Evolving Stone’s Style
The conclusion of World War II in 1945 gradually brought an end to the austerity and restriction in fashion around the world. Parisian designer Christian Dior made waves with his “New Look” for women in 1947, which featured tight waists and wide flowing skirts. Jessica brought the New Look to Stone’s in March 1948 and she continued to keep up-to-date with the latest international modes for her customers in Ballarat.
The rules of fashion during this period were more formal than they are today. Particularly during the 1950s, strict social dress codes determined that specific attire was required for different events. Stylish women, for example, were expected to wear tailored garments with matching accessories including hats, gloves, shoes and stockings whenever appearing in public. Stone’s offered everything these ladies required, including evening gowns, cocktail dresses, afternoon frocks, coats, lingerie and sportswear.
Jessica was actively involved in designing, selecting and advertising garments for display. Well-known in Ballarat for her personal sense of style, Jessica used her name as a synonym for elegance, and by the early 1940s, Stone’s was promoting the “Jessica” model range, which included “gowns, fur, millinery and underwear.” Her original designs were created by a staff of seamstresses in the workroom above the shop. Jessica would also choose and purchase couture garments from other fashion houses to be sold at Stone’s.
By the 1950s, the “Jessica” label was an established local brand, and the lady herself kept this as her professional name. Numerous fashion parades and charitable functions were “presented by ‘Jessica’ of Stone’s.”