Do you know of the American lifestyle brand Shinola? (pronounced SHINE-O-LA, from a background in shoe shine I learnt) They sell the most incredible leather goods, from notebooks and linen monogrammed stationery to exquisite bags and accessories, as well as urban watches and bicycles, with a lifetime guarantee, such is their quality assurance. Barack Obama is a fan of the brand apparently, and with their base in Detroit they have a big following in the States.
They're relatively new to London, with a gorgeous black brick frontage on Foubert's Place in Soho, an area very familiar to me as I used to manage the American Apparel store on Carnaby Street many moons ago to balance my freelance work. I really don't miss those retail days.
Anyway back to the occasion, Shinola do lots of cool collabs and events instore, with the likes of Kinfolk, Net a Porter, Hope in the Woods and old friends of ours Bellerby Globemakers (for whom I illustrated a very detailed celestial globe design), and they also popped in to say hi at the party, London is seeming smaller and smaller for me these days.
Shinola approached myself and my publishers Ebury, Penguin Random House, to offer their store as an event space for the launch of my modern calligraphy book Nib + Ink, which was a lovely surprise, and they gave out gorgeous free journals to anyone who purchased my book on the night, which we tied together with thin leather to make lovely packages. They're a really great bunch, with a shining American spirit, and even provided our gang with non stop bubbly, Crate ale, Shinola-Cola and delicious "canopies" (bite size square pies). We enlisted the help of the lovely Amalie from Minimal Affair to decorate the room with elegant paired back white and clear balloons, setting the launch party tone.
We had my friend Joe Hawkes and lovely Shinola photographer Sophie Albini capturing the event, which involved book signing, bubbles and speeches to a packed out room, full of my friends, family, clients and colleagues. I was truly touched by the lovely bunch who came down to wish me and my book well, you guys are really, really ace.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Chiara x