Our best dresses: the story of Horrockses fashions limited  




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Peer reviewed



The exhibition focused on ready-to-wear fashion in the post-war period. It was original in that it linked the design, production, retail, distribution and consumption of these popular fashions. This develops Entwistle’s view that "a sociological account of fashion and dress must acknowledge the connections between production and consumption, considering the relationship between different agencies, institutions, individuals and practices" ('The Fashioned Body', Polity Press 2000 p.3) Methodologically it drew on primary archive material, including unpublished business records. Eg. Horrockses, various archives of designers preserved in the National Archive of Art and Design, (Victoria and Albert Museum), textile collections and records in Abbot Hall Museum and Art Gallery, Kendal, and interviews with the designer Pat Albeck. I also used oral history as a means of understanding what these clothes meant to the women that purchased them, or copied them. The exhibition endeavoured to look at the clothing choices of ordinary women, in contrast to the majority of exhibitions that deal with elite and haute couture clothing. Organised in collaboration with the staff of the Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston. Boydell acted as the curator, sourcing the exhibits, writing the text panels and labels as well as the accompanying pamphlet. Funding was applied for collaboratively (a Textile Society Museum Award in was gained in 2000 (£1000) and also from the National Arts Collection Fund (£4190), V&A Purchase Fund (£7380) and the Friends of the Harris Museum (£3000) for money to purchase a number of important pieces that were loaned to the exhibition, and which are now in the permanent collection). Invited by the following organisations to lecture Textile Society seminar – 2/3/2002 (attendance 40) Public lecture on Horrockses – Gallery of Costume, Platt Hall Manchester – 25/4/2001 (attendance 20) Costume & Textile Society of Wales, National Museum of Wales, 9/2/2002 (attendance 30)


RAE 2008, UoA 63 Art and Design


Boydell, C. E. 20 October 2001 - 19 October 2002. Our Best Dresses: The Story of Horrockses Fashions Limited. Preston: Harris Museum & Art Gallery.


Research Institute