Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A Walk Back in Time

...with vintage Laura Ashley!

Inspired by Susan Branch's England trip featured on her blog as of late, I decided to dig out some older Laura Ashley catalogs and show them a few at a time here.
Let's start with the Home Furnishings catalog from 1994 - no particular reason, just that I grabbed it first!

I used to work at Laura Ashley in Seattle on University Street back in the late 80's/early 90's.
It was one of my favorite jobs (making retail wages was not something I'd want to go back to) but the atmosphere of working in a shop with so many beautiful and desirable things was a pleasure to be around each day.  I especially liked Sundays because I worked the shop alone most times and I loved sale days - especially the big ones in the early days when there were only two sales a year.
People would line up outside the shop, stretching around the  block/Olympic Hotel while they waited for us to open.  We'd show up in our flowery dresses and espadrilles (if summer) or babywale Welsh farmhouse dresses and tights (if winter) and ready the shop for opening.
I also unpacked the new shipments in the stock room and LOVED to open the first of the new season's clothing (we called those giant boxes "coffin boxes"). As the one unpacking I got to set aside first, any new outfit I wanted on allotment!! The joy of seeing dresses with "Made in Wales" or "Made in England" on them, or wool sweaters that said "Made in Scotland" was very special.
That's not something we get to see often nowadays at all.  Everything is cheaply made now in Asia and I want none of it!
(I was broken-hearted to learn in the mid 2000's that Spode had moved 230+ years of English Stoke-on-Trent production to china and then not surprised at all when they went bankrupt a year later. Who wants it when its not made in England!?) Luckily now, some Spode is being made again where it belongs - where it was invented!

The flowery dresses and silk scarves, the skirts and white blouses would fly off the shelves and into the wallpapered dressing room where we spritzed the matching floral curtains with Laura Ashley No 1 parfum.

I still have most my dresses I was allotted monthly as a FT employee, as well as the catalogs and even event postcards!  I love it all.
I remember the names of the colors: cowslip yellow, heath green, sapphire, rose and sand.
And the patterns from Isabelle to Palace Garden, Canasta Check to Lyme Regis,  Charlotte to Caroline, Bramble to Emma, Chinese Silk to Aragon, Melrose to Quartermaine...Gainsborough, Winterlily, Candy Stripe and Pavilion!

No comments:

Post a Comment