When designer Judy Blame recently did an in-store signing session at Selfridges for these Jo Malone London boxes, it was a sellout with queues stretching round the department. (To be honest, the last time we saw a queue like that snaking through Selfridges it turned out to have Katie Price autographing her latest novel at the end of it.)
Subculture figure, accessories designer, stylist and image consultant to Björk, Boy George, Neneh Cherry, former creative consultant with Dior… And now with own solo exhibition, Never Again, at the ICA in London, Judy Blame‘s CV has cool oozing from every pixel.
He’s long been obsessed with London’s Pearly Kings and Queens, which are the quirky design influence for a collection of very special boxes for Jo Malone London: a quartet of designs, with a choice of special ribbons, a collectible pin and even stickers to customise your bottle. (This is the most gloriously sophisticated way to feel six again that we’ve ever encountered.)
All you need do is buy two Jo Malone London products from their website, then select one of the four designs (below): The Crown Box, The Star Box, The Union Jack Box and The Heart Box (an online exclusive – you can find the others in-store at Selfridges Oxford Street).
And we’re delighted he un-buttoned his lip to share these thoughts about design, fashion – and his love of London.
What were your earliest influences?
Spanish art and bull fighting, punk rock and Paris haute couture.
What was it like growing up in punk Britain? Does it still influence your work?
I enjoyed every minute. It was about the attitude, not the image…. It always crops up.
How did you come to fashion or did fashion come to you?
I was attracted to it. I was more interested in personal style than fashion.
Can you tell us about the Pearly Kings and Queens? Why do they inspire you?
The whole history has a certain charm and I love a good customised outfit. Buttons rule!
Can you tell us about your finished designs for Jo Malone London? Which Pearly symbols did you choose to use?
Jo Malone London asked me to modernise a traditional English look. I immediately thought of the pearly aesthetic and it was something that had influenced me for a long time. All the symbols I used mean something in the pearly language. For instance: the anchor means hope. The horse shoe means luck. The crown is for royalty. The heart means charity… Doves are peace.
You work with everyday objects – what attracts you to them?
Their ready availability and endless variety.
Do you think there are any characteristics which are unique to British design?
We are given the time to experiment. We have a respect for tradition but we don’t mind mucking about with it either.
Where do you find yourself most inspired?