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Vivien McMurray travelled all the way from her home in Cornwall to Laura Ashleyâ€™s archive in West London to drop off five immaculately kept vintage Laura Ashley dresses from the 1960â€™s. We were so touched we just had to tell you all about it!
As we swooned over the dresses Vivien told us all about which Laura Ashley stores they were from and her memories of Laura Ashley back in the 60â€™s and 70â€™sâ€¦
Having started nursing training at St Thomas Hospital in London in October 1969 her nursesâ€™ home was on the Chelsea Embankment, very near the Kingâ€™s road. Her and her flat matesâ€™ stomping ground was Carnaby Street (the â€˜inâ€™ place to go at the time) and they wore the mini skirts and the maxi fashion that was coming into style in the early 1970â€™s. Four of them rented a flat in Pimlico and used to go to the Laura Ashley shop in South Kensington. She recalls the racks of clothes in the very happening, once small and very busy store. One of her friends Hilly was permanently dressed in Laura Ashley smocks, smock dresses and long skirts and rode a Honda 50â€¦ no crash helmets back in those days!
(Vivien kindly dug out these old pictures of her friends in Laura Ashley from the 1970â€™s)
Vivien bought the long Victorian style dress around 1971 and wore it to a wedding with a boater hat. She also recalls how good the violet blue cord dress looked with boots. And as for the dressing gown, well she lived in it. As you can see below it is more worn out than the other clothes! (A short while after Vivien dropped by our archivist came across the original sketch of her dressing gown- we were thrilled to match the illustration with the real thing!)
In 1976 Vivien moved to Bath as a ward sister on a children ward. She describes the Laura Ashley shop as being iconic there and this is where she invested in the cord dresses.
Having kept the clothes in the roof of her current home and planning to move house shortly, she decided to have a clear out. Not wanting the dresses to go to just anyone, she rang Laura Ashley and asked if they had an archive. Now they will be looked after for posterity!
If you have any old vintage Laura Ashley dresses that you would like to kindly donate to the Laura Ashley archive where they will be looked after and treasured please contact our archivist at 020 7880 5379