Muir, Jean

   Born in Bedford, England, of Scottish roots, Muir entered the fashion industry in sales and as a sketcher for Liberty on Regent Street. From 1956 to 1962, she worked as the designer for Jaeger, Ltd., before moving to David Barnes, where her collection of jersey garments was such a hit that he created a division just for her, called Jane & Jane. Miss Muir (as she preferred to be called) ventured out on her own in 1966 with her husband Harry Leuckert. She is best known for designing timeless clothes using matte jersey, wool crepe, and soft leather and suede, usually decorated with discreet punch holes, topstitching, pleats, tucks shirring, or smocking. Muir's collection was prominently displayed in its own shop at Henri Bendel in New York in 1967 and was later given its own area in Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus.
   Muir's own signature style was to wear only navy or black and she preferred the moniker "dressmaker" to designer when referring to her craft. Through the years, she launched several line extensions beginning in 1978 with her JM in Cotton and JM in Wool. In 1985, she presented lower-priced collections, Jean Muir Studio and Jean Muir Essentials. Muir received many awards during her career, including the Ambassador Award of Achievement and the Harper S Bazaar trophy (1965), Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (1973), Fellow of the Chartered Society of Designers (1978), Member of the Design Council (1983), Commander of the Order of the British Empire (1984), and British Fashion Council Award for Services to Industry (1985) and she was inducted into the British Fashion Council's Hall of Fame in 1994. Since her death in 1995, creative control of the signature and studio collections has been handled by her former assistants, Caroline Angell, Sinty Stemp, Joyce Fenton, and Angela Gill. In 2005, a Jean Muir freestanding store was opened in London's West End and, in 2006, her husband donated the entire Jean Muir personal design collection to the National Museum of Scotland. The company closed in 2007.

Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry. .

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