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TRUE VINTAGE ~ Simply the most elegant and stylish riding dress in classic black wool crepe ~ Noir

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23 Mar, 2014 06:59:38 GMT
£14.00 Royal Mail International Signed | See details
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Item location:
Ivybridge, United Kingdom

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Last updated on  21 Feb, 2014 06:59:40 GMT  View all revisions
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Item specifics

Condition: Used : Split the cost with friends
An item that has been previously worn. See the seller’s listing for full details and description of any imperfections. See all condition definitions- opens in a new window or tab
Seller notes: TRUE VINTAGE ~ Simply the most elegant and stylish riding dress in classic black wool crepe ~ Noir Vamp ~ Equestrian Mistress ~ Edwardian Beauty ~ 40s War Bride ~ ABSOLUTELY STUNNING,SO RARE TO FIND and in EXCELLENT VINTAGE CONDITION by the iconic and quintessentially British designer LAURA ASHLEY ~ BEAUTIFUL, CLASSIC, STUNNING!
Decade: 1940s1940s War Bride/Gothic Beauty/Noir Beauty/30s Brand: Laura Ashley
Look: Equestrian/Governess/Edwardian/Country House UK SIZING: UK 10 ~ please see measurements
Size: 10 US SIZING: US 8 ~ please see measurements
Main Colour: Black EURO SIZING: Euro 36 ~ please see measurements
Vintage Type: True Vintage This beautiful dress may fit:: smaller/larger sizes / pls see measurements
Material: 100% Wool Exact Fabric:: Soft Light Wool crepe ~ Fabuous

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Equestrian Mistress ~ Gothic Noir ~ 40s War Bride ~ 20s Flapper

Extremely Rare Vintage 'Noir Vamp' Piece

            Simply Stunning in            
100% Black Wool Crepe

~ Equestrian Mistress ~ 40s War Bride ~ WWII ~ Country House ~ Victorian ~
~ Gothic Noir ~ Edwardian Glamour ~ Governess ~ Lady of the Manor ~ 20s Flapper 



~ iconic, classic British tailoring by an internationally renowned and admired designer ~



~ Vintage ~ Victorian ~ Gothic Noir ~ Suffragette  ~ 40s ~ War Bride ~ WWII ~ Riding ~ Equestrian ~ Lady of the Manor ~ Governess ~ Mistress ~ Edwardian ~ 30s Vamp ~ 20s Flapper ~ Just Beautiful...

Equestrian Mistress ~ Gothic Noir ~ Edwardian Vamp ~ 40s War Bride ~ Flapper


For lovers of Laura Ashley and her early, dark-hued vintage styles ~ equestrian influenced, reminiscent of an elegant 1940s war bride and with characteristic references to the Victorian and Edwardian periods ~ this is the perfect piece!!

Such an impossibly stylish and very rare to find vintage riding dress with the most elegant long, fluid lines which drape just beautifully in the softest light wool crepe ~ the classic tailoring and understated detailing is beyond fabulous.

A slim, double rever collar ~ finished in a pretty, black cotton lace ~ drapes in a delicate lateral curve, creating a very elegant, shawl collar effect that shapes the double breasted front and is fastened, to one side, with three self fabric buttons (a further button sits neatly inside to preserve the smart line).

The dress also features an achingly chic, very slightly drop waist that falls into the most stunning of skirts, with gradually diluting soft pleats which drape gently and beautifully to give such a fabulous flow of fabric that hangs with perfect precision.

The elegant shaping continues throughout the back with delicate tailoring that shows off the hour glass silhouette, while softly padded shoulders frame stylish sleeves that gradually taper to cuffs enhanced with two small, self fabric buttons.

This gorgeous garment is such an exceptional example of Laura Ashley’s eye for classic, understated design that defined the style of her earlier vintage pieces ~ so well made, elegant, evocative and sought after, beautifully realised in the most gorgeous fabric of enduring black, eminently wearable and exceptionally flattering, with evocations of the classic equestrian palette ~ and such a pleasing, perfect shape that will suit so many occasions and work with a multitude of eras and genres.

The trend for all things equestrian continues apace, as does the 40s style of sleek, elegant long lines ~ and this dress fits the bill on all counts.  Such a classic yet distinctive shape with a uniquely flattering style ~ and so many ways to wear it!  Echo the essence of Equestrian and Edwardian elegance, give in to your inner Governess, be fashionable with 40s flair, captivate in country house chic ~ you'll look and feel just GORGEOUS!


Excellent condition.

100% wool ~ a gorgeous, light wool crepe in beautiful all-over black

Iconic label reads: “LAURA ASHLEY ~ Pure New Wool ~ Made in Great Britain” 


Size: This dress might fit other sizes than those in label ~ please see measurements below.

This garment has a little natural stretch to the fabric.

UK 10 ~ might fit other sizes ~ please see measurements.

EURO 36 ~ might fit other sizes ~ please see measurements.

US 8 ~ might fit other sizes ~ please see measurements.


This garment has a little natural stretch to the fabric ~ all measurements taken with the garment unstretched.

All measurements are taken with the garment laid flat so please double up for all the way around where appropriate.

All measurements are taken with the garment pulled a bit to flatten (unless stated otherwise) ~ and please be aware that there is inevitably a slight discrepancy in the ways different people measure ~ so all measurements are approximate and please give or take about a ¼ inch or so either way. 

Please measure against a similar garment of your own which you know fits you well.

Bust ~ armpit to armpit across front ~ approx: 17 inches.

Waist ~ approx: 15 to 15½ inches

Hips ~ approx: 17 inches

Length ~ taken from shoulder seam where it meets neckline, and down back of garment to hem  ~ approx: 49½ inches ~ remember that with a person wearing the dress, the length will be taken up a bit.

Sleeve Length ~ taken from shoulder seam and along TOP of sleeve to cuff ~ approx: 25 inches



STYLING ~ The Equestrian and Victorian Trend ~

‘Equestrian is always in…’ ~ Ralph Lauren       

The distinctive and very elegantly sexy Victorian and equestrian looks are very on trend ~ and with their timeless elegance, always will be...


As design icon Ralph Lauren asserts, 'equestrian is always in' ~ perhaps because it can be worn with as much flair as fits your personality and always instils a sense of timeless class and subtle femininity as inherited by the Victorians who were able to achieve both rather admirably. So, don the leather riding boots and delight in the gorgeous hour glass silhouette intrinsic of the riding jacket, or just as striking, the tailcoat, harking back again to the Victorian and Edwardian era.....


Women have always styled and worn their own versions of what is, or was, considered to be ostensibly men’s fashionable dress, with riding coats and all things ‘equestriana’ being no exception. From the 1870s, the more 'masculine' shape of ladies’ riding costume began to evolve into garments reminiscent of their daywear bodices ~  keeping the lapels and collars of men's jackets, but defining the shape of things to come in terms of the now familiar fitted silhouette with it's rather romantic look of defined  waist and long frock coat shape.


The dawn of the Edwardian age saw the emergence of the blazer and, with the addition of darts, this new coat shape became trimmed to flatter the female form ~ a silhouette still echoed today in riding coats and jackets. 


By the 1910s, womens'’ riding jackets had lengthened ~  a modification that adhered to the long lines of the columnar fashions, resulting in a style that would dominate riding wear well into the 1920s.  The introduction of jackets that were cut away at the front came from a solution to the previous square-fronted jackets being damaged against the saddle when riding, while the outer skirt became flared at the back to drape comfortably over the saddle ~ and with the flattering, form-enhancing darts back in place, the cutaway frock coat was quickly adopted as a fashion staple by equestriennes and non-sporting women alike to become the classic, definitive 'riding' jacket.


The distinctive, beautiful and timeless shapes of Victorian and Edwardian riding wear are fully evident in the modern trend for the equestrian look, with smart yet sexy coat and jacket shapes in various styles and lengths ~ single or double breasted, in wool/cashmere, tweed or velvet; short, chic jackets with military embellishment in the form of buttons, loops or braiding; long, flowing velvet coats with contrast trim, corset-style lacing, fitted or belted waists and bustle-style backs; the classic shape and authentic look of riding coats with smart tailoring and asymmetrical buttoning ~  it’s little wonder that contemporary designers and brands such as Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors, Stella McCartney and Hermès constantly extol the virtues of, and continue to rework, the equestrian aesthetic.


Riding wear often stands out from other looks with its fabulous and fitted tailoring, powerful silhouettes, romantic elegance, smart detailing and the often huge sweeping coat skirts. These are garments that continue to stand the test of time and whether vintage or contemporary, they evoke the Victorian ethos for quality, shape and style that’s perfect for a trend able to traverse so many modern looks; from the elegance of the courtyard and countryside via Goth, Dandy, Poet, Mistress, Steampunk, military, pirate and more...equestrian style is endlessly evocative and beautifully timeless...

HISTORY ~ Laura Ashley ~ Classic, Beautiful, Timeless ~

"I reckon that women looked their best at the turn of the century..." ~ Laura Ashley

Laura Ashley are one of the world's most recognizable British brands and have over 40 years experience in making beautiful clothing with retro styling and timeless chic, capturing the essence of the Victorian and Edwardian eras which make all of their designs quintessentially English and timeless. Or just think of the literary heroines of the Regency era with a contemporary bohemian twist...

Laura's love of all things Victorian led to the longer length silhouette which would become the company's trademark and was right on trend at the end of the 1960s when fashion turned from the mini to the maxi ~  a trend that has since returned with force, emphasising Laura Ashley's timeless quality.

In 1961 Laura Ashley and her husband Bernard Ashley moved from their Kent home, the original design and production venue, to Carno in Wales to enable them to expand the business and be inspired by the rolling Welsh countryside.

Having expanded into clothing design and manufacture in the 1960s, in 1966 Laura produced her first dresses for social rather than work attire ~ these were the first ‘true’ Laura Ashley dresses which often evoked a rural, 19th century feel, characterised by romantic designs and the use of natural fabrics ~ in plums, browns, earth-hewn tones and other darker colours that lent themselves to a colour palette which reflected quality, subtlety and nostalgia ~ the latter mirroring a trend in dressing that came with the end of the 60s. 

The longer length silhouette became the company’s trademark and worked in their favour, as fashion lengths switched from mini to maxi. But compared with the popular 'county lifestyle' image of Laura Ashley clothes, the originals were, if anything, anti-fashion. The dresses were made from the textiles printed by the company, often in natural fabrics, and the designs were sometimes modern interpretations of antique prints (influences included English Medieval, William Morris, Chinese and Egyptian). She had hit upon a "brand new version of the past”.

A major influence on her dress designing was her 'Wren’s uniform': "The uniform was a very good quality navy gabardine and you could press it and wear it with a clean white cotton shirt and collar and tie...and with a nice, elegant little hat and black leather shoes." This styling became particularly evident in her beautifully tailored riding dresses and equestrian influenced clothes ~ a vintage style that continues to influence modern fashion sensibilities. 

The ‘Laura Ashley look’ became synonymous with a graceful simplicity in women’s styles and the enduring popularity of long, period-inspired gowns or voluminous peasant dresses, riding dresses and equestrian style coats, with their effortlessly vintage appeal and evocations of the idyllic pastoral lifestyle ~ while her dresses and blouses were noted for their Victorian-like high necks and full sleeves, softened by lace and crochet. 

Laura Ashley had studied 18th and 19th century prints in museum collections for her miniature floral patterns and her countryside aesthetic towards the end of the sixties saw the business boom (and bloom) with extraordinary and rapid success that proved to be built on an almost unshakeable foundation. 

Having opened her first shop in Machynlleth in 1960, and her first London shop in 1968, the early vintage/heritage inspired designs of this arbiter of fashion and lifestyle became so in demand (in one week alone, the Fulham Road shop sold 4,000 dresses) that by the mid 70s, dresses from her factories in the heart of mid Wales were being sold across Europe and by the mid 1980s, there were over 200 stores across the world.

Currently, the desire to reference vintage style in fashion has returned and vintage fashion is now extremely sought after everywhere, boosting the popularity of Laura Ashley’s vintage pieces which are now being exhibited in vintage collections and coveted by collectors worldwide. Laura Ashley’s early designs are now used as inspiration by couture designers ~ and similar, nostalgically beautiful, prints are emerging all over the fashion industry. A look at the runways reveal the influence that Laura Ashley has had on modern fashion, as vintage inspired pieces and fabrics and patterns strut down the catwalk, from floral Victorian style dresses to dark Noir equestrian pieces, causing fashion editors to reminisce on the romantic aspect of fashion’s history and on Laura Ashley’s iconically important place within it.

Laura Ashley's significant place in British fashion history was further cemented in Summer 2013 with the first major retrospective of the designer held at Bath’s fashion museum and the Bowes museum in Co Durham ~ showcasing over 70 vintage dresses and capturing Laura Ahley's characteristic look of the 60s and 70s which inspired a generation of women. 

This vintage British brand evoked a sense of permanence with its links to the past and dependence on the natural that contrasted dramatically during its emergence with the more transient and overtly manufactured styles of other designers. Its association with excellent tailoring and quality is famous worldwide ~ and it has at its heart a classic, timeless endurance which became the Laura Ashley ethos and signature look and which has become extremely sought after today.

Their vintage pieces are now collected, worn, adored and desired! ~ and once you have seen and worn their clothing you'll know why they are so adored!  

From printing headscarves in 1953 to the immutable style icon that she has become, perhaps Laura Ashley’s success can be summed up by her attitude to fashion: 

“I don’t like ephemeral things; I like things that last forever...”


20th Century Vintage & Contemporary


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