In 1966, at the age of only 22, newly married and with just £50 of capital behind her, Glasgow designer Marion Donaldson created a new and exciting fashion label which was to have a profound and lasting influence and which has since been widely credited as bringing the mood of Carnaby Street and the Swinging 60s to Glasgow and Scotland.
Specialising in one-off mini skirts and dresses, Marion and her husband David quickly took the fashion world by storm. Contrary to popular belief, they never had their own shop but began selling their clothes wholesale to Glasgow’s first fashion boutique, In Gear, and Aquarius on Byres Road, soon graduating to Fenwick’s of London. A subsequent partnership with Liberty’s of Regent Street led to a rapid expansion and the production of Marion’s best known ‘signature’ dresses in fabulous Liberty fabrics.
The company’s turnover quickly grew, but while the customer base was widely spread throughout the UK, the design and manufacturing elements remained Glasgow-based.
The company’s iconic art nouveau label was originally inspired by an oval mirror which the Donaldsons bought at auction and remains instantly recognisable in all of their garments. Initially printed purple on white in the 60s, it changed to brown on cream, then gold on purple and finally became silver on black.
Marion Donaldson Ltd traded from 1966 until 1999, but her garments have a timeless charm and quality and remain immensely popular, both for everyday wear and collecting.
The Glasgow Museum of Transport is currently creating a display of family snapshots about 60s fashion with a particular focus on the work of Marion Donaldson as she is recognised as being such an important design influence. According to curator Kate Tansley, "The popularity of the Marion Donaldson label reflects the mood of Glasgow at that time, and hopefully the photographs will help visitors travel back in time to the 1960s." For more details of the project and exhibition, visit the Museum's website.
The Frockery can never resist a Marion Donaldson piece and we have a selection currently in stock.