246 Queen Street
Barbara Herrick’s label Babs Radon was an icon of youthful tailoring in the late 1950s and 1960s.
At the time Dior’s ‘New Look’ was sweeping international fashion circles Barbara was training at Druleigh College in Auckland. The focus was on pattern-making, cutting, construction, and finishing techniques with emphasis on the structure and careful tailoring required to create the dramatic post-war new look. Although Barbara’s own aesthetic was very different, the skills she gained stood her in good stead.
As a mother with a young child she initially worked from home for designer, Emma Knuckey, until, with the support of her second husband, she created her own fashion label, Babs Radon.
From its outset, the label reflected Barbara’s wish to bring a fresh young look to women who, much like herself, were independent, industrious and seeking modern fashionable clothing that allowed them to embrace that role with confidence.
The first workroom was at 54 High Street, within reach of key retail outlets but by 1963 the business had grown and shifted to larger premises at 22 Chancery Street, employing 24 staff.
Fashion parades played an important role in the promotion of a designer in the early 1960s. There was an active network of fashion promoters who arranged competitive fashion shows such as the Golden Shears and the New Zealand Wool Awards which Barbara won in 1963 with her prize presented by Queen Elizabeth II.
In 1967, Barbara opened a boutique in the prestigious 246 Queen Street retail development. Here she could present the newest lines direct from the Chancery Street workroom to her own customers.