I’ve always been curious about how the whole East End arts scene burst into being around the vibrant cultural hotspots of Brick Lane and Shoreditch. So I couldn’t resist Timberland’s novel invitation to meet for breakfast at their store on Fournier Street and then join art expert Julia Royse for a tour of some of the most influential and exciting galleries in the East End right now. But first, there was plenty of time to view Timberland’s new collection of shoes and boots which pull of that rare accolade of being both beautiful and practical, with increasingly ingenious eco credentials.
Having failed to find a pair of ethical boots worthy of the most discerning Snow Princess last winter, might heart did miss a beat when I first laid eyes on the most luxuriant, beautifully crafted winter boots I have seen in an age. Quite simply, the Earthkeeper’s Mount Holly, all-leather lace up boots in the most delectable, sensuous shade of artisan gold – are the boots to beg, steal and covert for winter. Oh! How I want those boots! And I am sure Pocahontas wants them too!
As the boots don’t hit the stores until November, I consoled myself by trying out Timberland’s clever new bespoke, design your own boot and shoe service. A mere eight minutes later, I had let my imagination run riot, and designed a pair of candy pink, full –length walking boots with red detailing and silver laces! – Perhaps not the mot practical pair of boots; but very Ms Ethical Hedonist. I will be road-testing them shortly, and doing my best to stick to interesting walks in the metropolis, rather than a walk on the wild side. Otherwise, with His Majesty leading the way, they are bound to get very muddy indeed!
Then it was time to leave for the art tour and a potted history lesson of the East End from Tudor times to the present. I fell in love with newcomer Florian Meisenberg’s bewitchingly colourful, rather heart-rending pictures on show at the Kate MacGarry Gallery at 27,Old Nicol Street, London E1. www.katemacgarry.com; tel 02076130515; It was fascinating too, to see the former synagogue turned curious, rather enigmatic black box that is apparently home to one of Britain’s most retiring, super star artists- Rachel Whiteread. How clever that she can look out onto the activity of the street; but we can’t see her!
But for me the highlight was Bernhard Schobinger’s witty, ingenious and subversive jewels on show at Gallery SO, www.galleryso.com; tel 0207 377 8008; which questions the very nature of what we find precious and beautiful to behold. Schobinger is a deft alchemist who scavenges the detritus of everyday life – coloured pencils, spent knicker elastic, coins, diamonds, old eraser nubs and even old poison bottles and transforms them into beguiling, anarchic, shimmering jewels for a new age of austerity.
What it does show is that to make do and recycle into something new, provocative and extraordinary is the way to go!
Bernard Schobinger’s work is featured in the V&A’s forthcoming show Postmodernism: Style and Subversion 1970 – 1990 – which opens in September 2011. www.vanda.com
Mount Holly Tall, All leather lace boot:
***30% recycle Pet fleece lining made from recycled plastic bottles
*** Durable Green Rubber (42% recycle d rubber) lug outsole for durability and maximum traction on any surface.
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