Book Review: Horrockses Fashions

Horrockses Fashion: Off-the-Peg Fashion in the ’40s and ’50s by Christine Boydell
V&A Publishing, 2010

The Horrockses Fashions label grew from the fabric company Horrockses, Crewdson & Co. in early-to-mid-20th century Britain. They helped pioneer ready-to-wear, mass-produced fashion, and helped establish the popularity of cotton as a fashion fabric. V&A Publishing (distributed by Abrams in the U.S.) recently released the gorgeous hardcover book Horrockses Fashion: Off-the-Peg Fashion in the ’40s and ’50s by Christine Boydell, and I highly recommend it whether you’re interested in vintage fabric, fashion fabric design, vintage clothing, or business side of the fashion industry. Boydell, a university lecturer in Design History, takes a scholarly approach to Horrockses’ very interesting history. The images — including plenty of formal and informal photographs of Horrockses dresses, old advertisements, and textile designs, makes the book more than worthwhile.

A typical Horrockses Fashions dress from the 1950s, photo by the Victoria & Albert Museum

Boydell also curated the current Fashion & Textile Museum exhibition of the same name as the book — the exhibition runs through October 24 in London. Check out the V&A museum gift shop for reproduction aprons, scarves, and other goods printed with Horrockses beautiful, distinctive textile designs.

Horrockses Fashions advertisement from Vogue Magazine, June 1950

Thanks to Abrams books, I’ll be sharing Horrockses Fashions dresses and fabric designs throughout the week on the Daily Swatch, so stay tuned for more peeks at this inspirational book.


  1. Thanks for this review, I saw this book reviewed in a newspaper recently here in Australia but could not find the book anywhere including amazon. I can’t wait to get my hands on it. cheers elizabeth

  2. Bettina says:

    I went to the V&A exhibition back in May and if I could have bought ONE book (didn’t have any cash left, sadly) this would have been it. Not only are the photos amazing, but to get the background to the ‘off the peg’ development was amazing. I nearly got myself thrown out of the Museum shop, I read so much of it! Thanks for sharing that, brilliant!