Zorene Ltd, London

The London Couture House of Zorene Ltd

A prominant London couture atelier in the Jazz Age was that of Zorene Ltd based in and around Hanover Square, W1. Zorene Ltd was founded in 1919 and thrived through the 1920s and into the 1930s and was described as Court Dressmakers.  It was owned and run by Zoe Florence A. Benn and another lady called Irene, hence the name Zorene.

In 1922, Zorene Ltd was based at 17 Hanover Square, W1 and in the summer of 1922 it was thought that they offered the best of dainty summer frocks, some  of which had no other trimmings save numerous tiny tucks. One adorable frock was in citrus yellow and was so simple but yet so chic. Coral marocan de laine was expressed in another exceedingly effective dress. It was long-waisted with picot edged bands falling in points at each side and formed a model that was seen as invaluable during the holidays being practically uncrushable. This design was created in crepe de chine for a dansant frock or restaurant of nightclub wear. Zorene was making a speciality of evening lingerie in crepe de chine and triple ninon and also evening dance frocks and one was made of golden brown velvet over pleated georgette.

Advert for the London couture house of Zorene Ltd, 1922
Advert for the London couture house of Zorene Ltd, 1922

Two years later in 1924 Zorene Ltd had moved to 19 George Street, Hanover Square, W1, by 1934 Zorene was based at 13 South Molton Street, W1 and in 1936 they had moved again to 13 Stratford Place, W1.

A frock in rust coloured voile adorned by pleats and drawn thread work, from the London couture house of Zorene Ltd, 1922
A frock in rust coloured voile adorned by pleats and drawn thread work, from the London couture house of Zorene Ltd, 1922

In September 1937, Zorene Ltd, described as ‘the well known London firm’ opened a branch at 21 Dormer Place, Leamington Spa and the premises had been decorated in neutral shades in order to emphasise the tones of the materials shown.  It was announced that new models from the best Paris houses would be obtainable. Thus, the latest Paris models would be available long before they normally reached the provinces bringing Leamington in line with London. It was also revealed that Zorene had enjoyed the patronage of the late Queen Alexandra, many society personalities including Frances Lady Warwick and a number of famous film stars.  Zorene had a skilled staff of cutters and fitters in its London workrooms and sepcialised in court dresses, society gowns and tweeds and wollen garments.

Zoe Benn was born 19th March 1889 in Brighton and married Percival Edward Benn (of private means) in October 1908 in Brighton.  They had three sons Geoffrey, John and Robin . The later was born in Cork in 1918 and sadly in September 1919, Percival died in Cork. It must have been after this date that Zoe moved to London and opened Zorene Ltd. In June 1929, Zoe re-married a Mr Grossley but they divorced and she reverted to her firs married name of Benn. By 1939  Zoe was still listed as a dressmaker and was living in Weybridge.  She died in February 1976 in Dunmow, Essex

Sources

Ancestry
Dancing Times July 1922
Bystander 7/5/24
Leamington Spa Courier 10/9/37

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