My one and only jaunt to Monaco was a literal washout this weekend with an uncharacteristic torrential downpour on Saturday. That didn't dampen the spirits of what was an incredible Dior Cruise show by Raf Simons, which I will post about soon, but I did chortle at the fact that ironically London is beginning to enjoy better weather. Therefore, the brilliant popup shop Beach in the East, conceived by the all-seeing, all-knowing Yasmin Sewell and her team at Paper Mache Tiger, couldn't have been better timed.
Ye might have little faith. You might ask aren't we tired of the fleeting and the blink and you'll miss it shopping thing? This is one pop-up though that has serious legs, with Sewell's creative direction involved. She was thinking about how great California might have been in the seventies and feeling the Dogtown and Z-Boys vibes that were lingering in fashion at the moment and together conjured up a space that would reflect those influences. Hanging out on the beach is given a sub-cultural spin that goes against the grain of more conventional "holiday" product that gets shoved down our throats when June comes along. In an ambitious five weeks, Sewell very quickly got a concrete pool made up inside her vast showroom, had Word to Mother come in with a spraycan and create a convincing skatebowl-inspired interior and more impressively, pulled together product by securing exclusives from designers or bringing in labels that aren't necessarily available online yet.
The result is a one-stop-drop of awesomeness in the heart of Shoreditch that will be open for one month, feted with a party and better yet, all product will be available to buy online via FarFetch at the end of May. Sewell knows a thing or two about marrying up bricks-to-mortar experience with digital convenience. It would be best if you can drop into the pop-up but the next best thing would be to secure pieces through FarFetch. Oh, and nothing is over the ¬£300 mark so it's relatively speaking, easy on the wallet.
The things that got me excited were the Thomas Tait photo collage tops featuring Southbank's skate park, where he had his S/S 13 show and his O_o sunnies, which I mentioned in my write-up of his A/W 13-4 collection. I notched up the first sale at BITE (perfect, acronym, no?) as I couldn't resist Tait's skatepark antics. Then there were exclusive palm tree sandals by the wonderful Sophia Webster, a cute polka dot romper by House of Holland and tie-front shirts by Peridot. There are easy no-brainer pieces such as the C√©cile t-shirts, which have been blowing up all over the place and here, features a collaboration with artist Richie Culver as well as affordable eyewear fun from Sheriff & Cherry. There's more recognisable beachwear fare from the likes of Lisa Marie Fernandez, Ancient Greek Sandals and Prism.
The pop-up also introduces us to new talent Joe Duke, who Sewell is mentoring, who has created one-off printed lacquered denim jackets. They have an Helmut Lang-ish vibe about them and will likely be my next BITE purchase when I swing back into town. Newbies-wise, there are flower-power prints by The Print Dept and also cool swimwear by Beth Richards. There's a veggie spin to denim overalls as LA-based denim whizkid Frederick Maxwell Kingery hand dyed overalls and skater shorts using unusual all-natural ingredients. The BITE team went one step further and created all-natural swirled rainbow cakes by Hemsley & Hemsley.
There's product yet to come in during BITE's three month pop-up time and maybe a party or two to enjoy its summery tenancy in Shoreditch so even if I don't ever get to a beach, at least the beach came to me in London.
Beach in the East open until 24th of August at Lower Ground G, 123 Clifton Street, EC2A 4LD. Open Mon-Sat 10am-6pm.