The award-winning journalist who first championed the Laura Ashley look more than 40 years ago will officially open the first major retrospective celebration of the designer at Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Fashion Museum.
Felicity Green OBE, who as the Daily Mirror’s Fashion Editor as well as Associate Editor in 1970, described the Laura Ashley style as ‘soft-core femininity’ and ‘Victorian-type demureness’, will lead the tributes and memories before cutting the floral ribbon in the 15 July ceremony.
The Fashion Museum’s prestigious summer exhibition “Laura Ashley: The Romantic Heroine” will showcase a staggering 100 Laura Ashley dresses from 13 July to 26 August.
Rosemary Harden, the Manager of Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Fashion Museum, said: “Felicity Green really is one of the great fashion editors and it’s so fitting that she is opening this show. Her influential words have really helped shape our exhibition – which celebrates the vision of the romantic heroine that Laura Ashley gave to fashion in the late 1960s and 1970s.
A classic example was the chaste cotton print maxi-dress in earth-hewn natural colours – whisking us away with the notion of life in a golden age; a pastoral idyll far from the mad city life.”
The exhibition has been developed in partnership with Laura Ashley Ltd and The Bowes Museum in County Durham (where it will stage its only other UK showing after the Fashion Museum).
Felicity Green OBE said: “I’m really looking forward to return to the Fashion Museum to open this fantastic show – having previously unveiled the Dress of the Year in 1967! The Laura Ashley exhibition offers a great mix of fun and illuminating fashion heritage, and I’m truly honoured to be asked to present it. The whole event promises to be a huge treat for everyone to enjoy.
To complement the exhibition, the Fashion Museum has produced a 48-page colour paperback book; featuring photographs from the show and tales from fans of the Laura Ashley look. The book will go on sale at £5.99 in the Museum’s shop from Saturday 13 July.
Councillor Ben Stevens (Lib-Dem, Widcombe), Cabinet Member for Sustainable Development, said: “Bath became home to one of the first Laura Ashley stores in July 1971, and now the city houses one of the world’s great museum collections of historic and fashionable dress – including a fine selection of signature Laura Ashley dresses.
Bath & North East Somerset Council is therefore proud to host this celebration at the Fashion Museum to offer a wide variety of culture and creativity to everyone.”
To coincide with the exhibition, Laura Ashley is inviting people to share their treasured photographs and memories of the designer for a competition running on its Facebookpage. A selection of these will also be shared by the Fashion Museum through its Twitter feed (follow @Fashion_Museum #LauraAshley60) and Facebook page (search for “Fashion Museum”).
Admission to the Fashion Museum is free to local residents on production of a Bath & North East Somerset Council Discovery Card. Normal entry prices apply to everyone else.
The Fashion Museum is open daily from 10.30am to 4pm (exit 5pm). It currently features the Dress of the Year and the museum’s 50th anniversary exhibition “50 Fabulous Frocks”. For more information visit www.fashionmuseum.co.uk or call 01225 477789.