Digby Morton was born in Dublin in 1906, his father and grandfather before him were accountants for Guinness and it seemed likely at first that he would follow in their footsteps, however, it turned out that Maths and Mr Morton did not get along. He initially thought of becoming an architect but was put off by the 7 year apprenticeship and instead enrolled in the Dublin School of Art.
In 1922 he arrived in London ostensibly for a week's holiday with friends, but instead he stayed and after working in Selfridges advertising department and Liberty as a display artist and decorator he went to Jay's as house artist. This included sketching the latest Paris fashions for Jays's clientele.
Coat October 1938.
Suit Autumn 1939
In 1928 Gray, Paulette & Shingleton commenced business in Mayfair. They wanted to provide an alternative to the Paris couture and English copies that aristocratic women were then buying, they also wanted the clothes to be cheaper though still well made but with fewer fittings. They concentrated on dresses and suits. In 1929 Digby Morton was approached to join the company as designer, he stipulated that he would only work on his own designs and with a hand-picked staff.
He also suggested changing the name of the company to Lachasse. His work in soft tweeds for coats dresses and suits soon became very well known and the company thrived. His designs were based on English country sports styles but with a softer
tailoring as befitted the wools he used. Country tweeds became fashionable town wear under his expert cutting and tailoring. He reduced decoration to the barest minimum allowing the cut to speak for itself. He continued at Lachasse until 1934 when he was succeeded by Hardy Amies.
Dress with draped neckline 1946. Click for Big.
Dress with surplice bodice and short jacket summer 1949. Click for Big.
He set up his own couture house using his own name in deepest Kensington and in 1936 married magazine editor Phylllis Panting (known as Anne Seymour editor of Woman & Beauty). In the late 30s he moved back to Mayfair. As a member of the
Incorporated Society of London Fashion Designers he was invited to design initial styles for the Utility scheme and he also designed the uniform of the WRVS. After the war he re-opened his couture house and again started designing unobtrusive suits, dress and coats, and now, also some evening wear but strictly tailored, no meringues.
Gathered blouse 1952
In the 50s he began to move towards ready-to-wear as many of the couturiers were doing, and he had great success in America. This led to him closing his couture house in 1957 and starting up Reldan-Digby Morton with Nadler. In 1963 he began designing menswear and continued until his retirement in 1973.
Ford advert May 1955. Click for Big.
Ford advert August 1955. Click for Big.
Sorry for the long absence, I've been ill.