A Family Business - Part II

June 10, 2010

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The new factories opened in 1984 and 1985, created more than 500 jobs.

In September 1985, Laura Ashley was spending her birthday number 60 at her daughter's cottage in the Cotswolds. Unfortunately she had a fatal accident falling down the stairs. She died in September 17, 1985, in Coventry, England, after nine days of coma. She was buried in the churchyard at Carno, Wales, where she was educated and grew up and where she and her family established the world famous business of designing, manufacturing, and merchandising women's clothing and household items.

Since those days till now, it became common to speak about a "Laura Ashley look," a term that evokes a sense of permanence linked to the past, depending on the natural. It refers to every aspect of her creations, even to the appearance of a young, fresh-faced woman using her fashion designs.

Laura Ashley's is a soon recognizable look. Princess Diana, (Lady Di) was one of her greatest admirers.

She became a famous and renowned British fashion designer, perhaps because her creations were a mirror of her life and herself. Her style in women's clothing was genteel and Victorian inspired, and she developed an English Country manor style of furnishings for homes.

She lived her life in the Welsh and English countryside, amidst farms and villages. We may conclude that her designs were clearly influenced with the combination of Puritan function and Victorian nostalgia.

Let's remember some of Laura Ashley's words, they define her style of life and of designing. "The idea of four babies, cooking, sewing, and looking after the home suited me perfectly."

"We normally find that a design will not sell very well unless we have a nostalgia of the past about it."

"I like the idea of a uniform"; "I think people should hang on to the things they like. They don't need closets full of clothes."

"Living quite remotely as I have done", "I have not been caught up with city influences and we just developed in our own way."

When someone asked her about her success she declared: "It's not really a question of inspiration. What you make as a designer is an expression of yourself. I love music and painting and I prefer life in the country."

Talking about fashion she remarked: "I don't like ephemeral things; I like things that last forever?"

When she died, the company was preparing for further expansion. Bernard continued heading it. In 1986 it was valued at about ?200 million.

I wonder, for sure it wasn't always easy for them.

Perhaps doing what you love to do may be complicated. Yes. Again I agree.

However it feels cool to know that someone (a woman like me, in this case) could be so much successful doing what she loved.

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