News and press releases

  • Royal Mail
    News from Royal Mail Group
    14 May 2012
    Royal Mail celebrates great British fashion

• Some of Britain’s most renowned fashion designers are being featured on ten new first class stamps
• The stamps will be available from all Post Office Branches on 15th May
• Hardy Amies, Norman Hartnell, Granny Takes a Trip, Ossie Clark, Tommy Nutter, Jean Muir, Zandra Rhodes, Vivienne Westwood, Paul Smith and Alexander McQueen share a fashion showcase of stamps
• The images featured on the stamps were shot by renowned fashion photographer, Sølve Sundsbø
• Celebration of fashion in the UK dates back as far as 1693 with the publication of ‘Ladies Mercury’, the first ever specialist fashion magazine

• Some of Britain’s most renowned fashion designers are being featured on ten new first class stamps
• The stamps will be available from all Post Office Branches on 15th May
• Hardy Amies, Norman Hartnell, Granny Takes a Trip, Ossie Clark, Tommy Nutter, Jean Muir, Zandra Rhodes, Vivienne Westwood, Paul Smith and Alexander McQueen share a fashion showcase of stamps
• The images featured on the stamps were shot by renowned fashion photographer, Sølve Sundsbø
• Celebration of fashion in the UK dates back as far as 1693 with the publication of ‘Ladies Mercury’, the first ever specialist fashion magazine

Royal Mail is showcasing some of Britain’s world famous fashion designers and their iconic designs on ten new first class stamps.

The stamps, which go on sale on 15th May, feature some of the most influential designers to have come out of the country since World War II, proving exactly why Britain is at the forefront of world fashion design.

The work of Hardy Amies, Norman Hartnell, Granny Takes a Trip, Ossie Clark with Celia Birtwell, Tommy Nutter, Jean Muir, Zandra Rhodes, Vivienne Westwood, Paul Smith and Alexander McQueen showcase some of the most exciting years of British fashion.

Each stamp includes prime examples of the ten designers’ work, shot especially for the issue by renowned fashion photographer, Sølve Sundsbø. These include Tommy Nutter’s suit for Beatle Ringo Starr, which was recreated especially for the shoot, and Vivienne Westwood’s 1993 Harlequin dress.
When shooting the outfits that appear on the stamps Sølve Sundsbø worked with live models, but did not use their facial features, to allow the designs to speak for themselves. The shoot lasted two days, and relied on the use of the actual original clothes – either obtained directly from the designers or meticulously sourced from specialist vintage fashion stores.

Philip Parker, Royal Mail Stamps spokesperson, said: “Britain is famous around the world for the creative vision of its fashion designers, from the glamour and sophistication of Norman Hartnell, the punk influence of Vivienne Westwood, through to the world-class designs of Alexander McQueen.”

“British fashion has grown to become a major national industry. It employs about a million people and contributes directly some £21 billion to the UK economy. So it is an honour to be able to pay homage to some of the designers who made the industry what it is today.”

Claire Wilcox, Senior Fashion Curator at the V&A said: "The V&A has the national collection of fashion in the UK and remains a source of inspiration to many fashion designers. Britain's contribution to fashion has never been stronger. We were delighted to advise on the Royal Mail series of stamps to celebrate many of our most influential designers."

Ends

Natasha Ayivor
Royal Mail Press Office
100 Victoria Embankment
London EC4Y 0HQ
Tel: 020 7449 8250/07436 280002
www.royalmail.com/stamps

NOTES TO EDITORS
For almost 50 years Royal Mail’s Special Stamp programme has commemorated and celebrated events and anniversaries pertinent to UK heritage and life. Today, there are an estimated 2.5 million stamp collectors and gifters in the UK and millions worldwide. Her Majesty the Queen approves all UK stamp designs before they are printed.

Stamps and stamp products are available at all Post Office branches, online at www.royalmail.com/fashion and the Royal Mail eBay shop: http://stores.ebay.co.uk/Royal-Mail-Stamp-Collections  and from Royal Mail Tallents House (tel. 08457 641 641), 21 South Gyle Crescent, Edinburgh, EH12 9PB.

About the designers

Hardy Amies
• Sir Edwin Hardy Amies was born on 17 July 1909 in Maida Vale, London and died on 5 March 2003 in Langford

• In 1961 Amies made fashion history by staging the first men’s ready-to-wear catwalk show in the UK, at the Savoy Hotel in London

• Amies is best known for his work for The Queen, however, his skills with languages saw him serve in the Special Operations Executive (SOE) during World War Two. Based in Belgium, he planned sabotage operations and the parachuting of agents behind enemy lines

Norman Hartnell
• Sir Norman Bishop Hartnell was born on 12 June 1901 in London and died on 8 June 1979 in Windsor

• Hartnell designed the Queen Mother’s entire wardrobe for her 1938 royal tour. The 30 dresses later inspired Christian Dior when he put together the flattering yet functional tailoring collection which became known as the ‘New Look’ in 1947

• Norman Hartnell once famously said: “To me, simplicity is the death of the soul”

Granny Takes a Trip
• In February 1966 the Granny Takes a Trip boutique was opened on King’s Road, Chelsea, by Nigel Waymouth, his girlfriend Sheila Cohen and John Pearse

• In the spring of the same year, it achieved worldwide renown after being included in an edition of Time Magazine entitled “LONDON the Swinging City"

• Among the first customers were the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, and their Granny’s clothes can be seen on album sleeves for Revolver and Between the Buttons

• The jacket featured on the stamp, which was designed by John Pearse, was worn by George Harrison in the 1960s

• The shop on London’s famous King’s Road became known for its changing facade. In 1966 it featured giant portraits of Native American chiefs Low Dog and Kicking Bear. In 1967 the entire front was painted with a giant pop-art face of Jean Harlow. That was later replaced by a 1948 Dodge saloon car which appeared to crash out from the window and onto the forecourt

Ossie Clark
• Clark was born Raymond Clark in Warrington, Lancashire on 9 June 1942.  After evacuating with his family to Oswaldwistle in Lancashire, he gained the nickname Ossie. He died on 6 August 1996 at his flat in Holland Park, London

• He was first recognised as a design talent at age 23 when British Vogue singled him out in their August 1965 issue

• Clark designed many outfits for Mick Jagger, including a python skin jumpsuit worn during the Rolling Stone’s 1973 tour

Tommy Nutter
• Tommy Nutter was born on 17 April 1943 in Barmouth, Merioneth and grew up in Edgware, Middlesex. He died on 17 August 1992 in London

• He was the first tailor on Savile Row to open his shop to passers-by. The shop had windows when most tailoring was behind closed doors

• Nutter originally started to study plumbing, then architecture before finally settling on studying tailoring at London’s now defunct Tailor and Cutter Academy

• Nutter dressed three of the four Beatles for the cover of Abbey Road - George Harrison opted for a denim look.  He also designed the three-piece suit that Jack Nicholson wore to play the villainous Joker in Tim Burton's 1989 "Batman" movie

Alexander McQueen
• Lee Alexander McQueen was born on 17 March 1969 in Lewisham, London and died on 11 February 2010 at his home in Mayfair, London

• McQueen designed the cover of Icelandic singer Björk’s 1997 album Homogenic.  McQueen also directed the music video for her song "Alarm Call" from the same album

• McQueen served an apprenticeship with the tailors Anderson & Sheppard in Savile Row before joining Gieves and Hawkes and later, the theatrical costumiers Angels and Bermans.
• He showed his MA collection in 1992, which was bought in its entirety by Isabella Blow.

• McQueen was a four-time winner of the “British Designer of the Year” Award between 1996 and 2003 and was appointed CBE in 2003 and, in the same year, was named International Designer of the Year at the Council of Fashion Designer Awards.

Zandra Rhodes
• Zandra Rhodes was born 19 September 1940 in Chatham, Kent

• Rhodes has designed for clients as diverse as Diana, Princess of Wales, Jackie Onassis, Elizabeth Taylor and Freddie Mercury

• While teaching at an art college in 1968, she opened her first shop the Fulham Road Clothes Shop in Chelsea with fellow designer Sylvia Ayton

• In 1977 Rhodes pioneered a pink and black jersey collection with holes and beaded safety pins. The creation earned her the title of "princess of punk"

• Zandra founded the Fashion and Textile Museum in Bermondsey in 2003. It serves as a cutting edge centre for contemporary fashion, jewellery and textiles. The museum is now operated by Newham College

Jean Muir
• Jean Muir was born in London on 17th July 1928 and died in The London Clinic on 28th May 1995

• Muir was raised in Bedford and attended Dame Alice Harper girls’ school where she first remembers learning to draw, sew and embroider

• Making her name in the 1960s, she created a reputation for well tailored, feminine clothing

• In 1956 she joined Jaeger where she first encountered knitwear and jersey, both of which would later become her signature fabrics

• Due to her Scottish heritage the complete Jean Muir archive was donated to the National Museums Scotland

Vivienne Westwood
• Westwood was born Vivienne Isabel Swire on 8 April 1941 in the village of Tintwistle, Derbyshire

• Westwood first began designing clothes in 1971 with the opening of her shop, Let It Rock, located on the King's Road

• In 2006 Vivienne’s contribution to the British fashion industry was recognised by her appointment as Dame

Paul Smith
• Sir Paul Smith was born in Beeston, Nottinghamshire on 5 July 1946

• Smith left school at the age of 15 with ambitions of becoming a racing driver. However, a cycling accident put an end to this dream. It was during his recovery that he started socialising at a local pub popular with art students and decided instead to become a designer

• In 1970, Smith opened his first shop at 10 Byard Lane, in his hometown of Nottingham

• His collections are usually easily identifiable by the iconic multicolour stripes that appear on items throughout all his collections

• Paul has gained a significant international following, particularly in Japan where his designs are coveted. He cites the opening of his shop in Japan as one the proudest moments of his career

• Paul Smith still remains fully involved in the business, designing clothes, choosing fabrics, approving the shop locations and overseeing every development within the company

Stories from the catwalk - some prêt-à-porter fashion facts

• The idea for the stamp issue came from the British Design Classics stamps of 2009, which featured Mary Quant’s iconic mini skirt. This proved to be one of the most popular of the ten stamps featured in the issue, prompting the decision to dedicate an entire issue to our world-class designers

• Each of the ‘Big Four’ fashion weeks is known for championing different styles – New York for sportswear; London for edgy, avant-garde design; Milan for its over-the-top yet stylish looks; and Paris for haute couture

• Renowned for its bespoke tailoring, Savile Row was built between 1731 and 1735 and has since been home to some of the world’s most famous tailors including Ede & Ravenscroft and Henry Poole & Co

• In 1693 the first ever specialist fashion magazine, ‘Ladies Mercury’ was founded in London by the English publisher and journalist John Delton

• The traditional British custom of wearing hats to formal occasions is said to hail back Queen Elizabeth I. In 1571, during her reign, a law was created decreeing  that anyone over the age of seven must wear a hat on Sundays
• During London Fashion Week 2012,  68 catwalk shows and 37 presentations took place over 6 days

• Vintage clothing has become increasingly fashionable over recent years. An item of clothing is considered vintage if it dates back from 1920 to 1960. Anything after this date should instead be termed retro