Vintage fashion for hire in Norfolk

A new vintage clothing hire service in North Norfolk means you can wear couture vintage at a fraction of the cost. Emma Harrowing talks to Vintage Deli owner Katy Coe.

When comparing Vintage Deli with Lily Allen's vintage shop Lucy in Disguise, founder and owner Katy Coe laughs.

Not that this is a far-fetched comparison. Both businesses offer vintage fashion at its best, both have an online shop, both have a boutique in an affluent area of the country (although Lily Allen is currently finding another shop in London) and both have hired out vintage dresses to style-savvy celebrities.

When Katy set up Vintage Deli from her parent's farm in Grimston near Burnham Market in 2009 selling vintage clothes and accessories online and from a barn converted into a quirky boutique, she quickly developed not only a local, but a national cult following.

The vintage boutique stocks one-off vintage designer, vintage high street and vintage couture, specialising in vintage dresses, bags, skirts, hats, coats, knitwear and accessories. All of the pieces are rare finds from the 20s through to the 60s, 70s and 80s. Vintage Deli can also find specific pieces for you.

Like any successful businesswoman, Katy listened to her customers to expand her business. Says Katy: 'A lot of customers asked if they could hire the more expensive vintage dresses rather than buy them, as they would probably only wear them once for a special occasion. There are many vintage parties, proms, weddings and events taking place in Norwich and Norfolk, as well as bigger vintage days such as Goodwood. It seemed like a natural progression to offer customers a hire service.'

Katy is quick to dismiss comparisons between her new venture and Lily Allen's vintage hire business, saying that the cost of hiring a dress from Vintage Deli is modest in comparison. 'You pay 20pc of the cost price to hire a piece from Vintage Deli, which means you are looking at between �17 and �95 to hire a dress,' she says. 'For this price you get to keep the dress or outfit for three days, returning it to the shop or by post on the fourth day. There is also a minimal cost of covering cleaning costs (�5).'

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Even if you were to buy a vintage piece, prices range greatly and suit all budgets, but hiring an outfit means you can wear pieces which are a bit out of your price range to buy. Although the hire service has only recently been launched, Vintage Deli has already had many prestigious clients hiring some of its most alluring dresses. Francis Wain Jewellers hired 20 dresses for fashion photo shoots and London director and film writer Nick Scott featured Vintage Deli dresses in his short documentary screened in association with Future Cinemas and Stella Artois at the Cannes Film Festival.

'A few of our dresses also made it on to the red carpet at Cannes,' says Katy. 'Actress Anne Marie Renoir looked breathtaking in our turquoise 1960s tulip dress and later on she changed into our vintage Bobby Dazler evening gown. Charlotte Darlington wore our hot pink 1960s Marcel Fenez dress.'

Having her vintage finds worn by stylish actresses on film and at premieres has taken Katy far from her farming roots, although her childhood spent hiding in her mum's closet trying on oversized dresses and ill-fitting shoes gave her an interest in style.

'In my early teens I began to think in 'outfits' as opposed to clothes,' says Katy on the Vintage Deli website. 'Living in the country, where wellies are the only way, wasn't my game. I would make any excuse to go glam.'

Now Katy is enabling everyone to go glam by hiring out some of the most exquisite dresses and accessories. Vintage Deli also works with nearby hair salon Fredz to offer a complete vintage makeover.