The House of Foxy is a ladies wear brand of vintage inspired clothing made in Britain (formerly known as 20th Century Foxy). Our mission is to bring beautiful, demure and glamourous clothing to the world - inspired by a truly golden era.
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.
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 House of Foxy Spring 2018 Shoot at Victoria Baths - YouTube
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.
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 all our House of Foxy dresses, coats and majority of separates 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.
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.
my initial sketch
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)
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:-
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:-
if you don’t dress up you will regret it
take something warm just in case you decide to stay late – it can get very cold
you may have to walk a fair way from your parking – take suitable walking shoes and change. This can also save precious vintage shoes from wear!
you can get your hair done but its worth booking in advance
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!
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.
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
So this year we decided to take the important leap into bricks and mortar retail…many customers prefer to try the items on and like to see the garments in person. Unfortunately we cannot have visitors to the factory and warehouse – it would really spoil the glamour
As many are aware, the enormous costs involved in having a physical shop means that many small businesses just can’t make it work easily. It has always been a dream and something we are still working towards.
So when I visited the marvellous ‘Space’ Vintage Emporium in Harrogate, and they had room for us, it seemed the perfect option. ‘Space’ has many vintage dealer concessions and we are now just one of many fab little shops selling fabulous vintage loveliness. If you like vintage and retro homewares, books, jewellery and furniture aswell as clothing – then you will love it! Plus – upstairs there is a splendid bar and eatery and a vinyl shop!
So – We now have a concession area at Space and try to stock the majority of our best selling lines alongside regular additions of new items. We restock roughly every two weeks and one of us is there fairly regularly to help with fit and style advice.
We do post on social media when we are going and what we are stocking – so keep an eye out!
So come along and see us or contact us to find out when one of us will be at Space
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.
We are so excited to be back at The Festival of Vintage next weekend (22nd & 23rd April) for what is always a fabulous event. Packed full of dance classes, fashion shows, talks and q&as, live music, Make Do and Mend workshops, classic cars and shopping it’s always a firm favourite in our diary. It is also the best place to sit and watch what everyone is wearing; their attention to vintage detail is inspiring so make sure you watch the Best Dressed Competition held on both days.
We are running fashion shows throughout the two days featuring both The House of Foxy and 20th Century Chap at 12.00 and 3.00pm with some new exciting designs to reveal to you. Best get there early to bag a front row seat!
We have teamed up with them to offer one lucky person a pair of weekend tickets for the festival with more details later, but first let’s talk fashion!
The festival embraces and loves the styles from the 1930s-1960s (there’s no 1980s retro at this event!) which let’s face it, are our favourites too – with some 1920s thrown in for good measure. So, we thought we would pull together a little guide for what to wear, Foxy style.
New to our collection, this will bring glamour to the festival even though they are based on the new casual dressing from the late 20s and 30s.
Here we have taken influence from the wide leg sailor styles also popular at the time, as well as now, and echoed other key details such as the drop tie and colouring.
Can you believe there is almost 3 metres of fabric in these pyjamas?
Made from rayon crepe for true vintage draping, with patch pockets and a matching kimono to keep off the sun, this look will surely get you noticed plus you will be so comfortable throughout the day.
There are so many pieces to choose from for you to get the 1940s look here at The House of Foxy, but we have chosen what we feel is the perfect vintage style dress that will see you through to summer.
The Grable tea dress is our 2017 version of a best-selling design, this time with a warm red crepe skirt and a geometric patterned bodice.
This dress is the perfect dress to dance in, so a great choice for the festival as they are teaching us a whopping 6 styles of dance over the two days from jive to balboa.
The dress named after our favourite Betty Grable, is truly flattering; with a slimming fit around the waist with elegant short sleeves with a touch of shirring and a sweeping 7-gore skirt to float you through any dance.
For those of you who love the 1950s, how about wearing our new Doris day dress, which will be perfect for the whole day with all the walking you will be doing (while you browse over 100 sellers!).
Based on an original design, this dress has all the detailing you expect from us to bring you a frock that could almost be from the era itself. It has an interesting and unique bodice design that gathers under the bust and tabs at the shoulder in contrast black buttons and is finished into a flattering square neckline.
Grown on sleeves hug the shoulders and the button detail is mirrored in the single pocked on the semi full skirt.
Team up with a simple white cardigan and get set to shop!
There are so many styles to choose from the 1960s; the mini dress, the wiggle dress but also the fit and flare.
We feel the best dress for the festival is our new Lucy dress in an amber floral. This design is very typical of the early 1960s, and we have taken inspiration from a 1963 Sears catalogue but created it in a wearable, washable fabric with simpler lines.
The deep waist panel makes it so flattering for everyone, and the scoop neckline, full pleated skirt and the cute cap sleeves makes this dress our must have summer frock – imagine the picnics wearing this!
Whatever era you decide to wear, make sure you drop by our stand and say hello! We can’t wait to meet you all.
Here is a video from last year’s fashion show
Fashion Parade. Evening Wear - YouTube
If you want to win a pair of weekend tickets for The Festival of Vintage in York? (who wouldn’t?) then simply share this post on social media, tag us using #thehouseoffoxy and we will choose a winner by weds 19th April. Winners will be notified via social media.
T’s and C’s
Tickets are for the day event only and do not include travel, accommodation nor entry into the evening event
So we were asked to put on a fashion show… on a cruise ship – To Amsterdam
My gaggle of excitable Foxy Ladies (& Jeremy) in Amsterdam
And a riot it was!
When I had a phone call in June last year asking us to put on a fashion show on a cruise – i thought it was a prank call… But the lovely fella, who called on behalf of P&O, had seen our little fashion shows at The Festival of Vintage in York and wanted the same for his event. I wrongly assumed it would be from Southampton (which is a very long way from Yorkshire) – but when reassured that it was Hull to Rotterdam, I thought ‘What the hell”!
I have done fashion shows at The Festival of Vintage in York for 5 years and over that time have built up a pool of wonderful northern based ladies who love the whole experience and are reliable, flexible and simply lovely. (since fashion shows are not without their stresses – having a bunch of lasses that don’t let you down and are non-divas is a massive plus). So when i asked them if they were interested in coming along – there was no hesitation and so we were booked!
So when the day finally arrived, we boarded ‘The Pride of Hull’ – and there was an air of complete excitement following my ‘cackle’ of Foxy Ladies pottering around the ship with rollers in their hair and sunglasses on. You can imagine the scene! Since the ship was also used by other travellers – we bumped into a few surprised truck drivers during the journey!
The other entertainers were so friendly and the space to use was fabulous and we had enlisted the lovely Bethany from The Vintage Beauty Parlour and Sarah Bloor from Pinup Curl to prepare the ladies for the initial show which was at 7:30pm. My goodness – they did a fine job and the foxy ladies looked fabulous! We had a great audience – with several familiar faces too! Our first show was 3 catwalks of different eras – firstly 1920s/30, secondly 1940s, thirdly postwar 40s, 50s, early 60s. A great show and we had some lovely feedback. There were some new styles from our spring/summer 2017 collection plus for favourites that we keep in the collection.
The girls rocking a 50s look!
After the show – we enjoyed the entertainment and retired to our tiny cabins (which was probably the main downside of the experience).
The following day was an early start but a day trip to Amsterdam! Yay! Again – a gaggle of excitable Foxy ladies, this time in head scarves and sunglasses pottering around the city without much of an idea on where we were! It was difficult getting around at a decent speed partly because there were a group of 12 but also because we kept getting stopped for pictures! Such fun! Many of us descended on the city’s vintage shops and some excellent purchases were made!
Behind the glamour….
Once back on the ship – we did our second show which was initially the menswear from 20th Century Chap followed by evening wear through the eras. This time the ladies had no changes and were able to have their own ‘looks’. Again done exquisitely by Bethany & Sarah – a massive thank you to them!
Until now, we have generally avoided floor length gowns in favour of cocktail style dresses due to customer demand. Apart from the siren dress of course… However, we are now working of adding a few evening gowns into our collection which brings me much joy!
I was able to showcase a few new ideas in this show – which started with the 20s Garbo velvet dress circa 1925, the early 1930s Sheba, the red velvet Siren circa 1935, The Ava Evening Dress in gold satin with black crepe & bolero circa 1939, The 40s Vivienne circa 1942, The 1940s Hayworth Cocktail Dress in brocade, Darcy swing dress circa 1952, Bardot wiggle 1958 and lastly, my personal fav, The Manhatten Dress circa 1962. Pictured below in all their finery
If we could wear evening gowns all the time – we really would – wouldn’t we?
It has always been REALLY important to me that we represent ‘all’ women in these shows – so my ladies represent a range of sizes, ages and shapes. In this era of social media pressures, i prefer to avoid adding the ‘polish’ that has become the norm. This is why vintage style fashion is so liberating for many women – it’s about celebrating femininity and shape – and i still believe that there really is a style within the eras aforementioned that will suit anyone. Maybe there is a blog post on that entire subject – for another day!
So the highlights from this show are:-
Spending time with this amazing group of women
Having the opportunity to do something different
Dressing up (again!)
encountering the VERY officious lady on the restaurant reception (so funny!)
the hilarity of navigating tiny cabins
surprising the truck drivers
meeting some amazing people
shopping in Amsterdam
Spending time with this amazing group of women
What’s next? – come and see our fashion show at The Festival of Vintage on 22nd & 23rd April 2017 – York Racecourse
& we are opening a popup shop at Space in Harrogate on the 8th April – information to follow
Thankyou to everyone for all your efforts – thank you for reading! xx Clare