August 10 2010
There’s present inspiration aplenty – for everyone from savvy teenagers to stylish great aunts – at The Shop Floor Project, a virtual art gallery meets quirky independent-designer boutique that’s a joy to browse. From the home page, it’s obvious that good eyes, plus collage skills, are involved – these belong to mother-and-daughter artists and curators Denise and Samantha Allan, whose “intention was always to approach the project from a visual arts perspective, with the website design being an integral part”.
Click on the double-fronted shop’s “Come in, we’re open” sign, an old-fashioned shop-bell rings and the door opens, as if you’re entering a real boutique. Choose a department – wallpaper, ceramics, jewellery, T-shirts, cushions, scarves, hosiery, kitchen linen, books & cards – and you’re off.
The Jewellery Rooms have scroll-through display “cabinets” to pick over. My wish list has long contained Stephanie Simek’s whimsical, gold-leaf-lined, resin-coated Quail Egg necklace (£110), recently joined by St Erasmus’s exquisite pearl, gold, acrylic and crystal Flower Power necklace (first picture, £265).
Elsewhere, I’ve succumbed to Natalie Thakur’s retro pink-and-white leather Penny Sweet Purse (£29) and Urban Knit’s bold, African-fabric clutch (second picture, £59), and can vouch for efficient, tissue-wrapped dispatches.
Wallpapers include the glorious, Victorian-circus-themed Fantastic Jumbo by Daniel Heath (£250 per roll), while Hosiery contains Bebaroque tattoo-inspired Sailor tights (£26.60) for the aforementioned cool teens. For stylish great aunts? Vibrant silk scarves by Ella Doran (from £48; third picture, Golden Weave scarf, £50) – but you’re bound to find something to suit yours truly too.