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Welcome to rachelsays... The blog of Rachel Lewis, containing my thoughts and musings on illustration, design, fashion, music, cakey-bakey goodness, culture and things that I generally find cool. There's also a good chance my own illustration work will pop up on here.

All work on this blog is copyright to me unless I state that it isn't. Obviously. Don't do stealing, kids.

So come on in, have a look around, and leave a comment if you like what you see.
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Friday, October 23, 2009

London Times: Liberty, Beyond The Valley, and other adventures...

So as I mentioned in my previous post, I had a little trip to London on thursday :) Packed quite a lot in, did I.

First up, Liberty's. I can never get over the beauty of that store. I don't think I've ever bought a thing from there but I love wandering around the rooms, with all the low ceilings, tudor beams, perfectly curated designer collections and mountains of beautiful stationary, home and bath ware, just lovely, lovely things. That place always makes me feel very calm and serene and a tad aspirational... i.e I want to live like this.

And they always have very dramatic, yet somehow subtle and understated decorations in the centre sections. Like this fabric/textile pattern style chandelier sort of installation. Huge. But not imposing.

Next I steadied myself for possible bankruptcy as I headed down Carnaby Street. That place is like a Rachel trap. Unlike Liberty's, I don't think I've ever been down that street without buying anything. This time was no exception.

Beyond The Valley is a shop I heard about through the mintynet and was dying to check out. It's more than a shop though really, they describe themselves as 'a creative community in the centre of London that supports and promotes emerging new talent across the fashion, art & design industries.' But basically it's a little boutique that sells prints, clothes, furniture, objects, jewellry, all very very covetable and cool, and all by up and coming young designers.

For example, a set of giant post-its. This had me quite excited - anything that is a mini or giant version of an ordinary object usually does. Even more so when it's some kind of organisational stationery object. Think of the lists you could write! And stick everywhere! Or when you need to have a brainstorm, bam, whack it on a giant post it and stick it to your face. (or wall). Ah, such organisational joy could be had!

However, I then had a bit of 'wait, £10 for a stack of slightly sticky paper' and thought 'I'll get it when I get paid'. Haha.

But the whole shop is very well set out, with shelves full of lovely designed objects and prints and things that I want.

What's this? The Crispin Finn 2010 wall planner I've been harping on about? In it's lovely brown paper bag? Yes, yes it is. Again, I so nearly bought it, but the angel on my shoulder whispered 'massive overdraft' and I scampered away.

But definitely go check out Beyond The Valley's site and all they have on there. They also, interestingly, have an Insight section too, which is cleverly See what they did there?

"When Beyond the Valley was launched in 2005, the aim of its founders was to act as a springboard for new designers, offering unique, affordable products from breakthrough talent. But after three years of increasing demand for their skills in trend perception and brand consultancy, the concept store has grown from its roots on Soho’s Newburgh Street, joining forces with the brand experience people,‘i-am’ to create a new offer - ‘Beyond the Valley Insight’. As a result, this new union is able to offer a unique one-stop package for companies that need access to current trends and markets. Through creating full marketing strategies and bespoke brand events, Beyond the Valley Insight acts as a bridge between the next generation of designers, consumers, and those businesses that want to stay connected.."
So there. Worth bookmarking and checking out every so often.

The Diesel store's looking a bit weather-beaten, somebody really should like, paint that thing.

Yeah so this is Diesel's A/W thing, 'extreme weather washes', so everything is destroyed by storms and rain and such. I think it's just an excuse to smash stuff, and to bring ripped jeans back. I like the smashy smashy, but oh, the travesty. I used to wear ripped jeans when I was... well, a massive skater/rock/lame/goth-like creature, and so I now sort of abhor ripped jeans a bit, on girls anyway. But you know, when it comes to fashion, I can be a tiny bit hypocritical (i.e. "I can't believe they're bringing big shoulders back again, it looks awful, I mean.. oh, wait, actually, look at me go.") So you never know, I might chuck myself in front of a tornado yet.

So what did I buy? This sex-tastic bag. And bracelet style watch. The watch is from a shop in Carnaby Street, called Octopus, (no proper website yet) which is teeeny but packed with all manner of cutesy, kawaii, brightly coloured, STUFF. And everyone knows how much I like stuff. They had about 7 different colours of this watch and I very nearly went for bright pink (of course) but then got drawn to the lovely purity of the white one, for no explainable reason. So I now have a white, chunky, plastic watch and it rawwwks dude.

The sex-tastic bag is of course Paul's Boutique and there's a bit of a story here. I originally bought the blue one of these in Selfridges in Birmingham a few months ago, but it was the larger version and it was just a bit tooo big, more weekendy, so I took it back. They didn't have the same pattern in this size so I left a bit sad and minus one bag. I then found it on ASOS, but on there you have to pay for postage as well, and then I got poor so just didn't.
Anyway, fast forward, wandering around Topshop on Oxford Street in what I can only describe as an overwhelming-lust-for-everything-I-can-lay-my-eyes-on haze (dangereux), which usually happens to me in there, and I spot the bag. I THEN spot it in pink as well. I had a tiny brain explosion, gagged the angel on my shoulder, grabbed the bag and never ever let go.

Now I'm pretty much the coolest, poorest girl in the world.

After all this I went to visit the SHOWstudio: Fashion Revolution exhibition, which I'm just writing up a review so will be posted later. Good times.

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