Raoul Couture Melb

Today Miss Kate and I are working on a special gown for a special person and special event – a couture evening gown by local label Raoul Couture Melb. We’re tailoring it to fit the young lady and evening up the hem. In the process we discovered that it’s been taken out at some point in the last 55 years, so in a way we’re restoring it to the original design.

Here it is:

Raoul Couture was a fashion house based in Flinders Lane, and it was opened in about 1955. The head designer was Leonard Legge. All the garments I’ve seen with this label are top quality, and show an appreciation of fine fabrics – generally silk or wool, with embellishments. The label is one of the better ones, sitting well respected amongst collectable contemporaries like Le Louvre, Hall Ludlow and Magg.

The label was closed in 1963 and in the late ’60s, Leonard Legge became the head designer for Prue Acton, bringing classic couture techniques to modern fashion.

Here are some more examples of his craft, now available in Circa Vintage’s Lonsdale Street Salon.

Here’s the label – all of the pieces from Raoul Couture have featured this label, so as far as I know there is only one (unlike some designers, who bring out new designs).

You can see the contrast in stitching between the original couture technique on the right, and the amateur stitches on the left, when perhaps the label came unstuck on that side.

We also have a silk metallic and mink skirt suit in the webshop (click on the image to go through to the listing).

I also found this image in the State of Green blog, from a Beaumaris shop called Cherie Vintage – image found here.

Here’s a richer, stronger colour – an image of a Raoul Couture gown from Vogue 1960 by Helmut Newton, that I found on Pinterest. Thanks Julia – stunning!

Raoul 475

Early ’60s little black dress.

I have more Raoul Coutures, so I’ll add images as I find them – if you’ve got some RCs, you’re welcome to send me images and I’ll add them too, with full credits of course.


  1. My heart almost jumped out of my mouth reading your blog. I have just come across the blue dress with the shell embellishments. But, mine is floor length and about a modern size 14/16. I fit into it and I am 40-32-40. Would you be able to help me value it? Thankyou so much!! nina

  2. Hi Nina, can you bring it into the salon for me to appraise? Value will depend on condition. Thank you for confirming that mine has been shortened, many of these early ’60s dresses have been.

  3. Hi. I purchased a Raoul Culture dress today in a second hand store. I had never heard of the label but completely fell in love with the dress. It is stunning. I Googled the label and your store came up.
    I think it could be a wedding dress. Or certainly a stunning evening dress.
    Could I send you a picture of it?
    Thank you.

  4. my wedding dress was made by Raoul Couture Melbourne I worked for Hartnell of Melbourne

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