The shop window
Inside the boutique
House of BlueEyes
Never ones to resist the chance for a nose, the Soho-based shop, Machine-A, is one fashion hotspot we’ve been eyeballing for ages. Housing a shed-load of Fashion Scout designers, Fiona Anderson reviews this gem of a store.
‘It takes 2 or 3 people to be in here until customers have the confidence to come in’. Staring, slack jawed, at the pig’s head dangling in the front window, I was beginning to see the shop assistant’s point. Nestled amongst the fabric shops and cafes of Soho's Berwick Street, Machine-A serves as an achingly cool utopia for all things edgy and alternative and, frankly, I was beginning to wonder if my Topshop get-up would cut the mustard. Not knowing whether to expect an S&M sex dungeon, or a buttock-clenchingly pretentious Hoxton-esque haunt, I was pleasantly surprised to be greeted by a calm, airy haven with stripped floors and monochrome walls. Quiet, but not silent, and cluttered, but not overwhelming, each rail heaved with an array of pieces, some avant-garde, some theatrical, some urban and some minimal, but each utterly stylish and dripping with London cool.
Rubber catsuits hung from walls, a wooden dresser, bedecked with neatly placed knick knacks, sat snugly behind the till, and electro beats hummed through the speakers, as i instantly relaxed, and began frantically pawing at jackets, dresses and t-shirts. ‘People love Gemma Slack, we sell a lot of her stuff’, the punky-looking, and very accommodating, shop assistant, Millie Cockton, says, deftly managing me, three other nagging customers, and a ringing phone, without so much as a sigh of irritation. There are certainly a lot of wearable pieces at Machine-A, not just by Slack, but also Komakino, and House of Blueeyes, coupled with more showy pieces like a Rachel Freire bolero and that lusciously frilled, red and blue jacket from Ada Zanditon that had us all weak at the knees back in September. Cheeky Piers Atkinson headpieces and cute, GaGa-esqe accessories peep out from every nook, against the backdrop of comic strip wallpaper, making the store feel far more than just an opportunity to max out your credit card, but a brilliant display of the freshest design talent.
Machine-A is selective, exclusive, and undeniably high fashion, combining just the right mix of the directional, and the functional. Never again shall I judge a store by its window, this high street girl has been well and truly converted.