by Guest Author Anya Georgijevic
In the 1950s, during the post World War II opulence, the expansive silhouette of crinoline skirts came back into fashion, especially for evening gowns. As is well documented, leading couturiers like Christian Dior and Hubert de Givenchy embraced this bell-shaped silhouette for both day and evening wear. Ready-to-wear designers followed this fashion trend, including British designer Julian Rose. An embroidered satin ballgown dated to the 1950s by Julian Rose is part of the Ryerson Fashion Research Collection (Figure 1 below). This ballgown is made of white satin embroidered in a red satin floral motif (FRC2014.07.517), and there is a built-in crinoline sewn into the underskirt.
Julian Rose did not make the fashion history books, but a careful search through the British Vogue archives at the Toronto Reference Library revealed that Rose was not only a frequent advertiser but was prominently featured in the editorial pages of the magazine throughout the 1950s and 1960s (Figure 2), including the November 1956 cover.
Well-known London-based model Barbara Goalen was the face of his collections (Figure 3). Numerous Julian Rose advertisements from British Vogue list his company address as 52 South Molton Street, London, which placed him in the heart of Mayfair district in central London, best known in fashion as the location of Savile Row.
Rose specialized in women’s suits, evening wear, and, sometimes, bridal (Figure 4), and did so with such beautiful precision that made him a Vogue editors’ favourite. In the several fashion editorials, his work appeared as the affordable alternative to haute couture creations.
The designer also played an important role in the shaping of the British fashion industry as one of the founding members of the Fashion House Group of London. This group of British high-street designers formed in 1958 and founded London Fashion Week (Come Step Back in Time). Other designers in the group included: Polly Peck, founded by the husband-and-wife team Raymond and Sybil Zelker; Susan Small; and Horrockses, which is still around today (“Facts About London Fashion Week”). The collective was an early precursor to what is now the British Fashion Council.
Sometime in the late 1960s, Rose stopped appearing in British Vogue, for unknown reasons. Did he fall out of favour to make room for the likes of more hippie-minded rising stars of London fashion like Ossie Clark and Thea Porter? Or perhaps it was something else altogether. Many of his garments have survived and can be found on 1stDibs and Etsy awaiting a collector who can appreciate their quiet moment in fashion history.
Come Step Back in Time. “1950s Britain – Part Three.” 26 May, 2012. Retrieved from https://comestepbackintime.wordpress.com/tag/1958-the-fashion-house-groupof-london/
“Facts About London Fashion Week… and The Fashion House Group of London.” Retrieved from