1950S SUMMER DRESS | THE STORY BEHIND BLACKPOOL

Posted by: Charlotte Newell on June 25, 2020

Filed under: About Our Own Range


Blackpool is one of our G.O.T.S certified organic cotton dresses from our summer collection with a definite 1950s style and well, I'm in love!

1950s Summer Dress

I am a little biased though as admittedly I was instrumental in its design. In fact its working title was The Lottie Dress! Rowena is always open to our input and when the chance came to work on a summer dress for our Own Range I jumped at it.

I wanted a summer dress that evoked 1950s fashion without looking like a costume and it had to have pockets of course!  Having a pear shaped figure myself, I also wanted it to accommodate hips so a full skirt was my starting point. Being a summer dress though, I didn't want there to be yards and yards of fabric in the skirt as personally I would just get too hot and bothered so I opted for a gently gathered skirt. I'm usually warmer than everyone else (growing up in Scotland will do that to you!) so I also opted for sleeveless which Rowena wasn't sure on at first at we are always being asked for dresses with sleeves, but now it's here she agrees it was the right choice.

1950s Summer Dress

You can't go wrong with a classic shirt dress and many of our customers had fallen in love with the versatility of the collar on our Soho dress (which you can view here) so I asked our pattern cutter Fran to use its bodice as the starting point for my 1950s summer dress. I love that you can wear it fully buttoned up or un-buttoned. 

1950s summer dress

Deciding which buttons to use was probably the design element that took the longest to figure out. I discussed things like size, material and colour with the whole team. Rowena had already done extensive research on alternatives to plastic and showed me some beautiful samples that were made from corozo nut which is ethical, durable, renewable, harvested naturally and biodegradable. They were even made in England and could be dyed to match the fabric so I was sold! 

1950s summer dress

Whilst a contrast button can be quite a nice feature at times, I chose to have the buttons for the mesa rose organic cotton dyed to match the fabric to allow for easier accessorising. I had almost chosen pearly coloured ones but I like pink and black as a colour combo and felt that if I chose light coloured buttons then black accessories would look out of place. 

1950s summer dress
Taken in New York in February 2020. For more New York snaps check out this blog by Rowena.

As I said earlier, the working title was The Lottie Dress so the last thing I had to choose was the actual name. As is tradition with our Own Range, it had to be a place and as I was so invested in this dress I wanted it to be a place that was meaningful to me but also suited the 1950s feel of the dress. Whilst wearing it I could envisage myself eating an ice cream cone and strolling along a pier in summer which immediately brought this famous photograph by Bert Hardy to mind...

1950s summer dress
Taken on Blackpool seafront in 1951, it was used to launch a photography competition for a flailing magazine.

I'm no stranger to Blackpool because growing up I visited quite a lot as most of my family live nearby in Halifax so summers visiting them were often combined with trips to the beach and theme park. With both a personal link and a 1950s link, Blackpool became the obvious name.

1950s Summer Dress

I hope you've enjoyed hearing about how Blackpool came to be. If you would like to read more about our Own Range check out other blogs here.


Posted by

Charlotte Newell

Charlotte, aka Lottie, is an avid 1950s fan and is one the most coordinated team members we've ever had! She sews a lot in her spare time and won't tolerate a poorly fitting garment, so you know you're in safe hands with her.