Thursday 24 February 2011

LFW Diary AW11: Anya Hindmarch House of Intrigue

In between fashion shows on Sunday afternoon I popped down to the aptly named Hindmarch House of Intrigue, a grand maisonette situated just round the corner from The Strand on Craven Street.
Three stories of delight, there was so much to see and do besides examining the beautiful new Anya Hindmarch AW11 accessories collection, which incidentally was outstanding. Brimming with water snake, snakeskin and sting ray (finishes pictured above) - with which I was very impressed - offering a bag for every eventuality and occasion.
Starting on the ground floor, the first room - the Parlour - hosted an array of culinary delights mixed in with the most exquisite of evening accessories, lovingly displayed on silver platters, a hostess trolley of sorts and cake stands mixed in with an assortment of wobbly jellies and blancmanges. I was also rather excited by the tuck shop on the main staircase, offering visitors a variety of bon bons and boiled sweets to enjoy whilst mulling over the collection.
In the parlour and the adjacent Newman room I found a whole host of period accessories all branded with the signature Hindmarch bow. I spied a grammar phone, and old spinning radio, vintage television sets and stacks of vintage luggage – all things I would own given half the chance, in a heartbeat. There was also a beautiful vintage rocking horse, adorned with Hindmarch’s softest leather bags, which a few days later the only words I can think of to describe how tactile they were are ‘soft and buttery’ .
Also in the Newman room was a huge imposing display of Anya Hindmarch interior accessories, lovingly displayed in the form of a bed scene reminiscent of The Princess and the Pea fairytale, due to the sheer volume of bedding stacked to the ceiling. In chic white and navy stripes, this summed up the Hindmarch aesthetic to a tee – effortless and classy.
In the Alban Library books played a key part in the set, used as tables to display handbags, and to block fireplaces, which I thought was an inspired idea! Adding to my amazement I discovered a beautifully branded black piano in a room, which had been programmed to play a fantastic array of songs vaguely recognisable from great scores of old, making me stop to pause in wonder for ages at how it worked.
In the first room on the first floor, the Huxley room; I was greeted by a great model of a white Tim Burton style tree which cleverly doubled up as a delightful place to hang the bulk of the AW11 handbags. An unusual display, it worked wonders as it enabled myself and I’m guessing other press, to get a 360 degree angle of each bag, which was made for some great photographs. In this room I also loved the vintage sofas in soft pastel pinks.
Probably my favourite part of the whole house, I loved the room at the top back of the House of Intrigue called the Dressing Room. I was most drawn to the beautiful vintage oak wardrobe, not taking it on anything more than face value. After flicking through the capsule collection of Hindmarch garments contained within, the lovely man showing me around enlightened me and moved the clothes to one side, revealing a cute installation of a mouse and a Hindmarch sewing kit hidden in the corner. Also in the back panel of the wardrobe was a peep-hole which led backwards to a screen projection of a Burton esque animation which was yet another mark of brilliance.
Having been told about the Wonky room in the basement as I was being shown round I was expectedly intrigued, so at the very end of my tour I popped down to see what exactly it was. Essentially it was a room that works in the same way as a hall of mirrors that you might find at a fair, distorting your image through perspective. Opting to be the small person - a rare opportunity afforded to a tall person - you can see me posing below with a nice bit of Hindmarch arm candy, while a lovely member of the Hindmarch team played the giant coming to steal my handbag!

Fearing that the photographs may not quite do the enigmatic Hindmarch House of Intrigue justice, I cannot stress enough what a wondrous world it was to step into and just how much effort and man hours went into such a beautifully themed presentation with such extreme attention to detail, the scale of which was simply unthinkable. Everything was laid out to thoroughly intrigue visitors and it was the really kooky touches such as the mice and animation in the wardrobe, the garden filled knee-high with leaves with Hindmarch branding evident in a wall made from tree logs, and the Wonky room in the basement that truly made me want to give up all my worldly possessions to move in. On a professional level it was an amazing display that I could not fault for love nor money, and on a personal level it left me feeling so inspired that I can’t stop dreaming of my dream home; The Hindmarch House of Intrigue!

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