Selfridges in London held an event tonight celebrating the launch of a new Surreal Things exhibit at the Victoria & Albert museum. Anyone walking down Oxford Street over the past week has probably seen the designer windows commissioned by the Oxford Street emporium, showing the creative work of Victor & Rolf and John Galliano, among others. [If you haven't seen the windows, you can see photos of them on Susie Bubble's site]. Another window has been designed by the dynamic duo of Rich and Phil, also known as Rodnik, who were the real stars of tonight's launch event.
I first met the Rodnik guys during New York Fashion Week in September 2006. I had been introduced to them via email by a business mentor of theirs, Maria Stammers, from the Portobello Business Centre in London. I had been exchanging text messages to arrange a meeting with Rodnik during Fashion Week in New York, but when I spotted two guys after the Peter Som show in cool webbed black wool cardigans with matching peach-coloured ties and that je-ne-sais-quoi English dandyism, I knew it was them. I tapped Rich on his shoulder and asked if they were Rodnik. At the time, they looked amused that someone would actually recognise them (or, at least, had heard of them). When I explained that I was the one whom Maria had referred, any awkwardness disappeared and we nipped off for an afternoon coffee in Bryant Park where I learned all about their budding business and their vision for where they wanted to take it.
Since then, we have kept in touch regularly and I have watched as they have faced various business challenges (Production!), declared major fashion victories (Barneys! French Vogue! Lily Cole!), and shared their charm with the fashion world (Anna Wintour! Karl Lagerfeld! Julie Gilhart!), who have simply fallen head over heels for these two quintessential non-designer designers. With their brilliant marketing skills (Parasols! Spoof fashion show! FT Column!) they have built the beginnings of a brand.
Their latest adventure has been to put together an entourage/band/posse that includes the illustrious Peaches Geldof, maven of the London social scene (although Rich says posses are for cowboys not rockstar fashion designers). Tonight the Rodnik band gave its debut "concert" at Selfridges and the guys put on an inspired performance in line with evening's surreal theme using a miniature piano, a child-sized set of drums, an old school record player pumping out The Doors and for lead singer, a mannequin with a top hat dressed in Rodnik . The entourage provided requisite levels of vocal support and cool factor throughout while the photogs were all leaning into capture the moment.
Does this sound like a luxury fashion label? Well no, not really. But it is brilliant marketing and will continue to weave interesting stories around which the Rodnik lifestyle brand will be built.
Copyright Imran Amed 2007. All rights reserved.