Courtaulds Lirelle 1970s Caramel Halter Neck Maxi Dress
Fashion label ‘Courtaulds Lirelle’ was in fact derived from British fabric maker Courtaulds, who were first established in 1794 under the name George Courtauld & Co., before later becoming Courtauld & Taylor.
Having enjoyed success as manufacturers of silk and crepe textiles, the firm explored the possibilities of creating rayon or ‘artificial silk’ around 1905, and despite early teething problems, the venture soon turned Courtaulds into one of the worlds leading rayon producers.
Achieving market dominance despite the chaos of WWII, Courtaulds demonstrated a nose for economics and wasted no time in relocating production to Asia in the 1980s to remain ahead of the curve, before devolving into Courtaulds plc and Courtaulds Textiles, the latter of which was to make yet another huge impact upon the fashion and design industry.
Of the two pseudonyms used by Courtaulds during the 1970s and 1980s ‘Courtelle’, was largely associated with carpet fibres and heavily promoted across the UK and Europe, while ‘Lirelle’ was a trademark name used by Courtaulds North America Inc., first created in 1964 and remaining operational until late 1985.
Courtaulds Textiles continued producing lingerie for established British chains such as Marks & Spencer while marketing its own products under other leading worldwide retailer brands, until it was acquired by US Consumer Corporation Sara Lee for around £150m, only to be resold in 2006 to Hong Kong firm PD Enterprises Ltd , who themselves had historically supplied underwear to the firm.
The creamy caramel coloured fabric and perfectly plunging neckline of this 1970s dress create a gloriously smooth as silk iconic as the ‘Lirelle’ label. The beauty of this piece is simply mouthwatering, from the plunging halter neck, to the deep waistband and the heavily gathered flowing skirt, resulting in a gorgeous maxi dress destined for those long summer evenings and a firm place in your vintage collection.
Designer Courtaulds Lirelle
Fabric 100% polyester
Size Label reads UK 12 but will fit UK 10-12
Excellent (see condition chart)
Measured flat without stretching (please double for complete size)
Bust (at widest point) 14″
Under Bust 12.5″
Length (collar to hem) 45″
Sleeve Length (under bust top of waistband) 45″
Sleeve Length (base of neck tie to shoulder to under bust) 12.5″
Mannequin is UK 8-10 | Bust 31.5″ | Waist 24″ | Hips 34.5″
The dress was not pinned for photography purposes