John Redfern ~ 1853-1929

Biography of John Redfern, fashion designer

On the photo below, John Redfern is behind the scenes directing a fitting and pointing his stick which was known to be a Conductor’s Baton. “Adjust this fabric here.” Two lady Assistants are working hard among the chaotic mounds of different fabrics which are strewn about.Read more ↓

John Redfern Icon

Adjusting his design 1910 Workroom

He became John Redfern, but was born Charles Poynter in England, and lived and worked in Cowes on the Isle of Wight in a drapers business. It is probable the original drapers were called Redfern, while he continued trading under this established name. He was known by this name thereafter. He employed extremely attractive sales assistants to promote his fashions and they became known as the “Redferns Bunnies”. His Tailoring section was directed to the market generated by the famous Cowes week held every August.

1881 – He established a business in London which was managed by his son Ernest and he looked after the Paris Branch. Then following on with branches in Edinburgh, Scotland, and New York. It is also known that in 1881 he designed a costume for the famous Lilly Langtry, the Mistress of the Prince of Wales.

By 1885 ~ Redfern was producing yachting, riding, and travelling suits. By 1888 ~ he was officially appointed dressmaker to Queen Victoria. Royal Courts of Europe sort his expertise. The Empress of Russia was another Client. (READ 1889 Scandal Report bottom of Page!)

1903 This advert is an authentication of his address at his establishment in Paris. The address is 242, rue de Rivoli. It is for Robes de Bal, Diner & Soirees. This section was from a full page display of all different sorts of advertisements for ladies of the time. An extremely rare find!

John Redfern Icon

1903 Rare Advert 4, rue de Rivoli, Paris

This photo is taken of the dress designed for the event of the Coronation in Britain of Queen ALEXANDRA & EDWARD VII – dated 26th June 1902. It was quoted “The dress was designed for PRINCESS E’TRANGERE”. The Description is:- “Court gown in gold and pearl tulle. Mantle in gold tulle, richly embroidered and lined in cloth of gold. Two flounces with Alencon lace application. Shoulder band held with diamond buckle and the waist held a large bunch of old roses”.

John Redfern Icon

For a Royal Wedding Guest

1902 – Femina Journal shows black lace gowns in high fashion demand.

John Redfern Icon

Early designs with lots of lace

See Latest photo find! dated 1905 !! bottom of page.  1906 – Samples of Black Lace styles. (Left design) – A White robe with – Batiste de fil avec Application Dentelle Venise. Composition – Jupe et Corsage Brodes en forme. (Right design) – Robe Chantilly noir, application fleur Taffetas et dentelle Renaissance. Composition – Jupe et Corsage Brodes en forme.

John Redfern Icon

Black lace styles of the era 1906

This illustration is one of the finest Haut Couture examples by John Redfern, it incorporates actual hand stitching, showing down the front panels of this really elegant design. The sleeves have the most magnificent layered look, with velvet and fine embroidery. This was used for the front cover of the journal La Mode Illustree in 1907.

John Redfern Icon

Simply the best gown designed by John Redfern!

La Mode Ilustree – 1907. Dress description “Toilet for Casino” design by John Redfern. A dazzling white wonder with elaborate black trimmings.

John Redfern Icon

Exquisite Design by John Redfern

1907 – Elegance in the rose garden.

John Redfern Icon

1907 The rose garden gown

Redfern 1907 La Mode Illustree

John Redfern 1907


He was also known to have popularised the high waisted Grecian style gowns of 1908. 1911 – A black and white photo.

John Redfern Icon

 Luxury Lace Newly added images  May 2012

John Redfern - La Femme Chic

La Femme Chic - Lace evening gown

Below is the back view of this high waisted lace gown.

John Redfern (back view)

Enlarged back view of lace gown


Stylish Elegance Model Kate…..

John Redfern Top Stylish Model

Model Kate

Back View of above design.

John Redfern Back view

Enlarged back view of above dress


Walking by the sea and taking in the breeze!

jJohn Redfern  Day Dress

Day Dress


Inlaid Lace designs with bonnet to match.

1912 – This was a very faded photo and the colours have been strengthened as much as possible. An evening dinner dress for a young lady.

John Redfern Icon

1912 – An elegant robe and hat with the French text description.

John Redfern Icon

1912 – An elegant lady

1912 French text robe description.

John Redfern Icon

1912 Detailed gown text

This is a very rare photogaph by Felix H. Man one of the greatest photogaphers of the 20th century his dates are 1893-1985. He was studying art between 1912-1914.

John Redfern Icon

La Mode Illustree – White Rose Garden

In 1916 ~ John Redfern created the first female uniform for the Red Cross Society. This Rare Fashion Photograph is also by Felix H.Man.

John Redfern Icon

Rare gown – Rare photo!

John Redfern - Photo by Felix

John Redfern - Photo by Felix

1918 – John Redfern’s signature is in this image.

John Redfern Icon

Signature for John Redfern 1918

Adverts forRedfern perfumes.

John Redfern Icon

1931 Perfume advert

Advert for perfume

John Redfern Icon

Advert for perfume by John Redfern

SCANDAL Reported in American Press 1892.


One of REDFERN’S AGENTS compelled to make a Confession. “Matihilde Sabail, a Frenchwoman in the employ of Redfern, was taken to the Custom House yesterday under arrest on a charge of SMUGGLING! She arrived in the city of New York.

Her trunks contained very valuable dresses of the latest fashions. One of them was removed to the Public Stores for examination and she went to the Hotel Martin. After a few days the trunk was passed by the appraisers upon her affidavit that she was a wealthy woman travelling for pleasure and that she had come to visit the World’s Fair, and the trunk was delivered at her hotel.

The same day she sent it to Redfern’s on Fifth Avenue, where the dresses in it were put on sale. She also took up her own residence there and appeared to be connected with the establishment.

A report of this performance reached the Custom House, and Col. Traitteur, Special Inspector, was put upon the case. Her arrest was made through him.

When she was taken to the Custom House yesterday and confronted with the proofs against her, she MADE A FULL CONFESSION! She said “Redfern had given her £55 with which to pay the duties in case she could not get the goods through”. Although she did not directly admit it, it was understood that she had taken this money simply for protection, and in case she had to deliver it over to the customs authorities it would be deducted from her salary. She said she had returned the money as soon as she delivered the goods at Redfern’s and this statement was verified.

The customs officials believe that shortly she would have gone back to Europe had she escaped detection, and would have soon reappeared with other gowns from the same establishment in hope of again passing the customs barriers. They say that there are many women engaged in this kind of speculation, and that some of them succeed remarkably well, although detection ultimately is apt to result”. The case of the Sabail woman was turned over to a United States commissioner.

Redfern’s business was closed during the 1920s.

John Redfern Icon

Fashion House Label – London


Latest rare photo find!! 1905, and colourful new illustrations from Gazette Bon Ton.

John Redfern 1905

Rare photo 1905

 Apple Picking all in green!
John Redfern 1913 - Artist Martin

De La Pomme Aux Levres


Walking through a Perfumed Rose Garden.

John Redfern  -  1913

Parmi Les Roses



Our Latest image found. July 2012….    Still going strong in 1924. This image was printed in  L’Illustration.

John Redfern  - 1924

Creations Redfern

Redfern  1924

Gown description

Above, the text description reads: Madame La Comtess de porte une robe  de crepe satin noir, brodee  or, et rouge.  Chapeau noir avec plume rouge.

(Black crepe satin with embroidery of gold and red. A Black hat with a red plume).

242, rue Rivoli, Paris.