On a visit to Delhi a few years ago, a friend introduced me to Fabindia and, I suspect, almost immediately regretted it for fear that I might never leave the shop. There were piles and piles of tunics, shirts, scarves in what seemed like millions of different fabrics and styles. I remember being overwhelmed by colour on a daily basis, just watching the ladies in their saris in the street. Last weekend, the hot spice of Asian colour came to Marylebone to bring some welcome pizzazz to a dreary spring weekend. Asia House’s Craft Fair was a wonderful showcase for artisan crafts, especially textiles, jewellery and paper from India.
It was pom-pom mania at Sweetlime that really got to me. There is just something about a pom-pom. As an object, it doesn’t really serve any kind of purpose. It exists purely for exuberant decoration and there’s something really joyful about that. I made them as a child and seeing them again made me want to start adding them to bags, jackets, everything. I suspect this is tapping memories of a Carine Roitfeld shoot earlier this year that made lavish use of Peruvian textiles, numerous Manolo Blahnik advertisements of pom-pommed stilettos, and seeing, at London Fashion Week, Cleo B’s kawaii-cute pom pom shoe clips.
Sweetlime’s designer Elspeth J. Walker, draws inspiration from travel and ethnic artisanship but then fuses this with some serious urban glamour in her London studio. As well as gorgeous clutch bags and jewellery, there were genius denim and military-style jackets bearing neon-bright embroidery and tote bags covered in mirror sequins, pom-poms, brooches and tassels. Best of all, a proportion of Sweetlime’s sales are donated annually to a shelter home for street children in India. So it makes buying that pom pom an even more joyful experience. Go on: you know you want one.