Dizzyingly Curious: 5 Fun Facts About Fenwick's History
Dressing Influential Women
In 1896, actress Dorothea Baird requested her gown for the Royal premiere of play ‘Trilby’ be designed by us. She insisted that it be made at Northumberland Street, as her grandfather had built the two houses acquired by JJ Fenwick in 1883/4, forming the core of the present site.
Alongside Dorothea Baird, we also had the pleasure of designing a garment for Lady Isobel Chaytor (pictured left). The pioneering British aviatrix, she was the first woman pilot to fly from London to Australia in the ‘30s. Excitingly, we designed and created the flight suit she travelled in.
Pioneers of individuality and champions of being forward-thinking, we’re proud to have been the first establishment to advertise on public transport across the UK. Continuing to set trends, we chose to have illustrations for our printed advertisements. Leading publication at the time, The Drapers’ Record, published an article on our groundbreaking illustrated ads on 14th September 1935.
Fred Fenwick's passion for Parisian style (think opulent dresses and large formal hats) inspired the purchase of the iconic 63 New Bond Street store. A keen traveller, he journeyed from Newcastle to Paris before travelling to the South of France to design clothing for affluent women. After one of the women noted he should open a store on Bond Street for ease, he decided to do so. Fenwick of Bond Street was the first fashion store on the street, and a pioneer for fashion retailing in the area.
Arthur Fenwick had a flair for the grander things in life. He would throw the most glamorous "lock-in" style parties, in black-tie dress of course. The ground floor of the Bond Street store would turn into a magical affair, with live bands and flowing drinks in the ‘30s.
A fascination for the Circus
Not only did Arthur Fenwick have a flair for black-tie balls, he also had a fascination for circus acts. A major influence in his life, Arthur amassed a collection of circus and fairground posters, photographs, newspaper cuttings and treasured memorabilia. The impressive collection is now of national importance, protected by Tyne Wear Archives in Newcastle.