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
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
Introducing our new reproduced 1930s print – Deco Dot
In 2015, i had the incredible opportunity of acquiring a collection of original vintage print designs dating from the 1920s through to early 50s and are largely from Paris. They appear as a square design on a blank sheet and are stamped for authenticity. The majority are probably 1930s – which is a favourite era of mine for prints. There are many art deco geometric themed prints in this collection and the ‘Deco Dot’ is the first we have taken to print.
Im not a fan of polka dots anymore – probably because they are everywhere – but dots are nice and a great alternative to florals. So our idea with this print was to create a print that could be The House of Foxy version of a polka dot….our ‘take’ on it.
We decided to product the initial print run in a stunning emerald green but as you can see, the original design in a deep chocolate brown. This design has so much potential with colour use – i think we will produce it in a few different colour ways. For now – the emerald is very popular – for this time of year it is bright but it an be worn throughout the year. The fabric is 100% raton marocain crepe – reminiscent of the vintage fabrics used in the 1930s & 40s. Hence the majority of the garments we are making in this fabric are from these eras.
1940s Shirtwaister dress in deco dot
1930s Beach Pyjamaas in deco dot
1940s Grable dress in deco dot (coming soon)
We also have some blouses in this range
foxylady June 23rd, 2017