Rare Burberry Ladies Ski Suit
c 1920

Rare, Rare, Rare.  The covered buttons and the large collar we feel make this suit early 1920's.

The ski suit is made of Solgardine, a lightweight, self-ventilating weatherproof fabric. It was so fine that Burberry recommended it was partially lined. Snow resistent and windproofed it was available in many shades attributable to technological developments during WW1. A Winter Sports catalogue stated Solgardine was available in 69 shades in different range; Range H, QA and Quality 2.

In 1879 Thomas Burberry (1835-1926 ) draper and  men's outfitters, invented a method of waterproofing cloth which he called gabardine and patented in 1888. The original fabric was waterproofed before weaving and was worsted or worsted/cotton, tightly woven and water-repellant but more comfortable than rubberised fabrics. Gaberdine was originally a long, loose cloak or gown worn in the Middle Ages, but later signifying a rain cloak or protective garment.

Burberry clothing of gabardine was worn by polar explorers, including Roald Amunsden, the first man to reach the South Pole, in 1911, and Ernest Shakleton who led a 1914 expedition to cross Antartica. A jacket made of this material was worn by George Mallory on his ill-fated attempt on Mount Everest in 1924.


the label inside the back neck area, woven with Burberry's, a jousting knight in gold coloured thread holding a banner written wtih Prorsum*, the ginger coloured gaberdine with high neck and large self coloured button, the right hand closure with large buttons and slanting buttonholes, a front slit pocket with triangular embroidered stops, the inner flap with three buttons, the sleeves slightly gathered at the shoulders, a tab with two buttons at the cuff, two further buttons on the sleeve, a Paris brand on the buttons Reussi and size number. the large check lining in three shades of green  overlaid with a yellow check; the jodphurs with a oval inked stamp A J Bakker , Amsterdam** on the lining, side fastening with buttoned pockets and buckle tabs, the cuffs partly of deep panels of cotton, the jacket 40 in or 100 cm; the jodphurs 28 in or 72 cm.


The belt is missing.  There is slight fading. Fading to one arm. One inner button has a replacement button. The buttons on the jodphurs are not original. Slight whitish mark to front.Looks as if someone has tried with dry powder to remove a mark. 


**The vendor and her sister owned the Dutch costume hire business Bakker's in Amsterdam, untill they sold it five years ago. When they bought the business in in the 1960s they retained the company name. Naturally they ink stamped all their stock.

Gill Arnott, Keeper of Arts at Hampshire Museums told me they have a number of garments featuring the Burberry logo, both in the cream/buff colourway and in navy blue and white. She says:
According to some notes I got from Burberry some time ago the Burberry mounted knight logo was designed and registered world-wide as a Trade Mark in c. 1909.  The image symbolised honourable dealing by the code of chivalric knighthood and protection by both the armour and the knight’s lance which also serves to carry the pennant.  *The word Prorsum' is from heraldic Latin and translated as onward, representing progress in manufacture and invention.


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