Soft pink ultrasuede suit

Mary Mitchell owned a store in Timaru called Jennifer May, which sold El Jay. She worked in the industry for 35 years. She vividly recalls her visits to Auckland for the opening of the collection shows at Kingston St, which were always on Monday night. This is the suit she chose for herself. Ultra Suede is a marvel of modern chemistry, a composite of polyester and non fibrous polyurethane it was created in Japan in 1970. With the look and feel of suede but lightweight, soft, supple, crease proof and machine washable it was used by American designer Halston in 1972 for his commercially successful shirtwaister dress. It became a popular choice of the stylish first ladies of America because it travelled so well. In 1974 Gus Fisher and El Jay secured the exclusive New Zealand license to use this fabric. Read more about Gus Fisher and the El Jay label in the New Zealand Fashion Museum publication Looking Terrific: The story of El Jay.


Credit: Garment loan courtesy of Mary Mitchell
Copyright: Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 4.0 Licence
Maker: El Jay
Manufacturing location: Auckland
Garment type: Two-piece suit and blouse
Material: Ultrasuede (suit and jacket), polyester (blouse)
Colour: Soft pink
Label: El Jay
Date: Circa 1982