The romantic English-country look introduced to the American market in 1974 by Laura Ashley was enthusiastically welcomed and has gained momentum ever since. Today there are 32 stores nationwide with six more opening within the year.
As in the past, this year's autumn/winter collection draws inspiration from Edwardian and Twenties styles. The frills and florals characteristic of Laura Ashley clothes, however, have been pared down to simpler lines and patterns.
The loose-fitting contours of the high-waisted pinafore dresses and jumpers featured this season recall childhood days. Use of the sailor motif also reflects the childlike theme in a brown tweed suit and a black velvet dress with midi collars.
Subdued shades of slate blue, green, and grey as well as warm scarlet, deep blues, and black contribute to the nostalgic feeling of the outfits. The quiet tones work especially well in classic wool Fair Isle sweaters to be worn with thick-ribbed corduroy skirts.
The children's line introduced last year is now offered in American sizing. The fresh, innocent styles, which include school clothes and party dresses, are complemented by the natural materials and quaint detailing used in Laura Ashley designs.