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History of Fashion
> Bibliography of Fashion Legends
Jean Muir was born in London in 1928. By the time she was 6 years old, she could knit, sew and embroider. As a teenager, she made all her own clothes. Her first jobs were at Liberty, selling clothes and then she worked for Jaeger from 1956 to 1961. She married Harry Lackert. In 1961, she began to produce her own clothing line under the name Jane and Jane. In 1966 she founded her own company, Jean Muir. She had ideas on female dress that went far beyond the fashion commonplace of hem lengths. She loved the physical craft of making clothes and observed the changing role of women in the 20th century through the medium of the engineering of fabric.
She created clothes that once put on, could be forgotten, they were so comfortable. She had integrity and devotion to her craft, she had the courage of her convictions. She was never swayed by the surface glitter of fashion and its need for change, because she always dealt in essentials.
From 1966 when she started her own label, she designed clothes offering her disciplined vision of perfect style in navy or black matte jersey, sometimes sparked with colour, but more often just structured beautifully.
Jean was very much inspired by classical Greek and Roman garments, using the draping in her own gowns. Here on the left is a red silk jersey short dress from 1980 which has one-shoulder draping in the Greek style. This gown was included in the exhibition "Goddess" at the Metropolitan Museum of New York, in Autumn 2003.
Jean Muir was a craftswomen of the highest caliber, who gained an international reputation. Though rarely in the forefront of fashion, her clothes had a nonchalant, easy elegance and a timeless, classic appeal. Jean Muir died in 1995.
After her death, her clients were sad that they would no longer be able to get the beautiful clothes Jean Muir had made for them, for so many years.
However, she had trained up a very competent team including Sinty Stemp and Joyce Fenton, who have continued to make her exquisite fine jersey originals. They are continually developing her understated sophisticated heritage for a contemporary lifestyle. The team's talent will take Jean Muir's designs into the 21st century.
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