With the closure of Jean Muir Ltd. in 2007, interest in the life and work of the Iconic British fashion designer has never been greater. Jean Muir (1928-1995), doyenne of dressmaking, is forever associated with the 'little black dress'. Her signature style married a distinctive purity of line with a soft fluidity on the body, to create the sensuous, deceptively simple clothes that became her trademark, which brought her legendary status in an internationally-renowned career that spanned four decades.
Whilst the French accorded her the title 'la nouvelle Reine de la Robe', the actress Joanna Lumley, a Jean Muir house model in the '70s, who has worn Muir designs ever since, famously stated that, 'every woman should have a Jean Muir in her wardrobe'.
Her designs were constant favourites with artistic, literary, and dramatic personalities drawn to the discreet luxe and timeless femininity of her clothes: Dame Judi Dench, Dame Maggie Smith, Lady Olivier, Charlotte Rampling, Lauren Bacall, Barbra Streisand, Bridget Riley, Dame Elisabeth Frink, Lady Antonia Fraser, Dame Diana Rigg.
This beautifully illustrated book highlights the variety and appeal of a career that covered every aspect of the fashion world, and includes many of Muir's sketches, as well as photography by Norman Parkinson, David Bailey, Eric Boman, Barry Lategan, Sarah Moon, Deborah Turbeville, Helmut Newton and Arthur Elgort. It has written contributions from Lady Antonia Fraser, Sir Roy Strong, Bridget Riley, Suzy Menkes, Fashion Editor of The International Herald Tribune, and Alexandra Shulman, Editor-in-Chief of British VOGUE, amongst others.
Jean Muir's father hailed from Aberdeen, and she was immensely proud of her Scottish heritage. Before her death she had started fundraising for National Museums Scotland, and in 2005 Harry Leuckert donated the Jean Muir archive to the national collections. The archive consists of around 18,000 objects, which fully document the design, making and promotion of Muir’s collections from 1966 to 1995. The collection includes paper patterns, sketches, fabric samples, jewellery and accessories, as well as around 400 finished garments, including some of her personal clothing.
Author: Sinty Stemp