‘Curiouser and Curiouser’ is the experience of new concept store Guts for Garters. The delightfully clustered room, in the bowels of a Camden art gallery, shadows the gallery’s six week shows, with each dictated by a different theme.
The first theme, ‘The Royal We’, ties in nicely with the current royal wedding furore. And the staid monarchy has never been interpreted with such a delicious twist: cue anarchist crockery, a pink neon Elizabeth I signature, plastered fingers, a regal four-poster bed decked with vintage bed-clothes and Union Flag cushions. Courtauld Institute graduates and founders of the store Rachel Chudley and Cassie Beadle flex their curatorial muscle finding and commissioning the art, design and fashion from various corners. Pieces include Vivienne Westwood basques (on the run from the VW archives), vintage Biba, jewel-encrusted insects, funny curved brushes and Grace Dupres has conjured amazing couture dresses from tweed, wool, plastic and rope. One of the most eye-catching art-pieces is the mouldy wallpaper, flanking one wall. Intended to illustrate the stuffiness and decay of the aristocracy, it is the creation of RCA’s Anna Curtis who cultivated mould in a petri-dish, before delicately channelling its pattern. It sums up perfectly the store’s integration of old and new. After shooting a super exlcusive short at the opening of the store, i-D Online met up with Rachel and Cassie, the vintaged duo behind it all.
What prompted you to start the store? We were disillusioned with what’s out there. Depressing and over-priced vintage shops or uninspiring high street. We wanted to create something in the middle – an exciting space to buy exciting pieces of art. The Guts for Garters experience extends from interior design to Vivienne Westwood, catching most things in between. We both have experience in curating, so we wanted to put that to use, drawing in different works, investment, old and new, from various artists and archives. It’s a dramatic, interactive shopping experience (with dry ice and cocktails)!
Who is the Guts for Garters customer? Art and design lovers, eccentrics, the curious, anyone after unusual and great quality pieces of art and design. Because of its location, the store is more of a destination than a drop-in venue, but we like that, people will make the effort.
What’s your favourite piece in this collection? It’s hard to say; everything tells its own story. The ‘Royal We’ theme has been interpreted so differently by everyone and that’s the delight. Johnny Briggs produced a Cinderella slipper, which is a glass cast of his own baby shoe, while Jasleen took a colonial viewpoint, creating affordable lockets of Victoria and Albert in turbans. It’s the combination that makes Guts for Garters – it’s all pretty cutting edge, but not transient.
Any other treats in store? Rachel’s mum is going to make cakes shaped like Prince Charles’s ears. She’s fed up with all the twee cupcakes everywhere. How could anyone resist?
The ‘Royal We’ runs until 24th April 2011 at The ‘Cob Gallery’, 205 Royal College Street and keep one eye open for the store’s next revamp, following a ‘Surreal Women and Anatomy’ theme.
Film Danny McGuinness
Music by International