My dearest Pete Trachy came into the shop the other with the hottest tip. Knowing, as he does, my feelings about vintage made in Wales Laura Ashley dresses, he directed me to the Talk of the Town section of this week’s New Yorker, featuring a profile of Laura and Sir Bernard Ashley. Sure enough, Pete, it’s a hands down must read!
In addition to the astonishing YSL nugget that I can’t honestly picture and then I can, Lauren Collins advances the radical Laura Ashley as “Marimekko for the Home Counties” claim (too true!) and shares a few tantalizing fragments of the Ashleys’ beginnings and their impact on the universe. For example, the cozy floral Laura Ashley jet. It’s wonderful imagine that the holy mother brand of all things granny/girly that meant so much to so many twelve year old girls was once just a mom and pop screenprinting operation out of the Ashley kitchen table.
The old, big tag Laura Ashley dresses have a been an inspiration for a long while now. I admire their extra thick cottons and hand printed, bordering on psychedelic, prints which feel really different from their home decorating fabrics. Not that I discount the billowing flannel Anne of Green Gables, nice teacher pinafores. Those are really nice. But what does it for me are the ones that seem hyperbolically throw back, with low down scoop necks, or in the case of a high collar, lace bits strategically placed over private bits and noooooooo slip running underneath. Their weight and swing make them great for walking, even if its just down 18th Street and not some hither highland or yonder heath.
I’ve forced myself to put this one up for sale at the shop, though it fits and would feel like such a great antidote to “sexy” at many a formal occasion. I don’t know….hoping somebody will just come in and buy it before I have a change of heart.