Two years ago on a weekend trip to Stockholm it was too cold and expensive to go outside. Everyone told me before I went that Sweden is really expensive, but I hadn’t realised that would mean everything cost about twice what it does in the UK: £40 for a bottle of house wine, £25 for a main course in a regular restaurant. Great.
The plus side of being on holiday broke and sober was that the our hotel was bloody cool and paid for in advance (including breakfast – load up on that buffet kidz!). Decorated with overlapping prints from Swedish affordable art store Wonderwall, the walls of the hotel are a kind of gallery for their artists and complement the modern-retro-minimalist yet comfy-kitsch interior.
I fell in love with a pair of legs* on the wall. There was one set in our bedroom and another in the dining room. They were just spindly black legs with a fluffy tutu at one end and scribbled pink stilettos at the other but the painting had an air of such artful glamour and simplicity I wanted it on my (decidedly plain) wall. (*these legs went through 50 different versions before the artist was happy with them. impressive).
When I got back to London the legs lingered in my mind for months. By the time I got my act together to buy them they were sold out. Instead I ordered ‘All Tomorrow’s Parties’, another poster pair of coyly bending legs decorated with little red bows (very Minnie Mouse!) by the same artist, the wonderful Swedish fashion designer and illustrator (for everyone from Elle and Vogue to Miu Miu and H&M – you might have seen her sweeping black outline-illos at their Oxford St west store) Lovisa Burfitt.
Then in October last year I got my occasional Wonderwall mailshot saying that a new Burfitt was ready for release and they were running a competition to name it. I instantly replied with my suggestion: ‘Take A Bow’ (referencing Madonna and making a pun on the huge bow that dominates the painting) and they responded saying thanks and that Lovisa was in the studio and liked the suggestion. I was pleased.
I waited. And waited. And in November got an email saying that I’d won. Oh – but some other people had come up with the same name (grrr) but I was the first (woo!). This week the poster arrived and is now waiting to be framed and hung on the diagonal wall to its leggy sister.
Lovisa’s illustrations share the pure fantasy and joyous idealism of the best fashion imagery. (Who cares if it’s not real? It’s gorgeous!). She paints with the lightness and style of a cool young female version of David Downton or Rene Gruau. If she makes me nostalgic for a pre-digitalcamera, keyboard-less magazine age, then at least it’s the perfect excuse to indulge in the recent-ish revival of fash-illustration books and exhibitions.
I do like having her pictures on the walls.
All images copyright Lovisa Burfitt via Wonderwall.
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