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We have a wide selection of scarves sourced from around the world each scarf has its own story to tell. If you would like us to look out for a particular scarf then please complete our enquiry form. We will be launching our ties selection soon!
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Jacqmar Scarves
– history in silk

Jacqmar scarves have an extensive history from before the 2nd world war but really came into their own during and after the war.

The Crimean War and WW1 sparked production of cloths/scarves often in cotton or linen – detailing songs such as It’s a Long Way to Tipperary – providing funds and visible support for the forces.

Jacqmar of London made propaganda scarves from 1940-1945. Jospeph Lyons was better known as Jack and he combined his name with that of his wife Mary when they set up business in the 1930s supplying silks of the highest quality to couture houses. They wisely realised that the surplus fabric offcuts that weren’t big enough for their clients would be best used as scarves. The scarf side of the business really took off in wartime when due to a shortage of material they made scarves out of parachute silk, newly developed Rayon and also linen. Their most sought after and famous scarves of the war years were designed by Arnold Lever who brought personality and humour to each scarf during those dark years. They were morale boosters, reminders of being thrifty and alert. The most famous scarf is called ‘London Wall’ and is made up of posters arranged on a brick wall with messages on – simple but brilliant!

Jacqmar were based in Mayfair and many were produced for the export market as well as for wartime sweethearts, particularly in London. Arnold Lever their chief designer continued working for the company even after he had joined the RAF. The scarves fall into three main thematic groups of the armed forces, allies and home front. They usually have the Jacqmar name on the scarf. Many are kept in museums particularly the Imperial War Museum in London and the V&A.

Founded in 1930s London by Joseph Lyons, a silk supplier to the couture trade, and his wife Mary. Many of the early scarves were designed by Arnold Lever. Joseph died in 1938, after which the business was run by Alan Allan. His son Richard bought the Jacqmar label in the 1950s. He started producing his own Richard Allan range of scarves that were printed at ‘World of Silk’ David Evan’s silk printing works at Crayford in Kent. David Evans also printed for Liberty and Christian Dior. The Jacqmar label continued until the 1970s. Richard Allan was taken over by Jane Shilton in 1989.

Post WWII the scarves kept coming with Victory themes, the 1948 Olympics in London and then into more prosaic themes such as florals, then geometrics, then swirly psychedelics as the decades sped by. They continued trading until the 1980s when taken over by Richard Allan, and a whole new era of design began!

Post War Jacqmar scarves have a distinctive signature in the 1950s which is simple and rounded (see pic), some of the scarves are signed by Arnold Lever and even in those that aren’t his style is fairly easy to pick out. Glorious florals abound full of cheer and colour. Silk comes available once more as we head towards the mid 1950s and the scarves become smaller and more painterly as other artists are commissioned. Most ladies of a certain age would have owned at least one of these beauties; the signature has changed again as a broader style. Later in the 60s the florals kept going but a new market emerged influenced by classic geometric shapes, bolder colours etc.

A whole series of Jacqmar scarves were produced showcasing the classical artist Toninelli with medieval scenes of Italian life –these are quite rare and turn up only occasionally for sale.

In the 70s you will see the signature evolving again into a broader brushstroke design (see pic) which was not around for very long and changed into Jacqmar of London as the polyester age came in and many scarves were produced catching the 70s vibe. Some brightly coloured and others much more understated as different designers came in.