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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Tatty Devine & Ryantown shop viewings

Tatty Devine & Ryantown, Thursday 26th June

Written by Tanya Geddes

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This month, physician more about daydreams can be dedicated to Loulou Androlia. At 27, the Camden based designer has tumbled, head first into her own Alice in Wonderland fairytale.
Just last month, Loulou Loves You, was just another great, one-woman DIY design outfit, with Loulou cutting and crafting her way round the indie e-shop block. Her handmade lingerie and giant silk hairbows won her fans and friends aplenty across the usual social networking sites, but it wasn’t until she was contacted by Agent Provocateur, wanting to use her bows in their current window display, that things really started to get curious.

“The June windows were to have an Alice in Wonderland theme,” explains Androlia. “I think a quick Google search revealed my designs and so the lovely lady from display at Agent Provocateur got in touch.”

Testament to the powers of the Internet, Loulou then wasted no time in fashioning up a series of her oversized, surrealist bows fit for the fashion worlds most notorious window display designers.

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Babydoll colourways. Cartoon Proportions. Salacious Silk. These creations were never going to look out of place amidst the forthright, frilly and downright fabulous subtext of Agent Provocateur’s own, renowned, window display drill. And now Agent Provocateur stores from London to Los Angeles will have their windows adorned with Loulou’s playful accessories.

While the Alice in Wonderland theme continues to conjure up contradictory readings around rule breaking and reality, Loulou’s designs symbolise carefree, childlike charm, albeit with a slightly naughty, Lolita edge. Androlia admits her designs being featured in Agent Provocateur’s latest display is her biggest project to date.

“It’s just been really exciting. More people than ever are starting to recognize what I do, and recently stylists have picked up on my work for use in photo shoots” she says.

Loulou’s designs offer a modern mix of fantasy and parody. Her story offers the perfect anecdote to another season of celebrity infested clothing lines and copycat creations. Still she remains indebted to the independent design roots that led Agent Provocateur to find her in the first place.

“I get a real buzz out of discovering a tiny e-shop that might be run from another home thousands of miles away,” she says, clearly excited at the possibility of finding the next Christopher Kane in his bedroom, stitching and sewing his way to fashion superstardom, via an online universe.

Quirky and Curious. Loulou Androlia. She’s just like Alice after all.
Last week I popped into transition gallery in east London to view FAN FAIR. Being somewhat of a disaster with map reading and directions in general, tadalafil I was surprised to find that I found the exhibition space relatively quickly.
On entering the exhibition room, information pills which was relatively small, price I was immediately struck by the frivolity of seaside pleasures. The pastel colours of folded hankies hanging from a wall, a candy walking stick, letters, a shed with a mystic inside, painted skittles, metal scuba-diving head and deviant helter skelter made for a varied showcase. The handkerchiefs, knitted in cutesy pink colours you can only imagine being made by your nan, were pieces with a rather anti-cutesy message! One read, ‘Cum inside/ Candy floss/only £1.00/adults only.’ Fun and fruity messages continued.
The helter skelter was made from stolen road signs, fairie lights, vintage flags, treasure chests, lobster figurines and little toy figures probably picked from charity shops and car boot sales. Crowned with a disco ball; this all made for a cluttered, wonderful assortment of the fantastical and perverted. Barbie dolls in playgirl positions, blowjobs by ken dolls, ‘alcohol restriction zone’ signs, a ship floating in an imagined journey through air; this all reminded me of the drunken pleasures of a 15 year old on alcopops (although probably a bit more risqué)!
Intricately painted ceramic skittles altered the intoxicated landscape of excess with a rather muted addition. The painted flowers had an oldsy feel like those found in 1950s agriculture magazines.
The ‘deep sea diver’ statue painted gold and turquoise felt almost too solid compared to the other fantastical musings. However, the bold colours and rigid reluctance to fade into the background made me think of arbitrary images from dreams that randomly peep into focus.
Next door to this stood a walking stick made of pink rock. I couldn’t help but wonder that maybe these should be a new invention for those that need sugar rushes on journeys (just imagine all those granddads on buses licking their walking sticks- A strange sight indeed)! As part of the piece, there were postcards from two corresponding artists in the transition group. They contained ideas for the collaboration, which were written months ago. One postcard was scrawled with, ‘I’d really like to discuss working with you…Filling the gallery with home made seaside ephemera. Snow domes, sticks of pink rock, postcards. Totally bespoken horse shite’- (nice to see a humble account of their work)!
Last stop was to enter the mystical shed where the virtual Madam Sosostris lay in wait. On entering the small enclosure I realised Madam S was reading cards from a TV set. With a pack of tarot cards in front of me she told me to start dealing. Not one to mess with a virtual mystic on a TV set; I did what I was told. I ended up with a card that said something about being more brave and taking more chances, but I was just relieved I didn’t get the death card!
FAN FAIR took about 15 minutes to view merely because it is such a small space. Yet I’d recommend it for those who want a serving of seaside fantasy with the supernatural; and you even get a session with your very own virtual mystic!

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Last Saturday, cheapest my friend and I ventured to Tate Modern for the raw canvas ‘Tate Takeover: London Calling’ in the café level 2. With a flyer that promised performances from Poeticat and ORIGAMI as well as ‘cellar door sound, magic, charly flynn, illustrations and more..’ we had high expectations.
Arriving to find my friend making friends with a cat near the entrance of the Tate (I was late- he is sane, I promise), we made our way in. Having sauntered in an hour into closing time we were a tad confused to see people on the floor making boats out of newspaper. Most of people were involved in making houses and other creative masterpieces. So, sitting down on beanbags we decided to attempt a hat. But alas our arty skills were thwarted by the fact that neither of us are any good at origami-but we did enjoy looking at others like fascinated kids at the zoo.
The next room had a guy painting a black and white landscape that he was absorbed in. The main café/bar area also had a live performance from Poeticat who we listened to whilst chatting. The ambiance was chilled and the people who sat around were mostly young people who were obviously friends of the raw canvas team. But the event was inclusive and had a mixture of people and age groups involved.
The evening was certainly ‘raw’ with excitement and a blank ‘canvas’ for ideas to be penned, inspiring young people back into art. My friend and I certainly enjoyed the laid back arty evening. Here’s to the next one.

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Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeron, approved aka Viktor & Rolf, ampoule got skills. This summer sees the highly acclaimed fashion designers present their entire time together in an exhibition at the Barbican, and what an exhibition it is.

It’s rare that fashion designers present their collections in galleries – since Vivienne Westwood’s retrospective at the V&A in 2004, there has been little to celebrate the makers of fashion as we know it – especially on this grand scale.

The exhibiton showcases their work from humble beginnings in 1993, when the pair launched their first collection, aptly titled ‘Launch’ – to varying acclaim. Never to follow the norm, the duo presented this collection entirely in minature – with models (of the replica sense) of a catwalk show, the pieces they had designed and even the simultaneous advertising campaigns.

It seems, then, that V&R have come full circle, presenting to us here their collections in their stunning lifesize glory AND in model replica. On Level 3 of the Barbican (the one with rooms spanning from the balcony), you might think that this exhibition space had been purpose built to display fashion collections, but this is not the case. Thanks to exhibition designer Siebe Tettero and the ready state of this 1960s brutalist masterpiece of a building, the space has been transformed to allow viewers to freely move between collections. The centrepiece of the show is a stunning three storey Georgian doll’s house which fills the centre of the room. Each room in the house has no exterior wall, and has a different doll of about 1 or 2 feet tall, wearing an exact replica of dresses from each collection. Incredible. Silver binoculars are provided to view the detail of the pieces from the viewing platforms. The V&R emblem is brandished (no pun intended) at the top of the house, and some of the dolls even look longingly in the direction of their life size counterparts.

On Thursdays, as part of the Lates season of late night art events, the Barbican presents different workshops and talks about matters surrounding the duo and fashion in general. The first featured talks about themes in the collections, and I had the enviable pleasure of meeting Emma Cammack, a body artist who had been commissioned to produce two bodies based on themes from V&R’s collections. Emma has worked for a variety of high profile clients in advertising, fashion and film, and it was a joy to see the models come to life.

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Highlights from the exhibition, in no particular order, include: Flowerbomb (SS05) which tied with the launch of the duo’s first fragrance. Black chiffon dresses with bow details and black bicycle helmets were presented on the catwalk, with the models stalling at the back of the stage. When all models had taken their turn, the stage revolved to reveal an almost identical collection but in baby pink. Following this stunning piece of theatre was never going to be easy, but then came Bedtime Story (AW05-06) where V&R took the bed to the catwalk, with the infamous mix of duvets and sheets. Duvets became extravangant dresses with ‘I love you’ spralled across, mostly in white with red defining features. The collection relies on quilted fabrics and takes on board old bed linen processes such as broderie anglais, a specific type of stitch.

The most stunning aspect of the exhibition is the realisation that Viktor & Rolf are capable of concept after concept, and no two seasons are the same. The ‘One Woman Show’ collection of AW03-04 is the work of geniuses. After a chance meeting with actress Tilda Swinton, the pair were so enthralled by her presence at unique style that they devoted an entire collection to her – with even the models made to have her stark, androgynous appearance. Sharp tailored suits emphasising and advancing the human form were presented to reflect the theme of androgyny. This is the complete opposite of the very feminine ‘Silver’ collection of AW06-07, featuring more feminine shapes like the Dior silhouette popularised by the New Look collection of the fifties (low busts, small waists and large skirts). nude lycra tulle number with oversized embroidered stars shows the designer duo’s ability to challenge fashion norms.

And if that wasn’t enough to make you gush with envy or start saving for the ‘I Love You’ wedding dress, take the ‘The Fashion Show’ collection of AW07-08. V&R make the model a walking fashion entity – they each have their own outfit (featuring traditional Dutch checks and pleats with a contemporary twist), lighting (the models wear scaffolding above their heads, rigged with lights, which presents the silhouette of a ancestral Dutch milk maiden) and music (said rigs were fitted with individual music systems, and speakers). This metal structure not only provides the support for sound and light, but on a more artistic scale enhances the silhoutette and modifies the human form we are accustomed to – a key theme throughout V&R’s luminescent history.

Viktor and Rolf’s first UK exhibition is an inspirational tour of their illustrious history, even for those not overtly interested in fashion. So switly decide between your nude tulle number or your duvet, brush your hair over a pillow, pick out your favourite clogs, and head down to the Barbican for what might be the best fashion exhibition we get in 2008.
This Anglo-NY quartet is hardly breaking any new ground here. After a largely unnoticed but well received first album, adiposity ‘Speak Your Own Language’ sees Five O’Clock Heroes making a second stab at success. Priding themselves on their simplicity, prostate this back to basics affair sees them dusting off their Dad’s old Clash LPs and splicing them with both the UK and New York’s finest musical alumni but not really going anywhere with it. Singer Antony Ellis switches between New York New Wave and Brit bravado, decease hiding his Northampton roots and doing his best impression of an inner-city urchin while the rest of the band try their hardest to recreate their very own piece of 70′s underground London, at times treading clumsily over the fine line between ‘influenced by’ and ‘stolen from’.

Flirting with the media on new single, ‘Who’, model du jour Agyness Deyn sprinkles her sugary vocals over what would otherwise be another non-descript slice of indie pie. This aptly timed marriage of convenience has succeeded in raising both the bands profile and proving Ms. Deyn is more than just a pretty face, but it leaves a slightly cynical after taste and leaves you wondering if without the models presence this one would have just silently slipped away.

They come into their own on the more upbeat songs with creeping tinges of reggae that will have you secretly tapping your toes and not caring who sees you doing so. Top of the guilty pleasures list is ‘New York Chinese Laundry’, a perky crowd pleaser scoring highly for its irresistible use of tambourine and sparkly melodies. I’m also a sucker for a hand clap and ‘Everybody Knows It’ definitely fulfils my quota, bouncing along like Joe Strummer’s well spoken, radio friendly cousin from the country. Maybe they’ve taken this whole Clash thing a bit too far, especially when I just can’t help but sing ‘London’s Calling’ over the top of ‘God And Country’.

Attempts at the heart felt and lovelorn fall rather flat, with their efforts being more reminiscent of an overblown power ballad rather than anything really capable of singling them out from the sheer hoard of similar sound-a-likes. For a band who say it’s their sole intention to create memorable tunes, much of this album merges into mild mannered mediocrity. Not quite catchy enough to be instantly loved, and not subtle enough to be a slow burner, but still agreeable enough to warrant a listen. This clean cut courting of mainstream success leaves me thinking that the trouble with these pretty boys is they just don’t want to get too dirty.

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With Charles our music editor off on a four day break in Glastonbury, help I thought this would be the ideal time to talk about an email I received from a guy called Nigel who was promoting his online eco store and range of ‘eco friendly festival and camping survival products‘. An illustration at the top of the page showed a man waving with an arm which had unintentionally been drawn on back-to-front. I found this so incredibly amusing that I just had to click onto Nigel’s website to see what else he had to offer. Not expecting very much, order I have to admit the range of inventive yet very useful eco-friendly treasures impressed me. Nigel’s store is a like a 30 year old mans idea of paradise – full of interesting little gadgets that you wonder how you ever lived without.

Picture this – you arrive at Glastonbury full of anticipation for the festival ahead of you. The weather has miraculously been holding up well recently, remedy so you ditch the wellies and opt for a pair of Nigel’s fair-trade, 100% cotton Ethletic trainers, which, I must add, are available in plain black, pink, turquoise, green and white. After setting up tent (I’m afraid there’s no clever Nigel alternatives for that), the first thing for any festival goer is to check out the bands on stage. However this time there’s no need to worry about your camera running low on battery as Nigel’ store has the Freeloader portable solar charger, which can power everything from mobile phones to game machines – apparently!

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Eddi Reader not quite up to scratch, fancy a bite to eat, but a little strapped for cash? Why not bring your food along in one of Nigel’s eco mini fridges, which doesn’t use any refrigerant and consumes only a mere 33 watts. While you’re chomping down on your fresh salad and chilled beers, you can make your own fun with the Babylis wind up and solar powered radio. Not only does it include a built in phone charger – random I know – but it doesn’t require one of those annoying external antennas that you have to spend half and hour fussing around with.

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Other eco friendly delights include a brilliant toothpaste free toothbrush and a wind up Mp3 player.

Now – perhaps I’ve exaggerated a wee bit in terms of the usefulness of these little bits and bobs, but I definitely recommend you check out Nigel’s online eco store. I guarantee you, there isn’t one person who reads this bog who wont find something on there that makes them say ‘ooh – that’s good!’.

Last Thursday evening the lovely work experience peeps and myself strolled down to Tatty Devine to view the ‘Jane amongst the birds’ exhibition and then the opening of Rob Ryan’s shop. Trying to explain the concept of the Tatty Devine exhibition, check which was inspired by a 1959 ‘Best Budgerigar & Foreign Bird Competition’ at All Saints’ Hall in Haggerston, visit confused the others. Admittedly, I was unsure of what to expect myself.
On arrival we made a beeline to the free tequila and lemonades on offer (our priorities are really in order)! With drinks in hand we began viewing the budgie exhibition, which amounted to 4 photos on the wall, some cute budgie necklaces and a few posters. However, browsing the shop is enough to intoxicate the senses. Tatty Devine reminds me of being at that teenage stage where accessories are the best thing ever; when experimenting with your mums 1970s shoes, free pink Mizz Magazine lipstick and New Look plastic hair bows makes you feel all unique and individual. Tatty Devine definitely taps into a young market- think of those indie-Betty Boo type girls with printed dresses and ruby red lipsticked, who always manage to look effortlessly on trend.
After another few tequilas and a lot of wandering round the shop ‘oooo-ing’ and ‘ahhh-ing’ at all the bright and fun accessories, we headed down to Ryantown. We were all excited as Rob Ryan designed the cover for Issue 02 of Amelia’s mag, so we felt we had a ‘personal link’ to his work. What I loved about all the printed illustration pieces in the shop were the beautifully optimistic yet sometimes sad sentiments. There is a soft and slightly feminine quality to his pieces, as everything is quaint and muted, like quiet side thoughts scribbled in a notebook. One such design was printed with the words; ‘You were in my head, now you are in my heart.’ There were tiles, t-shirts, dresses, illustrated keys and prints being sold. We even drank wine from glasses illustrated with Rob Ryan designs.
After circulating the shop and getting dizzy with all the wonderful illustrations, we were ready to go (not before taking a pit stop at a near-by pub to use the loos). Both Tatty Devine and Ryantown are shops that you should take a minute to pop into, to wonder at all the cool designs. If you’re looking for something fun and kitsch go to Tatty Devine and if you’re after something you’ll always treasure, go to Rob Ryan’s shop. I promise you’ll not be disappointed in either case.

us at tatty devine:
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us at ryantown:
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