The Feminine Fashions Of Vintage Designer Nancy Johnson

Inside this past issue of Victoria Magazine (Volume 2, Number 3, August 1988, the “Midsummer Enchantments” issue), there’s a feature on designer Nancy Johnson.

The Nancy Johnson tagline was “the Woman with a Past” — and while that sort of sounds naughty, it was primarily meant to reference Johnson’s former years as a history professor as well as her inspiration from the past. In particular, Johnson credits her mother’s collection of vintage lace and fabrics, coupled with a trip to the Far East, for inspiring her to become a fashion designer. And Victoria magazine was eager to showcase the romantic bits and bobs that the designer surrounded herself with. Here are some of those photos (by Elyse Lewin).

designer-nancy-johnson-victoria-magazine-1988

designer-nancy-johnson-sketches

(Sorry not all the images are fabulous — I didn’t want to risk creasing the vintage magazine to scan!)

Nancy Johnson’s designs, like Jessica McClintock’s Gunne Sax and Laura Ashley’s fashions & home decor, were a romantic and feminine contrast to the feminist fashions and power suits (or, as Johnson called them, “sincere suits”) of the time. From the article:

What kind or woman does Nancy design for?

“No matter how highly powered or sophisticated the job, a woman must treasure her femininity …enjoy it as an asset, not a hindrance.”

Here are some of her fashions from the feature article:

victoria-aug-88-nancy-johnson-vintage-feminine-fashions

Note the delicate crocheted gloves (I had several pair myself!) and the pretty hosiery!

victoria-romantic-vintage-hosiery-gloves

vintage-nancy-johnson-the-feminine-asset

The model in this photo looks a lot like Poppy Montgomery!

designer-nancy-johnson

And doesn’t this look a lot like Princess Dianna?!

vintage-victoria-johnson-fashions-polka-dot-hat-gloves

I love, love, love that hat & those gloves!

Nancy Johnson is still around; though since 2000 she’s been designing jewelry, not clothing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *