August 06 2010
Lucia van der Post
Basso & Brooke – for those who haven’t yet come across it – is a youngish fashion brand that launched only in 2003 and which uses some of the most delicious prints imaginable. Bruno Basso and Christopher Brooke have carved out a niche of their own with their mastery of the art of digital printing on silk which, for the record, gives them access to some 16m different hues. Their summer 2009 collection in particular featured wonderfully rich yet delicate prints, all digitally printed, but combined in magical ways so that almost every garment was hotly desirable, regardless of the shape. This autumn’s collection is stronger, less ravishingly pretty, but more dramatic; and what I like about it is that it has a distinctive handwriting, a personality all of its own.
The reason for writing about the duo now, though, is that fans of their colourful work can see (and buy) a collection of their furniture, which is embellished with their glorious prints. It’s on show at The Shop at Bluebird in London until the end of August; each piece features patterns that the duo developed, oddly, for a collaboration with a Californian wine label, Turning Leaf, which was designed, says the blurb, to “inspire individual, sophisticated, fun-loving women to discover the taste of colour”.
Ignore all that, though, and just look at the furniture – it is unforgettable. There’s a limited-edition drinks cabinet, wine tables and a console table, all lacquered in glorious colours. Then there’s the soft furniture collection, all covered in Basso & Brooke prints. Look out, too, for the Al Fresco dining kits, which will include a silk blanket, silk cushions, a lacquered case, engraved glasses and shrink-wrapped bottles of Turning Leaf wine (from £2,900). Since these are all very special pieces that come in limited editions, prices are high – but they are more or less works of art. The Bergere Gondola chair (first picture) sells for £9,000, the French console table, finished in glossy yellow, for £7,500, but you could get a wine table in canary yellow for £1,500 (also in first picture), a silk cushion for £295 or a lampshade (second picture) for £110.
More Basso & Brooke can be seen at the Design Museum at Shad Thames in east London until August 24 where there’s a collection of their printed textiles. These were inspired by a 10-day project in Uzbekistan sponsored by the British Council’s New Silk Road initiative. The prints are ravishing and, though not on sale at the exhibition, they are variations on the prints used in the autumn/winter collection.