I have several dresses in my wardrobe that I have bought for an occasion or a meeting and never worn again. It seems such a waste so the idea of renting, lending or even selling these items in the future is very appealing. We have chosen three sites, each a little different to review.
As the winner of the London Luxury Think Tank Sustainable Start Up award, HURR is the UK’s first peer-to-peer clothing rental service, which means the clothes are from people’s personal wardrobes. hurrcollective.com
MY WARDROBE HQ is one of the market leaders in the UK with both iconic luxury brands, emerging designers and contemporary brands. You can both lend and rent on the platform and if you particularly like an item purchase it. mywardrobehq.com
Onloan looks to elevate their customer’s everyday wardrobe, rather than focusing on occasion wear, making this perfect for the working woman to jazz up her wardrobe. With a choice of membership schemes to rent 2 or 4 items per month and a “preloved” shop to buy items outright, this is a flexible option. Onloan.co
Fresh from an exciting £30 million revamp, the Castle gates are open once more and a fabulous exhibition ‘Hello, My Name is Paul Smith’ is open now until 20 February 2022.
In the exhibition, different stages of the design and production process are explored, offering a rich insight into Paul’s design practice while highlighting how the principles of traditional craftsmanship and tailoring are given a contemporary edge.
Paul Smith’s first shop in Byard Lane, Nottingham, which measured 3m x 3m, is recreated in the exhibition alongside an immersive digital room filled with still and moving images that aim to capture his process of inspiration. It details the key things, people and places that have sparked Paul’s creativity throughout his career.
Fashion and Textile museum London. 18 May – 12 September 2021
On show in the UK for the first time this spring, Chintz: Cotton in Bloom explores the remarkable history of chintz: how this colourful, floral fabric was created by the artisans of India, how it conquered hearts throughout Europe and how it has since been cherished and preserved across generations.
From exploring the techniques to the history of this fabulous textile. The exhibition is a wealth of information as well as a visual spectacular. Exploring how chintz came from India over to Europe in the latter half of the seventeenth century.
Cotton in Bloom explores the origins of the techniques of chintz, displaying how Indian artisans cleverly exploited the chemical reactions between metal salts and vegetable dyes, decorating their fabric with hand-painted or hand-printed patterns. The final product was pliable, multicoloured, colour-fast and washable, which in the seventeenth century, made it truly unique. Modern works by artist Renuka Reddy give life to the process of traditional chintz techniques, presenting examples of each of the 10, complex stages of the fabric’s creation.
The future for Chintz:
Chintz: Cotton in Bloom brings its history of this beloved textile to a close, with a look at a group of contemporary designers who are creating hope for its future. Today, both in the Netherlands and in India, traditional chintz techniques are disappearing rapidly. The carving of printing blocks, the hand-painting of decorations and historic methods of vegetable dyeing have become rare skills. However, in recent years, Dutch artists and Indian artisans have begun exchanging knowledge and inspiration, collaborating on textile artworks.
All images are copyright of the fashion and textile museum: LONDON.
We are regularly in the city and have wandered around the stunning medieval streets but there are other gems that we love and would like to share with you.
The Turkey Cafe
Turkey Café 1900 Granby Street, Leicester
The Art Nouveau style Turkey Café was designed by local architect and former mayor Arthur Wakerley. People at this time were fascinated by “orientalism” and the building reflects Wakerley´s interpretation of Turkish architecture. Turkey the country and turkey the bird are both themes woven into his design. The frontage of the building was covered in matt-glazed Carraraware made by the Royal Doulton Company.
Found on the west corner of the High Street another building with art nouveau features by Albert Edwin Sawday was built in 1902 for Thomas Edward Butler. His family’s business was as a ‘wholesale druggists’ whose products included ‘Sea Breeze Saline’, a headache remedy which is advertised on the façade. A full-rigged sailing vessel, together with the likeness of the proprietor in the guise of a medieval alchemist with pestle and mortar and carboys, were made from Royal Doulton tiles.
Top Hat Terrace
Top Hat Terrace was originally known as Victoria Terrace and is found on London Road. It was built in 1864 for Francis ‘Tanky’ Smith, a former Detective Inspector in the Leicester Borough Police who had a reputation as a master of disguise. Francis Smith was said to be one of the people on whom Arthur Conan Doyle based his fictional detective Sherlock Holmes.
The sixteen heads above the first floor windows represent some of Francis Smith’s disguises. They include a bishop, two jockeys and the top-hatted figure that gave the terrace its popular name.
This is 250m up London Road from the train station on the right hand side.
Smith resigned from the police in the early 1860s after a dispute with the Head Constable. In 1862 he was hired by the Winstanley family of Braunstone Hall to investigate the mysterious disappearance of James Beaumont Winstanley, High Sherriff of Leicestershire. A drowned body found in the Moselle river in Germany was identified as Winstanley’s later that year, and Smith was generously rewarded by the family for his efforts. This enabled him to build Victoria Terrace, designed by his architect son James Smith.
Braunstone Hall is now a super boutique hotel and restaurant in the middle of Braunstone Park called Winstanley House, not far off the M1 and blissfully peaceful. winstanleyhouse.co.uk
Leicester Banking Company
The Singer Building
Formerly known as ‘The Singer Building’ on the High Street, this was the Midland headquarters of the Singer Sewing Machine Co from 1904 to c 1965. This is an example of an Edwardian commercial property decorated with an Art Nouveau style faience façade also designed by the Leicester architect Arthur Wakerley and built between 1902 and 1904. With a great glass barrel-vaulted roof, below which rows of pictorial tiles depict ships in full sail. Above the first floor windows is a frieze of cartouches, suspended by pretend chains, showing animals under flags representing Commonwealth countries. There is a camel for Egypt, a kangaroo for Australia, a polar bear for Canada, a tiger for Burma, an elephant for India, and a kiwi for New Zealand.
We know that holidays may still be up in the air at the moment but with this mini heatwave swimsuits in the garden are definitely an option! Let’s be hopeful that restrictions do lift soon and we can hit the beaches; home or abroad…
Started in 1996 Melbourne, Australia this tea retailer has expanded worldwide. Adding to their magnificent range of fine teas they have now developed a range of china to take the traditional art of tea drinking to the modern tea table.
Using in-house designers and artists T2 has created print designs, drawing on inspiration from travel, art and fashion. Experimentation and exploration are two of their favourite things and is reflected in the diversity of the print styles. Visit t2tea.com to see the full range
To celebrate 10 years of House of Hackney, this fabulous interiors company have taken staycation to the next level. Why not check-in to the hotel of your dreams – Hotel Trematonia in Cornwall. Feast your eyes on the below; gorgeously decorated rooms and caravans. In the House of Hackney signature prints and style- are you as tempted to book as we are?
Each bedroom in the Main House takes it name and theme from a beloved House of Hackney collection, from the painterly blooms of ARTEMIS to the pastoral romance of RAINBOW ROSE.
The Castle Caravans – all pitched within the grounds of the Castle of Trematon in Cornwall.
Three beautiful 1970s-style, curved-shaped caravans. A restoration project that has ended in the most beautiful result. In homage to the original 1970s-style interiors, each Castle Caravan is furnished with clean-lined velvet upholstery and curtains, which beautifully offset the nature-inspired prints swathing the Caravans’ interiors and exteriors.
The Caravans are priced from £190 per night (3-night minimum stay), this includes the use of a courtesy Jeep Renegade 4xe.
The ‘Plantasia’ Caravan
Cloaked in PLANTASIA, its “verdant green tones and tree landscape motif camouflage with the nature around it,” says Frieda. “Inside, a palette of blue and green creates a chic yet calming mood, while the contrasting teal blue velvet upholstery plays into that 70s vibe.”
The ‘Artemis’ Caravan
An incredibly rare 1959 Crampton caravan, it’s swathed in the iconic ARTEMIS print on both the exterior and the ceiling, with contrasting ochre velvet upholstery to match the warm tones in both the woodwork and the motif.
The ‘Hollyhocks’ Caravan
Cloaked in HOLLYHOCKS, the print of summer 2021, it enwraps the Caravan in a colourful riot of flowers while bringing all the beauty and joy of the surrounding gardens into its interior.
This year sees the interiors company ‘Graham and Brown’ celebrate its 75th anniversary. To mark this occasion a new limited-edition collection re-imagines eight archive designs, one for each decade since its launch in 1946, with all proceeds from sales going to a number of charities.
They also have a new designer partnership; this time with Sacha Walckhoff, the current creative director of French fashion house Christian Lacroix. The result of this collaboration is ‘Paper Games’, a collection of four designs and is a love letter to the material itself – the Paper.
Graphic motifs from the natural world feature throughout the designs of the new collection. Prices at £65; 10m roll.
‘Hide and Seek‘ features floral silhouettes layered over a coloured stripe.
‘Magical Forest’ looks like an entire paper-cut woodland scene.
‘Secret Mountain’ has angular triangles arranged loosely to form the impression of a mountainous landscape.
‘Party Land Magic’ sees trees floating on differently coloured dots.