Great British Fashion Stamps

Posted on June 01, 2012

Darlings, you’re in for quite the visual treat for your end-of-the-week pretty.

Celebrating the last 60 years of British fashion, Royal Mail launched a series of stamps showcasing Britain’s world famous fashion designers and their iconic designs. The series was created by London-based graphic designer Johnson Banks and photographed by fashion photographer Sølve Sundsbø. The results are fun and eye-catching, not to mention educational. Enjoy, dolls.


Hardy Amies
Sir Edwin Hardy Amies KCVO (1909-2003) was born in Maida Vale. He became managing director of Mayfair couture house Lachesse in 1934. After World War II he opened his own fashion business in Savile Row. Amies was the first major European fashion designer to venture into ready-to-wear and in 1955 received a royal warrant as dressmaker to the Queen. Other commissions have included clothing for the 1966 England World Cup squad and the 1972 GB Olympic squad and the film 2001: A Space Odyssey.

The outfit shown on the stamp dates from the late 1940s.


Norman Hartnell
 Sir Norman Hartnell KCVO (1901-1979) was born in Streatham. He opened his first couture house at 10 Bruton Street, Mayfair in 1923. In 1940 he received a royal warrant as Dressmaker to Queen Elizabeth, then subsequently as dressmaker to HM Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother.

The stamp shows an outfit created by Hartnell in the 1950s.


Granny Takes a Trip
 Granny Takes a Trip was a boutique opened in February 1965 at 488 Kings Road in London’s Chelsea, by Nigel Waymouth, his girlfriend Sheila Cohen and John Pearse. The shop, which was acquired by Freddie Hornik in 1969, remained open until the mid-70s and has been called the ‘first psychedelic boutique in Groovy London of the 1960s.’

The jacket shown on the stamp was designed by John Pearse using a Morris & Co. furniture fabric print called Golden Lily (1899).


Ossie Clark, print by Celia Birtwell
 ‘Ossie’ Clark (1942-1996) was born in Warrington, Lancashire. He was a major figure in the Swinging Sixties scene in London and the fashion industry in that era. Clark is now renowned for his vintage designs by present-day designers and compared to the 1960s fashion greats Mary Quant and Biba. He has influenced many other designers, including Yves Saint Laurent, Anna Sui and Tom Ford.

The outfit shown on the stamp here dates from the late 1960s and features a print by Celia Birtwell.


Tommy Nutter
 Tommy Nutter (1943-1992) was born in Barmouth, Merionethshire. He recreated the Savile Row suit in the 1960s. In 1969, he joined up with Edward Sexton, to open Nutters of Savile Row. Nutter combined traditional tailoring skills with innovative design. His clients included Mick Jagger and Elton John. Nutter was most proud of the fact that he dressed three out of the four Beatles on the cover of the LP Abbey Road.

The suit featured on the stamp was originally designed for Ringo Starr and was recreated especially for the photo shoot.


Jean Muir
 Jean Muir, CBE, FCSD (1928-1995) was born in London. She worked briefly in a solicitor’s office before taking a stockroom job at Liberty & Co in 1950. Despite her lack of formal art college training, she was given the opportunity to sketch in Liberty’s ready-to-wear department, which led to her gaining a job as designer for Jaeger in 1956. Her own label Jean and Jane was launched in 1962 followed by Jean Muir Ltd in 1966. Famous clients include former Muir model Joanna Lumley, Charlotte Rampling and Maggie Smith.

The outfit featured here dates from the late 70s/early 80s.


Zandra Rhodes

Zandra Rhodes CBE (1940-) was born in Chatham, Kent. She was one of the new wave of British designers who put London at the forefront of the international fashion scene in the 1970s. Her designs are considered clear, creative statements, dramatic but graceful, bold but feminine. Rhodes’ inspiration has been from organic material and nature. Her approach to the construction of garments can be seen in her use of reversed exposed seams and in her use of jewelled safety pins and tears during the punk era.

With her bright green hair (later pink and sometimes red or other colours), theatrical makeup and art jewellery, she stamped her own clear identity on the international world of fashion. Rhodes designed for Diana, Princess of Wales, and continues to design for royalty and celebrities. She notably designed several outfits for Freddie Mercury.

The early 80s gold ‘Royal’ dress shown here comes from Zandra Rhodes’s personal collection.


Vivienne Westwood
 Dame Vivienne Westwood DBE RDI (1941-) is largely responsible for bringing punk fashion into the mainstream. In the mid-1970s with Malcolm McLaren, Westwood created clothes drawing inspiration from bikers, fetishists and prostitutes, which McLaren sold from his Kings Road boutique. When McLaren became manager of the Sex Pistols, the band wore Westwood and McLaren’s designs. The ‘punk style’ included bondage gear, safety pins, razor blades, bicycle or lavatory chains on clothing and spiked dog collars for jewellery.

Westwood’s work includes the adoption of traditional elements of Scottish design, such as tartan fabric, and the reinterpretation of 17th-and 18th-century cloth cutting principles.

 Her first catwalk show was presented in 1981, featuring the collaboration of Westwood and McLaren. The first major retrospective of her work was shown in 2004–05 at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

The 1993 Harlequin dress shown here was famously modelled by Naomi Campbell.


Paul Smith

Sir Paul Smith RDI (1946 -) was born in Beeston, Nottinghamshire. He left school at 15 with the ambition of becoming a racing cyclist. A cycling accident put an end to his cycling hopes, and during the six-month hospital stay that followed Smith made some new friends. After leaving hospital he arranged to meet them at a local pub that was popular with art students. It was then that he realised he wanted to be a designer.

Smith took evening tailoring classes with Gordon Valentine Tipton, who showed him how to cut cloth as well as teaching him all the basics. Later Smith joined Lincroft Kilgour in Savile Row, where his designs were worn by celebrities, including George Best. He opened his first shop in 1970. In 1976 Smith’s first menswear collection was shown in Paris, under the Paul Smith label. In 1998, he showed his first women’s collection at London Fashion Week.

Paul Smith remains fully involved in the business, designing clothes, choosing fabrics, approving the shop locations and overseeing every development within the company. He has showrooms in London, Paris, Milan, New York and Tokyo.

The suit on the stamp dates from around 2003.


Alexander McQueen
 Lee Alexander McQueen CBE (1969 – 2010) was born in Lewisham, London. He was a fashion designer and couturier best known for his in-depth knowledge of bespoke British tailoring, his tendency to juxtapose strength with fragility in his collections, as well as the emotional power and raw energy of his provocative fashion shows. He worked as chief designer at Givenchy from 1996 to 2001 and founded his own label under the name Alexander McQueen. His achievements have earned four British Designer of the Year awards (1996, 1997, 2001 and 2003), as well as the CFDA’s International Designer of the Year award in 2003.

The piece shown on the stamp is ‘Black Raven’ from McQueen’s Horn of Plenty 2009 collection.


[Photo Credit:]

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    • WOW! Our postal service should do this!! 


      •  Brits always have cool stamps!

        • Well of course they do – their country is run by a Queen. If we had Queens running things here, a lot of things would be much better.


          • Melvis Velour

            Say it sister!

          • Melvis Velour

            Say it sister!

            • My mother was with me and towards the end she leaned

      • StrandedFashionista

        Suggestions of who to feature:

        1. Ralph Lauren 
        2. Diane von Furstenberg 
        3. Calvin Klein 
        4. Donna Karan
        5. Marc Jacobs
        6. Bill Blass
        7. Vera Wang
        8. Marc Jacobs 
        9. Oscar de la Renta
        10. Tommy Hilfiger 

        • If I recall correctly, Hilfiger doesn’t actually do any designing himself, so I’d leave him off the list. But Betsey Johnson would have to be included – she would make a terrific stamp.


          • StrandedFashionista

            I forgot about Betsy. Yes, she would make a better addition. 

        • Vitantonio D’Ambrosio

          Is Von Furstenberg considered an American Designer? I thought she was… well European, I guess…

          • StrandedFashionista

            My reasoning for including her on the list was that she essentially invented the wrap dress- which I always considered a very “American” garment. Also, she sits on the CFDA and campaigns heavily for copyright protection of clothing designs. 

        • anotherEloise

          Bonnie Cashin.   Claire McCardell.

    • LesYeuxHiboux

      J’adore! I am ringing my British friends post haste. I hope the USPS follows suit.

      That is my favorite Vivenne Westwood of all that I’ve seen (and I caught her restrospective at SFMOMA). 

      • ballerinawithagun

        Wasn’t that a fabulous retrospective!!!

        • LesYeuxHiboux

           Absolutely fabulous! My mother was with me and towards the end she leaned over to whisper in my ear “I don’t get it.”

      • It was a great show at the DeYoung Museum in SF.

      • Sing4yursupper

        Same here!

    • Kate4queen

      These are wonderful! I’ll keep my eye open for some when I go over next week. 🙂

      • We’ll all be begging for letters from you. 🙂  Or just send us an empty envelope with our address and one of those stamps.

    • crash1212

      I love this. LOVE IT! What an excellent idea and what a great job they did in making it come to life. How does one go about purchasing stamps from the UK? To the Google machine!

    • Gorgeous. Why aren’t women’s suits cut like Hardy Amies ones any more? I want to look like that, not like a real estate agent!

    • I want these!!!!’

    • Le_Sigh

      GORGE.  And I kept picturing Tilda Swinton’s face in the McQueen.  

    • MoHub

      Where is Mary Quant?

      • That is an excellent question!

        • holdmewhileimnaked

          at least she was there.

      • Melissa Brogan

         They did her in 2009 in the British Design Classics stamps series (which wasn’t strictly fashion-related).

      • Sing4yursupper

        That’s exactly what I was thinking too. 

    • Sara__B

      I had such fun imagining different people (including me) wearing those outfits. Thanks for sharing, and for the lesson in fashion!

    • moppet

      These are just wonderful. 

    • Maybe it’s because I’m drunk right now but I can’t find the value of the stamps in the Royal Mail shop. Are they actual stamps or only supposed to be hung up? 

      • theblondette

         They are first class stamps, which means they are worth 60p 🙂

        •  I learn something new every day. I thought that the little “1st” in the corner might mean something but couldn’t figure out what. Thanks for the reply.

    • Love the Tommy Nutter suit. And what a fantastic name, no?

    • Eclectic Mayhem

      Fabulous!  *makes mental note to ask dad to get me a first day cover*

    • Anathema_Device

      So incredible! I love all the looks they picked for these stamps.

    • This is beyond fantastic. And the McQueen (as always) is breathtaking. The Westwood is also utterly fabulous. A great way to end the week for sure!

    • joe_tey83

      Are those the actual size of the stamps? That will take a whole lot of licking.

    • PastryGoddess

      Oh gosh…I so miss McQueen.  What great end of day Faboosh!

    • janetjb

      Fabulous stamps!

    • holdmewhileimnaked

      no biba? no biba? theyve gotta be kidding. i know they had to edit but barbara hulanicki is one of the most influential british designers of the twentieth century–even more, maybe, than ossie clark. in fact, she is approximately to the 60s/70s cusp era what the equally inexplicably missing mary quant would be to the era a decade previous. theyve also missed john bates/jean varon–he designed the original emma peel costumes. not to mention my very favorite designer of all, bill gibb [RIP]–nowhere as famous & nowhere as consistent as the almost miraculous ossie clarke but, when on & w/ or w/o his partner, kaffe fassett, something like astonishing, something like awesome when awesome really meant awesome, if i make sense. as per:

      there are many more more too. although i must say, as i inch ever closer to re-opening my shop, that i’m glad of the existence & timing of this set of stamps–this is quite a proportion of what i sell.

      [i’m pest cos i’m pretty sure i’m this post’s expert.]

      • Melissa Brogan

         Well, they already did a stamp on Mary Quant, and I’m sure they had to do quite a bit of narrowing it down. After all, where is David Sassoon, John Galliano (too controversial?), Caroline Castigliano, Erdem (too Canadian?), Jenny Packham, Catherine Walker (too associated with Diana?), etc. etc. etc.

        • holdmewhileimnaked

          too new.

          everyone i mentioned is from what is almost undoubtedly the heydey of british fashion [60s —> 70s]. in fact, every single designer on the stamps other than AMcQ is part of that historically very tiny slice of fashion legacy.

          i do have to say, though, that you have noted a proper punishment for JG. as one of many people of his sloshily slandered persuasion who does not believe he shouldve lost his job & possibly his entire career for his substance-simmered madness, i do believe he doesnt deserve his own postage stamp. it’s the perks from which he should be barred, not his own equally likely to be oven borne essential existence.

          • Melissa Brogan

            I don’t know that the series was really to commemorate Britain’s fashion heyday. It may just look that way since the majority of those being honored worked in that era. Otherwise, McQueen would have been cut from the list and honored later.

            • holdmewhileimnaked

              he’s dead.

            • holdmewhileimnaked

              he’s dead.

      • J MN

        I think this has more to do with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee than a retrospective of designers.  The Queen is celebrating 60 years on the throne and this is celebrating the last 60 years of British fashion.  Both with the Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics this summer I’m sure they’re commemorating any and every thing.

    • PuttyGalore

      Stunning. I was hoping the list would never end.

    • MilaXX

      FAB. I want them all 

    • suzq

      Spectacular!  And just in time for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee!

    • Lilithcat

      Fabulous!  And I want, desire, covet and would kill for the Hartnell and Jean Muir designs.

    • Qitkat

      Incredible! The very last thing I would have expected to see here is a crossing of interests between me and my husband, who is a die-hard philatelist.

    • fabulous!  I’d wear that John Pearse jacket today!

    • What a treat and yes, educational as well as pretty. Gorgeous!

    • That McQueen design gave me goosebumps.

    • I give this post my stamp of approval.  It sends me to another time and place.

    • These are fabulous!

    • Mildred20

      Beautifully done.  I especially like the decision to white-out the models.  You concentrate on the clothes so much more this way.

      • NurseEllen

         I agree, the lack of faces is great design and makes the clothing even more eye-catching.  I learned a lot just reading about these designers.  But if someone had said to me, “Quick! Name a famous British fashion designer from the ’60s!”, I would have replied, “Mary Quant”.  Where is she?

    • ballerinawithagun

      Thank you! All fabulous but I wish they would have chosen a different Zandra Rhodes.

    • BrooklynBomber

      How completely wonderful. Want, want, want. The clothes. Will have to settle for stamps.

    • PaulaBerman

      This is so completely awesome. Thanks for posting!

    • j_anson

      Those are beautifully done!

    • CassieLee22

      I wish we could use these!!!!

    • girliecue


    • UK stamps used to have only the profile of the Queen and different colors for the different rates?

      When did they change to different styles?

      Very creative stamps.

    • alyce1213

      I don’t know if anyone else posted this, but here is the link to purchase these stamps (£8.15 incl shipping to the U.S.).


    • quiltrx

      Fascinating, beautiful, and very informative.  Thanks for sharing these with us!

    • ccm800

      Swoon. Serious. 

    • Lina_bee

      that is awesome.

    • Love. Can someone send me post from UK with these stamps? 

      • alyce1213

        Look four comments below for the link to buy them.

    • BuffaloBarbara

      Oh, I love that!  And yes, very educational, especially for those of us with very little background on the subject. Makes me want to go learn more.  Lucky I work in a library. 😀

    • hughman

      Postal stamps! What are we now, Italians? Don’t messenger pigeons wear costumes?

    • sleepycat

      Okay I really want the hair on the Paul Smith model. My hair is thick and course making it tough to mold my hair into chic expressions. 

    • Maddie_Faddenoid

      I bet doing this because recently stamps have gone up from about 20p to 60p, the thieving b*******.

    • Two of my favorite things come together – Tlo and stamps!

    • ChaquitaPhilly

      Where’s Mary Quant?

    • fursa_saida

      These are bloody fabulous.

    • dying of awesome. 

    • cmb92191

      Granny Takes a Trip.. could be called Florence takes a trip.  Very very cool idea.   Why can’t the US postal service do this?

    • lilibetp

      I ADORE the Hardy Amies suit!  I’d wear that now.

    • snarkykitten

      how fun! but the facelessness bugs me though

    • PeaceBang

      Florence Welch needs to look into that Morris & Co print jacket, stat.

    • guest2visits

      Such a really great idea, – I loved this!  Our US Post Office is finally beginning to advertise it’s value and importance;
      it would be nice to have something both fun and interesting like this series.

    • TieDye64

      These are so great! So gorgeous. What’s say we bring back the turban? 

    • sarahjane1912

      I want that Norman Hartnell coat. No, NEED it. *Drools*

    • Candigirl1968

      These make me want to mail something in England just so I could use the stamps. 

    • OneTwoThreeFashion

      love Brit stamps!

    • LittleKarnak


    • Sue_Asponte

      I want to go back in time and shop at Granny Takes a Trip!

    • Love the McQueen stamp! 

    • SapphoPoet

      The lack of faces sort of freaks me out.

    • ryaddictive

      is this all of them?  did they leave out mary quant?

    • these are awesome!  

    • RzYoung

      I never knew Alexander McQueen was born in Lewisham! That’s where I was born!

    • oohsparkley!

      Thanks Tlo. Very informative!