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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