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An inspiring new partnership forged between British heritage fashion brand Burberry and British luxury craft retailer The New Craftsmen has resulted in the beguiling Makers House, an oasis of loveliness celebrating “methods, materials and makers” currently occupying Burberry’s new show venue in the former Foyle’s bookshop in Soho.
Wandering through the leafy secluded courtyard alive with busts and equestrian sculptures, guests are immediately transported back to a more genteel period-evocative of English country houses and the Bloomsbury Group, as befits Burberry’s SS17 collection which takes its cues from Virginia Woolf’s novel Orlando. Once inside the warehouse-like space, huge urns of Constance Spry-style florals add to the rarefied mood, as an array of British artisans selected by The New Craftsmen ply their crafts for visitors.
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Skills on display range from sculpting by young artist Thomas Merrett, who’s creating a clay figure in a makeshift studio and miniature portraiture by Holly Frean; to patchworking by RCA-alumunus Rachel Scott and passementerie executed by embroidery designer Aimee Betts, who combines traditional techniques with cutting-edge technology, and Jessica Light who uses methods dating back to the 15thcentury.
All the textile-based makers are creating bed linen, cushions and embellishments for the Ditchley Bed, a four-poster inspired by the quintessential English stately home Ditchley Park, designed specifically for the project by Jake Bowie.
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It’s an ambitious project and an engaging way to bring the ideas and concepts behind Christopher Bailey’s SS17 collection to life – there is a great gallery mood board of images and swatches on display. If the craft element is more your thing and you want to take home a souvenir of this immersive British fashion and craft pop-up there is also a shop where you can find sand-casted iron keys by Grant McCaig (who is also demonstrating the process), beeswax candles from the London Honey Company, Ernest wright & son gold-plated scissors, silk scarves by Rose de Borman and ceramics by Doug Fitch, Dylan Bowen and Hannah McAndrew.
Otherwise, it’s just a gorgeous sanctuary, where you can take a pause and refuel on coffee and cake at the Thomas’s Café concession, in the midst of Soho. And for anyone with a garment that needs repairing, this weekend you’ll find visible mending maestro Tom of Holland offering his services in the Garbardine Tent, where repairs will be made using fabrics from the new Burberry collection. If only it were permanent.
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