Little is known of this English fashion designer/couturier who is mostly remembered for her costuming work for the English stage, ballet, and film industry. Her first attempt at business went bankrupt in November 1935 and she had to start over again, picking up work not just in film and theatre, but also doing custom fashion designs for clients including Margot Fonteyn’s mother, and actress Hermoine Gingold.
Etches’ background is sketchy — newspaper articles about her during her lifetime suggest she was of French Canadian ancestry, or that she was born in Yorkshire but raised in Montreal, or that she was Australian. Etches did spend an extended holiday immediately after the war in Australia where her work was much reported on by the press.
In London, Etches worked from her home on Frith street in Soho. While most of her work was for the ballet and theatre, in spring 1941 she designed her “Blitz Step-Out and Stay-Out Suit.” When caught away from home during an air raid this outfit, consisting of a pyjama suit covered by a skirt and jacket with zippered pockets, was ideal for dinner and dancing as well as sleeping in the underground.
For fall 1946, Etches showed sari evening dresses, and for fall 1947 Etches couture collection of twenty outfits featured details including quilted satin, bolero jackets, pleated skirts, and fur trims. Her last couture collection was in 1956. In 1969 Etches donated some of her archives to the Victoria and Albert Museum including the illustrated black satin evening dress from autumn, 1947. Her whereabouts after 1969 are unknown.