Courtesy of

Brands 52

Brands page: Liz in Horrockses with a Brigitte Denhert print, .1960. Courtesy of Liz Tregenza and Lucie Jordanna Cohen Photography.

Alexandre Stefani: 54-63

Selection of vintage Versace shirts, individual dates unknown. Courtesy of Alexandre Stefani, personal image collection.

Liz Tregenza: 64

Liz portrait. Courtesy of Liz Tregenza and Lucie Jordanna Cohen Photography.


Liz in Horrockses with a Pat Albeck print, c. 1955. Courtesy of Liz Tregenza and Lucie Jordanna Cohen Photography.

83-84 Horrockses dress, c. 1955. Print by Pat Albeck. Courtesy of Liz Tregenza and Lucie Jordanna Cohen Photography.



Liz in Horrockses dress from 1952 with Pat Albeck print. Courtesy of Liz Tregenza and Lucie Jordanna Cohen Photography.


Illustration by Saskia Barlow, copied from illustration done in Vogue, June 1952 of Horrockses dress.


Liz in Horrockses, c. mid 1950s. Courtesy of Liz Tregenza and Lucie Jordanna Cohen Photography.

Seth Bradley: 90

101 Selection of images: vintage Moschino prints, individual dates unknown. Courtesy of Seth Bradley, personal image collection. See Zone7style blog for visual archive.


WilliamVintage shop interior. Courtesy of WilliamVintage.

115-117 Red Dior dress c. 1959. Courtesy of WilliamVintage. 118

Phyliss Ann two piece suit. Courtesy of WilliamVintage.


Balenciaga wedding dress.Courtesy of William Banks-Blaney’s personal image collection.


YSL feather jacket, c.1970s. Courtesy of WilliamVintage.


Halston evening dress. Courtesy of WilliamVintage.


Oscar de la Renta dress, c.1960s Courtesy of WilliamVintage.


Worth glass beaded evening dress, 1931. Courtesy of WilliamVintage.


Illustration of a silk-taffeta evening dress by John Galliano for Christian Dior. Original image from Riegelman, N. (2006). Colours for Modern Fashion: Drawing Fashion with Coloured Markers. Los Angeles: 9 Heads Media.


Illustration of evening gown by Lanvin, 1950 by De Marché for Hapers Bazaar. Original image from Claire Wilcox, 2007. The Golden Age of Couture: Paris and London 1947-57: Courtesy of V&A: E.685-1997.


Detail of an evening dress by the Parisian couturier Bruyere. Courtesy of WilliamVintage.


Illustration of evening gown by Cristóbal balenciaga, modelled by Dovima. Harpers Bazaar December 1950. Photo by Richard Avedon. Original mage from Claire Wilcox, 2007. The Golden Age of Couture: Paris and London 1947-57.



Dior Haute Couture two piece dress suit, c. 1968. Courtesy of WilliamVintage.

Rebecca Shawcross: 104-107 Images of shoes at the Northampton shoe museum. Courtesy of Bootsshoesandfashion. com William: 108

Portrait. Courtesy of WilliamVintage.

110-111 Unknown dress possibly Oscar de la Renta. Courtesy of WilliamVintage. 112



Pierre Balmain evening gown, 1954. Courtesy of WilliamVintage. Pierre Cardin evening dress. Courtesy of WilliamVintage.


Pierre Balmain evening dress, c.1955. Courtesy of WilliamVintage.


‘Unknown’ Oscar de la Renta dress. Courtesy of WilliamVintage.


Image of gothic women - At Subway, Derek Ridgers, Black and white photograph. 1986. © Derek Ridgers. Courtesy of V&A Website.


Sketch for customised denim jacket, commissioned by BLITZ magazine, John Galliano. Courtesy of V&A Website. 1986. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.


Group of people - The Cloth, Summer Summit, Anita Corbin. 1985. © Anita Corbin. Courtesy of V&A Website.


Detail of Molly Parnis Dress. Courtesy of WilliamVintage.

Cleo and Mark Butterfield: 138

Portrait of the Butterfields. Courtesy of D. Hayes, Daily Mail online.


Stamp images courtesy of fashion.telegraph.

140-141 Photos and exterior images, courtesy of Guise Magazine online.

People 142

160-166 Vintage Versace print, Courtesy of Alexandre Stefani. 167

Scarlett Cannon wearing the Scarlett Dress. Dress designed by Juliana Sissons. © Photograph by Monica Curtin. Courtesy of the V&A Website. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Pierre Balmain Label. Courtesy of WilliamVintage.

168-169 Detail of Pierre Balmain dress, c. 1954. Courtesy of WilliamVintage.

Geoffrey Marsh: 145

Portrait. Courtesy of V&A website. ©Victoria and Albert Museum, London.


Image of Pierrot costume, courtesy of Phaidon website.

147-149 David Bowie Is exhibition. Courtesy of V&A website. ©Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Susan Rogers: 150-153 Selection of images courtesy of Susan Rogers, sent from personal images collection. Kate Bethune: 154

Interior of exhibition, image courtesy of DHA Designs online, V&A Club to Catwalk.


Bibliography, Further Reading and Useful Links Books Armstrong, J. & Arroz, L. (2012). A Guide to Buying and Collecting Affordable Couture. London: Vivays Publishing. Bardey, C. (2002). Wearing Vintage. New York: Black Dog and Leventhal Publishers. Baxter-Wright, E., Clarkson, K., Kennedy, S. & Mulvey, K. (2008). Vintage Fashion. Ltd eds. London: Carlton Books Limited.

Pearce, S. (1994). Interpreting Objects and Collections. London: Routledge. Pierce, S. (2008). Collecting in Contemporary Practice. London: Sage Publications. Riegelman, N. (2006). Colours for Modern Fashion: Drawing Fashion with Coloured Markers. Los Angeles: 9 Heads Media.

Blom, P. (2003). To Have and to Hold: An Intimate History of Collectors and Collecting. Woodstock & New York: The Overlook Press.

Rucci, R. (2007). The Art of Weightlessness. New Haven & London: Yale University Press.

Boydell, C. (2010). Horrockses Fashions: Off the Peg Style in the Forties and Fifties. London: V&A Publishing.

Seeling, C. (2000). Fashion: The Century of the Designer. English eds. Cologne: Konemann Verlagsgesellschaft.

Bugler, C. eds. (2005) Art Quarterly: Autumn. London: The Art Fund.

York: Alliance Publishing, Inc.

Ewing, E. (2001). History of 20th Century Fashion. 4th eds. London: B. T. Batsford Ltd.

Wilcox, C. eds. (2007). The Golden Age of Couture: Paris and London 1947-57. London: V&A Publications.

Elsner, J. & Cardinal, R. eds. (1997). The Culture of Collecting. Reprinted eds. London: Reaktion Books Ltd.

Yohannan, K. (2009). Valentina. New York: Rizzoli International Publications.

Harris, C. (2000). Collecting Fashion and Accessories. London: Octopus Publishing group. Kellogg, A. T., Peterson, A., Bay, S. & Swindle, N. (2002). In an Influential Fashion. Westport, USA: Greenwood Press. Lafuente, M. (2005). Essential Fashion Illustration. Gloucester, USA: Quayside Publishing Group. Mendes, V. & De la Haye A. (2010) Fashion Since 1900. 2nd eds. London: Thames and Hudson. Miller, D. (2008). The Comfort of Things. Cambridge: Polity Press. Odulate, F. (2006) Shopping for Vintage. London: Quadrille Publishing Ltd.


Pavitt, J. (2008). Fear and Fashion in the Cold War. London: V&A Publishing.

Smith, P. (1995). Vintage Fashion & Fabrics. Brooklyn, New

Websites A Well Kept Secret. Guise Magazine. (2013) Allen, E. (2012). Style Sequel Chats. Number 2. Mark & Cleo Butterfield David Bowie Is. (2013) Club to Catwalk: About the Collection. (2013) David Bowie Is - An Interview with the V&A curator. (2013) david-bowie-is-an-interview-with-the-vanda-curator/ Deborah Woolf Vintage Fashion and Collectables Website. 28 Church St, London NW8 8EP DHA Designs, V&A Club to Catwalk. (2013) Fried, L. (2013). A Portrait in Flesh.

Manolo Blahnik Lara Suede Laced-Ankle Pump. (2013). Marie Antoinette’s slippers sell at auction for €50,000. (2013). TMG9617062/Marie-Antoinettes-slippers-sell-at-auctionfor-50000.html Nisita, L. (2013). The Most Famous Fashion Hoarders In History. Raivio, V. (2013). Interview with Rebecca Shawcross. Royal Mail Celebrate British Fashion with Stamp Collection. (2012) Royal-Mail-celebrate-Great-British-fashion-with-newstamp-collection.html The Shoe Collectors. (2010). TMG7928826/The-shoe-collectors.html WilliamVintage. 2 Marylebone St, London W1G 8JQ 020 7487 4322

Hayes, D. (2008). The King & Queen of Style who Provide Kate Moss and Top Designers with Vintage Inspiration.

Liz Tregenza

In pictures: Northampton Museum’s shoe collection. (2012)

Vintage Versace Community

Ultimate Resource for Vintage Fashion VersaceVintageCollectors?fref=ts

Larocca, A. (2007). From the Well-Stuffed Closets of Mrs. Thomas L. Kempner.



Online Journals

(2013) An Interview with Councillor Brandon Eldred & Northampton Shoe Museum

Cassidy, T. & Bennett, H. 2013. The Rise of Vintage Fashion and the Vintage Consumer. Fashion Practice: The Journal of Design, Creative Process & the Fashion Industry. Volume 4, Number 2, pp. 239-262.

Bradley, S. (2013). Zone7Style Design Resource.

Steele, V. 2008. Museum Quality: The Rise of the Fashion Exhibition. Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body & Culture. Volume 12, Number 1, pp. 7-30.

‘Zizi’. (2011). Paint the Town Fashion. (2011) Black Patent Leather Heel Day. Northampton museum blog. Probyn, A.(2013). Kate Bethune, Assistant Curator of V&A’s ‘Club to Catwalk’ . Thordsen, I. (2013). Lovely Vintage Shop. Isabella Thordsen.

Acknowledgements I would like to thank the collectors, both featured and not featured who answered my many questions and so kindly gave me their time. Special thanks to Alasdair Peebles, Seth Bradley, Liz Tregenza and William Banks-Blaney for the numerous meetings, time and information they have given me. Many thanks also to those individuals who have given amazing guidance to this project: Andrew Tucker, Catherine Lamb, Amanda Carr, Loren Platt, Judith Clark, Amy de la Haye and my wonderful classmates. And finally to Jane Snowling for the stellar graphic design and Lucie Jordanna Cohen for the amazing photography and editing, and especially for her generosity in giving up so much of her precious free time for this project.





The Wardrobe combines photography, illustration and archival material together with personal anecdotes to tell the story of vintage and historical fashion through the eyes of passionate collectors. They are the unsung experts of their collected field and are often museums’ secret weapons, offering niche and insightful knowledge that is only learnt through vast personal interaction and experience.



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The Wardrobe  
The Wardrobe