Carhartt are celebrating an impressive 125 years in business and to mark the occasion we've given them free run of our project space. It is, as you'd expect, a full-blown workwear affair, clean and simple. On the rails we've got a really nice cross-section of Carhartt then and now; all-American workwear meets contemporary streetwear. Heritage bombers, classic work jackets and twill chinos sit alongside camo shirts, print slacks and their much-loved Ts, hoodies and sweatshirts. Say hello to your SS15 uniform.
Two things are clear following the success of last year's Hudson project. Winter shoes are a matter of great importance (in black, in brown, with heels, with buckles and without). And Hudson have all the answers. So we decided to invite them back.
Welcome to our AW14 Hudson shoe shop. Ankle boots remain a big fixture this season. Look out for Tatham (a fleece-lined take on a biker boot already proving very popular), Wistow (a classic Chelsea with a chunky commando sole) and Jilt (our directional option in lizard skin with zig-zag zips). Also note the Mirar returns, now known as Kiver and retailing at a straightforward £100.
In addition we are giving you a chance to win a pair of shoes of your choice. We are good to you!
(This competition is now closed)
Green & Spring has long been one of our favourite bathroom brands. We've stocked it almost since the line launched in 2009. What you might not know is that its creators - Jessica & Peter Frankopan - are the hoteliers behind Cowley Manor, home of our new store.
Cowley Manor was their first hotel, opening in 2002 after a huge restoration project. At the time, the hotel carried a popular in-house product range, but it wasn't entirely natural, something that became a growing concern of theirs. After a little research, they realised they could create active and natural products, handmade in Britain and using botanicals native to the British Isles - and so they did.
The spectacular grounds of Cowley Manor proved a major inspiration. All Green & Spring products are created using herbs and flowers native to the British Isles - lavender, chamomile, reosemary, rosehip, red clover, elderflower, thyme, geranium, marshmellow, comfrey, dandelion, peppermint, fennel and rose - while all the aqueous based products contain natural spring water sourced from the Cowley estate. Cowley Manor is quite literally bottled here on our shelves.
A story of nice connections, all explained beautifully in the current project space installation at our Winchester store.
This is a book that survived the pulping machines to see another day, and we're so glad it did! First printed in the former Czechoslovakia in 1968, the entire print run was destroyed by the secret police after illustrator Vladimir Fuka escaped to the United States. Only one copy survived, buried under a pile of manuscripts in the author Zdenek Mahler's attic. His grandson finally unearthed it and urged him to re-publish it.
Fifty years on, the book has become a classic, celebrating the unique essence of New York with its charming illustrations and interesting observations and fun facts about the city's history and its inhabitants. "New York, they say, is like poetry. Is a melting pot. Is a giant crystal ball in which everyone can see their own future. Once you've seen New York, you don't have to see anything else."
We are all a little bit in love with the creative force that is Pharrell Williams, so we were rather excited when our Rizzoli New York project came about and we realised it meant we could stock his book; an opulent, oversized volume documenting his world and his work.
The books walks us through his music career; his many projects from his production team The Neptunes, N.E.R.D., and his collaborations with friends Kanye West, Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg, and other hip-hop royalty. We also take a look at his extensive creative pursuits, including clothing lines, jewellery, and accessories designs for Louis Vuitton, furniture and other product design, limited-edition toys, graphic designs, skate graphics, and collaborations with Moncler and Marc Jacobs.
Amid the glossy photoreel we also encounter the "wonderfully vivid folks" he refers to, a starry list of collaborators with whom Williams conducts informal conversations. Among them, Jay-Z, Buzz Aldrin, Anna Wintour, Hans Zimmer and Zaha Hadid. We especially love his conversation with Jay Z about the grunge music era, and his proposal of doing "really fun and really next level" prefab housing with Zaha Hadid.
Our coffee table says yes please.
© 'Pharrell: Places and Spaces I've Been' by Pharrell Williams, published by Rizzoli international Publications, Inc. RRP £35.
Puckhaber Decorative Antiques have been supplying us with beautiful vintage furniture for many years now so we knew to expect something pretty special when we invited them to take over our project space. We weren't wrong. Last week, Jackie and her son Martyn transformed the space into the most exquisite reading room. In between hanging paintings and positioning armchairs, we took the opportunity to quizz Jackie about the fascinating antiques trade - and those top secret buying trips!
How did you get started in the decorative
Around 1984 with two toddlers to look after I decided to do a table top sale in Wivelsfield Green near Haywards Heath to get me out of the house and raise some cash. I had been interested in antiques since I was a teenager and had been collecting a few bits here and there. So with my modest collection we set of for the table top sale and managed to take £80... a lot of money in those days. I was hooked from that moment.
Describe your typical working day?
Everyday is different, that's what's great about the business! But typically we are either on buying trips in France, selling in our shop on Lillie Road in London, driving to our restorer in Hove, or delivering to The Hambledon.
What do you like most about what you do?
Buying furniture / pieces that I love and selling them to customers who appreciate them just as much as I do, if not more. It's very rewarding to see our pieces find good homes.
Are you able to give us the lowdown on your favourite market or destination to go buying?
Strictly top secret I'm afraid! But we generally find our most exciting pieces in Paris
or the South of France. France borders many countries so lots of furniture from
all over Europe turns up there. As a result we have an eclectic mix of French, Swedish, English, Italian and other European pieces.
It's a family business and you work with your son Martyn, tell us about working together and how you make your buying decisions?
Martyn and I always go buying together and we will only buy something if we both love it. It's important for us to have someone to bounce ideas off, I've got over 30 years experience in the trade and he brings a fresh eye to it. It seems to be working and although we don't agree on everything our tastes seem to compliment each other.
What has been your most exciting find to date?
There has been too many to mention but from a girly perspective it was a genuine Hermes Kelly bag that I found in a French market for 100 euros!
How has the decorative antiques trade changed over the thirty years you've been in business?
Similarly to clothes, antiques go in and out of fashion, certain pieces that I would buy 10 years ago I wouldn't be able to sell now, luckily the decorative market is still strong. We're finding that internet sales are become more prevalent so it is important for us to cover all avenues with a good website, shop space, and exhibiting.
Who or what inspires you?
It might sound like a cliche but everything inspires me. I take inspiration from my
surroundings, magazines, galleries, nature... I have always been drawn to quality whether it's furniture or clothes or anything.
If you could go back in time, when and where would you put yourself?
I don't think I would go back even if I could. I'm a 21st century girl!
What would you like to do in the future?
Simply we want to expand the Puckhaber brand as much as possible.
And finally, what trends can we expect to see coming up in decorative antiques?
A few years ago mid-century was quite hot but in a recession people want to buy investment pieces so we have seen the antiques fighting back. Also smart brown furniture is starting to swing back. We seem to sell a lot of paintings if that means anything?!
The Puckhaber & Rizzoli project runs 4 April - 31 May 2014.
As part of our project with Rizzoli New York and Puckhaber Decorative Antiques, we've had the chance to get nosy with some of Rizzoli's best-known authors. Here we talk to celebrated LA-based stylists and designers, Emily Current and Meritt Elliott, about their beautiful book, A Denim Story.
So where did the love affair with denim begin for you?
Denim has always been part of our lives - from young girls in overalls in rural Northern California to collegiate comrades in matching denim jackets.....to now!
How did you meet and come to bond over denim?
We met as students at UCLA. We spotted each other in vintage bell bottoms and made plans to head to the local flea market together that very weekend to search for more indigo treasures!
Tell us a bit about the jeans past and present we would find if we were to rifle through your wardrobes.
We both have extensive denim collections personally, and even more in our styling and design studio. We collect everything from deadstock Levis 646s to Wrangler blue bell jackets, and treasure anything thats been mended or personalised by someone else. Every jean has a story!
You've worked together for years, how did A Denim Story come about?
We continued to reference the same imagery for years and years that inspired so many of our creative projects - from art direction to styling and design. We realised that these inspirations, paired with our own work with the amazing Hilary Walsh, defined our aesthetic perfectly. It's our bible and our diary!
We love the themed chapters. Tell us how these themes developed.
Through our collecting of archival imagery and our own styling work, we were continually seeing themes and "strories" emerged. We were constanly running everything through these creative filters, and found that it made for an interseting literary journey.
What was your favourite moment in shooting the book?
We shot a beautiful model in super relaxed vintage denim paired with some irreverent costume pieces that resulted in a perfect juxtaposition. Hilary, Emily and I were drinking iced tea in Hilary's back yard during a lovely sunset, playing dress up, and sharing stories of our favourite pairs of jeans.
The book includes many iconic images of stars in denim. Do you have an all time favourite denim moment?
We all are really smitten with Marilyn Monroe wearing some crisp blue jeans, unapologetically cuffed, lifting weights on set. We also love the androgenous yet remarkable aesthetic and dispotion of Robert Mapplethorpe and Patti Smith.
If you could go back in time, where would you go, and what jeans would you be wearing?
We would be living in the imaginary world of The Boxcar Children, where their sense of imagination and childlike freedom breeded the ultimate creativity. We would most likely be wearing a worn chambray dress or rolled up overalls.
You talk about every pair of jeans telling a story. Can you recall your first denim memory or a pair of jeans that evokes a specific memory for you?
Meritt: I remember taking a train into Berkeley, California as a young girl and buying a pair of men's Levis. I brought them home and mended the holes using old patches my mom had saved from my childhood. I still have these jeans! They remind me of a time when I really discovered the joy of being resourceful.
Emily: I feel like my life is defined by a string of denim moments, from growing up as a scrappy kid in overalls, my first pair of Guess jeans with zippers at the bottom in junior high, stealing my dad's 501s and cutting them into shorts in high school and scouring flea markets for the perfect bellbottom in college.
Finally, if you could live in one pair of jeans for the rest of time, which would they be?
Emily: A pair of vintage 501 button fly jeans that have been altered to be a slouchy skinny - really soft with lots of wear.
Meritt: A vintage high-waist elephant bell that have been hemmed to wear with flats.
Norse Projects is now a Project. Yep. A gift for a lazy writer. Thanks to our new best friend Tom Bettinson, Norse's capable and lovely factotum, Norse Projects is now live in the project space. And it's looking very sharp indeed. Stainless steel, Danish oak boards, some very nice vinyls and an occasional orchid: this is a project of which we are very proud. Expect to see old friends including Anton shirts, Niels tees and Aros chinos. But we're taking some brand new clobber from Copenhagen's favourites from all three key areas, Refined Technical, Technical and Casual. There's a cotton nylon jacket story featuring lightweight, packable SB blazer, Samuel, and his big brother the full raincoat, Thor. Jens, padded shirt with Primaloft lining. And we're introducing denim. Clean, unbranded, 14oz Cone Mills in a slim taper. Fit no. 2. Norse Projects is the full story. The project runs until 28 March.
And it really was rather special. Familiar faces and impromptu visitors gathered around our late century French dining table, set with loaned crockery, tea lights and anenomes in milk bottles. They sipped speciality teas from our friends over the road at Walker, Austen & Alexander (spearmint and ginger is really nice) and worked their way through the results of a Hambledon team bake-off.
Victoria pulled off an impressive chequerboard chocolate cake (how did she do that?) while Rob introduced us to Weetabix cookies (ingenious!). It was master baker Mercy Webb who triumphed though, with her peanut butter button cookies (thanks to a recipe donated especially for the event by Great British Bake-Off champion, Francis Quinn).
The tea drinking and cake eating was all for a good cause, and we raised £300 for the Haven in Wessex, a specialist centre supporting those affected by breast cancer. All in all, a wonderful testimony to what can be done with the props right under our noses, the support of our lovely customers and a little help from our friends.