Gina Fratini, 1931 – 2017

Dress of the Year 1975 – Bath Museum of Costume (Now known as the Fashion Museum)

Georgina Caroline Eve Butler was born into an aristocratic, connected family on 22 September, 1931 in Kobe, Japan and spent most of her childhood in colonial India. She studied at the Royal College of Arts before marrying in 1954. After her first marriage ended in divorce in 1961, she married Renato Fratini.

Elizabeth Taylor’s second marriage to Richard Burton, 1975

In 1964 ‘Gina’ opened her own clothing business and became a part of the British Boutique movement that redefined youth fashion. She kept her name after she and Renato divorced in 1968 – just as her romantic, historically-inspired floaty, frilly, lace-trimmed fashions were becoming influential.

Princess DIana wearing Fratini

In 1975 the Bath Museum of Costume chose one of her wedding dress designs for their Dress of the Year Award.  That same year, Elizabeth Taylor wore a Fratini designed dress for her second marriage to Richard Burton. In the 1980s Princess Diana also wore Fratini designed dresses.

Gina married two more times before closing her fashion house in November 1989. Her last husband was actor Anthony Newley. Reports of her death first appeared in a tweet over the weekend by Joan Collins, who had been married to Anthony Newley before Gina Fratini.

About Jonathan

Jonathan Walford is a fashion historian and co-founder of the Fashion History Museum in Cambridge, Ontario. The FHM maintains a collection of nearly 12,000 artifacts dating from the mid 17th century to the present. Jonathan has authored various books and museum catalogues, including The Seductive Shoe, Shoes A-Z, Forties Fashion, 1950s American Fashion, and Sixties Fashion.

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4 Responses to Gina Fratini, 1931 – 2017

  1. Just a heads-up – The Dress of the Year award is from The Fashion Museum, Bath (called the Museum of Costume at that time), not the V&A.

    I’ve always thought Fratini was very underrated as a designer – she had a very distinctive look to her work, and every time I see someone on the street wearing a romantic smock top with a bit of vintage-looking lace detail or fancy braiding, I know it originated with her, and of course, she was inspired by antique textiles herself.

    We also lost one of her peers, the menswear designer Tom Gilbey, only a couple days before her – again, no official news or announcements seem to have been released, but I have had it confirmed to me privately.

  2. I can confirm the saddest news. Gina was my Godmother, and if you would like any further information I would be happy to help

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