“VIP event at G.H. Bass & Co. hits high note!”
So, I’m struttin’!
Not quite, Danny Zucco, but I could give him a run for his money, in a Zoolander-style face-off!
….And I’m singin’!
…Not quite Bee Gees, but “me and my ‘Weejuns’, walking down the avenue”, consistently reverbs around my mental recording studio, waiting for release!
With nonpareil London as my runway, I am taking in some of the fashion and fayre of designers in our glorious city, en route to a very special event… and after patiently waiting, all lovingly pre-polished and wrapped in their ‘G.H. Bass & Co.’ box, the night hath arrived upon which my “Penny Stardoms” have their moment to shine!
“They see me strollin’ but they’re not hatin’!” now pops up, as the next remixed track in my ever-expanding mental E.P.!
As I engage upon my window-watching style-sweep, I have to say, I’m loving what I’m seeing! From South Molton, via Regent, through Carnaby and finally, to Beak Street, illustrious brands sit side-by-side, with crackling come-up talent and I am enamoured with it all! ‘Browns’, ‘Berenice’, ‘Hobbs’, ‘Hill and Friends’ effortlessly envelop, as heritage hits abound, with ‘Aquascutum’, attached to ‘Barbour’ and ‘Barker’, ‘French Connection’ connected to ‘COS’ and ‘Karl Lagerfeld’, only to turn-on-a-penny (loafer, if you will!), to find ‘Liberty’, presiding over the edgier end of the shopping district, with a select edit of artisanal offerings and collaborative graduate installations, from future trend-setters of the London College of Fashion!
Carnaby continues to cut a distinctive dash, with a multi-faceted lay-out of names, carving out back-catalogues of creative culture, whilst impressing the ever-changing moods of the current. Mod meccas, ‘Pretty Green’ and ‘Ben Sherman’ hang-out with skater-staples ‘Vans’ and ‘size?’…. whilst ‘We Built This City’ adds a cool artistic flair, no less in keeping with the understated chic of such a fashion-forward thoroughfare…
…the end, of which, is just the beginning of an evening, which encapsulates the perfect combination of venue, vibe and VIP!
Home of the loafer, ever my dream footwear destination, G.H. Bass & Co. and I are reunited…and it feels so good…. And why not?! If they were good enough for the genius of Michael Jackson to have thrilled us all with his trademark Moonwalk, then they’re great enough for my two-stepping!
“It’s been a long time (since fitting for my ‘Stardoms’)… I shouldn’t have left you…” cranks up to Eric .B. and Rakim… but the welcome is, as ever, super-warm, with hugs all-round! You see, for me, this is more than a shop. More than a generic footwear retail establishment, implanted on a trendy side of town. For me, it’s walk-in wardrobe goals! A penny-loafered-palace, a tasselled boot-ique, with variations on a theme, and then some! In its location for two years, the discerning and diverse amassed following is, not only, well-deserved, but well-won, due to the incredible hours, input by a truly dedicated Bass Europe Team.
Tonight, the set-up is an extension of its unique visual merchandising, comprised of wonderfully-worn wooden floors (suggesting the loafer’s Norwegian roots), juxtaposing metal corrugation, historical artefacts, (displaying its celebrity provenance), contrasting with contemporary periodicals and, bien sûr, an array of outstanding, hand-crafted icons…
As bespoke cocktails flow and script-flipping ambient house music fills the atmosphere, tonight is affording guests the opportunity to check out new additions to the collection and have their Bass ‘Weejuns’ personalised, by the immensely-talented illustrator, Anastasiya Levashova. From a subtle selection of custom options, including ornate monogramming and/ or delicate flora and fauna, her precision-painting ensures that each pair is transformed and set apart from any other marque, let alone, house style!
With no more need for internal audio accompaniment, I find myself, instead, using the brainpower to question “What would Pauline Black do?!” She, the dynamic lead singer of Ska supremos, ‘The Selecter’ and maven of Mod…. which design would she… select?! I mean, in a world where shopping lanes seem laminated with labels, G.H. Bass & Co. is comfortably a cut-above…the beauty being that with every pair, whether customized or not, their idiosyncratic pedigree guarantees that you feel exceptional, too…
“So”, I continue to muse, ”how do you add to perfection?!”
Thrownback to the eclectic typography of the many a-maz-ing two-tone bands to which I was exposed as a growing fashionista (think, ‘The Beat’, ‘The Specials’…), I had to go for the monogram… and in less time than it takes to sing a verse of “Too Much To Young”, my top-notch two-steppers had become hype, hot-steppers… and as the party wound down, with more goodbye hugs shared, I made my way into the remainder of the awaiting night, with the hit Ini Kamoze track blaring, stereo, in my mind… and a bonafide, one-off experience indelibly-etched upon, both, my swaggerific shoes and my super-happy heart!
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35 Beak Street, Soho, London, W1F 9DP
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A_F_R_O_W-Applause and Appreciation to Team G.H. Bass & Co. UK & Europe, on hosting a night, as totally one-off, as your incredibly bespoke brand!