A couple of months ago I was sent a link to an obituary for Toronto designer Lynne Tyrrell. I have never heard of her nor seen a dress with her label. So my note to self is to find a Lynne Tyrrell garment to see what sort of work she did.
According to the obituary, Lynne Tyrrell was born Evelyn Beatrice Marvin on March 2, 1920 in London, England. She worked as a stenographer during the war before marrying Ron Tyrrell in about 1944. She then moved to Brighton to run a guest house while operating a clothing consignment shop on the side (which reportedly did well by dealing in black market goods.) In 1947, the family moved to Jamaica to operate a hotel. Three years later they relocated to Toronto.
After the birth of their fourth and final child in Toronto in the early 1950s, Lynne apprenticed with the Toronto couturier Rodolphe Liska before opening her own shop called ‘The Baroness’ on Richmond Street. The name for the boutique came from a supposed bona fide baroness who Tyrrell hired to sketch her designs. The Baroness moved uptown in the early 1960s to 105 Bloor St. West, and later to Scollard St. in the hipper Yorkville area.
While much of Tyrrell’s work was for bridal parties and debutantes, some of her more famous clients included Miss Canada Pageant contestants, June Carter Cash, and Trans-Canada Airlines who contracted her to design uniforms. Designer Wayne Clark started his career working at The Baroness where he recalls he was instructed to answer the phone “Baroness Couture.”
The Baroness closed its doors in the 1980s and Lynne Tyrrell died in Toronto on May 25, 2013 at the age of 93. If anyone has a Lynne Tyrrell, or ‘Baroness’ labelled garment, let me know – I would love to see it.