Pauline Crystal first modelled for Marks & Spencer’s in the 1930s, when she was just three years old. Since that first assignment she has enjoyed a career in modelling and a lifetime love of clothes. It has been 82 years since that first modelling assignment and she has recently reappeared on the catwalk so that the company can show how fashions endure over a long time.
Mrs Crystal is now 86 years old and she was seen on the catwalk wearing a large variety of vintage clothes. The clothes had been purchased off eBay by students at Leeds University who are studying design and fashion. Marks & Spencer’s has an archive at the University which is soon to officially open and the catwalk show was to raise awareness and interest in this archive.
At the catwalk show, Mrs Crystal was seen wearing clothes from the 1960s and 1970s including a dress, a fur coat and a men’s shirt that she combined with tights. These items both cost the students less than £50 each. About the clothes Mrs Crystal commented, “This isn’t exactly the normal clothing that I would go shopping in but I’m sure these are a style that someone will enjoy.”
In her career Mrs Crystal modelled a large variety of clothing from department store fashions to bridal gear. This is the first time that she has considered wearing retro clothing and she said, “It’s not exactly my style, I prefer something with a more tailored look. The fashion of the day is for the young and these clothes are something that I’m sure they will enjoy wearing.”
Several models were seen at Leeds University wearing both vintage gear as well as new clothing from Marks & Spencer’s. Alice Law was the student who chose the clothing from eBay and she said she was very happy with what she had bought and how they looked on Mrs Crystal.
Ms Law commented about Marks & Spencer’s, “They are now designing clothes which are for people of all ages and someone my age, as well as someone older, would be able to find something they like in the store.”
Katherine Carter is working on the archives from Marks & Spencer’s and she is currently busy preparing for the opening of the Marks & Spencer’s archive at the University. The company has chosen to house the collection here because it was founded in Leeds. Ms Carter said about the collection, “We have about 70,000 objects from the company’s foundation to the present day and this includes not just clothing but also advertising materials and photographs.
“Many of these items have come from our collections and several others have been donated by members of the public. Our clothes collection goes back to the 1920s so anyone who has clothing dating way back should get in touch as we always interested in adding more to the archive. We expect the archive is going to be fascinating and of particular interest to students studying a wide range of subjects related to fashion.”