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LONDON FASHION WEEK ARRIVES…

…and we are ready for you!

London stores have gone all out for LFW with schemes of strong monochrome and/or floral mixed patterns with flashes of metallics and pops of acid yellow, coral and the occasional cobalt blue, humour, movement and layering…

LIBERTY

Liberty London Fashion Week Window 2014I took quite a few pics of this one- so much to take in!  Love Liberty’s collaborative window with Helen Bullock, which involves mixed media layered window with loose paint strokes on the glass, and the fabric swatch and paint drip backdrop.  The simple clean mirror props weighted by stone contrast nicely with the busy backdrop.  I like it because it’s got an energy to it…makes me think of either a frantically busy design studio or a city at night.

OASIS

Oasis London Fashion Week Window 2014Oasis’ windows do literally move with the floral patterned L, F and W initials going up and down like fairground carousel horses.  ‘The Oasis Go Round’ design idea was dreamt up by two students, Anna Horvach and Bai Yehe, from Central Saint Martin’s Narrative Environments course.  Oasis’ Christmas window scheme was my favourite festive window last year, so it’s nice to see the flagship store follow up with something equally as eye-catching for Fashion Week.

WAREHOUSE

Warehouse Philli Wood Fashion Council Window 2014Warehouse’s simple window scheme contrasts greatly with Oasis’ display across the road but it’s a great environment to showcase Philli Wood’s debut capsule collection in collaboration with the British Fashion Councils Colleges Council.  I like the unfinished board, the warm clean strip lights and trestle style supports…not showy just a few design elements so the clothes speak for themselves.

JIGSAW

Jigsaw London Fashion Week Window 2014The photos don’t really do this Jigsaw window justice.  It tells a story and it made me smile.

H&M

H and M London Fashion Week Window 2014H&M have stuck with their favoured monochrome colour palette but have added accents of electric blue with the mannequin styling, and metallic panes to the backdrop and within the triangular floor structures.  The contrast between the 2D rectangular backdrop panels and the angular prismatic lighting and 3D floor pyramids works really well.

MANGO

Mango London Fashion Week Window 2014Mango’s window also made me smile with the bespectacled wide eyed mannequins walking chiwawas and strutting their stuff.

I saw so many lovely Spring windows today which I’ll post soon…London is looking good!

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Online Valentine’s Gifts

It’s the last shopping weekend before Valentine’s Day but if you can’t face the crowds, here are a few online gift options…

FOR HER…

If your partner loves all thing patterned, then George the Chameleon is the perfect necklace for her.  George was born from a collaboration between Brighton based designers Designosaur YEAH and Hello Dodo and I just love him!  He goes with any outfit!

hello dodo designosaur yeah george the chameleon necklace

George The Chameleon Necklace

Although these Charlotte Olympia shoes are called Birthday Shoes, why not get them for Valentine’s Day…extra points for getting your partner’s shoe size and star sign right!  The shoes are embellished with a Swarovski crystal Zodiac symbol and come with a Charlotte Olympia horoscope book.  I love the embroidered zodiac symbol on the heel!  If flats aren’t your girls thing, heels and clutch bags are also available.

charlotte olympia birthday shoes

Charlotte Olympia Birthday Shoes- Scorpio, Pisces & Taurus

Why not get one of these stylish etched apothecary bottles from Rockett St George coupled with maybe a bottle of your partner’s favourite bubble bath or…

rockett st george apothecary bottles love potion aphrodisiac

Rockett St George’s Apothecary Bottles

…buy a bottle of Lush’s Prince Charming Shampoo.  Your partner can be swept off her feet every morning!  You can wrap both the bottles in Lush’s Do Knot Disturb wrap which doubles up as a scarf and has a conscience being made from 100% recycled bottles.  A Vivienne Westwood designed wrap is also available with all profits going to climate change campaigns and sustainable solutions in the UK.  Good old Lush!

lush prince charming shampoo and Do Knot Disturb wrap scarf

Lush’s Prince Charming Shampoo and Do Knot Disturb wrap scarf

I absolutely love this next gift and is perfect for any Instagram obsessive!  It’s called Projecteo and you basically pick 9 of your favourite Instagrams online which are then printed onto a single frame of 35mm slide frame.  These then get posted to you with a mini projector!  Now this is from a US company and it does take them 2 days to create the film then 14-21 days to ship outside of the States so the projector won’t arrive until after Valentine’s Day, but you can buy a gift certificate so your partner can choose her own favourite pics.  The Projecteo is only $35/approx £21.50 (excluding shipping and taxes) which I think is great!  It’s just a bit of fun but I love it…if only I instagrammed!

projecteo

Projecteo- click on the picture to see how it works!

FOR HIM…

The Spicery’s SpiceBox subscriptions are a great gift idea for guys who either fancy themselves as a bit of a culinary genius, or for those that are getting to grips with the kitchen.  You simply subscribe to either a 3, 6 or 12 month subscription and then chose between a ‘Friday Night Curry’ box or ‘World Kitchen’ box, then once a month a Spicebox will drop through your letter box containing; laminated recipe cards and a binder,  samples of freshly ground spices measured for the recipes enclosed, news, tips, offers and discounts, and a special gift every 3 months.  Guaranteed monthly date night….and he does the cooking!

The Spicery Spicebox

The Spicery’s Spicebox

Probably not the most romantic of presents but Joy’s Man Shed Box is quite funny, and perfect for guys who are constantly misplacing things…and who don’t have a garden to own an actual shed!  

Joy Man Shed Box

Joy’s Man Shed Box

One Must Dash’s print below entitled ‘Love Letters’ is a subtle reference to Valentine’s Day.  It would look great in a study or office.

one must dash love letters print

Love Letters print by One Must Dash

Not On The High Street is one of the best websites to go to for personalised gifts, and some of the independent designers and makers can turn personalised products around so quickly.  Guitarists would appreciate this initialed African Rosewood plectrum by Maria Allen Boutique.  If you order within the next couple of days, the plectrum will arrive for Valentine’s Day using standard UK delivery, but a next day delivery option is also available.

Not on the High Street maria Allen Boutique wooden engraved plectrum

Maria Allen Boutique’s Wooden Initial and Heart Plectrum available at Not On The High Street

If your chap’s Movember facial hair has outstayed its welcome, treat him to an old fashioned cut-throat shave.  For London based folk, Ted Baker has numerous Grooming Rooms  which you can purchase treatment gift certificates for- judging by the videos on the website, your man will be completely pampered!  A few other traditional barbers around the UK include Manchester’s Gentry Grooming, Ruffians (great name!) in Edinburgh and Jack’s of London have numerous barber shops dotted around.

ted baker grooming room gift certificate

Gift Certificate for Ted Baker’s Grooming Room

If any singletons have bothered reading this far, I spotted this today in Oliver Bonas…and yes, I did have a flick through!

oliver bonas how to woo book

‘How to Woo’ available at Oliver Bonas

Enjoy Valentine’s Day everyone and I hope this gift guide has been useful!

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H&M ‘Go Gold’ Limited Edition- Window & In-store display

Today I headed to Oxford Street to do some product spotting for my future Valentine’s post and I walked past this H&M window…

h and m limited collection window

h and m limited collection window 2

It’s just foamboard cut into different sized triangles which interlock together, but I think it’s stunning!  The random gold vinyl triangles really help highlight the structure as well as linking in with the ‘Go Gold’ Limited Edition tagline.  I’m constantly impressed with the work the H&M visual team do with this store.  The shop is slap bang in the middle of Oxford Circus competing with the likes of Topshop and Nike who are known for having strong windows, but H&M always manage to keep it fresh but still within their brand identity.  The windows change frequently, they’re not overly complicated but they always get maximum impact.  Here are some more pics showing close ups, and how they carried this feature in-store highlighting the ‘Go Gold’ Limited Edition collection area.

h and m limited collection window collection

h and m limited collection instore feature 2

h and m limited collection instore feature

h and m limited collection instore closeup

h and m column with gold vinyl

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Home London, Zoo

I briefly mentioned in Monday’s post that animals were everywhere at Home London and Top Drawer– they’re an eternal trend.  People will always love animals and buy animal products.  Here is a small selection of the variety on show…

…From fluoro pussies to cockapoos…

Yoke ronnie and frank cat cushion

Yoke’s vibrant Ronnie and Frank Cushion

Beast in Show Cockapoo tea towel

Beast In Show’s Cockapoo Tea Towel- just one in the range of Lucie Sheridan‘s witty hybrid dog prints.

…From colour blocked peacocks to camel teapots…

sian ellin peacocks cushion

Sian Ellin’s peacock cushion was attracting alot of people’s attention at the show.

The DRH collection white camel teapot

The DRH Collection’s white camel teapot- also came in polished silver and gold plate. Kitsch to the max…which I don’t think is a bad thing!

…From extrovert cockatoos to chubby cheeked hamsters…

Forma The Zoo Hamster Money Box Red

The Hamster Money Box displayed on the Forma House stand.

…From skiing rabbits to cuddly bears…

Ham skiing bunny prints

Ham’s humorous skiing rabbit monochrome prints. Still love the trampolining bunny spotted last year.

Beast in Show Bear Tea Towel

Beast In Show’s Bear Hug! tea towel by Robbie Henderson.  Funny aaaarrrrggghhh!

…From Woodland to Safari animals…

Lisa Bliss Animal Busts Wallpaper in Mustard

Lisa Bliss’ stunning Animal Bust wallpaper in mustard (also comes in another colourway). Lisa will be updating her website in the next few days if you want more details.

outline works trophy elephant bike rack

The Trophy Elephant Bike Rack is the newest in the Outline Works collection. TWO bikes can be stored on the tusks! (Image from http://www.notcot.org/post/56418/)

…sometimes the two combined together!…

Even some extinct ones…

seletti sauria

This is just brilliant- Seletti’s Sauria porcelain cake stand.

The only thing missing was the unicorns!

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Top Drawer and Home London- SS14 Trends

Yesterday Earls Court opened its doors once again for Top Drawer and Home London, two shows specialising in gifts, lifestyle and fashion accessories, and homewares and interiors.  I love this event…as well as seeing what new pieces the well established wholesalers have to offer, it’s a great opportunity to meet new independent designers and makers.  It’s great when you see a product from a new company and you just know the product will sell and they’re going to have a successful year- you feel excited for them!

The two shows cover such a large variety of product in so many different design styles, there really is something for everyone there.  I’ve pulled together some of the trends that stood out for me…

COOL COLOUR PALETTE

Cool blues, off whites, greys and purples seemed to be the predominant colour palette with occasional burnt orange, yellow and teal accent colours.

colours

METALLICS

Metallics were strong again this year.  They were used either minimally to highlight a detail for example the outline of an illustration or a fitting on a table, or they were used in a more unusual way but on a larger scale to be the main feature of that particular product.

Home and Top Drawer SS14 Metallics Trend1-  Another Country are exhibiting some beautiful crafted furniture which use simple brass fixtures and fittings that compliment the matte finish of the wood.  I also love their Another Desktop Series 2 accessory set shown on top of the bench which uses brass sheet to highlight the function of the stationary item.

2-  LSAs striking Polka Collection combines an all over metallic glaze with a strong colour palette.

3-  Independent surface pattern designer Claire Murray is exhibiting her new Birds and Butterflies wallpaper on the Heart Home Magazine stand.  The pattern has also been printed onto fabric for cushions and lampshades but I like how the slightly metallic grey background to the wallpaper really makes the pattern’s lemon yellows, oranges, pinks and teals pop out.

4-  Love the dimpled texture and contrasting gold and gun metal finishes of Lisbeth Dahls trays.

5-  Sabre Paris have done a range of metallic acrylic cutlery which would be great for entertaining.

6-  Get me one of these Broste Copenhagen rugs!  I love them so much!  The natural palette works really well with the skinny strips of copper woven through.

SIMPLICITY

Of course there are a fair amount of more detailed, and ornate, and shabby chic items on show, but for me, the really striking pieces were the more stripped back simple products, either simple in their form, their finish or texture.

Top Drawer and Home SS14 Tends Simplicity

1-  The simple radiating chevron pattern on Rorstrands Swedish Grace collection works really well with the pale glaze.

2-  Absolutely love Maia Ming Designs porcelain Salt & Pepper Rings with one ring having a matte finish, and the other being gloss.

3-  Selettis Desktructure range is good fun.  I like how the clean coloured band running along the bottom edge helps give the blocks presence.

4-  Another product by Seletti.  The Multilamp comes in various forms, but this tall floor standing lamp is my favourite.  The simple matte finish frame, clean angles, and neat 6 lamp grid work really well.

5-  I spent ages looking at Royal Doultons 1815 range.  The rep explained how they created the collection by going right back to their beginnings (in 1815) when Royal Doulton created more everyday utility pieces.  This shows in the clean forms and simple dipped glaze finish.  I really like the range of colours they’ve chosen and it will be interesting to see how they develop the range for the bicentennial anniversary next year.

6-  Chives wall bricks are about as simple as you can go and they just work so well as a striking indoor or outdoor wall feature.

FACES

Quite a random trend, but faces seemed to pop up every now and then.  Following on from the Simplicity trend above, they were often simple line only illustrations on simple white forms with the face being the only detail.

Top Drawer and Home SS14 Faces Trend

1-  The Nordic Element stand showcased pieces by Finnsdottir.  The Babushka vases really stood out.

2-  The Po: range of character mugs and egg cup holders with silicon hats on the Gilberts stand were good fun.

3-  The New English exhibited Paul Bishops Seemore family.  Meet Cyril, Kevin and Duane.

There was of course animal products everywhere but that is a whole other post!  Top Drawer and Home London are open until Tuesday 5pm.  You can register for free at www.topdrawer.co.uk or www.home-london.net.  If you do go down, make sure you wear comfy shoes- there is alot to see!

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Kitsch- so wrong it’s right

Belated Happy New Year everyone!

A New Year’s lurgy hit me about half an hour into 2014, so I’ve been in bed for the past couple of days trying to shake it off with this monstrous beauty for company…

urban outfitters virgin of guadalupe hot water bottle kitsch

I bloody love this hot water bottle!  To me, the gaudy embellishments and slight inappropriateness, just make it AMAZING!  I originally bought one for my friend from Urban Outfitters for Christmas, because I knew she would appreciate it’s horrific beauty but I loved it so much, I bought one for myself as well…and yes, my friend loves it just as much as me (thank goodness!).

It got me thinking about Kitsch which is definitely a Marmite genre.  I love it however and agree with (the trusted) Urban Dictionary’s definition of it, ‘As an art movement, lifestyle, or literature and film genre, kitsch is pleasingly distasteful.  It’s melodramatic, overdone, gaudy and tacky or sentimental and folksy.  It’s so bad that it’s cool.  Your cat might attack it, but it’s hot.’

Here are some other kitsch beauties I found …

abigail ahern poodle lamps

Abigail Ahern’s poodle lamps

zara home monkey picture frame

Zara Home has a surprising amount of kitsch. The more I look at this picture frame, the more I love it, which I know is wrong but I can’t help myself!

timorous beasties gnuaghty gnomes

These gnaughty gnomes available at Timorous Beasties

tatty devine kitsch lobster necklace

Tatty Devine’s Giant Lobster Necklace. Click on the picture to be taken through to their blog about the making of their limited edition pink Lobster necklace for the brilliant Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore exhibition at Somerset House.

anya hindmarch swan vestas imperial clutch

Anya Hindmarch’s Swan Vestas Imperial clutch

I think everybody should get themselves at least one kitsch item either for their home or a fashion accessory because they’ll always be a talking point, and as long as you love it, it doesn’t matter if others don’t.

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The Rise and Rise of Secret Emporium

With Christmas nearly here there are pop-up markets happening all over town, full of unusual handcrafted gift ideas for your family and friends…and maybe a little treat for yourself!

Last year, I loved the Secret Emporium Christmas Market so made it a ‘must-do’ for this morning. It definitely didn’t disappoint with more sellers than last year with, for me, the jewelers stealing the show, each with their own unique styles to suit a range of budgets.

Sellers which I’ve never come across before that caught my eye included…

Fabel. In fact my friend bought me this gorgeous cobalt blue tassle necklace for Christmas as well as treating herself to a fawn coloured twisted infinity bracelet.

fabel tassle necklace and infinity bracelet

fabel emerald nautilus necklace

This Fabel necklace is definitely on my wish list for next year.

Jessica de Lotz’s handcuff necklace and her apple core necklace are great fun! The large handcuff necklace even opens with a lock and has all the mechanisms of working handcuffs.

jessica de lotz apple core and handcuff necklace

Necklaces perfect for pairing with a summer maxi dress included Alexa de Castilho’s lovely gold pineapple disc necklaceas, Strange Loop’s unusual Medusa inspired necklaces, and one of One We Made Earlier’s simple shape necklaces made form cork, wood and plastic. These necklaces reminded me of Ettore Sottsass and the Memphis Group.

alexa de castilho gold pineapple necklace

Alexa de Castilho’s gold pineapple disc necklace

strange loop medusa necklace

Strange Loop’s Medusa necklace

one we made earlier necklace

One We Made Earlier’s shape necklaces

E.A.Burns‘ new collection which introduced frosted acrylic pieces were as striking as the original leather studded pieces, and Nylon Sky’s beautifully finished laser cut acrylic and wood jewellery would create a statement on any outfit.

eaburns necklace

nylon sky collar clips

It was nice to see Secret Emporium Christmas Market 2012 alumni such as Yas-Ming Ceramics, Wolf and Moon with their gorgeous new ‘Crystallized’ Collection, and Kate Gilliland back selling their wares.

yas-ming ceramics

Yas-Ming Ceramics

wolf and moon kaleidoscope necklace

The Kaleidoscope necklaces from Wolf and Moon’s Crystallized Collection

kate gilliland crab necklace

Still want this cast crab necklace!

And I also got a chance to catch up with how Ali Forbes‘ busy year has been going since I first saw her collection at the Hush House Supermarket at the Bussey Building back in August.  Sounds like 2014 is going to be a busy year for her!

ali forbes

The market is only open until 10pm tomorrow so definitely try and head down to the Nicholls & Clarke Building, E1 6DB. There’s a £1 entry charge, and they’re also running a voluntary donation to Mind.

Of Cabbages and Kings are also holding a pop up shop in Abney Hall in Stoke Newington this weekend, and if you’re looking for more unusual , handcrafted Christmas decorations and ideas, head to the O2 where the Handmade Christmas Fair is on until Sunday.

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Personal POP!

Yesterday I went to the Barbicans Pop Art Design exhibition and, as usual, the Barbican definitely didn’t disappoint.  Pop Art is one of the more fun approachable art genres so I would definitely recommend people go visit the exhibition whether you’re familiar with Pop Art or not.  It’s on until 9th February 2014- plenty of time!  Perfect to brighten up dreary winter afternoons!

There were many artworks that I loved, but one of the stand out exhibits was actually a small flat packed paper jewellery kit by Wendy Ramshaw and David Watkins.

WENDY RAMSHAW AND DAVID WATKINS PAPER JEWELLERY KIT

It was exactly that- a paper kit which you assembled together to make pyramid form earrings.  I just thought it was quite a different idea for jewellery- it’s not often you buy a piece of mass produced jewellery which you then have to assemble yourself.  It made me wonder if perhaps the consumers had a greater sense of ownership because they had been part of the assembly process, even though it was such a disposable item especially being made out of paper.  It got me thinking about mass production today, and how more and more products are being developed so that the owner can put their own stamp on it- yeah I bought this flat packed bit of kit, but look how I’ve made it my own…

People went crazy when Habitat launched Tord Boontjes ‘Garland’.  Such a simple, decorative, and affordable lamp shade alternative that gives consumers creative power to create their own lampshade form and talking point in their home.  They can stick with just the one garland, add another one on, mix up the metal colours- quite a few options and a reasonable price.

tord boontje garland close up tord boontje garland

‘Cloud’ by the Bouroullec brothers was created for Danish textile manufacturer Kvadrat.  The textile segments can be easily clipped together to create a wall mounted feature or surface or a ceiling hung space divider.  Apart from the restrictions of the colour palette and the amount of segments the consumer ‘the system’s infinite possibilities offer complete freedom in creating customised pieces’.

bouroullec clouds 3bouroullec clouds 5bouroullec clouds 1

Luckies Scratch off World Map may not be as high tech as some of the Bouroullec brothers projects, but it’s a really fun gift.  The idea is that the owner scratches off where they have been in the world revealing the coloured in country beneath the gold scratch off surface.  Despite it being a mass produced item, by the time the consumer has interacted with it, every one will be different, and it tells a personal story.

 luckies scratch off mapluckies scratch off map 2

Stories could be told with this fairytale like, slightly surreal magnetic wallpaper by Sian Zeng.  The woodland pattern wallpaper comes with a pack of magnetic creature characters and speech bubbles to stick to the wall wherever you like.  It is £248 per roll (including characters and the receptive liner needed to create the magnetic surface) so it is more pricey than your average kids bedroom wallpaper so you’re definitely paying for the personal interaction.   The woodland pattern wallpaper is available to buy on its own as a non-magnetic paper at £65.

sian zeng magentic woodland wallpaper 2 sian zeng magentic woodland wallpaper 3sian zeng magentic woodland wallpaper 1

I think manufacturers do have to keep on mass producing items that can be personalised because consumers are more savvy and there’s more alternatives available.  If they can’t get the personal touch they’re wanting from an off-the-shelf kit, it could be just as easy for them to buy an alternative mass produced item that they can adapt themselves…

ikea1+bright+bazaar

Bright Bazaar blogs about Livet Hemmas adaptation of Ikeas PRANT boxes- click on picture to find out more.

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