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Walking costume
  • Walking costume
    Redfern, John, born 1820 - died 1895
  • Enlarge image

Walking costume

  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1909 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Redfern, John, born 1820 - died 1895 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silk velvet, lined with silk satin, boned, grosgrain

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This tailored jacket and skirt was designed and made by Redfern, London and is part of a collection of well over 100 pieces of clothing worn by Miss Heather Firbank (1888-1954) which the museum acquired in 1960. Miss Firbank (1888-1954), daughter of the affluent Member of Parliament Sir Thomas Firbank and sister of the novelist Ronald Firbank, patronised many of the top London dress-makers and tailors of the time. This collection forms an invaluable record of a stylish and wealthy woman's taste between about 1905 and 1920. Many items were shown in an exhibition at the Museum in 1960: 'Lady of Fashion: Heather Firbank and what she wore between 1908 and 1921'.

The trend for tailormade garments for women began in sportswear with riding habits made by their husband's tailor. In the 19th and early 20th century a woman of Firbank's standing would have had a tailormade tweed ensemble for shooting or golfing (see T. 20-1960) and several tailormade costumes like this for city based activities such as shopping and visiting. In this example the black velvet exterior is contrasted with a bright blue and black striped silk lining.

Redfern of Conduit Street was one of the most prolific and prestigious couturiers of the Edwardian period with outlets in London, Edinburgh, Manchester, Paris and New York. The popularisation of the ladies tailor-made garment is widely attributed to its founder John Redfern.

Physical description

Black silk velvet coat and long slim skirt. The coat is hip length, straight cut with a low wide lapel and with a single button fastening. The sleeves are long with narrow curved cuffs trimmed with self covered buttons. There are two horizontal pockets at the hips with rectangular flaps. Lined with wide striped black and peacock blue silk satin. The covered buttons are at the waist, and smaller buttons at the cuffs (detached and in pocket).

The skirt is straight with fullness achieved by a pleat at the side. It has a wide boned grosgrain waist band, and a side plaquet fastening with small black snap fasteners.

Place of Origin

London (made)


ca. 1909 (made)


Redfern, John, born 1820 - died 1895 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Silk velvet, lined with silk satin, boned, grosgrain

Descriptive line

Silk velvet coat and long slim skirt, made by John Redfern, London, ca. 1909


Silk velvet; Silk satin




Fashion; Day wear; Women's clothes; Textiles; Europeana Fashion Project

Production Type

Haute couture


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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