Jean Muir bigraphy, stories - Fashion

Jean Muir : biography

17 July 1928 - 28 May 1995

Jean Elizabeth Muir, CBE, FCSD (July 17, 1928 - May 28, 1995) was a British fashion designer (though she herself preferred to be called a dressmakerLiz Jones for The Daily Mail, June 12th 2006).

Jean Muir quotes

"The clothes in themselves do not make a statement. The woman makes a statement and the dress helps."

History and early career

Jean Muir was born in London, the daughter of Cyril Muir, a draper's floor superintendent, and his wife, Phyllis Coy. Her father was an Aberdonian, and Muir would attribute her creative pragmatism and self-discipline to this Scottish ancestry.Stemp, Sinty, Jean Muir: Beyond Fashion, (2006) ISBN 978-1-85149-521-4 Her parents separated while she was still a child, and she and her brother Christopher were brought up in Bedford by their mother.

She was educated at the Bedford Girls' Modern School (now known as the Dame Alice Harpur School) in Bedford. While she was academically unimpressive, she showed a precocious talent for needlework, claiming to have been able to knit, embroider, and sew by the age of six.

At the age of seventeen, she left school and went to work at an electoral registration office at Bedford Town Hall. She then moved to London, where she worked briefly in a solicitor's office before taking a stockroom job at Liberty & Co in 1950. She worked her way upwards to selling over the counter, and then despite her lack of formal art college training, was given the opportunity to sketch in Liberty's ready to wear department. This would serve as her apprenticeship, and led to her gaining a job as designer for Jaeger in 1956.Obituary for Jean Muir in The Sunday Times, 30th April 1995. While there, she helped develop the Young Jaeger fashion label. on the National Museums of Scotland website. Accessed 27/01/2012

Jane & Jane (1962-1966)

Upon leaving Jaeger, Muir was approached by David Barnes, a mass-market jersey dress manufacturer, who was keen to have her talents on board as a designer for his brand. Muir declined, as she did not wish to design for the mass market. Undeterred, Barnes offered to fund her own design label, and so Jane & Jane launched in 1962.

In 1964, Jean Muir won the first of her three Dress Of The Year awards for a Jane & Jane dress in printed Liberty silk, which is preserved as part of the Dress Of The Year collection at the Fashion Museum, Bath.

From the outset, Muir's designs demonstrated the pared-down understatement and easy fit that would become her design signature. Jane & Jane was one of the first companies to bring couture standards and quality to the wholesale fashion industry. at the Design Museum website, London Muir used Liberty textiles in many of her designs.Buruma, Anna, Liberty & Co. In The Fifties and Sixties, (London, 2008) ISBN 978-1-85149-572-6

After Muir left in 1966 to launch Jean Muir Ltd., the Jane & Jane brand was sold to the ready-to-wear fashion house Susan Small, where it continued for several years before quietly disappearing circa 1970.Obituary for Jean Muir in 'The Independent' by Jane Mulvagh, 30 May 1995

Jean Muir Ltd. (1966-2007)

Jean Muir Ltd. was founded in August 1966 by Jean Muir and her husband Harry Leuckert in partnership. The first collection was presented in October.

The designs continued the tradition established at Jane & Jane. Muir used the best quality fabrics, working in silk, cashmere, jersey and crepe, with a focus on form and fluidity. She made coats and jackets from soft leather and supple suede. Muir rarely used printed textiles, and avoided unnecessary decoration. Where she used decoration, it was integral to the garment, such as pintucking, decorative but functional buttons or rows of parallel topstitching on cuffs or collars for reinforcement.Wilcox, Claire & Mendes, Valerie, Modern Fashion In Detail, (London, 1997) ISBN 978-1-85177-032-8 During the 1980s, Muir sometimes decorated clothing with sequins

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Living octopus

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