Read Laura Ashley: A Life by Design by Anne Sebba Free Online
Book Title: Laura Ashley: A Life by Design|
The author of the book: Anne Sebba
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Reader ratings: 4.1
Edition: Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Date of issue: May 25th 1990
ISBN 13: 9780297810445
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 866 KB
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“Laura Ashley” – the name that has become an international byword for the classic English countrywoman living in bliss. But what was Laura Ashley the woman really like, behind the facade of the family-based company that not only used her name, but also was moulded on her personal image?
Anne Sebba was given access to the “Laura Ashley” company papers and talked uninhibitedly to many of the Ashley family. Her book is the first biography of this remarkable woman who became one of the leading influences on British design and marketing last century.
Laura and Bernard Ashley started printing textiles in 1953. They used a domestic oven and a kitchen table. Their drive and ambition were astonishing. Their venture was to result in a fashion and home decoration business that is now renowned internationally. It led to fame and glamour, a chateau in France, a private plane and other attributes of fabulous wealth. It also developed into a fascinating business partnership between man and wife.
Anne Sebba describes Laura the astute businesswoman with her sure instinct for forecasting trends, her canny feel for colour and fabric and her often brilliant but perfectly simple ideas. She describes Laura the wife and mother: her relationship with Bernard, her sadness at leaving Wales and her family for life on the Continent, her conviction that her place was with her husband. She describes her whims, her phobias and her habits.
Laura had a puritanical streak which brought a missionary zeal to her work. It was more than just a preference to prim high necklines and long all-concealing skirts. It was a belief that her company had a greater purpose than just making money. She always fought, on principal, to retain her ties with the rural community in Wales, fearing that mass production would destroy the ethnic and cottage industry on which the business was based. Above all, Laura wanted to create “a kind of scrubbed simple beauty.” Even to some of her closest friends, Laura Ashley was “LA” by day, Laura by night. In Laura Ashley: A Life By Design, Anne Sebba finds one woman – remarkably determined and self contained, seeking an alternative to feminist stridency in her merging of career and family. Her life is one of the biggest success stories of her generation.
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Read information about the authorAnne Sebba began her writing career at the BBC world service, Arabic section, while still a student. After graduating from King’s College, London in Modern European History, she worked as a foreign correspondent for Reuters in London and Rome, the first woman Reuters accepted on their Graduate Trainee Scheme. In 1975 she moved to New York with her husband and first baby returning two years later with a second baby and first book. From then on she was launched into a freelance career as a journalist, biographer, cruise lecturer and occasional broadcaster and is now also an officially accredited Nadfas lecturer. She has worked for many writers’ organisations including PEN Writers in Prison Committee and the Society of Authors chairing its Management Committee from 2013- 2015 and followed her bestselling biography That Woman, a life of Wallis Simpson, based on the discovery of 15 secret letters which Wallis wrote to her second husband Ernest Simpson, with Les Parisiennes : How the Women of Paris lived, loved and died in the 1940s published in the UK and US in 2016.
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