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How history lessons can shape the future

There is an old saying in the fashion trade that as the stock market goes down, hemlines go up, and for Bernshaw at least that sentiment is still ringing true.

We know this because one of our stories for summer 09 centres on mini dresses that deliver the wow factor, and these have been well received by retailers.

As part of our collection we have produced our interpretations of dresses by iconic French designer André Courrèges. One particular dress from this story was originally produced in 1964 and boasts loud, bright neon colours.

It will work in today’s market because women still want that look-at-me dress, even if times are tough financially. Fashion changes, and while designers and suppliers have to adapt to current trends, there are few designers who don’t use influences from the past.

At Bernshaw, we are lucky enough to have archive records going as far back as the early 1960s, and digital patterns going back to the early 1990s, so we often look back through our archives in search of inspiration.

However, there is always a new twist to an old idea and, as luck would have it, I purchased an original of the 1964 André Courrèges dress at a vintage clothing auction recently. It was fascinating to analyse the design and fabric used for the dress, and to see how it had survived for 44 years.

The biggest surprise was the sizing. It is a size 12 and the label reads ‘Hips 36/37in and Bust 34/35in.’ This would equate to today’s size 10. It seems many things in fashion do change but a winner will always be a winner.

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