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Monday, 28 March 2011

Hot on the Highstreet Week 44 - Guts for Garters

As I sat on a crowded Northern line carriage, suffering from agonising toothache, I began to wonder if this post-work traipse across London would be worth the effort. I had no idea then that I would be visiting an exquisite, unique and entirely unforgettable treasure trove, packed full of long forsaken goodies and exciting inventions.

This spring, more precisely two weeks ago, ‘Guts for Garters’ launched their eccentric idea on the world, a new concept store that houses all manner of creativity. The two founders, Rachel Chudley and Cassie Beadle, both recently graduated from the prestigious Courtauld Institute, felt they had something new and different to offer to the art world, an imaginative space for desirable and more importantly accessible art and design, quite simply a museum of everything and anything.

The exterior is white and minimal quite the opposite of the magical, colourful and enchanting interior. This is no jumble sale, though on first glance the eclectic collection looked a little similar. It is made up of carefully sourced vintage finds – clothes, jewellery, books, and other strange and wonderful objects that fall within ‘Guts for Garters’ first theme: ‘The Royal We’. Here you will find ultra collectable designer clothes that mimic the Queen’s elaborate style hanging on racks looking delicious. Creations from upcoming artists grace every inch of wall: strange pictures, crafty crockery, and daring jewellery, many pieces specially commissioned for this project. Each item is unique, and with some pieces costing as little as £20, this is affordable art at its most inventive.

Having always wanted a costume department for a wardrobe I was utterly delighted with the array... wishing every bit of it was mine. Sticking dutifully to my pre-New York buying ban I resisted purchasing anything, though I did treat myself to one of the new £3 catalogues to entertain me on the tube home. I was so impressed with the incredible attention to detail and thought that these two illustrious girls have put into this mission, showing a real passion, and immense effort. Among my favourites of the gems (and there are honestly too many to list) were the fabulously macabre bone rings, carved from deer antlers. Starting at £50 these beauties looked brilliant on, striking and mad, but strangely pretty too. Also some wildly exquisite chunky bracelets by a genius artist called Bert Clayton.

Every couple of months G4G will be staging a new theme, with ‘Surreal Women’ up next. There is a certain spirit of rebellion to this current exhibition, ‘The Royal We,’ as there always is when joking about the monarchy, but also an air of undeniable elegance and charm. This subject was incidentally decided long before Kate and Wills made the announcement.

I found my heaven in Guts for Garters, a beacon of originality that lights up Camden with its hip, distinctive vibe. Please don’t take my word for it, this is a whole world of delights that you must see with your own eyes.

Visit website here.

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