Columns
Residents' Association Image

Residents' Association

Stay safe, Southbank
Read more >>

Business in Southbank Image

Business in Southbank

An unbeatable lifestyle and location
Read more >>

St Johns Southgate Image

St Johns Southgate

The organ of emotion
Read more >>

Owners Corporation Law Image

Owners Corporation Law

VCAT declares that committees have the power to terminate an OC manager
Read more >>

Chinese

政府资助 受创商家
Read more >>

Metro Tunnel

Metro Tunnel lessons just a click away
Read more >>

Owners' Corporation Management

Why it pays to be neighbourly in a strata building
Read more >>

Federal Politics Image

Federal Politics

Why Magnitsky Act is important for Australia
Read more >>

We Live Here Image

We Live Here

Stage 3 lockdown fines for short-stays
Read more >>

Southbanker Image

Southbanker

Lending a hand through books
Read more >>

Port Places

Fishermans Bend: the first quarter 2019
Read more >>

Housing Image

Housing

Housing All Australians – a new paradigm
Read more >>

History Image

History

BANKING on it in Southbank!
Read more >>

Safety and Security

Looking out for signs of a drug lab
Read more >>

Southbank Sustainability Group Image

Southbank Sustainability Group

The garden is still here for you
Read more >>

Health and Wellbeing Image

Health and Wellbeing

How to combat insomnia
Read more >>

Skypad Living Image

Skypad Living

Finally, vertical villages are on government’s radar – but is the focus right?
Read more >>

Pets Corner Image

Pets Corner

Spoiling princess Chloe
Read more >>

Southbank Fashion Image

Southbank Fashion

Spring racing in Southbank
Read more >>

Street Smarts Image

Street Smarts

Power Street – Southbank
Read more >>

Letters Image

Letters

What’s behind the lights?
Read more >>

History

10 Sep 2019

History Image

Fashion and Southbank

Among the many galvanised iron factories along Sturt St in the 1930s was a stylish new factory for Lucy Secor fashion designers.

The firm got its start in 1922 and became so successful that by the mid-1930s it needed a new factory to keep up with demand and to maintain quality. A new factory was commissioned at 35 Sturt St not far from Princes Bridge; one of many new factories on this street.

Lucy Secor was one of Melbourne’s better-known fashion houses from this period, specialising in striking, beautifully crafted garments sold from highly fashionable shops in Collins St. Noted for quality and attention to detail in workmanship, this was a firm that cared about its staff and took great pride in its training programs over a number of years (typically four). Staff members were paid well and conditions were good, unlike many of the sweatshops in the clothing industry at the time. For those seeking a job in the industry, being trained at Lucy Secor was almost a guarantee of success, and most people seemed to have enjoyed working there.

Designed by prominent architects Alder and Lacy in 1935, the styling of the factory was decidedly Art Deco, with the streamlined building of simple but pleasing design. The swampy ground requiring strengthened foundations and the firm constructed gardens facing Sturt St. Regrettably the garden was destroyed by local vandals a few weeks after the opening.

On the inside, the delicate nature of the fabrics and textiles employed in the manufacture of frocks required a high standard of hygiene throughout. Large amounts of natural light were admitted via a saw-tooth roof, lined with insulation, while mechanical ventilation and an air-conditioning plant ensured the constant supply of fresh or treated air, meaning that the doors and windows could be closed without admitting dust and dirt from other local factories.

As well as the stylish Melbourne shops, Lucy Secor had branches across Australia and New Zealand and by 1950 the company boasted 50 selling departments. The firm closed in 1980 and Wittners Shoes occupied the building before it was demolished in 2007 as part of the massive changes to the area during its transformation from South Melbourne to Southbank.

But who was Lucy Secor? It appears that no one with that stylish name actually existed and the name was created to give a European/French cachet to the clothes, generally copied from overseas designs. Although advertisements in 1937 stated that Lucy Secor herself was in constant touch with the fashion centres of the world, it seems likely that the key figure was Mr W.C. Cann - the managing director for many years.

Robin Grow - President, Australian Art Dec & Modernism Society

Stay in touch with Southbank. Subscribe to FREE monthly e-Newspaper.

You must be registered with Southbank Local News to be able to post comments.
To register, please click here.