Peek Inside The Boutique: marrian-mcdonnell

brian duffy, british boutique movement, christopher mcdonnell, marrian mcdonnell, seventies fashion, telegraph magazine

Christopher McDonnell in the South Molton Street boutique. The model wears a blouse and layered culottes in organza, 42 gns.

I love these sparse and splendid boutique insights you can occasionally glean from vintage magazines. A while ago, to my shame, I promised that I would scan the entire of this July 1970 Telegraph Magazine article on London boutiques. Slap my wrist and call me Kate Moss, I clean forgot. I intend to amend, starting with marrian-mcdonnell.


45 South Molton Street, W1 and 80 Sloane Avenue, SW3

The first Marrian-McDonnell boutique opened in Sloane Avenue in April 1966. Christopher McDonnell, who had been a fashion editor with Queen magazine, where he met Mary Ann Marrian, designed clothes that were casual but elegant. A whoesale range was produced soon afterwards to meet the demand from other stores, and now the partners export to the U.S. and Scandinavia, too.

In 1968 the second boutique opened in South Molton Street, and its success emphasises Christopher’s flair for giving a touch of glamour to classic fashion.

The Daily Telegraph Magazine, July 17th 1970

(This photo by Guy Cross) Safari jacket, 13 gns, knitted trousers and floor length coat, 19 gns.

Typical Marrian-McDonnell ensemble is this cotton midi-dress with matching sleeveless coat, 20 gns.

Outside the dressing rooms, jersey jumpsuit, 13½ gns, worn with zip-fronted snakeskin jacket, 45½ gns.

Hair by David at Michaeljohn. Photos by Duffy.

7 thoughts on “Peek Inside The Boutique: marrian-mcdonnell

  1. I have a black wool Marrian McDonnell dress designed by Christopher McDonnell ……Need to get more information in order to sell it……

  2. Excellent! Do you suppose that the decline in the British garment industry makes it harder for people to set up small boutiques nowadays? I’m wondering how easy it is to get stuff made now compared to decades ago.

    1. Definitely. I know I’ve read some designers who want to get their clothes manufactured in Britain find it almost impossible. Partly because the industry isn’t really there any more, but also because we have to pay people a decent living wage, which doesn’t tally with profits for designers.

      A lot of it stems back to Biba. Barbara H was one of the first people to outsource manufacture to places like India, which must have seemed like a great idea at the time (and certainly fitted in with the affordability of Biba clothes) but the domino effect of that (and other designers/shops doing the same thing) has been devastating for UK manufacture.

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