Friday, 30 September 2011

Rummaging through retro memories

Philip Woolway’s ‘fish eye’ photographs of curiously cluttered junk shops illustrate a curiosity shop style that is very 'of the moment'.

These sorts of establishments are where contemporary jewellery and accessories designers often go to find retro bits and pieces for upcycling into curiously characterful new creations. Check out some of the uniquely arty items I’ve spotted in our latest Curious Trends post.

Products with past lives and provenance assume added value in today’s superficial, soulless world. Of course, you can create your own story too – and at ShopCurious we’ve got some ready-aged journals so you can do just that. The diaries in question are conveniently undated, yet give the impression of having been around for a good few years:

There are several to choose from, including a girly pink ‘Soulmate’ version, and a somewhat more antiquated ‘Moment de Memoire’ - which wouldn’t look out of place in an old fashioned gentleman’s library. They’ll make great Christmas gifts – plus you’ll avoid the crowds (and less original items) on the high street.

Alternatively, you may wish to record your own doings and thoughts. A few notes scribbled in an old book, perhaps alongside the odd photograph, may well become precious memories one day. Or you could always invest in one of Philip’s charmingly curio-filled photos and go all gooey about how things used to be…

Will you?

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Contemporary curiosities

The pop art and punk of postmodernism have morphed into a new (albeit retro-progressive) age of crafting and collecting.

But what started out as a genuine curiosity for naturally beautiful, or unusual, things and their provenance has become something of a preoccupation with packaging rather than content. Have you noticed how so many things appear inside domes these days – or encased in resin?

And what constitutes a curiosity anyway? Just because something’s unusually large, or very tiny does that mean it’s especially unique or valuable?

Postmodernist media-led consumerism segued into the electronic age of the internet – so will the new age of rummaging for ‘found’ objects, and recycling, pave the way for another reinvention of communications networks and social structures?

ShopCurious spotted some curiously crafty postmodernist-influenced creations at the London Design Festival - Tine De Ruysser’s bank note jewellery and wall art amongst them. But, beyond postmodernism, is there room for a whole new exchange mechanism - something like a bartering based economy? Will money itself eventually become something of a curiosity?

Latest trends aside, we seem to be moving into uncharted territory. I have a feeling that our lives are about to become a lot more curious…

Do you?

Saturday, 17 September 2011

A fierce fashion week...

A curiously fierce, fetish inspired trend at London Fashion Week indicates that leather body armour, studded corsetry and heavy duty headgear will be appearing in our wardrobes by next spring.

Meantime, one of the fiercest looks I spotted amongst visitors to the exhibition came from fashion blogger Prince Cassius, whose gravity defying hair grows ever higher.

Stylist Leo’s outfit was a little less fierce, but he still seemed to be attracting a lot of attention. I loved his dark red tasseled slippers.

ShopCurious was pleased to see that there was plenty of arty, old school style on show.

As for the weird warrior style stuff, I wonder how many of us will actually wear these sorts of accessories…

Will you?

PS See more of Somerset House in my post at The Dabbler.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Fancy a crafty cuppa?

When you've been away on holiday, it’s always nice to come home to a freshly brewed cup of tea. Tea has a calming effect, helping us slow down and reflect on things - rather than worry about all the stuff we've got to do, and how little time we've got to do it in.

You wouldn’t necessarily think of tea as being a particularly racy drink – but, curiously, the humble cuppa has never been so sexy. Vintage style tea parties seem to be taking place everywhere – a book has even been published on the subject. And more and more people are collecting old china – especially painted teacups and unusual teapots.

If you’re a bit of a teapot fancier, you might like to visit Norwich Castle Museum, where the Philip Miller collection of 2000 pots is housed. This was brought together to include the work of as many different English factories as possible, and is the largest specialist collection of teapots in Britain.

Alternatively, take a look at some of the handcrafted, collectable teatime treats in ShopCurious’s latest Curious Trends post – and you’ll see what I mean about tea drinking’s saucy new image…

Will you?

Friday, 2 September 2011

Earth, wind, fire and sunshine

Do you remember? Actually, I wasn’t thinking of the song, but my previous encounter with Earth Wind and Fire around a year ago, as recorded here at the ShopCurious blog. I mentioned then that I was a bit of a groupie fan. Well, imagine how excited I was to be not just seeing a live performance, but actually meeting members of the band in Spain this year.

Except I didn’t realize it wasn’t that Earth Wind and Fire...

It was the Earth Wind and Fire Experience, courtesy of the Al McKay Allstars.

In case you haven’t heard of Al McKay (pictured with me right), he’s one of the original members of the band – in fact he was with them for eight years/seven albums, and he was a co-writer of some of their best known hits – including, as it happens, September.

Around a decade ago, Al put together a group of 14 hand picked musicians to form a new band that now tours the world, ‘bringing back to audiences the real musical experience of Earth Wind and Fire.’

And they do not disappoint. I danced (crazily) throughout the whole concert, which was held in the tennis courts at Marbella’s Puente Romano Hotel...

Excuse the hackneyed expression, but it was a pretty damned awesome old school Experience. And a real privilege to literally rub shoulders with such a musically talented bunch of guys.

Oh, and please accept my apologies for ruining a lovely photograph of fabulously falsetto-voiced Tim Owens, with my scary flashbulb eyes and dance-damp hair (…eeek!)

Will you?

PS See more of the concert here - including the rest of the brilliant sax solo by Ed Wynne.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Costa del cabaret

Whenever I’m in Marbella I feel like I’m part of a curiously costumed, theatrical extravaganza – a sort of gigantic, all-singing, all-dancing cabaret. Some of the things I’ve noticed about the outrageously OTT city are:

1) You can never be overdressed. I wore this ShopCurious outfit by the pool and no one batted an eyelid.

2) Normal fashion rules don’t apply. It's a chance to don your purple suede loafers...

3) Bling is king. If you’ve got it, flaunt it.

4) Marbella is hen party heaven.

5) Food is fashionably non-faddy – nobody cares if you have lobster and chips.

6) The sun is always shining and…

7) The sunsets are mainly magnificent.

8) There’s usually a cocktail waiter within beckoning distance.

9) At night everything sparkles.

10) The entertainment is great – watch this terrific troupe of Capoeira dancers and musicians at the Ocean Club:

I'd recommend you check out the cabaret next time you’re in the Costa del Sol.

Will you?