Thursday, 17 March 2011

Top Deco Tips for your ensuite Padded Cell

Work proceeds apace at the shop. Putting flowers on the desk and arranging freshly sharpened pencils just-so (as Tim said in last week's instructional video, de rigeur in any studio worth its salt) was a milestone moment. The Morplan delivery man then arrived with three more display dummies, a till and a ream of dove grey wrapping tissue (I would call it "Dior" grey but we'll eclipse that reference momentarily after the Balzacian Galliano debacle - how very Ludwig, the "Moon King", that all turned). Mark assembled and dressed them in the window while our first trusty tailor's torso was draped a la Greque in our vintage Stars & Stripes. The pirate galleon Josephine gifted me went beneath the high cell window that allows a glimpse of the outside world and its infinite oceans.
We had hoped to pull down the ceiling tiles and rip up the laminated floor but our landlord rather likes those, having only just had them put in, so we work with the gift horse we are given, and you'll see if we don't make a dressage champion out of a hobbled pit pony! Mark pulled the lights out from their sockets to dangle down like burning eyeballs and immediately transformed the look. The ceiling tiles we'll print with in-house designs.
Ferrous and Adrian from the treasure house that is Lassco's architectural reclaim up the road on the south bank of Vauxhall Bridge  - - paid us a visit and agreed to give us some salvaged curiosities to make the joint more, um, curious. How pleased? Muy feliz.

Setting sail on the shark invested waters of commerce

Ali Baba (that'll be Yash) gave us the sofa and the display units

We arranged the shelving units to make a three sided cell for consultations

We had some special guest star dummies to stand in the window too. Tim'n'Ian were the first people to sign our visitors book. Later in the day Madame Randolfi and Madame Randolfi-Favel came to call. The latter was straight off the train from Paris having had the Kenzo show presented at Paris Fashion Week. Can you spot the difference wrought between visits?
TIm'n'Ian and Mark
Mark painted the shop frontage battle ship grey.We had also started to paste the display units with newspaper tearings, visible (below) to the right of the door jam. I got over-involved (as I do tend) with reading the papers and trying to find text that is somehow a propos. Mark grit his teeth and said how about he slap on the base and then I can piffle about with headlines later.

Madame Randolfi, couturier extraordinaire, and Madame Randolfi-Favel of Kenzo / LVMH

The next project was the padded wall. Our distinguished assistants (French Connection, Balmain, LVMH - not bad for a bunch of bright-eyed interns eh?) set about creating it with the aid of a staple gun and hot glue. I had expected to schlep about finding foam, getting it cut to size and blah and blah but suddenly remembered that you can get a duvet (duh!) for a song at Sainsbury's these days. We bundled over there and the single size was only on verse-chorus half price promotion! So we got two of those at £4 a pop and Blue Peter best be taking notes cos every cool kid in town's gonna be wanting a padded wall now, for those nights when you, like, can't be bothered to lie down. 

Mark staples the second duvet to the wall

Tim "Balmain to Bedlam" Chapman tacks calico over the quilts

That's the risk with unpaid staff, there's always one that mucks about


The next day I requisitioned Nick the Bulgarian to drive me to the East End and back to the yard off Brick Lane where we get our fabric. When I was there the other day I spotted a giant's bobbin outside the builder's yard next door, the whatsit they wind cable round. The blokes working there said I was welcome to it if I could move it. Nick managed - pretty much single handedly cos I was frankly a bit feeble - to hoik it into the back of the van he uses to drop off the dry cleaning deliveries. A smaller one suggested itself as an occasional table and asked not to be left behind so I picked him up and popped him in the van. Back at the store the Daddy Bobbin now sits on the platform awaiting the needle we will fashion for him (David Taborn suggested a snooker cue, but feel free to whittle one out of an oar or... whatever, and present it to us) while Bobbin Jnr. sits inside:

"Opening soon" declares the window

Mark's daddy comes from Doncaster

Shelves white washed, we put up the tankards, candelabra, bullet belt and other assorted ephemera. So come along and toast our industry with some frothy ale by the light of a tallow candle or we'll shoot you (not reaaaally).

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

A short "How-To" instructional video as an interlude

Turning my hand to big budget film production while waiting for plaster to dry and buds to open, so please be enjoying this, recorded before we went to NY:
Tim has pointed out that with some sort of spooky omniscience Youtube have integrated the word "Fag" into the link. Uncanny.

One of our achievements this week was clearing out the yard at the back of the shop. Mark's brother Paul leant his brawn to the operation, as did two Bulgarians whose English is non existent until asked if they'd like a sausage sandwich from the Farmers' Market whereupon they chirrup "Yes please!" But when further questioned as to whether they wanted ketchup or mustard we hit a wall of non-comprehension. So I pointed to the bashed up yellow door frame - "Mustard?"and next to the red gas canister that is our bathetic attempt at drying the walls, "Or ketchup?" "Ketchup!" A little applied thought can get through breeze blocks. Anyway, together we moved some of those and mountains of other rubbish. We discovered a flower bed next to the crumbly old brick wall that separates us from our neighbours. Three lilies had survived being buried in a dump and I found a bent little conifer and some ivy in a pot on its side that I suspect had fallen from a window sill of the flats above. Back at the market in the muddy church yard I bought three pink primulas at 75p each. It rained all day as we worked. For some reason I had snatched up my best Paul Smith overcoat as we left the house but it is so well made it will recover. In one of its deep pockets I discovered a pair of airline socks from the flight and was happy to put them on as well so cold it was.

As we piled the rubble bags on the platform outside the shop, local people continuously stopped to ask what we are going to do there and to wish us luck. Over zealously, back in the yard, one of the Bulgarians chopped at a thick stem in the flower bed with his shovel, right next to the wall, thinking it was a weed. Mark and I both said "Not that! It's a rose!" but of course he couldn't understand. Mark stayed his hand as the man went to hack at it again and it was saved. It just got an extremely drastic pruning. And from the ashes of disaster grow, as you do know, the roses of success:
Funnily enough, bad Baron Bomburst, who takes my hero Caractacus Potts and co. captive in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang - yes, an even better film than the one that commenced this post - is the ruler of Vulgaria.

Ah, the boat's at the quay for Hushabye Mountain. G'night y'all: