Saturday, 31 July 2010

I know ... it's no good longing for a Horrockses' frock if you don't have the teeny waist for those cinched-in skirts.
And in those days a size 14 was only as big as today's 10.
So you'd have to wear a lift-and-separate bra (Playtex or Maidenform?) and a girdle and stockings and suspenders. Like those women in Mad Men.
But, heavens, those frocks were pretty. I remember when they were still advertised in magazines, although by then they seemed very old-fashioned. Not that my mum could have afforded a cotton dress that cost £7 in the 1950s. These were dresses for honeymoons and garden parties. The Queen and Princess Margaret wore them on Caribbean tours. You could tell an Englishwoman abroad by her Horrockses' frock.
I loved this exhibition. I spotted a strappy magnolia print in pale yellow cotton that was so Betty Draper.
I loved the black and white gingham banded with blue roses, with a little bolero the colour of the sea in Capri.
And the witty summer frock, printed with slices of pie and other treats, that dated from the last days of rationing.

I got chatting to a pretty young intern who was wearing a lilac-coloured floral stripe ... Was it Horrockses? Yes, it was. As crisp and fresh - she let me touch - as it must have been in that 1950s summer when it was new. I wonder who owned it first? She bought it on E-bay, she said. For £32.
I'm not sure what I envied most, that lovely dress - or her slim waist!

On the way home, I caught a screening of a 1953 movie. I nodded off and nearly missed Deborah Kerr in the surf.


Darlene said...

That's gorgeous and oh so tiny...

I watched most of Major Barbara a couple of weeks ago. Deborah Kerr looked like she was barely out of her teens!

mary said...

Don't think I've ever seen that one, Darlene.

Unknown said...

This is so strange! I just found this blog post by accident when doing some research on Horrockses. I think it was my dress that you touched at the exhibition!

There is actually a picture of the dress you are talking about (if memory serves me correctly as to the one i was wearing) on my blog in my latest post!

mary said...

What a coincidence, Liz. Yes, I'm sure it was that pinky-lilac dress; I recognise it. And now I've seen your blog, I'm even more envious of your frock collection. Not to mention your waistline!