Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

Archie McNair

Discussion in 'WWII Era Obituaries (non-military service)' started by GRW, Jul 15, 2015.

  1. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

    Oct 26, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Stirling, Scotland
    "Archie McNair, who has died aged 95, was the entrepreneur whose business acumen and financial foresight underpinned the international impact of the Swinging London pop culture phenomenon of the 1960s.
    McNair was the behind-the-scenes figure in the success of the fashion designer Mary Quant and her husband, the late Alexander Plunket Greene. He was the investor in the country’s first boutique – Quant and Plunket Greene’s Bazaar, which opened at 138a King’s Road in autumn 1955 – and the canny overseer of the subsequent expansion which communicated such so-called “Youthquake” styles as the mini-skirt across the Atlantic.
    McNair’s legal training and acute attention to detail were applied to the deals he struck on Quant’s behalf with such partners as the giant US retail chain JC Penney. By understanding that licensing contracts spread brand awareness without the pressures of dealing with manufacturers (since this becomes the responsibility of the other party), McNair revolutionised the post-war British fashion industry, developing a business model which pertains to this day.
    Yet McNair was not a typical “suit” . He enjoyed the thrill of risk-taking, and had been at the forefront of London’s property, photography and coffee-bar scenes even before he encountered the young Goldsmith Art School graduates Plunket Greene and Quant. They first met McNair at his Fantasie café, below his portrait photography studio at 128 King’s Road, hard by the Markham Arms, then the hub of the raffish Chelsea set.
    In the 1970s, while still chairman of the Quant label’s parent company Ginger Group, McNair ran the trading company Thomas Jourdan, and engineered a series of acquisitions, including the Corby of Windsor trouser press business. Under McNair’s guidance, Corby products were updated to include a heated range, and so became near-universal fixtures in hotels around the world.
    Archibald Alister Jourdan McNair was born on December 16 1919 in Tiverton, one of six children of Donald and Janie Grace McNair, who were members of the Plymouth Brethren. His father owned the Patchquick factory in the Devon town, manufacturers of a range of then-popular tyre repair kits .
    On leaving Blundell’s School, which he had attended as a day boy, McNair took articles with a solicitor’s practice in Exeter. These were interrupted by the war. Since his non-conformist upbringing precluded active service, he became an auxiliary fireman in London, where duties included piloting the boats on the Thames pumping water for fire-fighters during the Blitz."

Share This Page