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Laura Ashley

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  • Posted August 17, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A BEAUTY OF A BOOK

    For many just the name Laura Ashley evokes for many mental images of romantic print dresses or tastefully decorated rooms, cozy with walls and furnishings covered with warmly colored reproductions of designs found in early English country life, perhaps a trellis pattern or a Regency stripe or a daisy print. The effect is always tasteful and serene.
    Laura Ashley's brand had and continues to have an enormous impact not only on the way we dress but in our homes from bedroom to bath to kitchen. The birth of her design philosophy is fascinating as detailed by Martin Wood in this stunning volume.
    Born in Wales in 1925 Laura always remembered her Welsh roots. As time passed and her brand mushroomed into a multi-million dollar business she was able to open factories in rural Wales, which brought much needed jobs to many. As a child she observed her great grandmother at work on her quilting frame and young Laura was taught to do patchwork as well as needlework. She worked for a time as a secretary in the handcrafts department at the Women's Institute where she saw what women were doing at home, and she decided to do the same herself.
    What many may not know is what a marvelous team Laura and her husband, Bernard, were. He was ambitious, a business man who "appreciated colour and design." This paired with Laura's eye for detail, fashion, and early needlework experience proved to be an unbeatable combination. Incredibly, as the world knows, they designed not only clothing but household items as well through numerous stores. Their's was a remarkable partnership.
    As is his wont Martin Wood has fulled this volume with gorgeous photos and drawings, some 200 found in the Laura Ashkey company's archives and the family's personal records.
    Laura Ashley is a book to be treasured by all who have an interest in fashion and design.
    - Gail Cooke

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