There are certain designers whose work is a definition of a time, whose work is amazing, and yet who still aren’t as well known as some of their peers. Janice Wainwright is one of these designers, but loves, let me tell you: her work is well worth a designer spotlight, and this appearing slight actually makes these stunning vintage pieces more affordable to own.
Janice Wainwright was born in Chesterfield in 1940. She studied at the Wimbledon School of Art, Kingston School of Art, and the Royal School of Art in London. From 1965-69 she worked for the “Simon Massey” Label, where Wainwright defined her work as “youthful, bright, and feminine”. Wainwright went on to open her own label, “Janice Wainwrightat Forty Seven Poland Street”, in 1970; in 1974 the label became “Janice Wainwright”. Her work was a definition of the late 60s/70s.
While Wainwright honed her signature style at her own labels, she is collectively known for:
*the use of fine jerseys and chiffons
*Bias cut dresses
*tops and skirt sets
*extensive use of embroidery, including Art Deco motifs and birds/flowers
*Long and lean shapes
The above is the Janice Wainwright that’s in my collection. Long, lean, and amazing details and embroidery? I couldn’t resist it when I got it from my love RecessLa, though (funny story), I didn’t realize it was a Wainwright when I fell in love with it! (You can get all the details and pics from this amazing shoot here)
Janice Wainwright was a contemporary of Ossie Clark, a designer that he respected greatly, and the only designer besides Ossie allowed to use Celia Birtwell’s textiles. (Need a refresher on Ossie Clark? I got you covered here). And while there are obvious parallels between the two designers, Wainwright’s cult following is a bit smaller than Clark’s. However, loves, this is not a bad thing. What this means is that the amazing pieces with a Wainwright label are a bit more affordable to collect! With any vintage designer, it’s never really promised to be available, but if you’re interested in shopping Wainwright a great place to start is your local, high end vintage shop. And online: 1stdibs, Shrimpton Couture, and Etsy.
Happy Shopping! XO RA