by Jo on 11 Mar 2013
Last Thursday saw the launch of Interwoven, an exhibition at Habitat on King's Road focusing on contemporary weaving. Interwoven features the latest collections from Swaziland-based Gone Rural. A design pioneer in African handicraft, Gone Rural collaborates with over 750 weavers in rural areas, providing women with sustainable, independent income. In a country ravaged by the devastating effects of HIV-Aids, Gone Rural has successfully created a business model that empowers women through providing them with home-based income and skills training. As well as Gone Rural's mainline collection, Interwoven also features 'The Song of the Weaver', a series of baskets inspired by the life stores of three generations of weavers from one family. Interwoven runs until 28th April and Gone Rural baskets can be purchased from online retailer Shake the Dust.
by Jo on 15 Feb 2013
Exciting news! After nearly 4 years, Portrait Communications is on the move from the depths of Ladbroke Grove to sunny Notting Hill. And it's not just the humans who are getting new digs. The lucky Portrait hound (no prizes for guessing his name!) also has a new abode, courtesy of the lovely Lilly Shahravesh of LoveMyDog. Whilst we have to wait a few more weeks to move, Arch is already ensconced in his new home. And before you ask, it takes a real man to decorate with pink....
by Jo on 16 Jan 2013
What could be better on a cold Sunday evening than a good costume drama? We're glued to the box watching ITV's Mr Selfridge, charting the life of the flamboyant and visionary American entrepreneur responsible for launching our favourite department store. Mr Selfridge tells the story of ‘Mile a Minute Harry’, a man whose mission it was to create a retail theatre where anything new, exciting and entertaining was showcased. In 1910, the talk of the toy world was the latest invention from Germany - a mohair bear with moveable limbs, created in 1904 by soft toy manufacturer Steiff. Already a huge success in America, Selfridges was one of the first retailers in London to stock the newly christened 'Teddy' bears. We were thrilled to recieve a call from the ITV set build team, asking for a collection of antique bears to display in their faithfully recreated Selfridges windows. We were even more thrilled to be told about Ellen Love - the face of Selfridges and Mile a Minute Harry's lover - and her teddy bear dance. Tune in this Sunday and all - quite literally - will be revealed....
by Jo on 08 Nov 2012
What better way to announce the imminent arrival of a new furniture brand than a feature in Wallpaper's December issue? Having spotted prototypes at Maison et Objet in September, a photographer was dispatched post haste to Abbots Manufacturing, the Birmingham metalworks where Bowles & Bowles is made.
Bought two years ago by Original BTC founder Peter Bowles to weld fittings for Davey Lighting, Abbots also produced hand-soldered mesh lockers, the inspiration for Peter and son Charlie Bowles' first collection.
by Jo on 06 Oct 2012
You wait and wait for a cute puppy pic then two come along at once! Here's Archie being measured up for his new coat by the fabulous Lilly of canine couture house LoveMyDog. A visit to the Hoxton studio is a must for dog lovers, where LoveMyDog muse Rabbit is on hand to help navigate the choice of collars, leads, sweaters, beds and of course LoveMyDog's signature Harris Tweed coats. With his deep chest, short legs and slim hips, young Archie is the perfect candidate for couture - how else to show off his manly physique? Fortunately Archie's challenging lines are nothing for the Savile-Row trained Lilly, who ably pinned and tucked to create the perfect warmer to save our shivering dachshund from the ravages of winter.
by Jo on 05 Oct 2012
It's been a long time since Archie the Portrait pup made an appearance on these pages. Having a dog in the office isn't just fun and games - he's here to get jobs done, too. Keeping up morale, providing cuddles and assisting with mailings, it's all in a day's work for the media hound. Sumaia, our fab intern, was struggling with our Christmas mailing to supplements and weeklies. She's more than capable, of course, but the job was a little joyless until Archie stepped in and used her bent leg as a resting place whilst he chewed on his toy giraffe. Dachshunds, giraffes, elephants - it's animal crackers here at Portrait...
by Jo on 27 Sep 2012
As London Design Festival draws to a close, we're back in our comfy shoes and musing over all the changes. Design Junction was perhaps the biggest news of the Festival, with eager design fans, manufacturers and retailers eager to see how the fair would fare. And it fared exceedingly well. Inspiring brands, well laid-out in a blank canvas industrial space, with a buzzy but casual atmosphere. Not to mention the pop-up Canteen restaurant, Danish bar and gelato stall. Forget the usual cardboard sarnies - there's nothing like pie and mash to get you in the mood for some serious mooching. Here's Content by Conran's stand, showcasing a new collaboration with Brit fabric specialist Moon.
by Jo on 11 Sep 2012
We've just returned from a tres successful Maison et Objet. The newly redesigned Original BTC/ Davey Lighting stand was bombarded with buyers from around the world. From Hong Kong to Delhi and beyond, retailers, interior designers and architects were snapping up the British lighting manufacturer's goodies. Closer to home, the French capital's coolest concept store, Merci, also stocked up on lights, including Original BTC's classic bone china Hector.
It was also the first chance to show buyers the new furniture brand from the house of Original BTC. The mesh school lockers, desks and coffee tables provoked great excitement - coming very, very soon...
by Jo on 03 Sep 2012
We're over the moon to be working with home and gift brand Brissi. As long-term admirers/ keen Brissi shoppers, we couldn't ask for much more this Christmas. From upholstery, cabinet furniture and lighting to dining, entertaining and oh-so-covetable gifts, all come in a signature colour pallete of greys, whites and neutrals, making it easy-peasy to acheive Brissi's laid back-glamour. On our wishlists? The fluted glass bon bon jars, fringed parrot lamp and double champagne bucket. We think this calls for a drink.
by Jo on 01 Sep 2012
To Harrods and the newly revamped toy floor, a particularly personal trip. Visits to the Harrods Toy Kingdom were a childhood highlight and a beeline was always made straight to the Steiff shelves. Gorillas, hippos, giraffes - the more exotic, the better. And nobody does it better than Steiff.
To visit the amazing new Steiff department - the largest in London - was pure joy. Teddies poke out from behind wooden lattice windows, while giant studio animals - strong enough to take the weight of an adult - are a delight to behold.
Childhood visits to see the Steiff animals were window shoopping only, so knowing that we have boxfuls in the office to play with is a dream come true! It's not often a shopping experience makes you feel like a child again, but this one is pretty special...