A global field guide to shopping, style and hidden gems
est. 2007

Archive: Jul 2008

  1. V&A Village Fete


    Roll up, roll up… London birdies, it's not too late to get down to the V&A Village Fete today. We had a brilliant time last night and surprise, surprise, WON some great designer booty (Rob Ryan print and Tatty Devine moustache ring, oh my!). Here are some pics …

    Bompas and Parr's Breast or Dome?

    Gilles and Cecilie Studio's Pass the Pigs.

    Vicky and George's Fetebook.

    One Point Oh's Anarchy in the English Country Garden.

    Tatty Devine's Welcome to The Ring Master!

    Fibre's Criminal Record.

    Garudio Studiage's Who's in the hutch?

    Rob Ryan's There's gonna be a scratch off.

    ico Design's Flap to freedom.

    I'll post a pic of my Fete finds tomorrow – I'm just on my way out now to Sundae in the Park to catch The Charlatans and The Guillemots. Hurrah!

  2. Summer fete, London-style


    Ahhh, a village fete in high summer – a perfectly quaint English tradition that sounds right up my alley, especially when the V&A’s in charge.

    Last year's fete in the V&A's John Madejski Garden

    I’m still kicking myself about missing out last year, so tomorrow night you’ll find me at the Late Night Village Fete, playing hoopla at Tatty Devine’s booth in a bid to win a limited-edition ring, getting into a scratch-off for art prizes at Rob Ryan’s stall, and lining up at Lady Luck Rules OK for a bespoke wooden rosette brooch.

    Moustache necklace £23, by Tatty Devine.

    There’s an impressive line-up of other creative games and stalls by leading as well as up-and-coming designers in Britain, and kooky events like helium karaoke (uh, that's heli-oke), “The Beard Tent” (compete for the largest and most object-filled beard) and “Anarchy in an English Country Garden” (winning topiary trimmers score bondage-style wellies). See you there amongst the bunting … and the beards.

    Friday Late Village Fete
    Friday 25 July, 6.30pm-10pm
    Saturday 26 July, 10am-5.45pm
    The V&A Museum
    Cromwell Road
    London SW7 2RL
    Tel. 020 7942 2966

    Click here for a Wee Birdy map.

  3. London shopping: Ryantown


    It's no secret that I adore Rob Ryan. I mean, what’s not to love? The man is as much obsessed with bird, flower and plant motifs as I am, and his extraordinary paper-cutting talents are constantly called upon for creative collaborations by the likes of Paul Smith, Liberty and Vogue.

    Dress for UK Vogue.

    So when I got the fluro-pink birdy invitation to the opening of his very first shop on Columbia Road recently, I was there in a (tiny sparrow’s) heartbeat. Ryantown isn’t hard to miss, with its jaunty new lick of turquoise-blue paint and gleeful cursive signage. Inside, the bijou shop has the air of a gallery space, with an eye-catching floor-to-ceiling tile mural and Ryan’s artwork dotted around the walls.

    Now, keep in mind that a mid-week evening soiree on Columbia Road bears little resemblance to the heaving begonia-laden crowds who flock to the street for the famous Flower Markets every Sunday. So I took full advantage of the distinct lack of people and peonies for a closer inspection of Ryan’s new wares.

    Taking pride of place above the mantle are rows of Ryan’s hand screen-printed tiles, which are fired nearby in his studio’s kiln. At £24, these miniature artworks are ultra-affordable, and have already attracted a loyal following of shoppers on Etsy. Displayed together in a palette of muted brights, it’s hard to resist these perfect little pieces of Ryanisms. At the other end of the scale are Ryan’s limited edition prints from £350 and incredible paper artworks from £2000 (unframed).

    But I was keen to suss out Ryan’s new products, and spied a range of laser-cut wooden keys-to-my-heart at £16 and rolls of chunky tape featuring a blue and white neighbourhood tableau at £10. I know that nobody needs a decorative roll of tape for £10, but wait until you clap eyes on these little beauties and see if you can resist their demand to be picked up and lovingly stuck to brown paper packages and the like.

    There’s also a brand new range of exclusive t-shirts, some gorgeous paper-cut cards at a very reasonable £2.50, and signed copies of Ryan’s book, This is for You, at £12. You can also pick up the Clothkits make-your-own Rob Ryan skirt for £46.

    I’m told that more stock is on its way, with a rather enticing promise of new pieces rolling in every week. For instance, a range of one-off ceramic platters and vases will be regularly added to the shop, and new “height rulers for human beings”– great for kids’ rooms – will be arriving in-store soon. A wee birdy also told me about an upcoming stool in collaboration with furniture designer Michael Marriott. Busy times for Mister Rob – and I’ll definitely be coming back on Sundays for more (battling the begonias and all).

    126 Columbia Road
    London E2 7RG
    Email: ryantownshop@googlemail.com
    Check out Ryantown's shop blog.

    Click here for a Wee Birdy map.

    Opening hours:
    Saturday 1pm-4pm
    Sunday 9am-4pm

    Nearest tubes: Liverpool S
    treet and Bethnal Green

    For more shops in East London, click here.