Canadian Fashion Connection – Donald Campbell

Born in Cobourg Ontario in c. 1934, Campbell trained in fashion at Ryerson Polytechnic before apprenticing with John Cavanagh in London from 1954-1956. Campbell opened his own dressmaking workshop in Bayswater Road in November 1957, but by the fall of 1960 he had moved to Kensington where he debuted his first collection of 21 couture gowns. He gave up his own couture business to become the designer/manager of John Cavanaugh’s first ready-to-wear boutique in February 1966. In 1973 Campbell opened his own demi-couture/ready-to-wear boutique in Chelsea, followed by a second shop in Knightsbridge in 1978. His boutiques carried designs off-the-rack for average sizes, but as each piece was individually made, special orders to fit figure problems could be done on demand. He supplied several dresses to Princess Diana over the years, beginning in 1981 with a print dress worn on her Honeymoon, and an outfit in the colours of the Welsh flag she wore on her first official tour of Wales as the Princess of Wales. Stewart Parvin, the Queen’s private dressmaker trained under Campbell in the early 1990s. Campbell closed both his shops when he retired in 2009.

Four outfits made by Donald Campbell for Princess Diana in the early 1980s

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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