Design

A coffee vs commerce conundrum



Jannel Therese Blank Street

“Six pounds for a cup of tea and you don’t even get a china cup!” This complaint was quoted to me some 30 years ago by my friend G; his mum aghast at the price of a cuppa in some National Trust cafe or other. Yet it’s a refrain that auto-plays all too frequently in my head when I pass any number of overpriced chain coffee outlets. Especially in the last two years when the premiumisation of, well, everything has played out in the world’s fashionable metros.

At WatchHouse (below), a new-ish UK coffee chain, you do get a lovely ceramic cup. The chain is notable for its upscale Aesop-esque branding (its design team is headed by a former Aesop designer), superior snacks, well-mannered baristas and several-steps-up-from-Starbucks hospitality area. (more…)



Shop the post: The low-down on party shoes



Julia Nobis by Zoe Ghertner for M Le Monde

Question: do people go for a fully glitzed-up party look these days? Or do they go for more comfort-led with a nod to shine and bedazzle? I’ve seen a lot of extreme glam-rock platform heels* doing the rounds on all the shopping sites, not to mention the Bottega Veneta Mostra heels*. But equally, I’ve noticed that in real life, the gorgeous young things are wearing the opposite. Like, a satin slip with 70s-style Adidas Gazelles (that is, the amped-up 2020s version at 2020s prices – thanks Gucci*).

Somewhere in-between is a middle ground where the New York minimalistas are pitched. (more…)



Maureen Doherty, a good egg



Maureen Doherty Egg

“I’m not trying to make anything new. There’s so much pressure in fashion to every six months have this newness. When I opened Egg, I wanted it to be like a chair: well that’s OK for 10 years. It’s not for six months; it’s 10 years. I like the fact that it can be an heirloom.”
Egg founder, Maureen Doherty, Hole & Corner (more…)



On my radar: Abask, your new design destination



Abask interiors

Heads-up: there’s a fab new e-commerce platform getting a lot of attention right now.

As fashion and beauty online retail have become saturated, as well as an overall fatigue with trends in consuming, it makes sense that some are shifting interests to interiors, a somewhat slower pace of taste signalling – for now.

Abask is the brainchild of Matchesfashion co-founder Tom Chapman and former ecommerce director Nicolas Pickaerts. Its premise is room-themed edits of lovingly-crafted artisanal pieces – whether new, vintage or antique. I’m all about the Study, where desk-destined Murano glass paperweights sit alongside Carl Auböck brass knick-knacks and exquisite vintage fountain pens. (more…)