November 18 2010
Every so often a shop comes along that is so off the wall it proves irresistible, even if it requires a little shift in one’s taste parameters. A case in point is the studio-cum-store that larger-than-life rock-band stylist Fee Doran (pictured) has opened in London’s Clerkenwell for her Mrs Jones range, assorted customised vintage items and madcap accessories from a selection of young designers who’ve sought her out.
Up several flights of slightly shabby stairs is an explosion of colour and print, rails and shelves packed with bright, optimistic outfits and assorted extreme shoes, mostly one-offs and all promising a great night out.
The setting is plain: white walls, black-and-white check floor, black sheepskin rug (into which Doran’s dog, Betty, blends rather too well). A chandelier silhouette, a 1950s cabinet with a Clockwork Orange-style collage and an artwork that’s pure 1970s psychedelia add elegance and the improvised energy of a hippie-era boutique. Doran says, “I work so much with colour I felt we needed a black-and-white environment.” But she’s no stranger to monochrome in design, as her Op Art-style dresses (£250), mixed with a bright lace print, attest.
At the back of the store is Doran’s studio for one-offs and customisation. The space was made available to her last year for a project with Oxfam, and she decided to keep it on and use the extra space as her first shop.
This is hardly the place to look for an understated office number, but for exuberant clothes for the party season (and presents for fashion-forward friends and family) it’s a treasure trove. Essex girl Doran started with a Portobello Road stall of remodelled vintage pieces, and her imaginative approach attracted musicians for stage costumes.
These are still her mainstay – the shop boasts a one-person hairdressing salon and a terrace, initially for bands having fittings before gigs, but a benefit to all customers. Her best-known outfit was Kylie Minogue’s white hooded playsuit, and some pieces on sale are highly prized stage outfits (from £200) made for the likes of Justin Hawkins of The Darkness (patchwork leather trouser suit) or Ana Matronic of Scissor Sisters (vintage black and gold pleated knit dress which Doran reworked by turning it upside down and adding a mesh yoke).
Many more are redesigned vintage items – long cotton or silk 1970s dresses refitted to a modern, slim shape (from £200), recut beaded jackets (from £200) – or new pieces made in Doran’s distinctive, draped style from original fabrics (peacock-print silk and cork kaftan, £950).
Doran also sells the work of young designers, such as delicate printed T-shirts (£50) by Parillo and wild Feathersmith headpieces by Stephanie Smith (from £600).
Mrs Jones is a shop like no other. Suspend your reserve and you cannot fail to enjoy it.