England’s first shopaholic?

23 Aug

susanstylesyou emily wardrobe

If you are in Liverpool in the near future, I suggest you pop over to the Walker Art Gallery and take in Mrs Tinne’s Wardrobe. It is a must for vintage fans!

I paid a visit yesterday and was fascinated by the exhibition and also the story of Mrs Tinne.

Emily Tinne was born to missionaries in India. From a modest upbringing, she quickly became a wealthy woman when she married her husband Phiip Tinne, a doctor who was a man of substantial private means. Philip Tinne was heir to the Tinne fortune, derived from the family’s sugar and ship businesses.

Emily found herself suddenly being able to afford whatever she so desired. Some say that she became one of England’s first shopaholics, amassing a secret collection of thousands of items of clothing, most of which she never wore (step aside Coleen Rooney). Her family described their mother as a pleasant woman who loved to buy nice things because she had has such a staunch and strict upbringing.

She had over 300 dresses, 50 coats, (30 fur ones) and 150 hats. It is estimated that she spent in the region of £90,000 to £100,00 on her expensive habit. Surprisingly, the collection does not contain lavish designer labels. She preferred to shop in local department stores such as Owen Owens, Bon Marche and George Henry Lee. These stores were kind of like the modern day Top Shop who made copies of designer clothes, but much better quality.

You can see the range of tastes and changing fashion over the years (1910 to 1939. The collection ranges from mundane to glitzy and glamorous, from late Edwardian to 1920s dropped waists to 1930s tailoring. The sizes also change quite a lot. When she married, she had a 16 inch waist, but giving birth to 7 children meant her dresses expanded throughout the years. She favoured subdued colours such as greys, browns and greens.

She loved hats and gloves, but strangely she was not a lover of shoes.

susanstylesyou emily glovessusanstyles you emily Green-cloche-hat

She had an amazing fur collection. This was my favourite – so dramatic and just gorgeous! It is silk with angora fur trim. It was purchased from George Henry Lee, between 1930 and 1936. This was probably never worn. Emily loved glamorous clothes but her appearance was always very understated and some would even say quite drab and she maybe never had the courage to wear them.

I so wanted to try it on.

susanstylesyou emily fur-coat

Emily Tinne did not have many occasions to wear the glamourous evening gowns she purchased. It is suggested that her husband would have disapproved of the low cut, sleeveless gowns she loved so much. The couple did not appear to have an active social life so many of the clothes remained in their original wrappings and stored in trunks.

So, why did she shop but not wear these items of clothing? Some say she was just bored. However, others say that she bought expensive items as she desperately wanted to help the shop assistants who were only paid on commission in those days. During the 1930s the Depression plunged Liverpool into poverty and this was perhaps her way of contributing to the war effort. Emily Tinnes could in fact be described as philanthropist. I like to think this was the reason as it was such a shame these lovely clothes were kept hidden away.

The collection stops abruptly at the start of the 2nd World War. Emily, like everyone else had to “make do and mend”. Some suggest that, by the time the War was over, Emily was now in her 60s and maybe her passion for fashion was over.

This will NOT be the case for me I can promise you!



19 Responses to “England’s first shopaholic?”

  1. Not From Lapland August 23, 2013 at 1:57 pm #

    oh my goodness this sounds amazing! I love vintage stuff and don’t go to Liverpool nearly enough.

    • susanstylesyou August 23, 2013 at 3:05 pm #

      The collection isn’t massive but well worth a visit if you are in Liverpool.

      • susanstylesyou August 23, 2013 at 3:10 pm #

        Liverpool Museum’s website says close date to be confirmed.

  2. Hurnae August 23, 2013 at 2:48 pm #

    I definitely get her need to shop. I have it myself. When is the exhibit there until?? x

  3. lollinski August 23, 2013 at 3:27 pm #

    She sounds fabulous!

  4. Kerrie McGiveron August 23, 2013 at 3:39 pm #

    This is fascinating – great read x

  5. Beth @plasticrosaries August 23, 2013 at 4:25 pm #

    I walked past this museum TODAY! Why didn’t I read this post before! D’oh! x

    • susanstylesyou August 23, 2013 at 4:34 pm #

      What a coincidence! They don’t advertise things very well. I even had to ask where the exhibition was once I was inside as there were no posters or arrows or anything!

      • Beth @plasticrosaries August 24, 2013 at 7:30 pm #

        I’m always up that way – should really be more observant!

  6. amanda walsh August 23, 2013 at 6:09 pm #

    Looks like an interesting place, im in Liverpool in October so may pay a visit

  7. Becky Willoughby (@LakesSingleMum) August 23, 2013 at 6:50 pm #

    wow what a collection!

  8. AtoZ Mummy August 23, 2013 at 7:48 pm #

    Such a shame that she had so many outfits she couldn’t wear out. A really interesting read thanks 🙂

  9. expressionconfession August 23, 2013 at 8:34 pm #

    Wow! I love the hat, myself!

  10. steph August 23, 2013 at 9:17 pm #

    Sounds fantastic!

  11. Isabel Munich August 24, 2013 at 5:51 pm #

    I love the UK for their love of vintage! Unfortunately it´s still super uncommon to shop for “used” clothes in Germany.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: