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Jean Muir

  • Posted by tim
  • 9 September 2008

I love Jean Muir, and i have a serious interest in the clothes she designed. My grandmother passed away a few years ago, she would hand make all her clothes from Jean Muir pattern books and look as stylish as hell when she had a glass of sherry in one hand and a consulate cigarette in the other with her handmade Muir on show at Christmas or occasional Weddings (or in my case divorces which were celebrated too ).

The company was established by the late Jean Muir in 1966 and her signature brand of wholesale couture quickly achieved iconic status and an international reputation for stylish innovation and British excellence that was recognised and celebrated in both America and France. Known for upholding meticulous standards Jean Muir crafted clothes with an intrinsic femininity and timelessness. Her work in matte jersey, and particularly her jersey dresses, made her name legendary the French even awarded her the title La Reine de la Robe. Since her death in 1995 the company had continued under the directorship of Muirs husband, Harry Leuckert, opening its first stand alone shop in Londons Conduit Street in 2004. Unfortunately the company went out of business in 2007. A great shame but a legacy was left behind for sure.

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, and Dame Diana Rigg, whose actress daughter, Rachael Stirling now wears Muir. 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, Deborah Turbeville 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.

Her work is known for its classic, timeless, discreet quality. She died in 1995 and recently her husband donated more than 18,000 items to the National Museums Scotland, including letters, original designs, photos and clothes. There is a great book about Jean's life still available to buy. Details below.

'Jean Muir - Beyond Fashion' by Sinty Stemp, with a foreword by Felicity Green, published by Antique Collectors' Club, ISBN No: 1851495215.

Her clothes patterns are all here.