If the versatility of London’s new concept store The Clerkenwell Collection was in any doubt, its transformation last night from uber-cool retail and gallery space to hot catwalk event venue showcasing two new tailored collections downstairs and hosting a charity auction for the Amy Winehouse Foundation upstairs, blew any doubters out of the water.
Indeed no amount of water from the heavens was going to dampen this parade. With the paps happily snapping outside in the pouring rain at the multitude of celebrity guests pouring in through the doors (Neil Morrissey, James Caan, Barbara Windsor, Melanie Sykes and Jack Cockings, Joe McElderry, Sophia Sassoon, Colin Jackson, Nina Naustdal, Jessica Lowndes and Thom Evans amongst them), the otherwise zen-like space morphed seamlessly to accommodate a pulsing throng of gliterrati eager to get a first glimpse at Bespoke HQ’s own men and women’s tailored collection as well as their collaborative range with luxe brand Aston Martin.
The sign on the feverishly busy dressing rooms for the models turned out to be a bit of a rhetorical question:
… as there was an unashamedly vast amount of strutting of stuff going on. Gorgeous models strutted and pouted their way down the catwalk swathed in glorious British tailoring, precision-choreographed to the sounds of Bowie, Grace Jones et al.
After master tailor Stephen Williams took his final bow the excitable crowd surged upstairs for the vocal performances of soulful Portia Emare and hip crooner Mitch Winehouse. After plenty more quaffing of wine and champagne provided by The Clerkenwell Collection’s in-house specialist wine merchant ne plus ultra The Perfect Cellar, the charity auction got underway.
All the brands housed within The Clerkenwell Collection donated a piece to go into the auction to raise funds for the incredibly worthy work of the Amy Winehouse Foundation. Tree Couture was of course no exception. We in fact made a piece specifically for the auction – The Sartorialist Mirror which was handcrafted from dozens of individually prepared strips of solid sustainable hardwoods (originally off-cuts from our London atelier). In addition to the American Walnut, European Walnut, Beech, Cherry and Steamed Pearwood used in the piece, it also featured strips of our ancient (5,300 year old) English Bog Oak with detailing in mirrored copper. Our little spiel read: “Named The Sartorialist in homage to world renowned photographer and champion of all things stylish Scott Schuman, the mirror wears its own perfectly tailored and stylish little pin-striped wooden suit which will reflect the style right back at you!”
The auction’s pièce de résistance was the Amy Winehouse waistcoat made by Stephen Williams and worn by her father Mitch to the 2013 Brit Awards for which Amy had been nominated for the first ever posthumous award in the category of Best British Female.
The waistcoat entered a bidding war where it reached £2,100 and the second bidder agreed to donate his last bid of £2000 as a generous act of charity, raising the total to £4,100. Together with the other donated items the total money raised for the Foundation was £6,205 which will go to help fund the incredible work the charity does to support, inform and inspire vulnerable and disadvantaged young people and help them to reach their full potential.
Said Mitch: “This year The Amy Winehouse Foundation will be talking to 50,000 young people about the dangers of alcohol and drugs. If we can help just one person escape the misery that Amy went through then everything will be worthwhile. But we can only do that with the help of others, which is why we appreciate you all coming down here tonight.”
So the feel-good vibe took us to the end of the night and as we stepped out onto the wet streets of Clerkenwell, there was not only a sense of great camaraderie amongst our great team but also a tangible sense of being somewhere that was truly special, somewhere with a powerful dynamic energy. Clerkenwell really is cool and with the Clerkenwell Design Week rapidly approaching (21st – 23rd May) we’ve got even more opportunities to spread the word about all the creative talent that surges through these streets and creates quite a life force.