It Started with a Scarf

It was the autumn of 1953 when film star and style icon Audrey Hepburn sparked a trend that would kick-start the forays of a very instinctive designer named Laura Ashley. Ms. Hepburn-- like our Mrs. Ashley -- had an eye for spotting a trend. Coincidentally, both had taken notice of young Italian women wearing neck scarves. The actress, known for redefining glamour, incorporated the style into her role in the film Roman Holiday. And coincidentally, Laura, along with her husband Bernard, began printing scarves and other small textiles from the kitchen table of their tiny flat. Orders grew quickly for the enterprising couple as Ms. Hepburn’s style sent fashion-conscious ladies a flutter. An incredible coincidence or a stroke of genius?

We often refer to our brand’s humble beginnings as “Kitchen Table Chic” as it reflects the scale of the operation and the charm. You might guess that even then Laura was drawn to small stripes and floral, but the first prints-- too detailed for silk screening-- would debut as bold geometric patterns.

Some of those early iconic designs still exist in our archive in London, and we’re delighted to give you a virtual look inside. Seen here are two early daisy prints from the ‘50s. Interesting to see the similarities to present day design don’t you think?



4 comments (Add your own)

1. elizabeth wrote:
i just love the laura ashley story!

Tue, August 30, 2011 @ 2:16 PM

2. Dora wrote:
And I thought I was the sensible one. Thanks for setting me strigaht.

Mon, December 26, 2011 @ 11:43 AM

3. Bella wrote:
I own many LA scarves from the 80's...still love the look

Thu, April 18, 2013 @ 9:06 PM

4. traci zeller wrote:
I am CRAZY for that orange and pink daisy print!

Fri, March 7, 2014 @ 7:09 AM

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