Darnell of London

Discussion in 'PUBLIC Vintage Fashion Q & A' started by catwalkcreative, Dec 9, 2010.

  1. I've been researching a label 'Darnell of London' and have drawn a blank. Here are two recent purchases, both with the Darnell of London label. I think they both date 1970's although the blue gown certainly gives off a much 'older' vibe. It has a metal zip down the centre-back but the label is exactly the same as in the black dress. Both have lovely beading detail, but especially the blue gown.

    I discovered a designer named Eric Plant who worked under the label Darnell of London. He designed some of the stage clothes for British pop singer, Dusty Springfield in the 60s and 70s (see below). That's about all I know. I can't find any information on Eric so if anyone knows any more or if you have clothes with this same label, I'd really love to know. Please post your photos if possible.

    Here are my frocks along with labels.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Here are two of the dresses Eric designed for Dusty Springfield. She wore them in the 1960's and the blue one was worn again in 1970 for a TV performance.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Leonardo da Vintage

    Leonardo da Vintage Administrator Staff Member

  3. Thanks very much GoldenAge - and for the links too. :USETHUMBUP: I had been told about Doug Darnell but wasn't sure whether he was connected to this label or not.

    Do you know anything about Eric Plant who also designed under the name Darnell of London? Would they have used different designers under the name Darnell of London I wonder?
     
  4. Leonardo da Vintage

    Leonardo da Vintage Administrator Staff Member

    I just found this:

    Webmaster: Thanks Fraser for this long and interesting e-mail. It’s particularly interesting to read about Dorothy’s thoughts of the great Dusty. Not only did they share the same initials (DS), but also the same couturier company – Doug Darnell designed Dorothy’s stage gowns and his partner Eric Darnell made many of Dust’s. In fact, back in the early 70s Dusty used to joke in her stage performances: “Do you like the frock? I’ve borrowed it from Dorothy Squires; only she has to have it back by midnight because she’s hired the Vatican for a one-night stand!”

    Incidentally it’s not inconceivable that Dorothy and Dusty may have met – they could well have bumped into each at the Darnels’ premises, and of course both Dusty and Dorothy were both big friends of Danny La Rue who regularly held lavish show business parties. It would be interesting to hear from anyone who can cast light on this.

    On this link about Dorothy Squires:

    http://www.webfantastic.co.uk/dorothynews3.html
     
  5. THAT is fabulous! Thank you so much. I will take a look at the Dorothy Squires link. :cheer:
     
  6. Leonardo da Vintage

    Leonardo da Vintage Administrator Staff Member

    As I've said before - I love research! It's great displacement activity.

    I just found this, which is apparently Eric Plant with Dusty, just for your viewing pleasure

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Eeeeeeeek!!!! Thank you very much for the photo! Could I use the information for the VFG label resourse? (not the photos of course). We don't currently have anything for Darnell of London so I could submit photos of the labels from my two dresses shown above but the additional information you've provided would be great to use. Do you know when the company started - or am I pushing my luck? :)

    Can I give credit to you? Thanks again for this. :clapping:
     
  8. Leonardo da Vintage

    Leonardo da Vintage Administrator Staff Member

    Of course, delighted to help!

    I haven't been able to find out when they started. I only found all this out this morning.

    I just found a fascinating little tid-bit though, from a review of a TV series on memorabilia called Celebrity Relics:

    Dusty Springfield's stage dresses: With her big hair, "panda" eyes and long, beaded gowns, Dusty Springfield's look epitomised the style of the Swinging Sixties as much as her songs did. But glamour didn't come easily to her. One night in 1965, after sharing top billing with Shirley Bassey, Dusty sneaked into the Welsh singer's dressing-room to find out who made her stunning outfits.

    The labels read "Darnell of London", the fashion house of Eric Plant, who was later contacted by the star


    http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Myste...rk+Lamarr's+new+TV+series+finds...-a073201300

    Doesn't show the dress, but how interesting !
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2014
  9. Er, WOW! I love that story! I can just picture Dusty sneeking into Dame Bassey's dressing room. Ooooh! Can you imagine?

    Fabulous stuff! :drinkingtoast:
     
  10. Leonardo da Vintage

    Leonardo da Vintage Administrator Staff Member

  11. Leonardo da Vintage

    Leonardo da Vintage Administrator Staff Member

    Bumping this up because I just scored a Darnell of London! A peach evening gown with incredible beadwork and hand embroidery... I could see Dusty in it!

    So I'm glad now I did all that research for Louise, back in 2010, before I was even a Trade Member.

    Will post pics when I get the chance...
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2014
  12. Leonardo da Vintage

    Leonardo da Vintage Administrator Staff Member

  13. poppysvintageclothing

    poppysvintageclothing Administrator Staff Member

  14. Catbooks1940s

    Catbooks1940s Trade Member

    wow, fascinating! i've never heard of these designers or this label, but their work is stunning. thanks for bumping this up, all of the research, and congrats on your score! would love to see it when you get photos.
     
  15. Leonardo da Vintage

    Leonardo da Vintage Administrator Staff Member

    I don't think it's at all a well known label, but clearly it was in certain circles!
     
  16. mondo milly

    mondo milly Registered Guest

    Darnell also designed dresses for various Beauty Queens in the '70s. Helen Morgan who won Miss World in 1974 wore an original Darnell for the contest. It was a vivid red and I think you could see it on YouTube. Carol Grant, Miss Scotland 1976 won Miss UK wearing a Darnell original and was placed in the top 5 in both the Miss World & Miss Universe Contests wearing the same dress. As Miss Wales 1976 Sian Adey-Jones also wore a Darnell when competing in the 1976 Miss Universe Contest and again was placed in the top 5. I think these dresses can also be seen on YouTube. Marji Wallace, Miss World 1973 had a Darnell dress made for her and wore it in a Tom Jones special.
     
  17. mondo milly

    mondo milly Registered Guest

    The pic is definitely of Eric but I only knew him as Eric Darnell and knew him in the '70s and early '80s. Really Fab guy, full of fun and knew how to do business. I didn't really know anything about Douglas Darnell who created the Darnell label, until I read his obituary. Eric was still at the Darnell shop in Hinde Street when I knew him.
     
  18. Barbara Rolfe

    Barbara Rolfe Registered Guest

    Hello, my late brother Colin Rolfe, was designer with Eric Darnell in the late 70s and 80s. They did a lot of work for Arab ladies, lots and lots of beading and spectacular wedding dresses. I have video footage of Mr Eric telling the stories of Joan Collins and Shirley Bassey if you would be interested. Colin was the designer who made Jean Shrimptons Melbourne Races mini dress!
     
  19. poppysvintageclothing

    poppysvintageclothing Administrator Staff Member

  20. Barbara Rolfe

    Barbara Rolfe Registered Guest

    Video currently being converted to DVD, will let you know when I have it back.
     
    poppysvintageclothing likes this.

Share This Page