Remembering Laura Ashley

Remembering Laura Ashley…

n 1953, a young (twenty-eight) Welsh secretary, Laura Ashley, living in a small flat in London with her husband and two little children, was working on a quilt project; a craft she had learned from her grandmother. She was looking for certain kinds of Victorian fabric designs to use in her quilt but couldn’t find the colors and patterns she wanted.

nspired by printed fabric she had seen at the Victoria and Albert Museum, she designed what she was envisioning, which her husband, Bernard Ashley, then printed on a few yards of linen on a machine he made himself in their attic apartment. That was the beginning; the original investment was about $20. But worth a gazillion in display of faith and pluck.

ooking at her work, I think her fabric designs were inspired by the old quilts she grew up with; the clear yellows and blues, soft romantic pinks, old fashioned milky greens; and the simple florals and prints you see in vintage quilts. I think maybe she was also in love with old China dishes. These two inspiration assignments are just conjecture on my part, because these are things that inspired my watercolors and I always felt she and I must be some kind of kindred spirits when it came to the colors and patterns we love.

he cotton scarves Laura and Bernard made in 1953 were an immediate hit in local stores. People fell in love with their style and color sense. Soon Bernard left his job to print fabrics and run their blossoming business full time. They did it all themselves, built their business slowly, and at the same time, continued to grow their family. It was Bernard’s idea to call the business Laura Ashley; he thought it should have a feminine name.

Behind every great woman, there’s a great man (if she’s lucky), preferably one who cooks.

y the 1980’s, there were over 200 Laura Ashley stores all over the world, filled with the most wonderful things you’ve ever seen: cotton and linen dresses, crisp white blouses, nightgowns, straw hats, lampshades, flowery umbrellas, dishes, fabric, wedding dresses, sheets and comforters, and wallpaper all in the softest, most beautiful colors and classic styles. Laura Ashley was shabby chic before shabby was chic! Maybe she was a tad chic-er than shabby, but her things all had a very soft romantic feel to them. I still have decorating books she produced that show her classic design sense in the houses she and her family lived in. Laura and Bernard Ashley changed the way millions of people decorated and thought about the comforts of home.

discovered Laura Ashley when I first came to New England. Whenever I left Martha’s Vineyard, I was always lost on the roads, especially when I got into the bigger cities, but still, like one of those beach geiger counters, the beep-beep in my head got louder and stronger as I honed in on the Laura Ashley store on Newbury Street in Boston. I never missed an opportunity to visit; would go to Boston just to go to that store, to be surrounded in the fresh colors I loved. I wallpapered my bedroom in my first house on the island in a sky-blue Laura Ashley print, and loved to wake up, still dreaming, in that blue cloud and listen to the birds singing, or watch the snow falling outside my windows.

remember one spring day, it might have been the first mild day of that year; I drove to Boston because I had a hair appointment. The daffodils were in bloom in The Common; I bought new dress at Laura Ashley. I wore it out of the store, walked up the street (thinking myself adorable, like Diane Keaton), went to my hairdressers where I got my hair cut — all clean and shiny, I then took myself and my Country Living magazine to lunch at a sidewalk cafe. That day is fresh in my memory; I remember feeling so happy and free and lucky in the sunshine with my new dress and haircut!

he Laura Ashley store was small, very close to The Ritz Hotel. The first thing you saw when you walked into the shop, was a table in the window set with Laura Ashley dishes for a tea party, on a Laura Ashley linen table cloth, with linen napkins and etched glassware. A person wanted to sit right down, drape herself with a napkin, pour the tea, click the cups into their saucers, but you couldn’t stop because there was more…

Just behind that was the clothing, rows of pure white cotton blouses, fitted with details such as capped sleeves, darts, covered buttons, some of them slightly gathered at the shoulder, some with stand-up collars; labels reading “cotton,” and “linen;” Made in Great Britain. The dresses were along the wall; skirts fluffed out like a colorful flower garden. The wedding dresses were toward the back in a glass case, like dessert, all whipped cream and lace; the furniture, wallpaper, and bolts of fabric, were up on a raised platform. It was heaven in there. I could’ve lived there.

ou won’t find Laura Ashley on Newbury Street anymore, because (big disappointment to find out, I’m quite against it) nothing stays the same; the store is gone. In 1985, there was a terrible accident. On her sixtieth birthday, much too young, Laura Ashley fell down a set of stairs at her daughter Jane’s house and died a few days later of a brain hemorrhage. Even though her name lives on, the Ashley family is no longer associated with the company. The heart had gone out of it for them; the designing woman, cherished wife, and mother of four children was gone, taking the color sense, the genius that was Laura Ashley, with her.

irls, if you never saw a Laura Ashley store you don’t know what you missed. I still have this wonderful hat, which I’ve never looked good in (I look like a bowling ball in it, it covers my eyes down to the tip of my nose). I knew I’d probably never wear it when I bought it, but I still could not resist such an adorable hat; it must be twenty-five years old now. I keep it in my studio, have painted it many times.

hen I think of inspiration, I think of Laura Ashley. She made the world a prettier place to live.

Are you a kindred spirit too? Comments…

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516 Responses to Remembering Laura Ashley

  1. Siobhan says:

    Hi there, so lovely to see this site, Thank you! I’m trying to search online for any info on Laura Ashley, made in Holland prairie dress, hunting scene. I have this dress and can’t find any info on it anywhere! Please can you help?
    Kind regards

    • sbranch says:

      I can’t but perhaps one of our other readers will be able to.

      • Suzan Atkinson-Haverty says:

        I adore anything Laura Ashley! I have one of those same hats from the 1980’s as well. I love it! I am now 60 years old, and I am from MA, but during the 1980’s my parents were living in Maine, so I would always go up and visit them and we would go into Freeport for the day to shop. During the 1980’s there was a Laura Ashley Shop. It was adorable. I bought the cutest lampshades for my bedroom. I bought my first set of sheets called Country Roses that I still have but they are pretty worn now. I keep trying to fin them somewhere in King Size. Her sheets were made so well! I also then bought the next five different sets of her classic now vintage Laura Ashley sheets. They are all beautiful and all have floral with either stripes or check. I love them! I wore her cologne called Emma the day I got married on October 16th, 1988. My mother bought some of her dresses and a purse. I have some of her quilts from the 1980’s, so vintage classic Ashley! She did make this world beautiful! I miss her and all her great designs. I went into that store so many times in the 1980’s with my mother, and we enjoyed every minute in there. It was…Laura Ashley this and Laura Ashley that…..I could not get enough of her things. I love her wallpapers. I hope I can find the one called Clarissa, I want to do my bedroom in this. It is so warm and makes you feel cozy! Laura Ashley is one of the best designers of the 1980’s and before that. I will never forget her!

  2. Laura says:

    I am also a big fan of Laura Ashley and her style. I visited a Laura Ashley store in Boston in 1989. I assume it was the one you mentioned?

  3. Mariellen says:

    I loved Laura Ashley and her clothes, fabrics etc from the first time I saw them. In the early 90’s there was a Laura Ashley shop in Williamsburg and I was thrilled to purchase my first Laura Ashley dress. It was green corduroy with flowers. I still have it. I have one of her catalogs with white dresses in it – don’t remember if they’re wedding dresses or not but they’re beautiful. I was so sad to hear that she was gone.

  4. Janice Carr says:

    Thank you, Susan, for all that you do and that, you yourself, are an inspiration to so many of us!
    I, too, visited the Laura Ashley stores in the early 90’s (one in Woodland Hills, Ca. and another in Santa Barbara, Ca.) and bought a lovely pale pink linen dress that I wanted for a wedding I was in–still have it. Your story helped explain why the stores went away and is a sad reminder that life’s too short to worry about the small things.

  5. Joyce says:

    I have a quilt 90% finished but ran out of the backing material which was Laura Ashley’s sweet pea fabric. It has been stored away in a box for over a year and I sure would like to finish it if I could only find someone who had a piece of it that I could buy. I need about a yard of the material. I sent an email to the Laura Ashley company in the US but have never received a reply. Any help anyone can give me would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you in advance for any help you can give. Joyce Jones

  6. beth says:

    I loved and followed Laura Ashley for years.. my favorite cologne was “Emma” and I have many Laura Ashley quilts, pillows and items.
    I remember when our mall opened the first in our area a Laura Ashley store.. Loved the clothes and bought some.

  7. Jill Aoki says:

    I was and still am a huge fan of Laura Ashley, We got our first store here in Salt Lake City sometime in the 1980’s. I would gather as many books of hers that I could and fantasize about what names I was going to name my next daughter. As you said before, she named some of her dresses and probably other things. I remember loving the name Miranda. I never had another daughter unfortunately.
    I did get to New York City and visited the L.A. store there. It was everything and more. Love this posting. It takes me back to those fun days of going into that store. BTW, I got more than one dress for my daughters for their proms there.

  8. Wendy says:

    I always loved Laura Ashley, such an inspiring lady. I moved from the Lake District to university in a Midlands city in the mid eighties and then to London and spent hours and hours browsing the Oxford Circus store. It’s still there but not quite the same as you say. Lovely blog, thank you.

    • sbranch says:

      You were lucky to have the real thing in your own country . . . although the store on Newbury Street in Boston was very wonderful. It must have been quite a shock there when she had her accident. I remember myself being shocked, but it wasn’t a country-wide thing like it must have been in England.

  9. Julia says:

    I love Laura Ashley clothes It’s like closing your eyes and stepping back in time I have never seen a designer who has that special talent that this inspirational woman had and don’t think I Ever will. I still have my blue flowered three pleated skirt with so much fabric in it I could have covered a king size bed. Laura Ashley was never the cheapest but it would last forever, my 43 yr old skirt has seen many fashions come and go, and has beat everyone of them. I like many was so very sad when she died, but I’m sure she will be busy with her husband Bernard designing beautiful fabrics clothes and furnishing for the next world. God bless The Ashley’s. We are lucky to have been here to see you great work. XXX💜

  10. Leslie says:

    I think we are living parallel lives!
    I yearn for the styles of the eighties (and my figure).
    I’m sure I sound like the typical middle-aged woman when I say how horrible these styles are now! And nylon and rayon and yuck, what happened to cottons? We pay more for fake plastic clothing then we ever would for the real stuff. Polyester was simply not done for those of us who were young and hip!
    Has all gone with the percale sheets?
    I despair.🙈

    • sbranch says:

      I look for cotton everywhere! The designers are missing the boat. Plain cotton jeans, a thing of the past I guess.

  11. julia m harrison says:

    I love Laura Ashley clothes It’s like closing your eyes and stepping back in time I have never seen a designer who has that special talent that this inspirational woman had and don’t think I Ever will. I still have my blue flowered three pleated skirt with so much fabric in it I could have covered a king size bed. Laura Ashley was never the cheapest but it would last forever, my 43 yr old skirt has seen many fashions come and go, and has beat everyone of them. I like many was so very sad when she died, but I’m sure she will be busy with her husband Bernard designing beautiful fabrics clothes and furnishing for the next world. God bless The Ashley’s. We are lucky to have been here to see you great work. XXX💜

  12. I loved going into the Laura Ashley store! It was a special world and I still have some homewares and a lovely cherry red wool sweater (outgrew all my other LA things). I loved the wallpapers and fabrics and her decorating books. Some of her dresses made the BEST maternity wear. Your love of Laura Ashley does not surprise me in the least as I always love everything you love and I love everything you create. Hooray for Laura Ashley and Susan Branch! Two of my favorite people ever!

  13. Bernadette says:

    I loved visiting our local Laura Ashley stores at the Westfarms Mall in West Hartford, CT. This mall had 2 Laura Ashley stores-one for adult clothes and household items and a separate store named Laura Ashley Mother and Child. I still have many Laura Ashley items from beautiful cotton dresses to curtains, umbrellas and lamps. The patterns were lovely. Shopping there was always a pleasure. I purchased all our nursery linens at Laura Ashely Mother and Child–crib bedding, towels and children’s clothes. I still have some of her decorating books and catalogs.

    I have also visited the Boston store on Newbury St. as well as Laura Ashley stores in London and Exeter, England. (actually a friend of ours worked at the Exeter, England store) I miss Laura Ashley.

  14. Lee says:

    I am a follower of your wonderful blog but for some reason had completely missed this nostalgic tribute to Laura Ashley, how was THAT possible?! You captured my feelings exactly not to mention my dress; I had that striped sundress also and loved the way I looked (and felt!) in it, it was for me the essence of a carefree summer. My husband brought me my first Laura dress when he traveled to London in the 80s and I was a fan of her clothing from that point forward. There was a store in Pittsburgh and I could never get out of it without a new dress. I remember each one, they were so unique and so beautifully made, what a genius she was! I agree with what has been posted about the lack of clothing made out of lovely cotton and linen (I mean, really, what IS polyester?? Most of it is not compatible with the human body!) I’m glad to know so many others are on the constant search for clothes that make us fee good! Thank you for your unfailing good humor and sense of humor,and the joyfulness of your blog.

  15. Linda Kidd says:

    I shopped at both the Laura Ashley stores in Williamsburg, VA and here in Atlanta. Still have all the dresses I bought. Wore them with my Sam & Libbey ballet flats with the bow on top! Such classy clothes designed by à classy lady. Miss her wonderful styles!!

  16. Joan Tourville says:

    I am still using Laura Ashley’s dinner ware set I purchased many many yrs. ago.
    I also still use a set of her sheets. How nice to remember and still use.
    Joan

  17. Julie Clark says:

    When I got my Masters degree in business in 1994, my mother gave me a congrats gift certificate for the Laura Ashley store. That was the best gift ever! I was thrilled to go to the Newbury Street, Boston, store and really enjoyed the visit. I got two large-sized bath towel, hand towel, and washcloth sets in vivid yellow, and pale pink. Each piece had hems of a white cotton cloth with a matching floral pattern. I also bought two short sleeved sweaters with wide sleeves and lace-patterned scoop necks, in the colors pale pink and pale green. Twenty-one years later, I’m wearing the pink one now with gray slacks pin-striped in pink. That’s what got me thinking about checking out the company’s status on Google. It’s so sad what happened to her and the business.

  18. Suzanne R Brown says:

    My daughter had that identical sundress in the candy pink/wht stripe when she was about 13-14!!! I have a picture of her wearing it – it was adorable! And she wore it on Martha’s Vineyard to the EYC Sail/Tennis awards banquet!

    BTW, another woman named Susie Branch was director of the to-the-trade line of Laura Ashley back in the 1980’s.

  19. Dorothea McMahon says:

    What a wonderful rememberance of Laura Ashley. I was so enamored with her style and store. When my husband and I married, we had Johnson Brothers ironware with those pretty blue flowers, and our living room set was also decorated with the same blue flowered design. My daughter wore an adorable linen dress with a Battenberg lace collar when she was a flower girl in a relative’s wedding from her store. I was saddened to hear of her death. Too young as you said, and with her went that genteel sweet style that seemed to be everywhere for a time. It was a time that I miss.

  20. Patsy Williams says:

    I found the Laura Ashley store in San Francisco on my first visit to
    the city. Such lovely things and I found a remnant basket with a
    bundle of dusty autumn colors which I purchased; returned home
    and cut them into log cabin placemats for ;my autumn table. So many
    years ago and I loved dressing my youngest daughter in dresses
    from her fabrics. Miss her and her stores.

  21. Grace Lombardi says:

    I also loved everything about Laura Ashley. Her clothes were so beautiful. I use to love going to her store. I miss the perfume Emma!! I use to wear it all the time. Every once in awhile I will go online and try to find it. I bought the new Emma and it’s nothing like the old “Emma”. I don’t even like it! I was hoping it would of been be the same fragrance. Why on earth would the company discontinue the old Emma?

  22. Paloma Navio says:

    Thank you. It’s such a lovely post!

  23. Lynn Hand says:

    I wore Laura Ashley dresses in the 1980’s…Am looking for shifts in size 12…any sleevless dresses, loose and flowing. If there are any, please contact me. I would love to purchase one.. I love vintage clothing.

  24. Lynn Hand says:

    We lived in Boston in the 1980’s. I have many fond memories of the store on Newbury St. My favorite style now are the loose and flowing sleeveless shifts in cotton lawn floral prints, which are prefect for summer.

  25. Brenda says:

    Unfortunately, I didn’t live close to a Laura Ashley store, but I would have been in seventh heaven. I have been looking for a particular design for more than 20 years. It would thrill me to see these vintage designs reproduced. The design is a white background with lilacs….my favorite flower (and color). My sheet set (full-size) is nearly worn out. Since I’m returning to a full-size bed bed, I can use them again. :) However, I would still like to find sheets and/or fabric.

    • sbranch says:

      Maybe someone here will be able to point you in the right direction Brenda. I remember that pattern and you’re right, it was beautiful!

  26. melody lewis says:

    Silly me, I’ve read this on MY 60th birthday and live in a 2 story house! I will tread carefully. I always loved everything about Laura Ashley and when my sister-in-law worked at one of her stores she had me make her new daughter a crib set from Laura Ashley Fabric.

  27. Cynthia Faulk says:

    My very first long distance trip away from home (2 whole hours by car) was to visit Laura Ashley in San Francisco. My best friend, Sue, came with me. We were 17! Parking in an underground lot near Market St. (A somewhat familiar and safe area) we mapped a walking course to her tiny shop. Quickest route was 48 blocks in one direction, then 24 more to the left. We had no idea the shop was miles away and had simply forgotten that San Fran. is ALL hills, steep hills! We were exhausted when we arrived, but we never though about hailing a cab for the walk back!
    I still own everything I’ve ever purchased from Laura Ashley, lovingly packed away in the attic, including the “white apron” or pinafore I bought that day – more like a long strip of fabric – think table runner – with a hole in the middle for your head and small tabs on each side to secure it at your waist. I wore that often and made several more dresses to wear under it.
    Secretly hope for a return to romantic designs such as Laura Ashley.

    • sbranch says:

      Love your story. So funny, at that age, we forgot we could just get a cab! I think Shabby Chic came right out of the inspiration of Laura Ashley. Not quite as good, I enjoy the cleaner lines of LA, but still soft and romantic.

  28. Thank you for reminding all of us of this softer, quieter way of clothing design. Thank you for introducing me to your blog and all your lovely readers. There’s a real sense of connection and kinship here, and it reminds me why I love fabric stores, and wallpaper, and duvet covers and sheets: These things surround us and warm us in the middle of a mad, mad world. I will return to read more.

  29. I dearly loved Laura Ashley’s fabrics and clothing designs. I, too, used to go to the store in Boston and before that the one in San Francisco. There was also a small store in Freeport, Maine, for awhile. I bought many things from the Laura Ashley catalogs and have saved those catalogs and most of the clothes I purchased. My favorite outfits were the mother and daughter ones, especially the navy sailor dresses with cute little straw hats.

  30. irene brown says:

    In 1978, I took my 2 daughters to Europe for the grand tour. Of course, a favorite spot was Bath where we discovered the first Laura Ashley shop. A lovely gray and navy cotton print was purchased that later I sewed a dress for my senior high school daughter. It hangs in the closet today as a memory to a wonderful woman who certainly is your kindred spirit. Irene Brown

  31. Christi Bunn says:

    Just poking around a bit here and discovered this post that I somehow missed this past year. I was a junior in college in 1985 and got married the next year. I absolutely adored Laura Ashley… her dresses were all the rage among the sorority girls and though I was in a sorority, I could not afford her things. However, my mother was/is a wonderful seamstress, and we found patterns for her designs in either Simplicity or McCall’s (can’t recall which one.) We found some wonderful cotton cloth, and she made several dresses for me. I adorned them with Battenburg lace collars and brooches. I adored them and wore them to nearly all my wedding showers that year. I can remember feeling much like what you described when you walked out of her store in your dress and hat. Such classics… I miss those days of feeling so romantically feminine in what I wore. I wondered why her stores seemed to just “drop off the face of the earth” …I had no idea of her accident and death. So sad. Thanks for sharing your memories and helping me to recall mine!

    Blessings,
    Christi

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, a sad reminder that for good or for bad, nothing lasts forever even the most wonderful things, which should.

  32. Miss Melanie lines says:

    I live in England , and worked for Laura Ashley for quite a few years . I too loved all of her designs , but I was there to see the changes and the fabrics began to change and styles of clothes , but it was a beautiful shop . Part of my duties included window dressing, and back then we used antique props and display items that kept Laura Ashley unique. Sadly due to changes they stopped this and got rid of alot of the wonderful props . I was lucky enough to get given an original large glass Emma perfume display bottle . I have searched on google for similar items , but I cannot find any . I am actually looking to sell this beautiful bottle , as there very unique and rare I would love it to go to a good home . I have held on to it for 25years but time to let it go . If anyone is interested or knows of a collector of such items , I would be so grateful for any info . Thank you so much xx

    • sbranch says:

      You are so right, antique things did help to keep her things unique. It was such smart marketing. Hope you find the perfect home for your bottle.

  33. Norleen in NorCal says:

    Thank you Susan( you feel like a friend!) for helping those of us who loved Laura Ashley , and still love her style, colors and design to reminisce a bit about her with kindred spirits. In 1983 my husband and I bought and moved into this wonderful and unique English cottage style two story home built in 1932. It is in Northern California north of Sacramento. My fairytale house dream come true. We were only the 3rd owners and did meet the grown children and grandchildren of the original owners who had it built. The home and yard and gardens still reflected the obvious influence of England. So when we started to restore and decorate the home, I had come across earlier a Laura Ashley catalog and immediately fell in love with the wallpapers,fabrics, etc. The first room to restore and decorate was a charming upstairs bedroom that has become to be known as the “white room”. Totally Laura Ahley! The curtains and bedding are “bridal lace” a lovely white with this beautiful white wide lace boarder. The wallpaper a white with tiny pink buds and green leaves- so delicate . I have matching sheets and one year my husband gave me a sweet tea set that matches the wallpaper. There was one of her stores in Sacramento that I absolutely loved to visit!! And when it closed I too was so saddened when I heard that she had died from such an untimely accident. I was able to get one more upstairs room done in her wallpaper and bedding for my daughter before I could no longer find the original quality items. The rooms are still lovely after all these years. But Laura has definitely left her spirit in my home and is still loved by my family.

    • sbranch says:

      Beautiful story . . . we have a kind of memorial going for Laura Ashley. She was truly something! Lucky us!

  34. Norleen in NorCal says:

    Lucky us Susan for you and all we have learned from you!! Happy book tour!!! So excited for you!! I’m not close enough for any of your stops but I do have a daughter in Salt Lake City. Maybe she can go to it for me!😊

  35. P.J. says:

    A kindred spirit? Oh, yes, indeed!! In 1983, when I married my honey, who is four calendar years, but five school years behind me, I wore a Laura Ashley wedding dress that I picked out at the Newbury Street store in Boston. We went to England for our honeymoon–my third trip in five years, and his first. I had discovered on my first visit in 1978 that England is where my soul belongs! Fortunately, my hubby loved it, too. Where did we go on holiday the following year? England, again, where I bought a Laura Ashley dress to wear to the church in Hampshire where we stood as godparents to my friends’ twins at their christening. In 1985 we moved to Maine from Massachusetts and bought a darling Cape Cod style house, where I wallpapered our bedroom with the exact same blue Laura Ashley wallpaper that you had in your little Cape on the Vineyard. (Except for the goose, that could be a picture of OUR bedroom, with the six over six windows, white tie-back curtains, lace trimmed bureau scarf, etc.) Our bedding was Laura Ashley, too, and I made a quilt using many of the periwinkle blue fabrics shown piled up in one of your photos. Freeport, Maine had a wonderful Laura Ashley Outlet Store that others have mentioned, where I was able to get fabric and accessories like frames and lampshades at bargain prices. Just perused eBay to see what Laura Ashley treasures might be available there. One item that caught my eye was a beautiful white sailor dress with red trim. Made me think if the sailor outfit that you saw on QM2, but this was a dress. Just adorable. Was struck by a quote that the seller used in the listing, that presumably was from Laura herself: “I don’t like ephemeral things, I like things that last forever.” That’s one of the best things about her products–they were so well made that they do last forever. Her style and quality are sorely missed.

  36. Heidi Williams says:

    Ahh…. Laura Ashley…. it is like coming home. I fell in love with Laura Ashley as a young bride in the mid 80’s. I wanted to wear those fabrics and colors, put them on my walls, make pillows with them, line baskets, wrap gifts… and I did do all of these things! I somewhere have a photo of myself in London the first time I visited the Laura Ashley store there. I was so excited! I must laugh to myself as I remember feeling so cute/ beautiful/ special one day when I wore a purplish floral dress with sailor collar and satin bow tied in front to school (I am a teacher). A special needs student of mine reached up and ripped that ribbon right off the dress. My reply to this student who couldn’t possibly understand? “This is a Laura Ashley!!”, like that was going to change everything! I still have drawers lined with the leftover beautiful wallpaper scraps from past decorating days. They will always make me smile and feel like “home”.

  37. Susan H says:

    I LOVED Laura Ashley! Although I no longer wear those clothes I have saved many of them and those my daughter wore when she was small. I was eight months pregnant when I stood in line to purchase the first baby sleepers sold in America. The sales were only two times a year: July 5th and the day after Thanksgiving so attending them was a big part of my year. I still have the items I purchased that day. Our bedroom is decorated in the Bramble pattern and my husband does not mind. Her designs are timeless and graceful. So glad to know that she is still remembered and enjoyed!

    • sbranch says:

      We’ve got a little unofficial Laura Ashley fan club going here, don’t we? She was really so much fun for us lucky ones that loved her style, charm, and wonderful quality.

  38. Debbie Smith says:

    Hi Susan, Thank you for helping me remember my Laura Ashley days. I also have several of her books and love them. I had several bedrooms done in Laura Ashley and when I used to work for the airlines; I flew to London and on one trip I carried back Laura Ashley tiles for an island in my other house. It was so pretty. I also still have a couple Tea sets called “Tea For Two” that were white with pink flower.
    That was one of my favorite tea sets. Wonderful memories and I do remember when she fell down the stairs and passed away. That was so sad. I am glad to find your blog.

    • sbranch says:

      Happy to hear from you Debbie . . . you are perfect for the informal “we loved Laura Ashley” club that seems to be forming here. xoxo

  39. Bobbi-Lynn Lambert says:

    Oh my goodness! :) When I married in 1994, I wore an original Laura Ashley wedding dress. I had gone to the store in South Coast Plaza (Costa Mesa, CA) countless times for a few years to look at it (I had to keep making sure it was still there!), pet it (it was made of pure cotton and so soft like an old fashioned night gown), and dream of the day I would wear it. The day finally came and to my good fortune, it had gone on clearance and it was still available in my size so I bought it at half price!!! I felt like Laura Ingalls in it! My maid of honor wore a forest green Laura Ashley dress. It was a fairytale wedding. Our entire bedroom was decked out in Laura Ashley print. Fabulous!

  40. JEANINE WELLMAN says:

    Hi, Susan…..Just happened to fall into your blog on Laura Ashley and what a treat! I, too, was such a fan after discovering her sweet shop in the Oakbrook Mall just west of Chicago….it became a “must” stop when ever I went to the Mall to shop. Remember a pretty powder blue and white plaid cotton dress I bought for my youngest daughter when she graduated middle school…..it was so apropos for her age and the occasion. I, too, used to collect all of her books, catalogs, and whatever I could find in print….sure wish I had them now! Back in 2000, we retired to SC and loved browsing all the little shops on Hilton Head. Found a cute gift shop and had to go in. Lo and behold they had one of the best greeting card displays and carried your whole line of cards….think I bought one or two of each with their pretty white envelopes covered in tiny pink hearts. In fact, I still have the one with the hats with your LA purchase at the top….”Under every great hat, There’s a great woman!”. At the time, I didn’t know who you were, but they so reminded me of Laura Ashley, and I’ve kept this one (my last card designed by you) just because! I’ve so enjoyed reading about everyone’s mem-
    cries of LA….so glad she’s still remembered so fondly…..for us who adored her
    style and flair, it was the best of times!

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