Original no. 16

Skirt Suit
autumn 1942 (designed)
Original no. 16 thumbnail 1
Original no. 16 thumbnail 2
+6
images
Not currently on display at the V&A

Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

The buttons on this tailored ensemble bear a wartime message. They are stamped with the Utility symbol CC41, which stands for Civilian Clothing and 1941. The Utility Scheme was introduced in 1941 to ensure that consumer goods were produced to the highest possible standards at 'reasonable' prices. These standards complied with restrictions and rationing of raw materials. Utility clothes were usually identified by a distinctive double crescent CC41 (Civilian Clothing) label. Reginald Schipp designed the symbol. He was asked to disguise the 'CC' so that the public would not recognise the letters as such. This stylised motif became known as 'the cheeses' and was also printed on to clothing labels.

The Board of Trade commissioned the design for this jacket, skirt and blouse from the Incorporated Society of London Fashion Designers. It was one of 32 stylish yet economical outfits intended for general production. In October 1942 Vogue magazine published the following description of the collection: 'All the designs are, of course, within the New Austerity specifications: only so many buttons, this much cuff and that much skirt...but they are an object lesson in the power of pure style over mere elegance'.

Although the designers of individual pieces were not publicised, this suit has Digby Morton's initials inked on a paper tag. The label also identified it as 'No 16 Original DM 92/10' with a maximum price tag of just under £5.00. There is a Morton label inside the blouse, making it one of only two Utility prototype garments labelled by the original designer. The other piece is a Bianca Mosca blouse.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 4 parts.

  • Jacket
  • Skirt
  • Blouse
  • Bow-Tie
Materials and Techniques
Grey herringbone wool, fastened with metal buttons, trimmed with a grosgrain bow
Brief Description
Grey herringbone wool suit, designed by Digby Morton for CC41 Utility clothing scheme, London, 1942
Physical Description
Grey herringbone wool jacket, skirt and blouse. The buttons featured on this tailored Utility ensemble, commissioned by the Board of Trade, bear a wartime message: CC41 (Civilian Clothing 1941).
Production typePrototype
Marks and Inscriptions
  • Digby Morton's initials and 'Original no. 16' (writing; ink)
  • 'No 16 Original DM 92/10' (label)
  • MORTON/ 63 Grosvenor St/ London W1 (Label, blouse left side seam. Black on white.)
Gallery Label
In 1942 the President of the Board of Trade gave the prototype Utility clothes, designed by designer members of the Incorporated Society of London Fashion Designers, to the V&A. Although the designers of individual pieces were not publicized, this suit had Digby Morton's initials inked on a dress tag, which also identified it as "Original no. 16". The cut is stylish, but pared down to conserve materials. Interest is created by utilizing the herringbone stripes vertically and horizontally, by the patriotic CC41 (Civilian Clothing 1941) metal buttons and the perky ribbon bow.(1997)
Credit line
Given by the Board of Trade
Object history
In 1942 the President of the Board of Trade gave the prototype Utility clothes, designed by designer members of the Incorporated Society of London Fashion Designers, to the V&A. Although the designers of individual pieces were not publicised, this suit had Digby Morton's initials inked on a dress tag, which also identified it as 'Original no. 16'.
Production
Although the designers of individual Utility pieces were not publicised, this suit had Digby Morton's initials inked on a dress tag, which also identified it as 'Original no. 16'. The blouse has a Digby Morton label in the side seam



Attribution note: Prototype Utility clothes were designed by designer members of the Incorporated Society of London Fashion Designers. The jacket has a cut that is stylish but pared down to conserve materials. Interest is created by utilising the herringbone stripes vertically and horizontally, the patriotic CC41 (Civilian Clothing 1941) metal buttons and the perky ribbon bow.

Reason For Production: Commission
Summary
The buttons on this tailored ensemble bear a wartime message. They are stamped with the Utility symbol CC41, which stands for Civilian Clothing and 1941. The Utility Scheme was introduced in 1941 to ensure that consumer goods were produced to the highest possible standards at 'reasonable' prices. These standards complied with restrictions and rationing of raw materials. Utility clothes were usually identified by a distinctive double crescent CC41 (Civilian Clothing) label. Reginald Schipp designed the symbol. He was asked to disguise the 'CC' so that the public would not recognise the letters as such. This stylised motif became known as 'the cheeses' and was also printed on to clothing labels.



The Board of Trade commissioned the design for this jacket, skirt and blouse from the Incorporated Society of London Fashion Designers. It was one of 32 stylish yet economical outfits intended for general production. In October 1942 Vogue magazine published the following description of the collection: 'All the designs are, of course, within the New Austerity specifications: only so many buttons, this much cuff and that much skirt...but they are an object lesson in the power of pure style over mere elegance'.



Although the designers of individual pieces were not publicised, this suit has Digby Morton's initials inked on a paper tag. The label also identified it as 'No 16 Original DM 92/10' with a maximum price tag of just under £5.00. There is a Morton label inside the blouse, making it one of only two Utility prototype garments labelled by the original designer. The other piece is a Bianca Mosca blouse.
Bibliographic Reference
de la Haye, Amy, ed. The Cutting Edge: 50 Years of British Fashion, 1947-1997. V&A Publications, London, 1997, pp. 38-40.
Collection
Accession Number
T.45 to B-1942

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record createdDecember 15, 1999
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