When it came to verbalising the enduring appeal of Laura Ashley florals, I knew that there was only one source that I could reliably trust (y’know, in the interests of being a thorough and well-informed journalist) to give me some bona fide, first-hander gobbets. Never let it be said that Abigail Gurney-Read doesn’t do her research.

It was to that end that, naturally, I called my Mum.

Hear me out... Laura Ashley prints proved omnipresent in my formative years – in fact, those darlingly delicate daubings are just about the only things that I can remember my Mum wearing. Take my word for it: On this occasion (much like many others), Mother really does know best.

Abigail wears wave-print cotton blouse, and wave-print cotton ruffled skirt by Batsheva; sandals by L.K.Bennett; Hydra hoop earring by Maria Black.

“There was something so fresh and reassuringly natural about the look, both in terms of the prints and the fabrics,” she tells me, with heartfelt enthusiasm. “After all of the brashness and psychedelic-ness of the time before – the crimplene and acrylic – which had prevailed until then, Laura Ashley was bright, beautiful, and cheerful at the same time.”

Now you get it. I may know a little about a lot, but I will more than happily defer to the experts when needs be. In fact, recently, such aficionados have been increasingly easy to come by; part of the widespread resurgence of Little House On The Prairie-esque dressing, a new mood for whimsical florals, modest silhouettes and vintage-inspired femininity has brought brands like Batsheva and Horror Vacui twirling to the front(ier) of fashion’s psyche.

Abigail wears floral-print cotton dress by Horror Vacui; sandals by L.K.Bennett; Hydra hoop earring by Maria Black.

Anna Heinrichs, founder of the latter – and a mentee of the Fashion Council Germany – looks towards traditional nightwear of a bygone era to inform her marvellously charming designs; meanwhile, New York-based Batsheva Hay masterminded her own eponymous brand after delving into the craft behind her love-worn vintage favourites.

In the year that marks the milestone 65th anniversary of the Laura Ashley label, these thoughtful creators are demonstrating the numerous virtues of looking back to move forwards. The Batsheva raison d’être, for example, reads: “to extract the strong and beautiful aspects of those styles, while rejecting antiquated notions of womanhood. It’s a battle cry that’s designed to liberate the silhouettes and sartorial trends of decades past from the societal constraints with which they were once synonymous.

Abigail wears ruffle-trimmed floral cotton dress by Batsheva; sandals by L.K.Bennett; Hydra hoop earring by Maria Black.

It’s a poignant notion in the year of the centenary of UK Women’s Suffrage, while the repercussions of the #MeToo movement continue to be revealed, and the conversation about gender pay gap rumbles on. I can’t help but think that it's one that the intrepid Laura Ingalls Wilder herself would be firmly on board with.

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