Sunday, February 9, 2014

Longing For Laura Ashley

I am desperately searching for a floral chintz fabric to use in our master bedroom.
Of course there are zillions of beautiful fabrics that are well out of my price range...
and my mind wandered to days gone by when Laura Ashley used to have fabulous chintz prints.
Laura Ashley and her husband Bernard founded the brand in the 1950's,
and opened the first Laura Ashley shops in London in the 1960's.
They spent the next 20 years successfully building an empire and branching out internationally.
Sadly, Laura Ashley fell down the stairs of her daughter's English country home in 1985,
and passed away very shortly thereafter.
That was the beginning of the end of the Laura Ashley brand as we knew it.
In the late 1990's, the Laura Ashley retail stores started to flounder
due to the recession and some major changes in management.
 In 2001, the company was on the verge of bankruptcy
 and the Ashley family sold its remaining holdings in the company.
The company was bought by the Malaysian retailer Metrojaya, 
and the brand changed significantly, both in quality and in design.
By 2003, almost all of the Laura Ashley stores had been closed down
and replaced by newly operated franchised units in Europe.
You can visit their current website here to see their products today.
In my opinion, the quality is nowhere near what it used to be, 
and the prints are not nearly as classy or as timeless as the old ones.
I still have my old Laura Ashley Home catalogs!
Remember the good 'ole days...
in addition to the sailor dresses and flowery skirts,
(many of which were in my wardrobe during high school and college)
Laura Ashley used to have some classy fabrics at reasonable prices.
Take a walk with me down memory lane....
(please excuse the quality of the was surprisingly difficult to find images of her fabrics)
Palace Garden...this is the print first peaked my love of blue and white!
Confetti...this print also came in a pink and blue version...
and coordinates with this print Charlotte.
This print is Isabelle, and it also came in a pink version as well as a taupe version.
This print, Kate, is one of my favorites and I would have loved to use it a nursery...
I had my daughters before they did ultrasounds, so my nursery was yellow!
This pattern is called Stocks and it came in a red and yellow version. this one too.
Emma...this pattern was very popular in college dorm rooms when I was in school.
Floral Stripe...I wanted to do a bedroom in this at one time.
This print is called Winter Lilly and I LOVE this it!
It came in pink and green as well and I would have considered this print
in the ivory and green for our master bedroom if they still made it.

I did find out that my twins were boys
 and I did their nursery in the Laura Ashley Seaside pattern...
I still have all of the fabric and wallpaper samples!

Well....there are a few of my favorites...I had many more that I loved!
I was disappointed that I wasn't able to find a better representation of the "vintage"
Laura Ashley fabrics and wallpapers to post.
Does anyone else miss the "old" Laura Ashley?

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Andrea said...

Love this post, Christine! I worked at Laura Ashley my Freshman year of college in Dallas, my SMU dorm room was decked out in her bedding, and I used to wear Laura Ashley No. 1 parfum in high school. I agree with your assessment that the quality is no longer what it was... How I long for those days!

The Glam Pad

Lobster Meets Peach said...

Too me Laura Ashley is my early teenage years. I wore a LA dress to my eight grade graduation. I went to an all-girls highschool that held a Father-Daughter dance every year and every year it was wall-to-wall LA dresses. Happy memories!

Simply LKJ said...

Yes! We had many a room decorated with LA fabrics!! So miss the timeless florals.My BFF worked for them. Wish they would make a comeback!!!

Maggie said...

I loved Laura Ashley prints! Wish they'd come back.

Anonymous said...

The bathroom of our first home was wallpapered in a gorgeous LA periwinkle blue covered in tiny flowers and a guest room was filled in Confetti. The LA store in Richmond was beautiful and I would spend lunch hours fingering all of its lovely offerings.

Girl with the Curlz said...

Yes. My sister and I loved Laura Ashley when we were in college. There was even a store in Ann Arbor we would go to. When my sister got married all of the bridesmaids and myself the maid of honor all wore Laura Ashley dresses!!! They were so cute!!

Editor said...

Fondly remember the hours spent in the Madison Ave store, What a great post. Thanks!

Ellen said...

I really, really miss the old Laura Ashley stuff. Unfortunately, I was too young to remember most of it...but I do remember the floral stripe bedding I had! :)

Erin said...

I miss it tremendously. I made balloon curtains out of Pink Cottage Sprig trimmed with Harebell, and my bedroom curtains were a purple design I think was called dandelion. Somewhere in my crawl space is an old Cottage Sprig Tea Cosy. I cannot wait to find it!!

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