I’ve just got back from Most Curious, Sanderson’s 150th birthday tea party in Marylebone Lane’s coolest shoe shop, Tracey Neuls. To mark Sanderson’s 150th birthday, Tracey has covered elegant shoes with vintage fabrics from the Sanderson archive including a quirky 19th Century squirrel design while designer Nina Saunders has created a fabulous ‘melting’ armchair installation upholstered in a beautiful blue rose Sanderson fabric from the 1950s.

The venue was decked out with an indoor silver birch forest, which was all very trendy, and woodland-chic, and all that jazz. I chatted to Nina about her amazing upholstery, and she told me that she bought the armchair on eBay for very little, then manipulated and bent the arms to create the strange flowing look. Her expert upholsterers somehow managed to cover the foam shape she carved for the base without any bumps, lumps or pleats in the fabric – incredible when you think how many creases/pleats/GENERAL ISSUES we have on photo shoots when we’re covering foot-stools or head-boards! (Thankfully PhotoShop takes care of most of them, tee hee).

Perhaps I should attempt to explain the little squirrel perched inside the squirrel shoes here…Nina Saunders is really into taxidermy (which you can see from her online portfolio…check out the fox-heads-on-the-sofa-styling…hmmmmm, no comment), so there were various little critters scattered around the installation. Including this hilarious parrot, face-down inside a beautiful emerald shoe. Curiouser and curiouser…

No self-respecting stuffed parakeet would want to get this close to my odour-eaters, that’s for sure. – Ellie

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The bell jar obsession

November 25, 2009

There’s an atmosphere of slight hysteria in the office today. It might have something to do with the arrival of a scratch ‘n’ sniff Yankee Candle press release (low-lights include  ‘Strawberry Buttercream’ and ‘Tutti-Frutti’…), or perhaps it’s the news that two of the most lovely home brands, Farrow & Ball and Jo Malone, are teaming up to launch an exciting new collection next week? (We’ll keep you posted!) Then again, perhaps it’s the thought of today’s annual Cath Kidston sample sale that’s getting us all a bit over-excited. For me though, it’s bell jars that are floating my boat today…

Whether it’s ogling the gorgeous bell jar displays in London’s hippest Shoreditch shops, Comfort Station and Caravan, or staring longingly at the stunning pages of Australian stylist Sibella Court’s new book Etcetera (which has just landed on my desk. Hurrah, hurrah! Hopefully we’ll show some pics on here soon – it’s due out in April in the UK. For now, check out her shop The Society Inc for a flavour or click here for a preview…), I seem to be surrounded by glass domes filled with curious objets…and I’m hooked! This all ties in with the current vogue for dark romanticism, macabre Victoriana drama and dusty museum display cases – something we’ve discussed before. All very Darwin. All very Gothic. All very dead. Of course, you don’t have to fill your bell jar with beady-eyed taxidermy or creepy skeletons…dried hydrangeas, vintage silk ballet pumps and mercury glass candlesticks would all look lovely. Or you could always opt for a little china bird. For reasonably-priced bell jars, see yesterday’s hot shop, Dee Puddy (£22 for a large 30cm one), Hibbitt, or Crocus. If you can wait until springtime, we spotted a fab little glass bell jar in the new Sainsbury’s spring/summer 2010 collection for just £7.99! Bargainous, to be sure. Of course, garden cloche bell jars DO look a bit like boobs, and they don’t come with bases – but a glass cake plate does the trick. Vintage lab bell jars with bases are REALLY expensive, even on eBay, tragically.

Here’s a cute bell jar pic from The Guardian to add yet more fuel to my bell-jar-obsession fire! I really can’t stop thinking about bell jars. Perhaps I’m actually losing the plot. Or maybe I’m just high on ‘Tutti Frutti’ scratch ‘n’ sniff…– Ellie

Antlers, antlers, everywhere

October 21, 2009

Think Dark Romanticism, Gothic Glamour, taxidermy, or, as Lisa refers to it: Night-at-the-Museum-chic. This season, there’s a huge trend towards the dead and decayed – we’re seeing skulls, bell jars, butterflies in display cases and skeletons scattered all over fashion and homes – it’s Natural History meets rock ‘n’ roll. But there’s one design item we just can’t escape. Every collection we see, every press show we go to, every book we open, has a pair of antlers – centre-stage.

Giselle NaturalAntlers have been cool for a while now, but only in designer-style homes. Now, they’re going mainstream. M&S has just revealed a huge, stunning, wooden stag head in its spring/summer 2010 collection, and Crown‘s newest young stencil designer, Bronwen Marshall, has produced a series of very cool antler stencils for The Stencil Library, if you prefer your bones 2D.

Giselle WhiteI’ve seen all kinds of antlers over the past few months. Elegant chrome ones at Next; sparkling Swarovski crystal-encrusted bling bling antlers on the walls of Whisky Mist nightclub;  colourful papier mache stag heads at Rockett St George

Picture 4

antlers

It looks as though the antler trend is in full swing. Do you like them? Loathe them? Own a pair of your own? Let me know what you think! – Ellie

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