Marjorie Janko, lingerie designer, papers

Scope and Content

Sketchbooks; production and operation papers (ca. 1927 - 1968); Spondon Fashion Show (1952); photographs (ca. 1950s); Celanese catalogues and price lists (1885 - 1953); Celanese shade books (ca.1924 - ca. 1966); design sketches (ca. 1964 - ca. 1966); painted designs undated; surveys of nightwear and lingerie (ca. 1966 - 1967); designers' reports (1964 - 1967); designs, sketches and patterns (ca. 1964 - ca. 1975); sizing surveys (ca. 1961 - ca. 1967); study of other designers (undated); articles (1943 - 1951); lectures (ca. 1960s); displays (ca. 1950 - ca. 1967); display indicators (ca. 1960s); production of modern lingerie (ca.1951); sketches (ca. 1951); correspondence concerning M. Marene's production of modern lingerie book (ca. 1951); catalogues of prints ca. (1960s); advertising (1954 - 1966); newspapers (1950 - 1959); scrapbooks (1900 - ca. 1955); other designers (undated); fabric samples (undated); advertising photographs (undated); reports (1961); publications and brochures (1896 - ca. 1974); employment contracts, (1934 - 1950); certificates (1940 - 1950); correspondence, (1950 - 1971); memorandum and articles of association (1933); shares certificates (1933); personal items, (undated).

Administrative / Biographical History

Marjorie Janko was born on 12 May 1909 in London. She was educated in London, attending the Haverstock Central School and then Barrett Street School for Hairdressing . She subsequently worked freelance for British Celanese in London from 1927 to 1929. In 1929 British Celanese employed her on a permanent basis. She went on to found the company's design department in London and design sections at other plants including Congleton, Spondon and Wrexham. She also set up the company's showrooms, the first of which was at Hanover Square. She quickly shifted her own design expertise to designing lingerie, and some underwear for children and men. She worked under the name Miss Marjorie Marene, signing her work MM. During the Second World War, British Celanese temporarily relocated its headquarters in Nottingham. Marjorie Janko's department was responsible for making military tents and garments which conformed to British Utility Standards.

Although she continued to be employed by British Celanese, and subsequently Courtaulds when it took over British Celanese, until her retirement in 1974 she also undertook commissions for other companies, including Marks and Spencer plc . During the 1940s and early 1950s she was a columnist for The Maker-up, writing articles on pattern laying and lingerie trends. She produced a history of lingerie, completed in 1951. Although the history had a publisher it never appeared. In the 1960s Marjorie lectured on the history and development of lingerie. She also conducted a number of surveys of the lingerie industry and analysed the differences between the stock of many large department stores. She travelled to shows worldwide in order to keep up with fashions.

Marjorie Janko became a Fellow of the Clothing Institute in 1950, a Member of the Lingerie Standards Committee of the British Standards Institute and a Member of the Council and Qualifications and Education Committee of the Clothing Institute .


The original order of this archive has been lost and an artificial order imposed. The archive has been arranged into the following thematic groups: Design and production papers; Surveys and design reports; Publications, lectures and written material; Reference material; Career and business papers; Personal items.

Access Information

This archive collection is available for consultation in the V&A Blythe House Archive and Library Study Room by appointment only. Full details of access arrangements may be found here:

Access to some of the material may be restricted. These are noted in the catalogue where relevant.

Acquisition Information

Given by Marjorie and Elizabeth Janko, 1998.

Given by Effie Elizabeth Janko via Richard Janko and Michele Hanoush, 2011.

Conditions Governing Use

Information on copying and commercial reproduction may be found here:

Personal Names