Doris Langley Moore's letter to Suzanne Farrington

This folder contains a letter written to Vivien Leigh's daughter Suzanne Farrington by Fashion Museum founder Doris Langley Moore on 15 October 1967. The letter is the only paper documentation that the Fashion Museum holds relating to the donation (beyond the brief accession cards listing the intake of three items of clothing belonging to Vivien Leigh).

In red ink at the top of the letter is a list of items accepted into the collection, including a black wool jacket designed by Lucien Lelong and a cocktail dress and jacket designed by Pierre Balmain. Not included here is the one additional item of Vivien Leigh's held at the museum listed in the accession records: a silk blouse, with an estimated dating of 1950-1960.

In the letter, Doris Langley Moore thanks Suzanne Farrington for allowing her to select some items of Vivien Leigh's clothing for the museum collections. She assures her that the Balmain suit specifically will be a draw for members of the public. The letter suggests that several other items were offered to the museum and that Doris Langley Moore made specific selections. She recounts that she had met Vivien Leigh several times and recalls her having posed for her book, The Woman in Fashion, published in 1949. Vivien Leigh appeared in the book in three period costumes from the 1800s.

Interestingly, Doris Langley Moore also mentions that Vivien Leigh was a Vice-President of the museum prior to it being taken over by Bath, explaining that she greatly valued Vivien Leigh's support in founding it. The Museum was established in Bath in 1963; prior to this, Doris Langley Moore had toured her collection across the 1950s to raise funds for a permanent exhibition site.Vivien Leigh’s association with the museum before  it was formally established at Bath may well have been cemented via her work with Doris Langley Moore on The Woman in Fashion.

Vivien Leigh’s archive at the V&A contains one letter from Doris Langley Moore. She writes on 9 February 1948 to tell Vivien Leigh that she has seen the film adaptation of Anna Karenina in which Vivien Leigh was starring and praises her performance, informing her that she looked ‘exquisite & wore your clothes (a matter about which I am pretty critical) with the most wonderful dignity & grace’.

Langley Moore, Doris. Letter to Suzanne Farrington, 15 October 1963. Fashion Museum Bath.

Langley Moore, Doris. Letter to Vivien Leigh, 9 February 1948. V&A Vivien Leigh Archive, THM/433/2/13-14.

Langley Moore, Doris. The Woman in Fashion. London: B.T. Batsford Ltd., 1949.



Subject Vivien Leigh
Source Fashion Museum Bath
Date 1967-10-15
Rights Fashion Museum Bath
Format Photograph
Type Letter
Coverage 1960s