Label ‘Horrockses Fashions’
This dress, and those in Related Items, were made by the firm Horrockses Fashions, which was founded in 1946 by the long-established cotton manufacturers Horrockses, Crewdson & Co of Preston, Lancashire. The company aimed to raise the status of cotton garments which before the Second World War had, on the whole, been considered functional and inexpensive. Targeting a middle-class market, Horrockses employed top-quality freelance and in house designers for both its fabrics and garments, and sought to establish itself as a brand name recognisable for quality and modern stylishness at a reasonable, though by no means inexpensive, price.
Its success in this respect was marked by the choice of Horrockses dresses by the Queen and other members of the Royal Family for tours of warm Commonwealth countries. These models were then available to the public, prefiguring the present day interest in the clothes of younger female royalty. Other loyal, but less elevated, customers kept and cherished their Horrockses dresses, especially those associated with memorable occasions.
Although it produced evening wear, housecoats, childrenswear and beach outfits, the company was particularly renowned for its printed summer dresses. This dress is a classic example of a summer dress of the early 1950s – front fastening with V neck and turned down collar, short sleeves cut in one with the bodice, a waist defined by a belt, and a full, flared skirt. It is defined as a Horrockses dress by the quality of the delicately drawn black floral design of the fabric, the black being picked up by the buttons, and by the fine binding of the collar and pockets. The imaginatively notched collar and pocket detail also adds to a touch of class in the dress.