In 1813 Daniel Angel, a young tailor from Frankfurt arrived in London with barely a word of English. He headed for Seven Dials and set up a barrow selling second hand clothes. He later opened a second hand clothing shop with his son Morris providing a service for those who wanted good quality clothes at reasonable cost. Later, when an actor asked if he could rent a suit rather than buy it, the hire business took off.
Morris and his son Daniel (3rd generation) moved to premises on Shaftesbury Avenue in the late 1880’s and Daniel opened a bespoke department in this new respectable environment. The quality and style of the clothes was high, and soon theatrical managers were seeking his services for their West End productions.
As the film industry was beginning, Angels began a relationship with the film industry that lasts to this day, making the costumes for the film Maid of the Mountains (1913). The Shaftesbury Avenue location ensured that Angels dressed every show of distinction in the West End, including musicals Showboat, The Girl Friend, The Co-optimists, The Year of Grace, No, No Nanette, and plays such as Journey’s End, and The Truth Game.
In the late 1920s, after Madame Tussauds was destroyed by fire, Angels re-dressed all the waxworks and provided uniforms and livery for the staff. From 1940 to 1945, Angels provided dress uniforms for the Free French Army and for ENSA, the army entertainment troupe.
In 1948 Hamlet starring Laurence Olivier won the Best Achievement in Costume Design Oscar® at the Academy Awards. Angels have gone on to supply costume to another 35 Best Costume Oscar® winners. In 2015 Angels supplied costumes to four of the five films nominated for Oscars® in Costume Design and all five films nominated for the Film Costume Design at BAFTA: The Grand Budapest Hotel; The Imitation Game, Into The Woods, Mr Turner, The Theory of Everything and Maleficent.
Angels acquired Bermans in 1992, moving the professional hire for film, TV and theatre to Camden. This allowed the original Shaftesbury Avenue premises to be opened as Angels Fancy Dress; giving over almost one acre of storage space to public fancy dress hire.
In 2002 Angels moved the film and TV stock to a 160,000 sq.ft. purpose-built facility in Hendon. The building provides an incredible working environment, encompassing costume rental, line-up, costume making facilities, preparation areas and a suite of 15 designer offices and over 8 miles of costume rails.
The company remains a family enterprise with the 7th generation of the Angels family now working in the company.
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