If you haven’t been yet and you love 1930s fashion – you need to go. The current exhibition at The Fashion & Textile Museum (83 Bermondsey Street, London) is simply astonishing. I was in fashion heaven.
The 1930s is my all time favourite decade for fashion and design. It has been since i was a child and led me to the ultimate conclusion that i was probably born in the wrong era and wrong class! There is something dreamy about the decade – this was of course the time when Hollywood movies were at their height and portrayed a world designed to distract from the depression. Would we all love to dress for breakfast, change for afternoon tea and then don a fabulous evening gown for dinner with the local elite 😉 Of course this wasn’t reality but Im sure we all have been more than happy to take part in the imagination at times! Fashion, as always, reflected this dream state. The era of the Bias cut, sumptuous fabrics, chic design – long and elegant dresses cut in increasingly intricate ways.
I love this museum and went to see the 1920s fashion exhibition a year previous. My expectations were high but i wasn’t disappointed. We were presented with an amazing array of exquisite 1930s evening gowns arranged by colour – starting with black and white, into reds and jewel colours then to the pales and finally settling on a delicious collection of metallic fabric evening wear too…. I really enjoyed how the garments were displayed and it really made you feel emmersed in a world of cocktail parties and upmarket soirees! My favourite dress of all time is pictured on the left below – a divine chartreuse green floor length gown with bias cut panels (see the faint stripe through the fabric…) swoon!
Daywear was similarly arranged into colour and featured some amazing art deco prints and accessories. Of course there were beach pyjamas and sportswear sets which were just becoming popular and accepted in the 1930s. Tea dresses in stunning prints and in various colours. Afternoon dresses in delicate pastel prints with the iconic accented shoulders. Suits and practical daywear – similarly elegant and beautifully designed.
Then there were the accessories….Belts and buckles (i will be sharing some exciting news on buckles soon), hats, jewellery.
The exhibition culminated in a collection of 30 Cecil Beaton photographs. He, along with John French and Lee Miller, is one of my all time favourite photographers. What a treat!
Unfortunately i only had an hour or two but we could have stayed there all day. Don’t even get me started on the shop!!!
The exhibition is on until January 20th 2019 – details here: https://www.ftmlondon.org
An essential visit for any 1930s fashion fan.
foxylady November 8th, 2018
The 1930s has always been a passion – since i was in my early teens… art deco furniture, art deco architecture, innovative bias cut dresses, ground breaking films – it’s a dream world! (I was born in the wrong era…)
Nowadays, the 1930s is often described as a ‘design decade’ or the most stylish of the century. Attention was turned towards simple and functional design and was influenced by the ‘modernism’ movement. A recent visit to the Museum of Textile and Fashion in London, which currently has an exhibition on 1930s fashion (blog post to follow), had many wonderful displays. One was a film from the era about interior design. Apart from being exquisitely stylish – the majority of the narration concentrated on simplicity and everything having its place. No clutter. Organised. Beautiful in its simple lines and functionality. This was true of many fields of design in this decade but this look was also reflected in the way fashion and print evolved during the decade.
You can’t call 1930s fashion unfussy or purely functional – there were plenty of frills and flounces. However you can see how the style lines of the garments follow this idealogy and particularly in prints. The shapes used, the style of florals and the ways that the pattern repeats – all work well with the cut of the dresses. Geometric patterns were unfussy and pretty simple in many cases.
I have several books on 1930s and art deco prints and some original hand painted prints (see image below). A few items from my vintage garment collection i chose specifically for their prints and a few wounded birds that cannot be worn anymore but preserved for the print.
Now that we have been able to get our own prints made – which completely opened up design opportunities for me – I am enjoying designing and adapting prints that we own. Below is one of my absolute favourites – the poppy spray print.
The poppy print is approx 7cm wide and is repeated both ways with a nice distance between each spray. This makes the print work really well on bias and medium sized panels. It’s not too busy so the style lines are easy to see (which is important for 1930s dresses).
The poppy flower shapes are quite art deco and stylised in feel, having angled lines. The green stalks of the flowers are also quite stylised. Together with the colour choice of coral red, bright yellow, blush pink and ivory on the black – this, in my opinion, is a typical 1930s print. I just love it. I love how it works so well for autumn and goes with red, black and even gold.
We’ve had this design printed on two fabrics which we sourced so that they are as close as possible to fabrics used at the time. Rayon marocain and semi sheer rayon georgette (we are trying to ensure fabrics are sourced from sustainable suppliers – details to follow). We are making quite a few styles in these – the Ava, new Joanie bias cut dress, new Lana Peplum dress and several blouses. Some pics below.
For our full range in poppy spray – pls click here
To read more about 1930s fashion – pls click here
foxylady October 24th, 2018
So we went to visit Mondo Kaos in Copenhagen. This is one of our flagship stockists because we have almost all our ranges in this shop.
Bricks and mortar shops are really important to us. They help us to ensure we can manufacture higher numbers and they give us important feedback on which products fit well etc. Moreover, they are part of The House of Foxy family and there is mutual love in abundance.
We have been stocking Mondo Kaos in Copenhagen for five years and this was the second time we had the opportunity to visit. Stine and her colleagues always make us feel really welcome and it is a busy and vibrant shop in a trendy district. It was opened in 2006 and has a very large selection of vintage inspired clothing mainly focused on the 40s, 50s & 60s. You can find the website here: https://www.mondokaos.dk
I think their favourite items from The House of Foxy are the Ava, Grable and Hayworth dresses. We think they will be excited about some of our new autumn winter styles – the 40s peplum dress in particular but we always take their feedback into consideration since they have so much more one to one contact and feedback from customers (will admit a pang of jealousy as i would love a shop!).
They are really innovative and always on the look out for new ideas. They stock a large range of swimwear, accessories and shoes too and certainly put some great outfits together! Fine them on social media @mondo_kaos
I personally love Denmark and particularly Copenhagen – its a fairly small city – extremely friendly and it feels really safe. It’s true that Denmark doesn’t have a large vintage community but one that is strong and definately growing and i also had the amazing opportunity to attend a vintage festival whilst i was there!
In an era where bricks and mortar shops are increasingly under threat (certainly in the UK), Mondo Kaos is a shop that is simply a joy to visit and we certainly recommend you do so if you visit wonderful Copenhagen 🙂
foxylady May 24th, 2018
Posted In: Vintage Shops
What to wear!
The World Cycling Revival Style Guide
To its patrons, the Great Cycling Revival is an excuse to dress-up to-the-hilt in the vintage inspired fashions and style of the period covered (1920s, 30s & 1940s), so here’s our little guide to dressing the part if you fancy popping along and hanging out by the track…
Since amazing prizes could be won for best dressed and being dressed in theme will gain you access to all areas of the event, it is also a great opportunity to enjoy the event even more.
Below are a few ideas to get you started:-
The era of art deco, the flapper and the boyish look. This decade can be chic and elegant or decadent and full glam. The silhouette in the 1920s was boyish with a drop waist. You can have a lot of fun with the 1920s look!
Hair: was cropped close or in a bob. (a clever up-do can make a faux bob – there are plenty pop tutorials on you-tube)
Makeup: (inspired by the silver screen) was smoky eye and dark lip.
Accessories: cloche hat, long gloves, long pendant necklace, art deco jewellery
Shoes: Mary-Jane or T-bar
Idea 1: 1920s – Gatsby Gone Wild
This look is your opportunity to take opulence to a new level. This is the flapper look – beaded, bejewelled and fringed or sumptuous velvets and chiffons. Jewellery is abundant and headwear often adopted.
Idea 2: 1920s – Coco Chanel Chic
Hailed by Coco Chanel, black became fashionable and so did comfortable, simple drop waist styles. This era saw the start of the ‘Little Black Dress’. This is a really classy look and can combine an elegant drop waist dress with cloche hat and long pearls.
The 1930s was a well dressed decade. It makes us think of bias cut gowns, tweed suits, flounces and frills. It had many contrasts with the 1920s – the waist has returned and curves are in vogue again. The 1930s, however, also saw the birth of ‘sports casual’ clothing for women when outdoor exercising was encouraged and adopted. Off the peg clothing was gaining pace and despite the economic problems of the decade – fashion was more available and very influenced by the silver screen.
The hair: is still short but more natural and often curled.
Makeup: is simpler than the 1920s but the main focus was a very thin eyebrow and a strong lip.
Accessories: are abundant: faux fur, gloves, scarves and a tilt hat or beret to top of your outfit.
1930s Idea 1:- Trouser Style
If comfort is your thing and you are seeking a trousers style – then this might be the look for you! The new sports casual styles of the 30s often took the form of sailor themes. Very wide trousers with bib fastening, boat neck top or sailor blouse. Pair with a beret
1930s Idea 2:- Hollywood Glam
In need of a boost and some escapism during the great depression, ladies flocked to the cinemas to see what their favourite stars were wearing. From slinky evening wear is silly satin to practical and stylish tweed or wool suits.
When we think of 1940s fashion, we probably think of the glamour of the 40s Pin Up and the practical styles of the wartime Land Army Girls. We think of ultra feminine 1940s tea dance dresses in floral prints, wedge shoes and brogues. The fashions were of course, influenced by the war and economic situation and so fashion was practical.
Makeup: subtle winged eyeliner, red lip
Hair: 1940s hair is definitely the iconic element of this era – but can easily look silly if not done right. Avoid victory rolls and try the 40s poodle or pageboy with hair flowers.. check out instruction videos on youtube.
Accessories: seamed stockings/tights, hat or snood, diamanté jewellery
Shoes: brogues or sandals wioth a platform
1940s Idea 1: Home Front Honey
The is a great style for those who seek a practical option – perhaps also very helpful if cycling! Trousers from this period are different to modern styles – choose reproduction high waisted, wide leg trousers which are really flattering and should be paired with a waisted jumper, blouse and jacket. Or opt for a practical shirt waister dress.
1940s Idea 2: Film Noir
Many ladies love the ultimate sophisticated clothing of the 1940s hollywood glamour – whether that be a suit with a faux fur or an elegant floral tea dress. Remember headwear and a bit of bling!
Vintage Style Guides: http://www.thehouseoffoxy.com/1950s/a38
Our Pinterest page on 1920s inspirational styles: http://www.pinterest.com/20thcenturyfoxy/1920s-fashion-inspiration/
Our Pinterest page on 1930s inspirational styles: http://www.pinterest.com/20thcenturyfoxy/1930s-fashion-inspiration/
Our Pinterest page on 1940s inspirational fashion: https://uk.pinterest.com/thehouseoffoxy/1940s-fashion-inspiration/
Art Deco Fashion – Suzanne Lussier
Everyday Fashions of the 30s – Sears Catalogue
Forties fashion – From Siren Suits to the New Look – Jonathan Walford
The 40s Look – Mike Brown
foxylady May 11th, 2018
It’s never easy planning spring and summer collections when it’s freezing outside – it’s a struggle to channel sunny weather and warm temperatures.
So it’s January, the sky is currently grey, it’s 8am and the temperature closer to -10 than 10 degrees… but we are in the amazing Victoria Baths in Manchester.
Victoria Baths is an iconic building in Manchester and has been host to a number of vintage fairs that I have visited. It has been made more infamous for recent filming of Peaky Blinders.
It is an exquisite building created as a swimming baths at the turn of the 20th century and has been made all the better for its sympathetic restoration which is not yet complete. This is a designers dream and a photographer’s heaven. Luscious emerald green art nouveau wall tiles bedeck the hallways and there are rooms with exquisite original stained glass windows which create astonishing light. There are areas which have been left which gives it even more charm…
The baths still have the original blue wooden changing rooms with stripe curtains which surround the pools, the seating gallery above also remains unchanged. But one of the most amazing features is the flat upstairs that would have housed the caretaker – it’s like walking out of a time machine! Original and ‘worn’ wallpaper, flooring and fireplaces throughout gave the perfect canvas for this shoot. So much so we were completely spoilt for choice. Let’s also not forget the turkish bath areas which are again adorned with emerald green tiles and stained glass. We have so many scenes from this shoot – it is proving difficult to choose our favourite images.
There was so much to work with here and a dream of ours to use this venue for a shoot. We were delighted to work with photographer Kate McCarthy who had worked at the venue before and this was extremely helpful. She is a very talented photographer and brought so many ideas and a new approach and energy to our shoot.
About the new collection
We have 3 iconic prints this season – ‘Spring orient’ is our early spring print which has hues of coral and pink in an exotic and stunning design. Bloomsbury is a vibrant and very bright jewel colour reproduction 1940s print from our personal collection. Finally, our light and bright crocus print is a 1930s interpretation of an original design. We cant photograph everything so we brought a selection of our styles in each. Suffice to say i always try and do as much as possible in a short time. I try to push the limits and I am lucky everyone else goes along with me! More about the collection in another posting coming soon as we have new styles to shout about.
Hair & Makeup
So – onto the hair and makeup. We regularly work with Bethany from The Vintage Beauty Parlour on our shoots and she also styles our models for our fashion show at The Festival of Vintage in York.
I wanted two ‘looks’ for this shoot – with a combination of 30s art deco and 40s femme fatale. We have much more 1930s styles in this shoot – this is where im going at the moment with the designs 🙂 Bethany styled Tanya’s hair is a faux 30’s curly bob and gave her smokey eyes. This worked extremely well with the beach pyjamas and because we also wanted to explore a more masculine Marlene Dietrich look for some of the styles. This worked well on Tanya and of course, she rocked it!
Leela is our new model and is another ‘Yorkshire Lass’ so she fitted in to the team really well 🙂 We styled her differently to Tanya – a 40’s/50’s fusion with a soft curl in her luscious dark hair. More sensual and film noir than pin up. We loved the contrast between these two looks and it, again, helped us get the most out of the shoot.
Check out our ‘behind the scenes’ video below!
The Lido Scene
Following the success of our 1930s Beach Pyjamas last year and my current obsession with the late 1920s and 30s styles – i will admit that this influenced my decision to do the shoot at Victoria Baths. We wanted to create that ’30s Lido’ feel – and since the pools are tiled in stunning ivory and green in the classic lines, it was the perfect canvas for creating this scene. Our spring seasonal collection colours are ivory, soft 30s coral and celadon green – so a perfect match with the pool floor! We had such fun here and the light from the glass ceiling was simply stunning. See a phone snap from the shoot below. Check out the stunning beach pyjamas and the pleated shorts – i cannot wait for warmer weather now 🙂
There are so many wonderful images – we are still working through them and i must say, the choice can sometimes be daunting! A nice problem to have of course. We will be releasing the images over the SS season and have part 1 available in our lookbook here: http://www.thehouseoffoxy.com/lookbook/spring-2018-part-1
Thanks to Bethany for her work, Kate for being inspiring, so flexible and extra speedy! Thanks also to Models & muses Tanya & Leela.
foxylady March 9th, 2018
It is unusual to manufacture here in the UK – that is fact. Until the 1990s – it wasn’t unusual, but typical for clothes to be made here. With rising wages and new rules governing how this industry works in this country, things changed rather quickly. Suffice to say it’s a hotbed of political opinion and not something i would often raise in polite conversation with anyone who experienced that change unless i had plenty of time to spare!
And this isn’t a post about ethics or politics or pricing – it’s about our lovely factory and our core values.
We currently manufacture the majority of our House of Foxy dresses, coats and trousers at a dedicated factory.
We have 4 sewing machinists who bring a variety of different skills and wisdom to the team. We mainly do ‘through-work’ which means that one person generally makes an entire garment rather than just a ‘piece’ of it. This – again – is fairly unusual. You will soon find special labels in each of the dresses – saying who has made your garment!
We also have a Pattern Cutter who looks after all our patterns and cuts the fabric for each garment. We use traditional methods and our patterns are on card and cut by hand.
Our Garment Finisher quality checks each garment, does all the hand finishing such as adding any of the trimmings and packs the garments ready to send.
Finally our Production Manager overseas the whole process and runs a tight ship!
Having a dedicated factory gives us the facility to create new products quickly and means that we don’t have to resort to strict seasonal collections. I would find that too restrictive and since i get design ideas during the season too – this is ideal. This is a designers dream. We are extremely privileged to have a team of people who are so dedicated and get as excited as I do about all our garments.
It also gives us a great deal of control over quality – something that is really important. We aren’t fast fashion orientated – we are creating clothes that we want you to love and enjoy wearing for many years.
foxylady December 15th, 2017
Posted In: About The House of Foxy
There is no doubt – this is my totally favourite dress at the moment. (apart from the Vivienne of course..)
It’s a timeless and elegant design – inspired by an original dress that crossed my path and begged me to own when i was searching for something akin to the designs by Dorothy O’hara.
Dorothy O’hara was known for being a prominent designer at Paramount Studios throughout the 1940s. So she was designing many costumes for films but also went on to develop her own fashion label which thrived through the late 40s and 50s. Her designs were designed to flatter the female figure with a focus on strong shoulders and a slim waist and hip – using clever draping techniques. I would love to own one of her 1940s dresses – a dream dress that would probably be a museum piece now!
I knew i wanted an elegant 1940s cocktail dress in the collection – one that used some of the draping techniques that seemed more prominent in the american styles. I turned to O’hara for inspiration – even though the majority of her dresses were full length and/or occasion wear that demanded a lot of labour. So the challenge was to create a beautiful dress with plenty od the signature details but still fitting in a specific price point.
I like asymmetry but i also try to keep the lines simple because detail can be ‘overdone’. I also appreciate well fitting garments and good fabric.
What I love about this dress…
It simply makes the most of the feminine physique and flatters whilst still being demure. There is an air of mystique about it.
It’s timeless and will suit many ages and shapes.
The asymmetrical style lines are interesting and create wonderful shapes – i love the ruching at the right side of the bust that is mirrored by the ruching and drapes at the left hip.
It’s got sleeves! (and we’ve shaped them with two darts)
It makes you feel like a million dollars!
Enjoy xx Clare
The O’hara dress in red: http://www.thehouseoffoxy.com/1940s-fashion/40s-o-hara-cocktail-dress-red
foxylady December 8th, 2017
In the heart of West Yorkshire – lies Elland, a small town with a big heart.
In Elland is a a quaint Picture House, a cinema which has retained many of it’s original vintage elements – the rich red seating, the organ at the front and even has a traditional usherette during films! Built in 1912 as a cinema – despite a few changes of uses and owners over the years, it hasn’t structurally changed at all. The cinema is loved by locals and is a destination for cinema goers for miles around. With one screen, and two showings per day – the cinema takes us back to the traditional way of viewing – showing old and new films during the week and organ recitals a few times a week too.
It has been used many times for filming, documentaries and photoshoots.
So we were thrilled when they agreed to let us use the space for our Autumn fashion shoot. An ideal location for our ‘Film Noir’ theme.
The silver screen became the prime leisure activity for many during the 1930s right through to the 50s. Films were one of the core influences on fashion too with stars promoting brands and styles. Cinema going is one of our favourite past times especially in through the autumn and winter months – and it seemed a fitting venue for our autumn winter shoot for colour and vintage feel.
As always, we had great fun during this shoot – my partners being Bethany from The Vintage Beauty Parlour who did a fantastic job with hair and makeup, Chris Lord from Chris Lord Photography and model – Tanya Beetham whom we have worked with for a number of years now.
The idea was to create the film noir mood with a nod to the past. We wanted atmosphere, faded elegance, sumptuous colours. Thanks to Chris’ innovative lighting and the great atmosphere in the cinema itself – we are really pleased with the result. Our seasonal colours of mustard, berry, navy & black in fabric of crepe and lace worked well in the setting. Topped off by Bethany’s film noir inspired makeup and hair.
Bethany brings so much experience to our shoots and we have worked together for a number of years now. Photoshoot demand a perfect finish – since every strand of hair shows – Bethany is a real perfectionist with an absolute focus on detail. We had several hair styles – a classic poodle, a veronica lake style and the classic scarf. We chose a smokey eye look rather than the classic vintage winged eyeliner but as always, my signature orange-red lip…
My favourite dress of this is the ‘Vivienne’ – inspired by an image I found of 30s/40s starlet ‘Vivienne Leigh’ – a late 30s reproduction dress based on one from my collection – We have recreated the dress in a stretch lace but lined. The neckline is super flattering and with so much detail in the dress – it really is a show stopper. We will be making this dress in a shorter length and in silk/viscose velvets. Watch this space.
My other fav item is the Elsie Blouse – in mustard and ivory – should be on sale any day. Review coming soon!
This is going to be a hard one to top for next time!
Thanks again to the Rex Cinema in Elland for their flexibility, support and giving their time for this shoot. Please find their details below:-
Check out the released images in Autumn look book here
foxylady October 23rd, 2017
I cannot believe that Goodwood Revival 2017 is upon us already! It really doesn’t feel like a year since we were last at the event! This year the event is the 8th, 9th & 10th September – for details please visit https://www.goodwood.com/flagship-events/goodwood-revival/
For those that haven’t been – Goodwood Revival is one of the premier vintage themed events of the year and revolves around racing of vintage vehicles at the Goodwood Race track nr Chichester. Apart from the racing, visitors on this 3 day event are strongly encouraged to dress up in vintage attire and many do so! There are competitions for best dressed and it’s definately a high standard!
We have been attending for 7 years and we have a double stall in the Revival market which is inside the track. So do come and say hello!!
Things to note for Goodwood Revival First Timers:-
So this little post is a a little preview of new items we have brought out especially for Goodwood Revival. Many are limited edition and we’ve tried to create a new style for each era!
1940s – The 40s Goodwood Grable Dress
This is a smashing new 40s ensemble that we have created with Goodwood Revival in mind!
A new limited edition for our best selling tea dance dress we named after wartime pinup ‘Betty Grable’. This is a limited edition pale blue floral print paid with luxurious black crepe and a matching black crepe bolero lined in the print!
So if you fancy wear 40s – this is a great modern take on a 40s dress set. The bolero is perfect as a coverup for the chilly evenings too!
1950s Connie Swing Dress in Navy & Cream
This is an exquisite new style dress that was based on an original vintage 1950s garment. So if the 1950s is your thing then this is a great dress you dress up or down. Pair with a faux fur, petticoat, tilt hat and heels for a great 1950s look.
If you are busty, this dress gives plenty of room and due to the batwing sleeves that cover the upper arm, is comfy and easy for movement. Waist band under bust creates a lovely nipped in silhouette together with a full circular skirt which can be worn with or without a petticoat.
1960s Coco Sheath Dress & Jacket
Chic early to mid 60s empire line sheath dress with matching crop jacket. This dress has it it all – smart, elegant, versatile with a shot of sass thrown in. Perfect for Goodwood Revival!
This is a elegant and sophisticated suit for early 60s fans and is the epitome of early 60s fashions. A must for ladies who love grown up glamour.
Very Coco Chanel and Jackie O – this is a brand new design we are totally in love with!
For other ideas – please visit our ‘What to wear to Goodwood Revival‘ guide
Or view our full collection of recommended styles for Goodwood
foxylady August 23rd, 2017
Last year I bought some 1930s shorts from a vintage trader. I struggled to fit them but i bought them anyway because they are a work of art. White linen, pleated, top stitched, mother of pearl buttons on both sides and even had a name tag. I love them so much – and I will admit that at this moment, their main role is wall adornment….
However, thereafter i have been on a mission to make these shorts and I do believe it was a fated exercise. As in September 2016, i bought a shorts pattern from a vintage trader who i met at a very random vintage car event in a small west yorkshire town. (Yes – very random) So over winter, we started work.
The pleated short was an iconic item from the new sport casual styles growing in popularity in the late 1930s and early 1940s when ladies began to partake in exercise and sporting pursuits. Im sure i remember our gym shorts at school looking a bit like these – before they were replaced by the unattractive and tight fitting cycling shorts 🙁 Or am i thinking of the skort?
The issue with vintage styles is that in order to provide these gorgeous shorts for your lovely ladies and enabling them to be affordable – we have to compromise on some detailing. The problem being that time is more expensive than it was in the 1940s – moreover, this was a time when many ladies made their own garments and would have a vested interest to add the detailing.
We think we cracked it though…and are still able to make these shorts here in Blighty!
These shorts are pleated AND topstitched – we couldn’t compromise on that. They do, however, have a zip and that has modernised them a little. The fabric is our signature poly/visc mix fabric – which means it is washable and hardy with a little stretch.
In any case, these shorts are fitted on the waist which make them flattering or many figures and are full due to the pleats.
I really think they are a fabulous addition to the foxy catalogue.
I hope you take as much joy in wearing them as I did in making them 🙂
xx Clare @ Foxy
foxylady August 9th, 2017