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  • Writer's pictureEmma

Designer Spotlight - Frank Usher

Frank Usher clothing has got to be amongst some of my all time favourite vintage designer wear. Their designs throughout the decades have been classy, timeless and usually with a quirky edge - it's no wonder they are so popular. It may surprise you to learn that it isn't actually a man named Frank Usher who is behind this revered and successful brand, but in-fact a husband and wife team Max and Anne Bruh.

Anne fled to England from Germany in 1939 as the Nazi's were sweeping across Europe, and later settled with her new husband Max after their wedding in 1945. She was a charming and spirited character with an impeccable eye for fashion that carried the brand through several decades of style. Max was keen to start his own business along with his new wife's talents but this wasn't going to be easy in post-war austerity Britain. The couple decided instead to buy an existing but defunct brand and when they discovered Frank Usher it seemed the perfect fit. Anne was happy with the name and also loved the fact that it gave the pair "glorious anonymity". The years that followed were a bustle of hard work and dedication, Max and Anne did everything themselves from designing to finance and managing to floor sweeping.

The couple had two sons, Stephen and Robert and like most working mums, Anne had to work extra hard as she took her role in the business very seriously but was also dedicated to her two children at home. As the boys grew into their early teenage years, Anne was able to spend more time with Max in the business and became interdepartmental liaison and fashion arbiter for Frank Usher. Her role was crucial to the brand's success - knowing what the public want before they do and creating stunning and commercially successful clothing. Frank Usher also offered a moderate price point. They weren't cheap, but they were not priced out of most women's leagues and therefore had that killer combination of being both awe-inspiring and attainable.

Anne's Fashion Tips

Anne was also incredibly wise when it came to fashion and she had some fantastic tips that are still just a relevant now as they were 60 years ago...

1) Have a set of quality and stylish accessories in either black patent or neutral leather. Wear them with absolutely everything!

2) When you invest in an expensive item such as a cocktail dress or special occasion wear, be sure to opt for a classic and simple shape. This will eliminate the risk of it looking dated and means you can wear it and repurpose it for many years to come.

3) Finally - do not buy gimmicky clothes! In 2021 this means the 'trendy' garms from PLT, BooHoo, Shein and alike - essentially the fast fashion brands. These fads wear out quickly and after a couple of outings they are ready for the rag bag. As Anne says, this is "poor fashion sense whichever way you look at it."

Frank Usher was a vintage fashion label that grew from modest beginnings to become a huge success being sold in department stores around the world. This included Saks Fifth Avenue New York, Harrods, Selfridges and Dickins & Jones. They created beautiful styles at realistic prices that more average women could still afford and really were at the cutting edge of style. They were also a brand with a heart, a true family run business that really did achieve legendary status.

Here are just a few more of my favourite Frank Usher pieces currently available at My Vintage...

Funky super-maxi dress from the infamous Frank Usher. In a bold and bright abstract/psychedelic print of pink, red, black, caramel and gold. High collar and long sleeves with triple button cuffs. Back zip fastening. In very good vintage condition but could benefit from the hem being tidied up. Made from a slinky polyester/viscose mix material with a slight stretch.

This stunning 80s dress from the iconic Frank Usher can be styled in such a contemporary way for a unique modern feel. Loose and floaty mid length dress in a bold but muted print in brown, red, pink, green and purple. The crossover top has a modesty popper button and the waist is elasticated. Lightly padded shoulders and puffed sleeves. The fabric and lining are both quite sheer so the dress is quite see through in the light. Non stretch. In very good vintage condition.

Glamorous vintage maxi dress from the infamous Frank Usher. Classic black with bold golden florals on the maxi skirt. Silky stretch top with short sleeves and decorative front buttons. The waist is cinched with a pretty black belt with gold t-bar fastening. This beautiful dress just oozes style and quality. slight stretch with back zip fastening. in very good vintage condition

Outrageous rockabilly Flamenco cocktail dress from Frank Usher. High neck with deep scoop back and puffy sleeves. Figure hugging shape with large tiered frill hem that moves as you walk. Sexy, yet fun, this is a great party dress with a retro flamenco flavour. Black with overnetting of black and white polka dots. Back zip fastening. Non stretch. Excellent vintage condition.

Striking vintage sequin top from the infamous Frank Usher. Vivid electric blue silk with a mixture of iridescent and black sequins. The black sequin flourishes are edged with tiny beads. Short sleeves and scalloped neckline. Full 80s shoulder pads to finish! Non stretch pull on style with small hook at eye at back of the neck. In very good vintage condition.

If you weren't a fan of Frank User before seeing this blog post, I really hope you are now! They really are one of my favourites and I look forward to getting hold of more vintage Frank Usher for the shop and website soon.

Until next time

Emma x

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