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
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
Favourite Dress of the Moment – The 1960s ‘Madmen Inspired’ Manhattan Dress
Sometimes the best ideas come out of the blue and then almost magically come together in a few days! This is true of this dress which is based on another one from my own vintage collection and is my utter favourite at the moment. I tend to wear 1940s most of the time but go through periods of fixation of other eras – not that i have OCD or anything 😉 I will say that at this moment its early 1930s that I’m obsessed with but prior to that it was the early 60s again and this design came from that!
Our challenge these days is to come up with designs that have something extra ‘special’ about them – to ensure the dress and its wearer – stand out from the crowd and have that ‘Foxy Magic’. As we make here in this country, we are in a great position to literally turn around a new design within a week. Im blessed with having an amazing team who are like-minded and are happy to work that way 🙂
The ‘Manhattan’ Dress – named by a customer on a recent Social Media competition, is a late 1950s, early 60s wiggle dress with a nipped in waist and is shaped to enhance the bust and to give the wearer a real wiggle. It feels really great to wear because although its very figure hugging, it isn’t revealing as the neckline is not low, nor the hemline high. So, very typical of the early 1960s and later 1950s – it has a ‘class’ about it and that ‘Madmen’, Joan Holloway look.
To explain the shape, it has a really flattering scoop neck – not too revealing but not prim either and grown on sleeves which hug the shoulder. Many ladies prefer sleeves these days which is tricky for us designers because arm sizes vary so much. These sleeves are enough to flatter and make you feel more ‘dressed’. My favourite element in this dress is the bust tucks – these are typical of the time and were used in place of a dart. They give quite a point finish to the shape and are further enhanced by the under bust seam curving upwards towards the underarm. You start to see this shape in vintage garments from late 50s onwards. I love how styles evolve!
This dress is made in super stretchy bengalene which is also quite figure forming and forgiving of any lumps and bumps. As modern fabrics go, its very comfy but doesn’t create the other problems of bobbling or seam slippage.
The cummerbund is a ruched piece of contrast gold brocade which is around the centre of the body. It was the part of the original dress that told me it was early 60s because there are so many styles that have this styling at the the time. It’s like wearing a mini corset and really gives extra hourglass emphasis. The drop sash which is on the left side of the body is an elegant addition – not too OTT and is a rather clever way of flattering the tummy!
Ooo – we also added bra anchors – we know you love them.
For guidance on how to dress early 60s – please visit our style guide here
foxylady December 5th, 2016