Fashion pioneer’s work displayed at museum

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The life and times of a fashion pioneer of the 1950s is being remembered at a museum ­exhibition.

Constance Howarth was one of the most celebrated female fashionistas of her era.

At the height of her fame in the late ’50s, her dresses and designs were sold at top high street stores in London, New York and even in Australia.

Constance, who never married, lived in Lostock, near Bolton, and was also a trained milliner and model.

The exhibition at Bolton Museum includes a selection of her sketches, notebooks, correspondence, patterns and outfits.

She continued to design dresses up to the ’80s and died last March.

Little was known of Constance’s story until council bosses uncovered her work during preparations for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee last year.

She first gained success in America after leaving Bolton, and was know for her daring designs and brilliant colours.

Coun Chris Peacock said: “A former Bolton School pupil, Constance became a freelance fabric designer and model, who travelled the world wowing fashion buyers with her creations.

“Constance was a talented lady who epitomised the glamour of the ’50s.”

Her nephew Peter Richmond, 58, from North Devon, donated pieces from her personnel collection to the exhibition.

He said: “Constance was very much ahead of her time. It was something that women in the 50s just would not do, but she was very driven and very successful in America.”

The free exhibition is running at Bolton Museum on Le Mans Crescent until April.