J’adore Couture

Wenda Parkinson in a Hardy Amies dress, photographed by Norman Parkinson, 1951

Haute Couture; the very best of dressmaking, the very finest of fabrics, the most specific tailoring, the most intricate embellishment, the most beautiful fashion in the world. As a girl whose heart beats faster at the sight of a well-made dress, it doesn’t get much better than this. One of my all time favourite places has an utterly divine exhibition on at the moment and I got my peepers on it last week. ‘Hartnell to Amies, Couture by Royal appointment’, is just perfect. The Fashion and Textile Museum, as always, is a great place to see an exhibition, great size, relaxed atmosphere, and always impeccably curated, on this occasion by Dennis Nothdruft and Michael Pick.

Models wearing Norman Hartnell for Vogue, 1953. Photographed by Norman Parkinson Wenda Parkinson in Hardy Amies coat, 1949. Photographed by Norman Parkinson Fiona Campbell-Walter with Julia Clarke and Hardy Amies, photographed by Norman Parkinson, 1953

This darling of a show focuses on the undisputed Kings of British vintage couture; Norman Hartnell and Hardy Amies. With a stunning selection of their work, displayed beautifully and with great informative text alongside. We also get to see examples of hat couturier Frederick Fox. In addition to all this gorgeousness, we are treated to the sights of some other couture pieces including Worth, Digby Morton and Lachasse. It is always an absolute treat to see the fashion up close, to study the detail and craftsmanship. As a vintage shop owner, I am lucky enough to come across couture pieces myself. I currently have dresses by Hardy Amies, Lachasse and Worth in my collection which I love and will blog about separately. These photographs above are a few of my favourite from the work of infamous couture photographer, Norman Parkinson, beautiful. I did take some photos whilst at the show, not great but a bit of a glimpse at my pick of what was on display.

Norman Hartnell, Black crepe dress with bolero. 1938

Norman Hartnell. Black crepe dress, 1938

Norman Hartnell, pale bronze silk satin dress, circa 1946

Norman Hartnell, pale bronze evening dress, circa 1946

Norman Hartnell, blue crepe two piece suit, circa 1956

Norman Hartnell, two piece suit, circa 1956

Hardy Amies, red and black printed cocktail dress, circa 1960

Hardy Amies, copper satin cocktail dress, 1952

Hardy Amies, scarlet crepe evening dress, , 1980

Hardy Amies, scarlet dress, 1980

  • Black crepe evening dress with matching bolero, Norman Hartnell, 1938
  • Embroidered pale bronze silk evening dress, Norman Hartnell, Circa 1946
  • Blue crepe two piece suit, Norman Hartnell, Circa 1956
  • Dark red and black printed glazed manmade satin dress, Hardy Amies, 1960
  • Copper satin dress, fitted bodice, full skirt, Hardy Amies, 1952
  • Scarlet crepe evening dress, Hardy Amies, 1980

This wonderful exhibition is on until 23rd February



  1. MsCastroRides January 28, 2013 / 10:31 pm

    Darling as a mad vintage baby I do understand your passion thanks for sharing looking forward to seeing your collection I have loads of gorgeous menswear which from my late father he was a dandy!! Any Gipson how to document? I want to meet you very soon :):)

    • theprimgirl January 28, 2013 / 10:52 pm

      Glad you like my blog. A Father who was a Dandy, wow, bet you have some great pieces, men’s stuff is always much more rare, keep it nice and safe!

  2. MsCastroRides January 28, 2013 / 10:33 pm

    Oh dear that went all over the place ?
    I hope you get my gist though?

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