Buying was underway for AW17 and the season was taking on a distinct feel – of days gone by, a time of elegance and refinement, where tea was taken and tables were laid. It called for beautiful porcelain, and so the decision was already made; the time had come to revisit an old favourite: Reichenbach, and their stunning ‘Taste’ collection designed by celebrated Italian designer Paulo Navone.
The company is world renowned for its quality and craftsmanship, with a history dating back as far as 1830. It starts in the German town of Reichenbach, where local tradesmen became know for their skill in hand-paining white porcelain. In 1900, nine of the local workshops came together to found a porcelain factory, laying the foundations for the Reichenbach factory, which still stands on the same site today. It’s a small business that has managed to navigate a successful balance between its traditional craft and modern production, while also prioritising modern design. Their motto (loosely translated!) is "old trade arts meets modern design."
Their collaboration with Paulo Navone is a designer meets maker dream team. Born in 1950 in Turin, Navone gained acclaim within the design world in the 1980s and was a major figure in the Italian post-modern movement, her iconic designs always looking to combine the best of the past and present. It’s a design ethic clearly seen in her Taste range for Reichenbach, in which she went back to their original archive and re-interpreted the pieces in a sleek and modern way whilst maintaining the broad, graphic-abstract, neo-baroque silhouettes. Porcelain doesn’t get any more precious than this. Welcome back, Reichenbach, we are very, very pleased to see you.
The magical world of Meri Meri: it’s been a source of much happiness over the past few years, stocking their partywares and hosting the brand in our project space; always fun, bright and cheerful, and always super exciting to see what they come out with next. So as you can imagine, the anticipation was running high when we discovered they were turning their attention to homewares and we’d be stocking the whole range in our latest Meri Meri project.
Organic cotton bedding featuring coral spots and neon stitching; blankets covered in constellations, rainbows and stripes; thick quilts and storage baskets decorated with pom-poms; knitted cats, dogs, mermaids and unicorns for cushions; and garlands, many, many garlands, bunting and dreamcatchers; all of it here in our project space until 23 July, and even more gorgeous than we could have imagined.
What’s more, to mark the occasion we have a bundle of the bedding worth £250 to give away for one lucky little guy or gal's bedroom. For the chance to win, simply follow the link below and enter your details. Best of luck!
We love cherries and we love cake, and right now we also have a thing for La Cerise sur le Gâteau, the beautiful French linen which, quite true to its name, is setting the tone for SS/17 in homewares. All washed out pastels and trails of gold polka dots. Here, founder Anne Hubert talks us through the La Cerise sur le Gâteau story and some of the highlights from the brand's Instagram feed.
Easter isn’t egg-shaped here. Instead we’re focusing on the best quality chocolate we can get our hands on, serious artisan bars through to fun flavour combos. Here’s a tempting and timely round-up of our current confectionery scene.
OCELOT: New for spring, this is the eye-catcher of the pack. The pretty packaging is just the start though; gorgeous flavour combos, great quality and a commitment to sustainable, organic and fair-trade production pack substance. Founded by a married couple of former chefs from Edinburgh, Ocelot’s chocolate comes from Peru and the Eastern Congo, where the farmers and environment are cared for as much as the produce. Bee Pollen and Mango, Raspberry and Vanilla, Porcelana with Salted Almonds; we’re struggling to narrow down a favourite.
LAND: Another new arrival. Slightly more serious in tone, this is chocolate for connoisseurs, created by Phil Landers, a former BBC Radio production employee turned master chocolatier. The transformation took four years, a lot of time spent in south and central America learning about harvesting, fermentation and new cacao varieties, and a stint back in London training as a chef. This is his resulting collection of single origin and single bean bars, and they are very, very good. Our taste buds may be in training, but we can definitely detect the strong floral tones and underlying berry notes in the Nicaragua Dark. And we’re certainly growing very accustomed to Venezuelan Milk, which develops into a stronger fudge flavour and ends with a slight nuttyness. This is where it’s at, chocolate enthusiasts.
CREIGHTON'S: Our fondness for Creighton’s and their chocolate granny gnashers shows no sign of waning. This small, family-run business, is headed up by mother and daughter team, Andrea and Lucy, who are just lovely and know how to have fun in the serious world of artisan chocolate. Their new spring collection of breakfast bars has just arrived, and we’re seriously wondering if we can get away with meal replacement. Coffee and crumbs, a spoonful of cereal and maple and bacon, surely a fine way to proceed any day.
If you’ve been in store lately you might have spied our homewares department looking particularly sunny in time for spring; loaded with colour and a good measure of kitsch, largely thanks to the arrival of Sun Jellies and their rainbow range of retro plastic baskets.
If they look vaguely familiar and resurface childhood memories then it’s probably little surprise that the bags are indeed an extension of the Sun Jellies brand which started out retailing the original jelly shoe. And we have a lovely lady called Kelly White to thank for bringing jelly bags and shoes back into our lives.
Having moved to Worthing to live the seaside dream with her family she found herself searching unsuccessfully for some jelly shoes to wear on the pebbly beach. It seemed jelly shoes had disappeared and no-one in the UK was selling them. What she did discover though was the story behind the jelly shoe – originally created in 1946 by Frenchman Monsieur Jean Dauphant in response to a worldwide leather shortage - and much to her delight, the classic t-bar fisherman weave design was still being made in France using the original moulds.
So excited to find plastic shoes not made in China, and convinced they could become a wardrobe staple, Kelly made it her mission to bring jelly shoes back, and in the process launched her own range of jelly bags in 2014, recreating classic styles crafted from 100% recyclable PVC. We're stocking the Carnival and Retro baskets, Fiesta shopper and Atomic tote, and finding them all kinds of useful for grocery shopping through to household storage. Thanks Kelly.
Welcome to SS17 at The Hambledon. We’re calling it Miami Nice. Womenswear, menswear, homeware, it’s all feeling a bit ‘80s coming-of-age summer in a good way; endless sun-soaked days, beach loungers and pool parties. Basically, all the fun without the bad hair and shoulder pads.
Saturated pastels, metallics and strong prints feature across the board in Womenswear. Accessorised with turquoise and yellow Nailmatic, a rainbow of plastic baskets by Sun Jellies, and all kinds of ban.do attitude. Meri Meri and Rice flood Homeware with summer colour and everything to get a party started. And the fun and colour carries on down to Menswear too with pastel Ts, shorts and beach accessories. Game of frisbee anyone?
Just as the winter blues were threatening to set in, along come Meri Meri with a delivery stuffed full of fun, colour, new and exciting. Posters, totes, cushions, purses and partyware; cacti, pineapples, rainbows and an extra big YAY! Can always rely on this bunch to brighten our days.
Forget the halls and bows of holly, we're most excited to be decking the counter-back with our latest delivery from calligrapher and letterpress artist, Imogen Owen. We've long loved this lady for her beautiful wispy hand and sweet, funny and sometimes sweary sentiments. Now she's gone and given us packs of notecards, prints and mugs with lots of gold lettering and we're smitten all over again. Pretty much all we want for Christmas please.
It goes without saying that Christmas is a huge deal at The Hambledon and we embrace it heartedly. To the extent that several members of staff have multiple trees to accommodate varying decorative schemes. And they might need one more this year because our Christmas shop is open and it’s more fun, colourful and kitsch than ever before.
The tree is decked with a sparkly, neon-trimmed menagerie: winter hares in velvet collars; racoons carrying tres; birds wearing earmuffs; glittery swans, polar bears, bambis and parrots; dogs from Scotties to corgis, and for cat lovers out there (we hear you!), we're introducing your furry friends encased in beautiful glass globes. We’ve also thrown metallic rainbows, unicorns and pineapples into the mix for good measure.
Cards, wrap, advent calendars, crackers, garlands and balloons come courtesy of Meri Meri so the profusion of glitter, neon and fun continues; the foil balloon garland reading 'jolly' saying it all really. Let the festivities begin.