An­gel fam­ily

The Jewish Chronicle - - LIFE -

for fam­ily firms and the start of fam­ily break-up — Ja­cob and Esau were third gen­er­a­tion. To­day, Tim and his two sons Daniel and Jeremy are to be found at their vast, mod­ern head­quar­ters in Hen­don; his daugh­ter Emma runs the fancy-dress busi­ness in the West End (fancy dress is 30 per cent of the busi­ness). In re­cent decades, the com­pany has hoovered up many for­mer com­peti­tors. You may re­mem­ber Ber­mans and Nathans — long gone to the An­gels. Their power in the mar­ket prompted an Of­fice of Fair Trad­ing in­quiry. Tim brought in his wife Eleanor to deal with it 25 years ago and she is still in­volved with the busi­ness to­day.

In the foyer of the head­quar­ters, high, airy and light, young cos­tumedesigner types in jeans and boots wait in com­fort­able arm­chairs for their ap­point­ments. Who knows what they’re look­ing for? The whole of hu­man and ex­tra-ter­res­trial life can be cos­tumed in this build­ing.

Jeremy An­gel, a hot­shot at online (now of course a ma­jor part of the busi­ness), takes me on a tour of the work­rooms where skilled cut­ters, seam­stresses and seam­sters (yes, there is, or was, such a word) are mak­ing cos­tumes for a new Broad­way pro­duc­tion of Fid­dler On The Roof Dressed for suc­cess: Tim An­gel has helped to en­sure that An­gel’s has re­mained the coun­try’s premier cos­tu­mier not just for films and TV but also fancy dress open­ing next month. Later, he ush­ers me round acres of ware­house con­tain­ing ev­ery dress, cloak, uni­form, livery, crown, ac­ces­sory and epaulette you’ve ever seen and many you haven’t. In this drawer is the stuff stitched on to the orig­i­nal Dad’s Army uni­forms and here’s the stuff they’re us­ing in the forth­com­ing Dad’s Army film. Ev­ery­thing ever put on screen at­tracts anoraks who know ev­ery nicety and would be ap­palled by im­pre­ci­sion but I can tell you that when mil­i­tary uni­forms don’t call for a par­tic­u­lar brass but­ton they get the brass but­tons of the Egyp­tian navy which hap­pen to be won­der­fully generic.

To en­ter chair­man Tim’s of­fice, one has to ne­go­ti­ate spe­cial se­cu­rity, a child se­cu­rity gate that keeps his two black spaniels from roam­ing round the build­ing. They come to work with him ev­ery day. “Hav­ing your dogs at work is very re­lax­ing,” he says. He came into the busi­ness in 1967 and has trans­formed it. “Colour tele­vi­sion was just com­ing in. It was a fab­u­lous, un­re­peat­able time. There were lots of cos­tume dra­mas and a new gen­er­a­tion of cos­tume de­sign­ers who were very cre­ative. They hired in all their pe­riod cos­tumes. There was a BBC cos­tume depart­ment that had

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