Friday, July 15, 2011

Pauline Wynne Jones

Pauline Wynne Jones is something of a forgotten Welsh fashion designer. Even in her heyday – the ‘70s and ‘80s – she often went under the radar. The Times referred to her as, “One of the best and least recognised of British designers” and “one of the most consistent and yet consistently unsung talents in the country.”

She hailed from Halkyn, Flintshire, and went to Holywell Grammar School. She did her pre-diploma design training at a local technical college before attending Liverpool College of Art. Even at this early stage of her career she favoured relatively simple designs with close attention to detail over extravagant way-out sartorial concoctions.

Upon leaving college she married her long-term boyfriend (also from Halkyn) and together they set off for London to seek their fortunes. After doing a variety of jobs in the rag trade Pauline Wynne Jones met and began working for esteemed fashion designer Jean Muir, with whom she shared a similar aesthetic outlook.

In 1970 she went into partnership with Claire Gale. They sold clothes to private clients mostly in the showbiz world. Pauline Wynne Jones chose to shun the mass market preferring instead to sell to a select number of stockists. Her designs could be purchased at such exclusive establishments as, Lucienne Phillips of Knightsbridge; Chic of Hampstead; Henry Bendels of New York; and DH Holmes of New Orleans.

Pauline Wynne Jones also had an interest in interior design and in the early ‘70s she and her hubby bought a semi-derelict manor house near Halkyn. They set about doing it up. Later she would move into the academic world where she taught fashion. These days the Pauline Wynne Jones label occasionally turns up at vintage fashion outlets, so it’s still possible to acquire her gear. Be warned though fashionistas - quality doesn't come cheap. Even a second-hand PWJ design will set you back a fair few quid.