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Laura Ashley, The Romantic Heroine (touring)

Start Date 21 September 2013
End Date 05 January 2014
Venue Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle
Location Teesdale, UK
Exhibition display of dressed mannequins

To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Laura Ashley label, this exhibition encapsulated the vision of the romantic heroine that this iconic designer gave to fashion in the 1960s and 1970s.
A selection of 70 dresses from this era – on loan from the Laura Ashley archive in Wales, the Fashion Museum in Bath and private collections – were displayed. Caroline Peacock, chairman of The Friends of The Bowes Museum, also donated her personal collection of Laura Ashley dresses which she ‘lived in during the 70s.’ 

The exhibition showed the departure from the knee length and mini-dress styles dominating fashion in the swinging 60s and 70s, instead drawing on the past for inspiration. The trend was unprecedented: a modern take on the Victorian-inspired style enabled women and girls throughout the country to wear the chaste cotton print maxi-dress in earth-hewn colours, harking back to a more pastoral idyll far away from city. It defined the term, ‘The Laura Ashley dress’, furthering the iconic status of the label.