Thursday, November 05, 2009

Because I'm flying back to England shortly, I need to get my head around Christmas presents a little earlier than usual, deciding whether to get clever in New York, or just order it all on the interweb, and have it waiting for me in the UK by the time I get back.

I'm quite tempted by the not having to lug shopping home option now that airlines are charging for a second case, and websites like CultureLabel do make the whole process super easy. This new breed of online consolidators take product from all over, present it thematically in one place, and then leave you to follow the direct links to the website that actually sells the product. What makes them different from normal shopping consolidation & affiliate sites is that they curate the products they sell, rather than just mindlessly listing a load of old tat.

Their USP is a collection of products garnered from sixty leading galleries, museums, artists and culture institutions, (everywhere from the Saatchi Gallery to English Heritage), many of which are either artist-designed or limited-edition products. And, if you think this all sounds a bit po-faced, may I direct you to my current favourite pick from the site?

Radio controlled tarantula

Radio Controlled Tarantula £24.47 from The Natural History Museum
Scuttle, spin and scare from up to 140m away? Yes ,please for my godson who would LOVE driving everyone up the wall with this little horror.

From the sublime to the chic, this bag from the ever fabulous Ally Capellino is a brilliant present for, well, everyone:

Ally Capellino Satchel Bag Tate
Ally Capellino Satchel Bag created especially for the Tate £35.23

And for the always impossible to buy for designer-y friend with impossibly high standards, may I suggest the V&A Pattern Limited Edition Box Set at an extremely reasonable £30?

V&A Pattern Limited Edition Box Set

A repository of ideas for designers of all kinds, this box set contains the first four titles (William Morris, Digital Pioneers, Indian Florals and The Fifties) in a new series of books containing patterns from the V&A archive. Each book includes a CD of all the images which can be redrawn or reworked.

Most of the 60 sites will ship internationally, so usage isn't restricted to the UK.