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).



(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:


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



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


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


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

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

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