I hope this blog finds you all healthy and safe. To keep busy (and sane!) I have been delving into my archives. A collection of old press articles and photos. I am reminded of another time when life seemed precarious and precious.
During my rummage, I found this fascinating article about a onetime contemporary of mine, Charlotte Hilton. We shared the same page in the Times of January 4th 1983. She was the Grande Dame, of Lingerie, and I was the new young upstart.
We both supplied Harrods amongst other stores, and met at various trade shows.
An interesting bit of background on her career...
Charlotte Hilton came from Germany in Feb 1939 to join her Jewish husband. They formed a small company making underwear and in 1943 a trim British officer banged on their door; a Captain Kenmore from MI5. He wanted them to make underwear for spies. The work was very hush hush, unobtainable fabrics suddenly became available.
One day Charlotte’s secretary’s nephew came to visit and saw these unobtainable fabrics and laces in the workroom, he realised what was going on ‘Don’t tell me anything’ he said firmly ‘I drop the dammed things’. H was a pilot in the R.A.F.
Charlotte recounted that the spies came for fittings, including the famous Oddette, and had spine chilling stories about how they got through the escape lines. She said that some of them had the most terrible scars.
Sadly at the end of the war, although paid well for their work, there was no glowing letter of thanks.
This information was taken from an article by Meriel McCooey, from the Times colour supplement of July 8th.1984. I could not find any internet reference to the designer herself and her interesting history. Her designs have featured on a few lingerie history blogs and her pieces are for sale on various vintage wesbsites. Perhaps Charlotte Hilton was not her name rather her brand name only, however, I believe that we should not forget, those times and her contribution.
A Bias View
Blog by Keturah Brown Lingerie. Heritage brand designer of exclusive lingerie for over 45 years..