I'm not going to lie. Before I acquired enough brain cells to understand the point of going around museums and galleries, the bit I looked forward to the most was the gift shop. If I wasn't allowed to snap away on my Fisher Price camera, at least let me buy a cheap keyring or novelty pen to take home as a momento of yet another visit to the bloody tank museum (dad has an unhealthy obsession with tanks that was usually met with bawling moans from disgruntled me and a weak smile from mum).
Of course, museum and gallery shops have moved on from rainbow printed rubbers that don't actually erase anything and poor selections of postcards. The selection of items that go into the stores are heavy with curation much like the exhibitions themselves. I've expressed my love of the shops like the V&A in the past but now a bigger beast has risen. Culture Label is an amalgamation of gift stores from over 60 cultural institutions… the list is pretty comprehensive… V&A, Tate, ICA, Royal Academy of Art, Natural History Musuem, Imperial War Museum etc etc as well as smaller places like Whitechapel Gallery, The Vinyl Factory… with more to come as it only launched quite recently.
I did a bit of initial scouring and I've got gifts sorted for a few people as well as coming out with a fair number of fashion-related goodies…and in some case, oddities.
Let's talk about these Anne Boleyn pants for instance, that were apparently created for a Betty Jackson show last year. I might have to scrap my knickers as outerwear rule for these. Or perhaps Tudor devotee Wendy Brandes would like to do the honour. Worn over rights with a backless leotard under a sheer black trench/jacket and some big chunky boots? Ok, that might have been the hypnotic sway of bewitching Boleyn talking…