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M AG A Z I N E

ISSUE 5  UK £5  BSTOREMAGAZINE.COM

au t u m n / w i n t e r

2011-12

PUSH IT REAL GOOD


CONTENTS — 6 THE B LIST

What’s in store for fall.

Photography ANDREW VOWLES  Fashion JASON HUGHES

18 ON THE MENU

Meet the people behind some of London’s most exciting dining. Words ELEANOR MORGAN  Portraits JON CARDWELL

24 SMELLS LIKE ZINE SPIRIT

b profiles four fanzine creators keeping the DIY ethos of print, paper and staples alive. Words TEAL TRIGGS Portraits JONNIE CRAIG

34 A DECADE UNDER THE INFLUENCE

As b store turns 10, we look back to where it all started (with a little help from our friends). Words BEN PERDUE

56 AFTERNOON SISTERS

Photography AITKEN JOLLY  Fashion SAM RANGER

70 THE LUXURY GAP

Photography LAURENCE ELLIS  Fashion JASON HUGHES

74 WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS Photography TOM ALLEN  Fashion STEVEN WESTGARTH

98 D U B B I N G I N T H E B A C K YA R D Photography WILLEM JASPERT  Fashion JASON HUGHES

112 FROM TWO THOUSAND TILL NOW

An interview with furniture designer Martino Gamper. Words DAL CHODHA  Portraits JO METSON SCOTT

122 H O W D O E S YO U R G A R D E N G R O W ?

Four creatives open up their garden gates for b. Words DAL CHODHA Photography RETTS WOOD

134 BRITISH FOLK

The photographer, James Pearson-Howes, captures a cross-section of contemporary Britain. Words MICHAEL NOTTINGHAM  Photography JAMES PEARSON-HOWES

152 SHOP

What we’re wearing this season.

[Cover] Fernando wears jacket MATTHEW MILLER; Polo neck JOHN SMEDLEY customised by stylist with collar made from socks by AYAMÉ Photography WILLEM JASPERT Fashion JASON HUGHES Make-up LOTTEN HOLMQVIST @ JULIAN WATSON AGENCY using M.A.C Model FERNANDO CABRAL @ FUSION MODEL MANAGEMENT 


M AG A Z I N E au t u m n / w i n t e r

2011-12

Editorial & creative director Jason Hughes jason@ bstoremagazine.com Editor Dal Chodha dal@ bstoremagazine.com Art director Christopher Colville-Walker christopher@ bstoremagazine.com Designers Ben Smith Emily Hadden James Somerfield Subeditor Stephan Takkides Fashion assistant Isabella Goumal

Contributors Aitken Jolly Andrew Vowles Ben Perdue Eleanor Morgan Georgina Pragnell James Pearson-Howes Jon Cardwell Jonnie Craig Jo Metson Scott Laurence Ellis Michael Nottingham Retts Wood Sam Ranger Steven Westgarth Teal Triggs Tom Allen Willem Jaspert Advertising advertising@ bstoremagazine.com

b Magazine c/o Colville-Walker Ltd 21 Whiston Road London E2 8EX +44 (0)20 7749 6916 info@bstoremagazine.com bstoremagazine.com b Magazine is distributed by COMAG Specialist COMAG Specialist Tavistock Road West Drayton Middlesex UB7 7XN +44 (0)1895 433600 comag.co.uk ISSN 2042-096X

b Magazine is published by Colville-Walker Ltd for b store. b Magazine is a registered trademark. Nothing in this magazine may be reproduced in whole or part without the prior written permission of the publishers. Transparencies and any other material submitted for the publication are sent at the owner’s own risk and, while every care is taken, neither b Magazine, nor its agents, accept any liability for loss or damage. Although b Magazine has endeavoured to ensure that all information inside the magazine is correct at time of going to print, details may be subject to change.

Special thanks


6

THE B LIST — An introduction to our favourite b store collections for Fall, for boys, for girls.

Photography ANDREW VOWLES Fashion JASON HUGHES

Lowell wears coat and sweatshirt OUR LEGACY; Turtle neck UNIQLO


Merilin wears knitted collar RODEBJER [Opposite] Lowell wears blazer, jumper and trousers B STORE

b Magazine  The b List 9


Merilin wears dress CHRISTIAN WIJNANTS


Lowell wears shirt ONE NINE ZERO SIX [Opposite] Merilin wears jacket B STORE; Turtle neck UNIQLO; Socks FALKE; Boots OPENING CEREMONY

b Magazine  The b List 13


Merilin wears dress SOPHIE HULME; Socks FALKE; Boots OPENING CEREMONY [Opposite] Lowell wears coat, trousers and shoes CHRISTOPHE LEMAIRE; Knitted collar BOBOUTIC; Socks FALKE


Lowell wears jacket, shirt and trousers TIM SOAR; Turtle neck UNIQLO; Socks FALKE; Shoes CHRISTOPHE LEMAIRE [Opposite] Merilin wears top BOBOUTIC; Shirt B STORE; Bag KUNI AWAI Hair TINA OUTEN @ STREETERS using L’ORÉAL PROFESSIONNEL Make-up LOTTEN HOLMQVIST @ JULIAN WATSON AGENCY using M.A.C Nails SAFFRON G using OPI Models LOWELL TAUTCHIN and MERILIN PERLI @ ELITE LONDON  Photographer’s assistants RICARDO SIMAL and JON-ANGELO  Stylist’s assistant ISABELLA GOUMAL  Hair assistant SHELLY BROOK Make-up assistant SIOBHAN FURLONG  Special thanks to Bar Bar and all at Spring Studios, Charlie Clark and James Powell @ Elite London


18

ON THE MENU Meet the people behind some of London’s most exciting dining. ROGANIC An offshoot from the highly acclaimed Cumbrian restaurant L’Enclume, Roganic is the chef/patron Simon Rogan’s twoyear pop-up restaurant in London’s Marylebone whose modest exterior belies the imagination of the food within. Roganic is not your average dining experience. There is no menu as such, just a constant stream of six or 10 dishes (with no substitutions with the exception of vegetarians) that will make every other tasting menu you’ve had a distant memory. It’s food theatre. Rogan is an adventurous cook, so dishes are peppered with ingredients you’ll probably have never heard of: mallow, cicely, meadowsweet, chenopodiums and ox-eye daisy petals. And then there’s the tricks and skills that do things to food you’d not thought possible out of a science lab: think strawberry glass, onion ash, dehydrated (then pureed) broccoli, chicken salt and sourdough paper. It’s a lot to take in, but Roganic – even with its huge pats of whipped butter served on giant pebbles – isn’t pretentious; there’s a definite sense of warmth to each plate and, considering what Rogan can clearly do with food, he shows restraint. “I think that’s the key,” he says. “As you grow up as a chef, you learn to not just impose your will on customers. It’s about creating food that allows people to discover things. We love to use ingredients that people might consider to be unusual but we tend to combine them with things that are a bit more recognisable and people like it.”

Words ELEANOR MORGAN Portraits JON CARDWELL

Simon Rogan, photographed here with his current favourite Roganic dish – skate belly with young leek, caramelised cauliflower and king scallop. “It’s actually an offspring of something we developed at L’Enclume and just contains ingredients I like to use. It tastes great and is a very nice looking dish too.” 19 Blandford Street, London W1U 3DH +44 (0)20 7486 0380 roganic.co.uk


b Magazine  On The Menu 19


K O YA When Koya, a small Japenese noodle house in Soho, opened last year with little fanfare, word quickly spread throughout the food world about diners having damascene moments with the udon noodles there. Noodles: flour, water and little else – how good could they be? But they have to be eaten to be believed. The Japanese like their noodles al dente: chewy, with a resistant texture. And that’s exactly how they are here. Made the traditional way (by foot) every day, they are almost certainly the best, most authentic noodles you can eat in the capital – their depth of flavour perplexing, when you consider what they’re made of. They come three ways: atsu-atsu (hot udon in hot, deeply flavoured broth); hiya-atsu (cold udon, served with hot broth to dip in)

and hiya-hiya (cold udon served with cold sauce to dip or pour). It’s one-dimensional food, sure, but there’s no one else doing anything else like it, anywhere near as good. Accompanying the noodles are fresh daily specials (tempura fish with lotus root chips – think “fish and chips”) and various tempuras that are comically crispy, but you’d be mad not to order noodles in some form. The owner, John Devitt, used to work in the city but retrained as a chef in 2000. Japanese food has always been a big interest, and he speaks evangelically about Kunitoraya, a restaurant in Paris he used to eat in all the time. “Customers queued to sit on a stool and have a bowl of piping hot, handmade noodles. It’s one-dimensional cuisine, focusing on fresh dashi [forms the base of miso soups, clear stocks, etc] and the best tempura imaginable.

It’s super healthy, using almost no dairy or oil, and Koya was born to these exacting standards.” If Koya had a mantra, what would it be? “To make the best possible noodle dishes and make them affordable.” Michelin recently awarded Koya with a Bib Gourmand – their way of saying great value for money.

Devitt is pictured here with his favourite dish, Tenzaru – “cold noodles, cold dipping sauce with a small plate of garnish, and a platter of tempura.” Encompassing everything Koya shouts about. “It’s a healthy, cleansing, nourishing meal, which wouldn’t need for much else.” 49 Frith Street, London W1D 4SG +44 (0)20 7434 4463 koya.co.uk


B R AW N When every major restaurant critic visits your new restaurant within a couple of weeks of opening and you’re fully booked every night before you even have a website, you know you’re on to something. This happened late last year when Brawn (sister to Terroirs) opened on east London’s Columbia Road. Whipping the foodie world into a tizzy of epic proportions, it had been a long time since a new London restaurant had been met with such overwhelming praise. Its location is a curious one, though, and still makes its co-owner Oli Barker “quite nervous”. On Sundays it’s the frenetic home to the famous flower market that leaves the air heavy with rose. During the week, however, it’s a bit of a wasteland. But, a year on, Brawn is still holding its own. The menu, which gives provenance prominent billing, is largely a small-plates affair

– like French tapas. Dishes are simple, usually with only three or four ingredients tops, but the impact is far greater than the sum of its parts. It’s simple, clever cooking with knockout produce. And, although the menu (accompanied with an exciting list of natural wines) certainly has enough options to fill a hungry vegetarian belly, it’s very meaty (the place is named after a dish of pig’s head). When pushed on his favourite ingredient, the restaurant’s other co-owner and head chef, Ed Wilson, says bluntly: “pig”. There’s a whole section of the menu headed with the word – think peppery salamis, pearly lardo and silky, acorn-scented Parma hams: charcuterie that makes your heart expand just looking at it. There’s the boudin noir, too – a dark, dense blood sausage that’s remained on the menu due to popularity.

The heavy emphasis on provenance could border on earnestness if it wasn’t for Brawn’s informality; its bare-brick aesthetic and reclaimed furniture make it feel more like a smart home than a restaurant – exactly what Barker and Wilson want. “We want people to feel welcome when walking into Brawn with no pressure of what’s expected of them. You can just have a glass of wine, or something to eat. We want customers to feel free to have what they like.”

Barker and Wilson are photographed here with their favourite dish: a 28-month-old Parma ham from Piero Montali, whose family, Barker says, “have been curing for four generations”. 49 Columbia Road, London E2 7RG +44(0)20 7729 5692 www.brawn.co


BRUNSWICK HOUSE CAFE Brunswick House is a sight for sore eyes in the middle of the unforgiving grey roundabout system in Vauxhall. The huge, sprawling Georgian townhouse, sitting defiantly amid the varying shades of concrete, was rescued from squatters years ago and has since been turned into an antique salvage company. If you need a copper bath, fittings for your yacht or a reclaimed brass radiator, you’ll be in must-scented heaven. There’s even a properly fitted-out ballroom, should you feel the need to practise your Viennese waltz. But they also recently opened a cafe, which deserves attention, serving breakfast, brunch, lunch and afternoon tea among all manner of hanging antiques. The menu, with a strong emphasis on the finest vegetables in season, adopts a common mantra: “brilliant ingredients cooked simply and presented smartly,” according to its proprietor, Jackson Boxer. But while simple on first inspection, there’s some canny cooking going on here. It’s smart cafe food, but a bit more adventurous. On our visit, lunch buns include stalwarts such as rare roast beef and horseradish, but also bone marrow, parsley and lemon, and homemade meatloaf with walnut pickle. Then there are things such as cauliflower, onions and rosemary remoulade in the salads section. “The simple things are somehow the hardest to get right,” says Boxer. But the popularity of this south London cafe has spread via word of mouth, so the food is clearly doing something right. And, the area had been sorely missing a place like this. There’s nigh on nowhere to have a decent meal. “Everybody deserves a good neighbourhood restaurant and besides some places in Stockwell, there’s not much in our vein around here.” The menu changes daily, “as things tire us,” so you’ll probably not eat the same thing twice.

Jackson Boxer and chef Nicholas Balfe are photographed here with a dish of Bury black pudding, fried egg and smoked peppers – “certainly one of my favourite things to eat,” Boxer smiles. 30 Wandsworth Road, London SW8 2LG +44 (0)20 7720 2926 brunswickhousecafe.co.uk

Eleanor Morgan is a London-based journalist working at Observer Food Monthly, her own favourite meal being a serving of perfectly poached eggs on a good rye toast. b Magazine  On The Menu 23


24

Four fanzine creators keeping the DIY ethos of print, paper and staples alive.

Words TEAL TRIGGS Portraits JONNIE CRAIG


b Magazine  Smells Like Zine Spirit 25


NO.ZINE

Patrick Fry

“No.Zine is all about numbers,” explains its producer, Patrick Fry, who credits his father’s “mathematical obsessions” for this series of limited-edition (500 copies), independent, self-published fanzines. Launched in 2009, the content of each issue is based on its issue number. For example, the first riffs on the idea of “all for one and one for all”, while One Britain – a short essay by historian Tom Fry – explores the ideas of multiculturalism and complex national identity, and so on. To organise the fanzine in this way provides what Fry likes to think of as “a very flexible home” for a range of visual and text-based responses. No.Zine is the result of a collaborative process with emerging artists, writers and photographers rather than any solo enterprise. The fanzine, for Fry, is similar to how he sees his role as a designer. “Collaboration, simple ideas and varied execution are staples of my work.” At the same time, No.Zine provides an antidote to Fry’s day job as a graphic designer, which he has done since completing his BA degree from the London College of Communication in 2007. Fanzines have a format “so forgiving, you can be reckless, flippant and nonsensical”. Fanzines are spaces for experimentation, the very spirit of which means breaking free from the constraints of mainstream design and

publishing conventions. This publication’s graphic language is the complete antithesis of a more traditional fanzine style where a chaotic layout and cut-and-paste collage techniques represent a sense of urgency in the producer’s message. Fry admits: “No.Zine’s credentials as a fanzine are pretty debatable; it isn’t photocopied or hand bound. It is lithographed and bound professionally, as such it feels a little odd among proper zines.” Yet, what does come through is its do-it-yourself ethos and passion for the subject. No.Zine is currently on a hiatus, but Fry assures his readers that a new issue is on the cards – perhaps in a new medium. For the moment, however, in this world of digital dematerialisation, there is nothing so satisfying as holding a decent piece of printed graphic design. patrickfry.co.uk


b Magazine  Smells Like Zine Spirit 27


ART Y

Cathy Lomax

“I work very much the same way as a curator or as an editor,” Cathy Lomax explains about her role as the founder of east London’s Transition Gallery and producer of the popular DIY art fanzine Arty. “I decide upon a theme and then think of people who would be interesting contributors – whose writing or visual work would add something to the whole.” Since the early 2000s, Lomax has been a key player in London’s fringe art scene providing emerging artists with outlets for “voicing their opinions and concerns”. At various times over the years, she has worked in different capacities with Alex Michon and Stella Vine and, more recently, Nadia Hebson and Annabel Dover. The first issue of Arty, for example, featured on its cover a drawing by Alex Michon of anti-capitalist rioters wearing Marc Jacobs shoes. Lomax says: “This kind of irreverence combined with a generosity of spirit and a real love of the contemporary art scene has been very much part of Arty.” Fan culture also informs a significant part of Lomax’s ethos. “Before becoming an artist,

I used to sing in a band and was very aware of the zine culture around music – I then worked in fashion and developed a real love of magazines generally.” The inspiration for her own artwork comes from popular culture and is from the perspective of a fan insofar as it is “making the general personal”. So it is no surprise that this kind of thinking informed her choice to use the fanzine as a format. She argues that Arty “allows the maker to produce their own little world and as an artist it is an alternative way of showing work and staging exhibitions”. In the past, Arty themes have ranged from Anarchy, Architecture, Our Idols, Scandal and most recently, The Count of Monte Cristo. Lomax is due to publish the 30th issue of Arty, but selling out is far from her mind. “I don’t have any plans to turn Arty into a mainstream, glossy art magazine. I like the fact that it is most definitely a fanzine – ie made by a fan of art.” artymagazine.com

b Magazine  Smells Like Zine Spirit 29


FEVER ZINE

Alex Zamora

Not many people can claim they have over 4,000 followers of their fanzine on Facebook and the same again on Twitter. Yet, Liverpoolborn Alex Zamora has always had a talent for promotion. His lo-fi music, culture and fashion fanzine Fever Zine has used multiple social-media platforms (including MySpace, Flickr, and YouTube) alongside its print version since its inception in 2006. “Fever Zine’s social networks are integral to communicating and collaborating with its audience,” Zamora explains. “The printed content focuses on creativity, trends and online culture, whereas the social content, while very much about creativity, has more of a political angle … Fever Zine is very much a product of its online presence.” Only four issues have been produced to date of the printed edition, yet Fever Zine has emerged as a hip showcase for new talent. This profile is due to a strong editorial position but also its branding – pink photocopy paper upon which hand-rendered typographic forms are drawn by the designer Simon Whybray and with contributions from

the illustrator Andy Council. “The next issue will start to pull in the political themes we’ve been exploring on our social platforms,” continues Zamora. “Fanzines are intrinsically political, but this isn’t always reflected in their content. I have a strong sense of what my fanzine should be talking about, so it’ll be interesting to see how this translates on to the page and how readers react to it.” It is tempting to suggest that Zamora’s political nous comes, in part, from the fact that his parents and brother fled Pinochet’s dictatorship in Chile, immigrating to Liverpool where Zamora was born in the early 1980s. He says: “I think of myself as a Chilean Scouser (who’s sadly lost his accent).” His success with Fever Zine has helped to inspire other zinesters – “It’s allowed me to champion and support other young creatives who I’ve collaborated with.” – only helping to affirm Zamora’s well-respected status in both the creative industry and the fanzine community. feverzine.co.uk


b Magazine  Smells Like Zine Spirit 31


MAKESHIFT

Alastair Parvin & Adam Towle

“We didn’t want jobs from Makeshift, we wanted to publish ideas,” explains Alastair Parvin, with agreement from Adam Towle, the duo behind this new architecture fanzine, which is challenging the conventions of the profession’s current journalistic practices. “We’re not against industry journalism – but it has historically been very bad at looking into the future; because that’s not what it’s designed to do. There’s a healthy appetite for the new, but not often for the different,” he explains. Makeshift is certainly different. The fanzine occupies an ambiguous space that Parvin and Towle suggest questions the relationship between design publication and design practice but also that Makeshift sits “somewhere between a blog and a fanzine”. Founded while they were both students at the University of Sheffield, the fanzine has a materiality borne out of a digital space with thanks to their collaborator Jim Wiberley’s programming, which allows the user to sample the latest 10 pieces of content and compiles them into a downloadable PDF file that can be printed out. Each printout becomes a unique edition. The editorial position is clear. Contributors are asked to respond to the open question: “What

might architecture do?” This provocative attitude is an antidote to the profession’s notoriously bland and celebratory glossies, and influenced by thinkers such as Bruce Mau and Cedric Price. Parvin says: “I think we’d like Makeshift to be successful as a touch point for a generation of designers who want to think far more openly about what kind of problems design might be applied to, and how it might operate differently in this century.” Makeshift’s remit is about the big issues such as education and rising student fees, the changing economy, population growth and climate change, the paradigms of modern architecture, and so forth. This is where the format comes into its own, as Parvin enthuses: “Fanzines are fantastic, because they’re usually interested in change, they’re written for the love of it, and they’re often unencumbered by any loyalty to the status quo.” bemakeshift.com

Teal Triggs is professor of graphic design at the University of the Arts, London and author of Fanzines, published by Thames & Hudson. b Magazine  Smells Like Zine Spirit 33


34

A DECADE UNDER THE INFLUENCE —

As b store turns 10, we look back to where it all started (with a little help from our friends).

Words BEN PERDUE


b Magazine  A Decade Under The Influence 35


b store spring/summer 2009 presentation, Home House

b Magazine  A Decade Under The Influence 37


Contrary to its name, the b store is more than just a shop. 10 years since the doors first opened on Conduit Street – a period in which retail has undergone paradigm shifts both conceptually and commercially – it remains London’s game changer. And moving from its current Savile Row home to Soho in December will confirm how the original aim to support new creativity, as strong now as it was a decade ago, has kept b store one step ahead to this day. The store’s origins can be traced back to an encounter between two of its founders, Matthew Murphy and José Neves, at the Pitti Uomo trade show in Florence. Murphy took an interest in the Buddhahood shoes Neves designed, and they met back in London to plan launching the brand with a flagship store. Murphy tabled his idea for bringing in young designers and artists to share the space, and with the principles agreed got fellow Kent boy and remaining founder Kirk Beattie onboard to handle their customer base. “When we opened, there were already some great independent stores like Kokon To Zai and Pineal Eye in London,” says Murphy. “But much as I loved Pineal Eye, it could be quite scary. Our intention was to make young talent more accessible.” Being on the shop floor was always a priority and meant their customers understood the brand, while surrounding it with similar labels created a buzz around its identity, and in six months they were building the global reputation and press that enabled a move to Savile Row just four years later.

“They were never interested in being at the epicentre of fashion,” says PR legend Mandi Lennard, who worked with them prior to opening. “The b store customer was a real person, and it was about respect for good design – particularly the new wave of designers coming through. They had a lot of students dropping by and it was normal for them to like something in a portfolio and have it reproduced for the store.” That unique mix of creative aptitude generated a lot of early interest, singling out its founders as ambassadors for young talent; worthy titles given the graduate collections they sold then included names that enjoy international acclaim now – including Peter Jensen, Richard Nicoll and Roksanda Ilincic. “b store was one of the most crucial and important supporters of my early work,” says Ilincic. “The shop's concept was so fresh and exciting, challenging the way clothes were retailed in London. They were and still are a laboratory for creative design and spirit.” As Lennard notes, designers often popped in for a chat, but it was also common to see them working on the shop floor to earn extra money too – sometimes surrounded by their own work. Jonathan Kirby, now a creative director at Levi Strauss, is a prime example of how the store actively nurtured rising design talent in this way. Another is the stylist and consultant, Aleksandra Olenska. “I had to open up occasionally and even in heels couldn't reach the top lock so had


Ute Ploier swing-tags, made from vintage photographs

b Magazine  A Decade Under The Influence 39


to wait for passersby to help,” she says. “Once I made a whole window display out of shells. It was such a hit that Elle Deco called to ask if my whole flat was done out like that. The little shell lady I made presides over operations at b store today.” The window and roughly one third of the original space was given over to art, as it was always the intention to provide a platform for young artists as well as designers – though neither Murphy nor Beattie have ever claimed to be connoisseurs, or completely knowledgeable in the field. “So it was funny because the reputation we built in the fashion world transferred to the art world, and we became seen as these people breaking new talent.” Installations and events have meant working with established artists and gallerists, including Wolfgang Tillmans, Shona Heath, Kate MacGarry and Maureen Paley. For the b store autumn/winter 2010–11 Weekend at Wyndham collection, the director Ivana Bobic worked with the artist Nicola Pomery on a site-specific installation. “It was mixed media with projections, sculptures and drawings,” says Bobic. “We knew it was an amazingly trusting collaboration because Matthew and Kirk looked completely unfazed, even when we started spreading giant bags of compost across the shop floor.” Unsurprisingly it has been difficult to ascertain on occasion whether it was even a shop you were walking into. “Every time I go I feel like

I’m in a gallery situation,” says Paley. “The b store is in the West End but has idiosyncratic qualities and positive quirks that I think are representative of the East End. And the way they sustain their practice – showcasing art and committing to print – means I am happy to be associated with them.” When the b store started supporting young creatives 10 years ago, blogs and online magazines were nowhere near as powerful as today. Customers and designers were less knowledgeable; now everyone knows everything and nothing is exclusive. Its founders knew then that b store would never be the only shop to give windows to artists, and their designers would go on to new things. “It’s inspiring,” says Murphy. “People ask us if we feel bad that people like Richard (Nicoll) and Roksanda (Ilincic) moved on, but they just outgrew us. “We were an incubator. We never intended to be a luxury-brand store and if a label gets above a certain price point, it isn’t for us anymore. If their brand evolves and they become something else then, of course, they should go on to do other things. Some have fallen by the wayside but some are extremely successful, and it’s been great seeing that.” Evolving in a rapidly changing market also relies on concrete relationships; from the relaxed rapport b store enjoys with its customers and being able to discuss creative solutions with artists and designers, to collaborating with high-street giants and communicating

their brand to international department stores. “In a certain respect, having the shop floor achieved that because that’s where we met people and where our networking was done. It wasn’t at fashion parties.” Their sense of identity plays a part too, and helps explain why its founders have seen the retail transformation happening around them as positive rather than a threat. “When Dover Street Market came along people asked if we were worried,” says Murphy. “We weren’t. If they had opened in Paris it would have been bad for London, but they opened here – so it proved the potential. “That was probably the last exciting retail concept that happened. Since then you’ve got this new movement with LN-CC and Oki Ni happening – interesting retail concepts off the back of online. The bricks and mortar is secondary – which has never really been us. We’ve got this old-fashioned shopkeeper mentality – you’re nothing without your customers. Online, it’s difficult to know exactly who your customers are.” Like winning the British fashion award for shop of the year in 2006 – against stiff competition from Liberty and Harrods – launching their own menswear label the previous year was a milestone. It secured the brand’s future and cemented its commitment to new London menswear. As Tim Soar (a designer who has had every collection bought by the shop since his 2005 debut) puts it: “Without b store I would be nothing.” b Magazine  A Decade Under The Influence 41


b Magazine  A Decade Under The Influence 43


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Gordon Richardson, the design director of Topman, was a regular customer and good friend of the shop who felt similarly about the problem menswear was facing around the same time, with young talent abandoning London to work for luxury brands abroad. So he was keen for their advice when launching MAN, a project to mirror the success Topshop was having with its NEW GEN sponsorship of new designers. “Through their nurturing and constant support of young designers they have quietly changed the face of menswear in the UK,” says Richardson. “I’ve worked with Matthew on several projects for Topman – most recently Topman General Store. His knowledge of upand-coming designers and brands is second to none. So it’s always a joy shopping in b store, and the chat is as important as the clothing.” The true value of their own label has been the doors it opens commercially, providing a presence in major department stores such as Selfridges, Liberty and Printemps in Paris. And not just on a wholesale level, but by doing what b store does best, creating popups and corners inside these retail meccas that showcase its ethos. “They are the powers within the industry now, and if you run a wholesale business you can’t not work with department stores, it’s impossible. “Printemps gave us the stamp of approval commercially. We had a ground-floor spot with a window opposite Dior, and it and was probably the best performing thing they ever

had in the space. People look at the brand in a different way – not just as someone coming in to give the place kudos anymore. Now we have similar things planned for Tomorrowland in Tokyo, and Tsvetnoy in Russia, as well as a womenswear shop at Liberty.” And the beauty of expanding into womenswear – with Chloe Struyk’s b store debut for spring/ summer 2012 – is the chance to reapply the same creative ideas and lessons learned from pushing the men’s collection, opening an even bigger set of doors in the process. But as the brand demands more of a presence, so the space needed to house it has had to change, the result being that b store has outgrown its home – especially the basement showroom. “We wanted to find a space for us all but nowhere could fit us in. But we did find a great space for the shop. So the shop goes and we find another space for the showroom.” As the shop moves to Kingly Street, the showroom will be rehoused in Old Street – with Murphy overseeing operations in a new creative role he likens to that of an editor or curator. “You need someone with a creative vision to drive it, and I don’t necessarily see myself as an ideas man, but what I feel my role could be is finding people and putting them together.” Tom Finch, an architect and artist who b store have worked with on almost all their pop-up shops and concessions, has been working on the interior design. “Hopefully the new store will form the foundation for a series of new

projects,” he says. “When Matthew describes the aesthetic that we have developed together as something now recognisably ‘b’ it inspires me to develop our ideas even further.” And the plan is to keep both spaces open for a while, celebrating the new opening with a month-long series of events. Murphy has even been in talks with Shaftesbury PLC – their new landlord – about the possibility of holding a b store music festival along the street. More shops-in-shops and department store corners are definitely on the cards, and future projects planned for brands such as Absolut and Casio. The same creativity continues in-store too, with new commercial ideas, such as Ten for Ten – a first foray into the luxury men’s lifestyle market (Monocle are already interested) that has meant working with the best UK heritage brands, including Sunspel, Penhaligons and Kent Combs, on limited-edition box sets of their all-time favourite products. “Making it to 10 means people take us seriously now,” says Murphy. “More so than ever it’s time for us to stand up and say this is who we are.” But of all the projects and developments that have seen the store up sticks twice, create their own in-house labels, and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the biggest names in retail, one thing b store will never do is multiply. “Opening up another b store would be difficult because it works for a reason. And I don’t know whether you could emulate that anywhere else.”


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Anders Azubel graduate collection, 2007

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b Magazine  A Decade Under The Influence 51


b Magazine  A Decade Under The Influence 53


b store autumn/winter 2008-09 presentation


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AFTERNOON SISTERS — 56 Photography AITKEN JOLLY Fashion SAM RANGER

Georgia wears jumper PETER JENSEN; Shirt ANN SOFIE BACK; Andie wears skirt suit BERNHARD WILLHELM; Polo neck WOLFORD


Andie wears cape MONIQUE VAN HEIST; Shirt PETER JENSEN; Polo neck WOLFORD; Socks UNIQLO; Pool shoes ADIDAS [Opposite] Georgia wears jumper and necklace CHRISTOPHE LEMAIRE; Shirt PETER JENSEN; Skirt STEPHAN SCHNEIDER


Georgia wears coat SOPHIE HULME; Jumper JW ANDERSON ; Polo neck WOLFORD  [Opposite] Andie wears cardigan PETER JENSEN; Polo neck WOLFORD; Trousers THOMAS TAIT; Socks UNIQLO; Pool shoes ADIDAS  [Following, left] Andie wears coat KATIE EARY; Polo neck WOLFORD [Following, right] Andie wears coat SIMONE ROCHA ; Polo neck WOLFORD; Skirt TZE GOH; Socks UNIQLO; Shoes ROBERT CLERGERIE

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Andie wears coat MONIQUE VON HEIST; Jumper ACNE  [Opposite] Georgia wears coat SOPHIE HULME; Shirt SIMONE ROCHA; Skirt TZE GOH; Socks FALKE; Pool shoes ADIDAS; Andie wears top and skirt JW ANDERSON; Socks FALKE; Pool shoes ADIDAS


Georgia wears jumper and shirt PETER JENSEN; Skirt STEPHAN SCHNEIDER [Opposite] Andie wears top TZE GOH; Shirt PAUL SMITH; Polo neck WOLFORD; Trousers THOMAS TAIT

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Andie wears coat SOPHIE HULME; Shirt HOUSE OF HOLLAND; Polo neck WOLFORD; Trousers PETER JENSEN; Socks FALKE; Pool shoes ADIDAS; Georgia wears cape TZE GOH; Shirt PAUL SMITH; Trousers PETER JENSEN; Socks FALKE; Pool shoes ADIDAS [Opposite] Andie wears jacket SOPHIE HULME; Polo neck WOLFORD; Skirt CHRISTOPHE LEMAIRE; Socks UNIQLO; Pool shoes ADIDAS Hair HALLEY BRISKER @ JED ROOT using L’ORÉAL PROFESSIONEL Make-up ANDREW GALLIMORE @ CLM using M.A.C  Set designer ANDREA CALLERINO @ MAGNET Models ANDIE ARTHUR @ FORD and GEORGIA HILMER @ NEXT  Photographer’s assistants JACK DAY, KEIR GARENTLAWSON and LETTY SCHMITERLOW  Fashion assistants CRISTINA HOLMES and CHARLOTTE GIBBS  Digital operator NICK BARR C/O LITTLE YELLOW JACKET  Production ELLIE HENNINGER C/O SERLIN ASSOCIATES  Pigeon fancier GEORGE DOLE  Thanks to Neil Soni and all at Loft Studios


70

Photography LAURENCE ELLIS Fashion JASON HUGHES


Polo neck STEPHAN SCHNEIDER  [Opposite] Jackets MOHSIN ALI; Shirt B STORE; Trousers CHRISTOPHE LEMAIRE


Trousers TIM SOAR; Socks FALKE; Shoes MR HARE  [Opposite] Blazer CASELY-HAYFORD; Top KYE; Shorts CHAMPION; Socks FALKE; Shoes MR HARE  [Previous] Bomber jacket TIM SOAR; Shirt ONE NINE ZERO SIX; Trousers PAUL SMITH


Shirt STEPHAN SCHNEIDER [Opposite] Tracksuit CHAMPION; Shirt HARDY AMIES; Socks FALKE; Shoes MR HARE

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Trousers LOU DALTON; Socks FALKE; Shoes MR HARE  [Opposite] Jacket CASELY-HAYFORD; Shirt MARGARET HOWELL; Trousers IAN BATTEN; Socks FALKE; Shoes MR HARE  [Previous] Suit DUNHILL

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Coats ACNE; Polo neck CASELY-HAYFORD [Opposite] Sweatshirt BERTHOLD; Shirt PATRIK ERVELL; Shorts SUNSPEL; Socks FALKE; Shoes MR HARE Hair NAOKI KOMIYA @ JULIAN WATSON AGENCY Make-up JANEEN WITHERSPOON @ JULIAN WATSON AGENCY using M.A.C Model MAX RENDELL @ ELITE LONDON  Photographer’s assistants VERENA STEFANIE and KHALIL MUSA  Fashion assistants ISABELLA GOUMAL and ALEC MATHER  Hair assistant TAKAHIRO  Special thanks to Charlie Clark @ Elite London, Neil Soni and all at Loft Studios

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84

WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS

Photography TOM ALLEN Fashion STEVEN WESTGARTH

Top JW ANDERSON; Skirt MOTHER OF PEARL; Corn pieces throughout, custom made for story ELAINE LINDSAY


Shirt ANN SOFIE BACK; Dress DANIELLE SCUTT; Corn pieces throughout, custom made for story ELAINE LINDSAY [Opposite] Top and trousers JW ANDERSON

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[Opposite] Top MOTHER OF PEARL; Vest DANIELLE SCUTT; Skirt ROKSANDA ILINCIC


Top and trousers CHRISTOPHER KANE; Collar RAFIKA BOUJDADI; Corn pieces throughout, custom made for story ELAINE LINDSAY [Opposite] T-shirt LOU DALTON; Skirt MOTHER OF PEARL; Shoes BERNHARD WILLHELM FOR CAMPER


[Opposite] Top and skirt LOUISE GRAY; Leggings FUTURE CLASSICS; Collar FELDER FELDER

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Top ROKSANDA ILINCIC; Shorts JW ANDERSON; Corn pieces throughout, custom made for story ELAINE LINDSAY [Opposite] Top and trousers PETER PILOTTO; Shoes LOUISE GRAY


Top JENNY POSTLE [Opposite] Top JW ANDERSON; Skirt HOLLY FULTON; Corn pieces throughout, custom made for story ELAINE LINDSAY; Shoes LOUISE GRAY Hair CHI WONG @ JULIAN WATSON AGENCY using L’ORÉAL PROFESSIONNEL Make-up THOMAS DE KLUYVER @ D+V MANAGEMENT using TOM FORD Model DEMPSEY STEWART @ UNION  Photographer’s assistant FRASER TYRIE and NATHAN TRIBBLE  Stylist’s assistant AXEL PERRY and MELINA KUTELA  Hair assistant DAVIDE BARBIERI Make-up assistant KATH GOULD  Casting EDDY MARTIN for FILE AND PARADE  Special thanks to Spring Studios

b Magazine  Where The Red Fern Grows 97


DUBBING IN THE B A C K YA R D — 98 Photography WILLEM JASPERT Fashion JASON HUGHES

Raincoat, custom made for story SATYENKUMAR; Polo neck JOHN SMEDLEY


Zip-up top and trousers TIM SOAR (ARCHIVE) [Opposite] Suit JONATHAN SAUNDERS; Knitted top CHERIE NEWING; Polo neck JOHN SMEDLEY

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Knitted top, shirt and trousers JAMES LONG  [Opposite] Polo neck JOHN SMEDLEY customised by stylist with sleeves made from leggings by AYAMÉ; Trousers JW ANDERSON; Shoes CASELY-HAYFORD  [Previous] Jacket and shorts LOU DALTON; Polo neck JOHN SMEDLEY customised by stylist with collar made from socks by AYAMÉ; Shoes CASELY-HAYFORD


Jacket MATTHEW MILLER; Polo neck JOHN SMEDLEY customised by stylist with collar made from socks by AYAMÉ [Opposite] Suit custom made for story SATYENKUMAR; T-shirt TOPMAN DESIGN; Shoes CASELY-HAYFORD; String bag stylist’s own

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Jacket CHRISTOPHE LEMAIRE; Polo neck JOHN SMEDLEY customised by stylist with collar made from socks by AYAMÉ; Trousers WOOYOUNGMI; Shoes CASELY-HAYFORD  [Opposite] Jacket and trousers AGY & SAM; Polo neck JOHN SMEDLEY [Previous] Safari jacket, T-shirt and shorts SATYENKUMAR; Polo neck JOHN SMEDLEY Make-up LOTTEN HOLMQVIST @ JULIAN WATSON AGENCY using M.A.C Model FERNANDO CABRAL @ FUSION MODEL MANAGEMENT  Set designer GEORGINA PRAGNELL  Photographer’s assistant JAMES FREW  Stylist’s assistant ISABELLA GOUMAL  Special thanks to Josh Bostwick @ Fusion Model Management

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112

FROM TWO THOUSAND TILL NOW — An interview with designer Martino Gamper.

Words DAL CHODHA Portraits JO METSON SCOTT


Clockwise from left: Barbapapa in Vienna; Painters Mate; Sonnet Butterfly; Omback; Mono Suede; all from 100 Chairs in 100 Days, 2007

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“I wasn’t going to be a designer that had a very classic way of designing – I was more interested in a free and artistic way of working that was quite spontaneous to the process and a method of illusion.”

Martino Gamper is currently engaged in a conversation about health and safety – the heavily policed modern bylaw, testing the patience of anyone working in the public realm. “It’s something that’s affecting all of us but even more so when you’re working on something that’s for the public,” the Italian-born designer smirks. Nestled outside his Hackney studio are two benches: prototypes for the 20 objects Gamper has just installed along the Park-to-Park connection from Victoria park to the Olympic park. “The amount of restriction we were given to work with at the beginning of the project changed when we came to install it and it was all very ad-hoc! Once you’re in the space, all of those rules and regulations you’ve had to think about seem to disappear very quickly,” he laughs. The Park-to-Park project appealed to Gamper as, growing up in Merano, Italy, his natural association with the sense of a piazza – a place to sit down and talk – sits in contrast to the public seating London offers. Here benches are relegated to dusty parks or utilitarian shopping centres. “Maybe people have more time to spend sitting on chairs and talking in Italy or Spain where outdoor seating is more common and as London’s so hectic, no one really has time, apart from on the weekend, to use these seats and people are always in a hurry,” he ponders. Is he keen to slow us all down? “When we put those two benches outside of the studio, we didn’t really know if anyone would use them but you do see people sitting on them arguing, kissing or drinking and it’s nice to see that people do appreciate it. Apparently it’s Hackney council’s policy to provide as

little street furniture as possible to discourage antisocial behaviour – none of the neighbours want a bench outside of their houses. But on the flipside, it’s because there are so few benches that you get people grouping together and just sitting on all they can find.” The language used to describe Gamper’s work rarely deviates from “spontaneous”, “sociable” and “characterful”, words better used to describe a well-loved cousin rather than an RCA-trained designer. Gamper responds: “I mean, a lot of those words describe what I do, but also I think a lot of the work is about trying to educate people to look forward.” At the age of 14, he began work as an apprentice to the Merano-based furniture maker Peter Karbacher. But after five years doing this, he realised that he wasn’t really interested in working in traditional furniture making. “I wasn’t going to be a designer that had a very classic way of designing – I was more interested in a free and artistic way of working that was quite spontaneous to the process and a method of illusion: so you start somewhere and you make a rough mock-up, you move on, you work with the material, rather than on paper. For me it was much more immediate to work that way, to end up with a finished piece. I wanted to be freer.” He arrived in London in 1998 to start his masters at RCA. Gamper reflects: “There isn’t really one way of designing in London, one way of living, and that gives everyone a possibility to do what he or she wants to do regardless of his or her background.” Such freedom and opportunity, however, can have a negative impact in the passive way we all look at products and in the contemporary way we

judge what is good design. “I guess now it can sometimes be a bit superficial as everything works, everything is fine and there is a sense of a continuous stream of disposable ideas and a lot of designers not necessarily learning about or referencing the past.” In Italy, Gamper finds that the sense of understanding history and classical design is inherent. “People tend to know more about the past,” he says. “But here, it’s much more about the contemporary but then you can go into a circle as everything becomes too influenced by itself and the same fashions keep getting referenced. There are a lot of ideas but I don’t see them ending up as products and I wonder where all these ideas go.” Is it important to create work that is very new or work that is very now? Gamper isn’t sure – his work just simply exists. “For me it’s about something that lasts, it has a certain quality and that quality could be in the making itself, it can be an element that cannot be reproduced so easily that adds a sense of newness, of something you haven’t seen before. Design doesn’t have to constantly renew itself, it’s just there and it’s quite good that it is, people appreciate it.” A modern paradox is that as more of us begin to seek something new and perhaps something modern, the options open to us tend to be far too diluted. “We’re totally spoilt for imagery and inspiration today and at some points, I think, I don’t want to look at anything anymore,” Gamper says. “But then when I go to people’s houses and I see how they live, I don’t see these objects! They might end up in the designers own homes but what I really miss is a sense of these objects moving in, b Magazine  From Two Thousand Till Now 117


Clockwise from top-left: Vaso 1 from Cuttings, 2008; Sit-Together Bench from Corners, 2000; Box-drawer 02 from WouldnÂ’t It Be Nice, 2009; Chair 01 & Chair 02 from Martino with Carlo Mollino, 2008


Photography courtesy of MARTINO GAMPER STUDIO

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“Design doesn’t have to constantly renew itself, it’s just there and it’s quite good that it is, people appreciate it.”


even as one-offs or commissions for houses. A lot of people are buying things that look, in a sense, un-designed, things that are there to do their job, you know they don’t stick out too much, things that aren’t too different.” In October 2007 when Gamper unveiled his 100 Chairs in 100 Days exhibition arranged over two floors of a large mid-Victorian house in London’s South Kensington, his assault on to the design world was noted as a spontaneous illustration of design history and anthropology; his works encouraged visitors to the gallery to talk and find a chair that they felt represented them. Today, recognisable for these idiosyncratic hybrid objects, the burden to carry on with the project is intense. He says: “It’s like writing a good pop song: everyone wants the next one to be new and similar, but not too similar. So, I don’t try to think too much about that.” Growing up, Gamper was surrounded by furniture that he didn’t find particularly interesting. Italian-designed chairs of the 1960s and 70s were littered around the house he grew up in, adjacent to dark, sturdy, rustic wooden chairs that sat in the kitchen, the sort typical to a house in the Alps. “At that time, I knew what I didn’t like but that was based on an immediate vision that was quite limited. In the 80s in that part of the world, of course, there was no internet and yes, you had all sorts of design, but a lot of people had traditional cabinets in their houses from cabinetmakers, so you were always looking at a type of design you knew, there was little opportunity to see anything that was different.” Before going to university, Gamper went

travelling to learn English, arriving in Philadelphia to live with a family, working as a babysitter, making money here and there using his skills as a cabinetmaker and odd-job man. “Then I went to LA and stayed there with some family friends who had a big beautiful modernist house,” he recalls. With a short stay in Mexico and Guatemala before returning to LA, Gamper was building up his aesthetic vocabulary. “It was a different planet in a way, but at that time I was still not into design, I was still trying to find out what I was interested in.” Finishing off his world tour in Australia, the Philippines and Thailand, Gamper realised that a lot of the people he had met along the way all worked in a creative way or in creative subjects opening the idea that Gamper should study something “creative”. Gamper went to Vienna, first studying sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts, then product design at the University of the Applied Arts under Memphis co-founder Matteo Thun. “I always wanted to work slightly differently than other people do because I think that’s one of the interesting things about being a designer – you can design your own job description or profession; you don’t have to stick to one type of work. If you’re a lawyer, then you have to stick to being a lawyer but being a designer you can change every day.” Gamper’s work is difficult to label, on first glance his creations are comical, humorous crossbreed monsters forcing us to think in different ways about how materials and colours can sit together. Look again and you realise that Gamper is making things that have a practical purpose – you can sit on, at or next

to his work. “People think I’m actually an artist, but I consider myself a designer. A designer, working with similar ideology as an artist by not sticking to the brief, not working in one industry,” the softly spoken designer shares. “I work free and spontaneously and these are all methods an artist might use but at the end of the day, these are all functional pieces, so, it’s furniture, so in that sense I’m not an artist.” Reflecting on 100 Chairs in 100 Days, the process was much more about intuition. “I like the sense that sometimes I don’t know if I actually love something I’ve made or I hate it but, as an end product, it’s important that you recognise that you can sit in it. They’re chairs!” As well as wrapping up the current Parkto-Park project and taking down his sitespecific solo exhibition Condominium at Turin’s Galleria Franco Noero, Gamper is rebuilding his studio with his wife, the artist Francis Upritchard, and two others who are keen to revisit the idea of patronage. “How do you commission work? That’s an interesting question for me because I get asked to do a lot of commissions, taking on the responsibly of looking at someone’s ideas and helping them to make them become real,” he says. Gamper’s old-fashioned approach to craft is inevitable. “At the beginning of the century, it really was a much bigger deal to commission people to do something and now I want to encourage that sense of involving people by giving them time and help to make sure their ideas are not just on a blog somewhere, but that they’re implemented in our real lives.” gampermartino.com b Magazine  From Two Thousand Till Now 121


122 Words DAL CHODHA Photography RETTS WOOD

HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW? ALISON LLOYD, DESIGNER “When I moved into this house six years ago, there was a sort of pit with an old shed on it at the end of the garden, which the old couple that lived here before, used to have Jehovah's Witness meetings in. The shed has gone now and I’ve turned that into a bit of a bower that we grow grapes from. I like my plants, but I wouldn’t say I’m really green fingered, not like my dad. My mum and dad are complete hippies. Growing up we used to keep bees and everything so, of course, we got roped into doing stuff too – parents were harder then! Their generation was from the wartime, so growing your own was actively encouraged by the government. Growing stuff to eat was normal (and it is quite easy really). I remember, when I was a student, I lived in a house in Enfield – I think this is why

I quite like having the bower – it had the most gorgeous overgrown garden with a pathway covered with jasmine but because I have these veggie-growing parents, I remember ripping it all up and laying a path down the side so I could grow broad beans and all sorts of stuff. The runner beans we grew were okay, but we spoilt the look of the garden, that’s for sure. I am a keen gardener but I haven’t got much time and honestly, I like my garden for looking a bit overgrown; I just have to let it do what it wants to because I don’t have enough time to look after it. Right now we have grapes, apples and we did grow rocket successfully last summer. Figs too! I had some really good ones last year. I did actually put the fig tree in. I like fig trees as they make me think of holidays.”


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JULIET OLDFIELD, ACTOR “I have photographs of my mum as a little girl in this very same garden. My great grandparents originally bought the house and up until my nan died, we all used to come and spend Christmas here, so I’ve got a lot of memories of 25 people crammed around the dinner table in the front room. I remember the garden just being very full of stone and brick – it wasn’t very green and I guess it was a very typical urban space. With four kids, I don’t think my nan had a lot of time for it. The garden was bigger before we extended the back of the house so now as it’s only a small space, I like to keep it neat and I change it quite often so that’s why it’s full of pots and props that can move around when I get bored. I’m a bit of a colour-scheme freak, so I tend to try and make sure there are only three colours plus green in the garden at any one time, so right now it’s blue, white, purple and green. I’m a bit lazy though as I buy plants that I know don’t need a lot of attention but sometimes I will get pansies, which don’t last very long but I like the look of them. In an ideal world, I’d like to live in a cottage with a garden covered in flowers and plants and I love the way the next-door neighbour’s tree is hanging over the wall into my garden, it brings messiness to the space. There are some herbs, rosemary and I’ve just got a blackcurrant plant which I’ve got to grow. But because of the size of the garden I have to be really careful with what I grow and also, because of my cat, Gizmo, I have to be careful about what I can have here. I really do love birdhouses and stuff, but I don’t have one because of the cat. I’d feel really bad luring these birds into my garden for them to find this black cat lurking around.”

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NANCY ROHDE, STYLIST “As a teenager when nobody else was gardening, I would be growing peas or something. My grandparents are total masters and I used to spend my summer holidays with them in Gloucestershire. They grew everything from gooseberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants to plums and apples. To me it’s quite therapeutic. I remember, at the age of 11, I grew peas the size of a postage stamp and now, I try and get my kids, who are 12, eight and three, involved because I’d like them to know where things come from … but to be honest, they’re a bit over it now and it’s only when their friends come round, they really get into it. I grow chard – which the sparrows love to eat – beans, strawberries, I had peas, apples, blackberries and honestly, it’s a bit frantic as there’s so much. The lawn is chamomile and there are tonnes of herbs here too. It’s like my practice garden before getting a bigger one.

I’ve been going to Chelsea Flower Show every single year since I was 18 – how sad is that? I know quite a lot about gardening compared to some people, but really I make a lot of mistakes. It’s about planting the right things in the right places. I have to cut my losses and move things around all the time. You just have to deal with the failures and the successes in gardening. Anything that is a failure becomes a lesson. The one thing that really annoys me about gardening is slugs. Last Feburary I put 50 daffodils in and after one night, there wasn’t a single daffodil left. Can you imagine? I did this big campaign against the slugs and we had loads of daffodils the next year and it was really nice. Slugs love beer, so if you spill some beer by accident, twenty minutes later there will be slugs all over it, so people make beer traps to catch them. You get them so drunk, that they kill themselves.”

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BEN ASHTON, ARTIST, AND HIS WIFE, FIONA GARDEN, PHOTOGRAPHER “Growing up, I moved a lot so didn’t really have a garden apart from the one in my surname … Ben’s mother is a big gardener, though, and they have an incredible place in Buckinghamshire that has little niches and archways and a herb garden. Our wedding cake was a scale model of that garden, the compost boxes, everything recreated in marzipan – it was amazing! This place was once a recording studio that apparently Chaka Khan recorded in and when Ben and I saw it, we saw a space that we could work and live in immediately. But we had to create something of an outdoor space. As we both work from home, you can just walk outside and be in this tranquil, organic

environment and that lets you be okay with sitting in front of a computer for eight hours. Growing something is just so incredibly rewarding and we started growing these avocado trees from seed and I’m inordinately proud of those. A lot of what we have grown is from seeds of stuff that I like. For some reason, I can’t throw away avocado seeds and there are piles of them everywhere because every one of those is a tree! It just kills me to throw them away. The avocado plants have been my biggest success and everyone says: “Oh you must have such a green thumb,” But no, if it’s crispy, water it. If it’s drooping, stop watering it! That’s it. My biggest disaster were my pumpkins – they were a shambles – but recently I’ve found the most amazing, most passionate essay about pumpkins online, which is how I learned that the flowers only bloom for one day and they have to be pollinated in that time. So recently I’ve been playing god and pollinating them myself. The next stage is to put some planters in and the plan is to grow beans, corn and pumpkin together. They call them the “three sisters” because the beans climb the corn and the pumpkin spreads, so that’s what we want to do. I really want pumpkins.”


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134

BRITISH FOLK A photographic portfolio by James Pearson-Howes.

Words MICHAEL NOTTINGHAM Photography JAMES PEARSON-HOWES


The work of the London-based photographer James Pearson-Howes captures a bewilderingly broad cross-section of contemporary Britain – from portraits of Vietnamese rude boys in Hackney and an ongoing photo-journal of an African refugee boy’s experience of the UK, to a new series depicting the persistence of strange and colourful folk traditions across England. “Most of my projects prior to British folk were very London centric,” explains Pearson-Howes on how the latter came about. “I wanted a change, a bigger project – and these traditions were so vivid, and often so dark or weird as opposed to the usual stereotype of twee Morris dancers.” After pouring through the artist Jeremy Deller’s Folk archives project and researcher and collector Doc Rowe’s collection of folklore and folksong materials, Pearson-Howes was inspired to approach the subject from a different angle. “There was so much fascinating documentation of the ritual side of these traditions,” he says. “But I wanted to do something more along the lines of portraiture – focusing more on the people participating as well as choosing the more surreal and darker events.”

Portraiture has been a major focus of his ongoing work as a photographer. His first serious photography project - a photoessay on teenage refugees - began whilst studying for the BA in photography at London College of Printing (now LCC). He still photographs one young refugee, Ousamel, for his Fulaman project. It was at LCP that he also discovered Bruce Davidson, Paul Graham and Wolfgang Tillmans – all important influences on the development of his technique and his photographic eye and ones that still inspire him to this day. Wanderlust also plays a role in the new series, Pearson-Howes admits. The artist had wanted to travel around England and considered a series on hitchhiking until he found it had already been done. Then in 2008 he photographed Morris dancers with blackened faces in his local town, Wimbourne, and realised he had the beginning of his series. In Ottery, also in the West Country, he photographed the annual tradition of carrying burning tar barrels through the streets. “A lot of these events are very old and their meanings get lost or distorted over time,” he offers. “But

originally the burning tar barrels were thought to be carried in order to exorcise demons from the village houses with smoke. Now they’re almost a rite of passage, with boys in their early teens, maybe even younger, carrying little burning barrels.” A refreshing reminder of just how remote these places and traditions are from London and its miles of health-and-safety red tape. There haven’t been any serious injuries in the event, according to Pearson-Howes, “but you might get a bit of your hair singed off …” James Pearson-Howes is collaborating with the designer Ben Freeman to make three books for the British folk series, each with a limited edition of 250. The first has sold out, the next will be available in early December and the final instalment comes out in April 2012. jamespearsonhowes.com

As well as being a regular arts contributor to b Magazine, Michael Nottingham frequently writes for Undercurrent magazine and contributes essays to Piers Atkinson’s millinery lookbooks. b Magazine  British Folk 137


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Matt Murphy and Kirk Beattie Founders of b Store Matt Murphy and Kirk Beattie are designers of the b Store fashion brand. Through determination and imagination they have carved out a welcome niche with their purist approach to fashion. G-Shock’s ethos of “Never, Never Give Up” is something both Matt and Kirk promote through an eternally positive approach. Their ideas and collaborations help continually grow and build their business. The G-Shock Premium watch is a perfect accessory to their demanding lifestyles and helps keep their busy schedules in check. Matt and Kirk select the G-Shock Premium series

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Photography by Willem Jaspert


b Magazine - Autumn/winter 2011-12 - Issue No 5  

In this issue - PUSH IT REAL GOOD - we’re naturally feeling a little nostalgic as the store moves out of Savile Row and sets up its new home...

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