This week Yannick and I headed down to Borough Market, beloved of tourists and foodie bloggers. It was absolutely packed with people, even though we went on a weekday, and we soon gave up any idea of wandering round the food stalls and headed instead towards our real objective – the Bunkaya Zakkaten/Paul Smith collaboration pop-up shop.
Bunkaya Zakkaten means something like ‘cultural pot luck store’ and that really sums up its higgledy-piggledy mish-mash of bizarre objects you didn’t know you wanted but now somehow can’t resist. Its main branch is in Harajuku in Tokyo, where the trendsetters and cosplayers hang out. Paul Smith is apparently a regular visitor, and they’ve got together to create a one-off limited edition collection using Paul Smith’s personal photos, which is being sold through two pop-up shops; the one we went to in Borough Market and Paul Smith Space in Minami-Shinjuku in Tokyo.
If you’re used to thinking of Paul Smith as an uber-cool fashion designer, this chaotic mix of vintage vibe and random objects piled crazily together will come as a surprise.
Laptop cases printed with cupcakes and occasional tables collaged with tomatoes and pansies rub shoulders with jewellery made from buttons and ribbons, and rosettes that could have come from the pony gymkhana.
Teapots are crazily stamped with pictures of shells and holiday snaps. It’s like someone blew up a Cath Kidston store, and then got Yayoi Kusama to put it all back together.
I’m not quite sure who the target market is, though Yannick was rather taken with this horse’s head cushion. I thought it looked a bit too much like something you’d find at the bottom of your bed if you’d upset the mafia.
But there’s no doubt the collection has a unique and very personal style. If you’re looking for a rather special present for the fashionista who has everything, this is the place for you.
But you’ll have to hurry – the pop-up is only open until 29th August.
By the way, Yannick is now blogging about London and Paris (and no doubt Venice soon) at In Search of Lost Time(s). Worth a visit!