New Carnaby Street plaque commemorates first women’s boutique
A new green plaque has been unveiled at 29 Carnaby Street to honour the site of the former Lady Jane boutique, which became the first women’s boutique at the famous shopping destination in the sixties.
The Lady Jane boutique, co-owned by Henry Moss and Harry Fox, was at the epicentre of a fashion craze in 1966, when three days of live shows sent the area into a whirlwind.
Putting live models in the window caused such a stir that traffic literally stopped still as crowds gathered to see this new phenomenon.
The store became a must-see destination for fashion enthusiasts, including famous customers such as blonde bombshell actress Jayne Mansfield, Nancy Sinatra, Mia Farrow, Martha and the Vandellas, Georgie Fame and Robert Mitchum.
Co-founder Henry Moss recalled: “We put a notice in the window saying ‘live model show’. It went off with such a bang that the street was mobbed with people – you couldn’t walk down it. Even the buses on Oxford Street couldn’t get through because of the traffic. We did it for three days for an hour at a time, and it made the front page of all the newspapers. I ended up getting arrested and had to go to court on Great Marlborough Street – now called the Courthouse Hotel – where I was fined £2 for obstruction of the highway!”.
“It was all women’s clothes, but a lot of men came in to buy for their wives and girlfriends, or just to look around,” said Moss. We even had girls coming in asking if they could just buy a Lady Jane label, and some even wanted to pay us to work at the shop”.
Iain Bott, Westminster City Council cabinet member for sports, culture and community, added: “Carnaby Street is famous the world over as being at the heart of the Swinging Sixties, so it’s important that we remember the role the Lady Jane boutique played in its history. It is great that original founders Henry Moss and the family of the late Harry Fox can unveil a Westminster green plaque recognising Lady Jane’s unique place in our city’s rich cultural history.”
Moss and Fox went their separate ways in the late 1960s, but continued to have a presence on Carnaby Street through a variety of independent women’s, men’s and underwear stores.
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