Real women stay at home

Anne Hollander

  • Laura Ashley: A Life by Design by Anne Sebba
    Weidenfeld, 207 pp, £15.00, May 1990, ISBN 0 297 81044 8

The rise of Laura Ashley seems like the right accompaniment to the rise of contemporary feminism, following her initial vogue in the radical climate of the Sixties. The first move was back to natural fabrics and basic shapes; and then, just as women were trying to get out of the kitchen and down off the pedestal, she moved on to a theatricalised restoration of The Angel in the House, rural version, in all her printed-cotton glory. It was an inspired idea that was bound to succeed, especially when backed up by Laura Ashley’s own desire to live up to the domestic ideal herself while simultaneously reaping the profits of a business.

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