Lachasse’s Peter Lewis-Crown, OBE and the Hunt for Elegance

(Image via Delancey Press and used without permission. Let me know and I’ll take it down.)

A bit of an interview with Peter Lewis-Crown, OBE of the house of Lachasse via The Montebury Magazine. Mr. Lewis-Crown has just published his memoirs, House of Lachasse: The Story of a Very English Gentleman, and I have ordered the book. He seems to reinforce my idea that people have given up, that they no longer bother to try.

PETER LEWIS-CROWN OBE — I think people buy on the run now. They buy garments and bits and pieces and put it all together but they don’t buy a complete look. They seem to be afraid to stand out, elegantly dressed and soigné. In the old days, they wanted to be looked at. They would go to Claridges and have paradise feathers in their hair and they wanted people to see that they were wealthy. Now, they run about in baggy-looking clothes that don’t fit and jumpers all over the place, a bit like Worzel Gummidge. It was a joy to see them and the women would aim to look like the model girls. They would take advice on their underwear, their corsetry, everything. Now it’s all too casual.

THE MONTEBURY — What about the future of couture?

PETER LEWIS-CROWN OBE — It is very difficult. I think anybody would be very foolish to predict what is going to happen. First of all, we have to get the finance of the world and country right before people have the money to splurge out on things. I don’t think they will ever go back to the beautiful, elegance we had. What I find desperately sad is that these young girls are making themselves look so tatty and scraggy and that beautiful period in their life where they have beautiful skin only happens once. I think that the sixties and seventies saw the end of that. People seem to be spending more money on clothes, and I finished Lachasse on a very high note, but I think I got out at the right time. I don’t like shoddy goods and people with open neck shirts shuffling into parties like they have just cleaned the drains out or taken the dustbins down the yard.

THE MONTEBURY — Is this change due to the change in education?

PETER LEWIS-CROWN OBE — I think a lot of it has to do with the schools that are not teaching people to sew. They are losing skills. In England, we are losing the trade and the beautiful tailor-made suits are disappearing. The occasions are also not there to wear these beautiful clothes. I am appalled when I go to The Ritz for lunch or dinner to see how some of these people look. I was taken to a very smart restaurant the other day and I was appalled at the tacky women, no ties and the hair – don’t mention it! I once saw Margaret Campbell, Duchess of Argyll at a birthday part that was given for me. All the guests had arrived but it was her trick to arrive late. She came in with a black chiffon dress with floating panels and a triple row of pearls. She looked absolutely magnificent and everybody stopped talking and just looked at her. There was nothing in it but she looked absolutely statuesque.

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