Wednesday, 19 March 2014

It's a Twiggy World

One thing we absolutely love about our fairs is hunting through all of the vintage goodies and seeing what treasures we can find from the many outstanding traders. Its always especially exciting when we find a real gem...

And what do we have here? An original Twiggy?!

This gorgeous turquoise frill baby doll dress is a 1960’s original by one of our favourite models and fashion icons, the gorgeous Lesley Hornby, more commonly known as “Twiggy”!
I came across this beauty at our last Southampton event and I just couldn’t say no. As its such a lovely little thing and a rare one to track down, I thought it would be appropriate to tell you all a little about the “Twiggy” brand and how it all started J

The “Twiggy Dresses” brand came about when the famous model was approached to launch her own label by a well-known dress manufacturer called Berkertex.
What Twiggy was soon to find out was that Berkertex just wanted her name on designs that were already in production, and that’s when she decided to work with a company where she would have more input.

Which is where “Taramina Textiles” came into play!
The company was run by two brothers-in-law, Leonard Bloomburg and Sydney Hills. As they originally made old lady frocks and wedding dresses the teenage market was something quite new to them which was great for Twiggy, as it meant a completely blank page. Right from the start it was agreed everything would be things that she would be happy to wear.

Twiggy even had input into choosing the designers – Pamela Proctor and Paul Babb who were young creative types straight from the Royal College of Art. They would meet two or three times a week to discuss designs and ideas, and as someone who had always wanted to be a clothes designer and had made many of her own clothes, Twiggy truly envied the two designers she worked so closely with, but they made a great team

 “I dress very strangely some times and the things that suit me wouldn’t suit everyone else. So things have to be adapted and sometimes toned down to make them commercial.”

The range was launched to the Press in November 1966 via a range of photographs taken bBarry Lategan (whose photo had launched her career as “the face of ’66”), an advertising campaign using the slogan “it’s a twiggy world”, and amazingly Twiggy’s only catwalk modelling. “In those days you didn’t do both and the top girls were photographic models only. Given the fact that nothing ever fitted me (what you don’t see in the photographs is the bulldog clips and safety pins at the back) its a good thing. But the Twiggy Dresses were made with me in mind.”

The range was highly priced – ranging between 6 and 12 guineas at a time when a decent high street skirt would be 50 shillings. Apart from the famous celebrity behind the expensive label, an added sales technique was the unusual “portrait hanger” with the models face on, that came free with every piece of clothing as well as Twiggy mannequins in shop windows.

The personal input and strong branding enabled the label to run successfully for three years from 1967 – 1970.


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