The scene inside the red tent structure outside the Serpentine Gallery was a little reminiscent of that Southern Comfort television commercial, where the inhabitants of a bar all batten down the hatches and drink through the monsoon.
Jewellers are a pretty hardy lot when it comes to partying in adversity. Luckily, there wasn’t just booze (and bowl food) to distract us from the plummeting temperatures, but a host of Design Innovation Award winning jewellery being paraded around by stunning models, who must have been quite chilly in their strapless dresses in the inclement weather. Congratulations to the emerging talents and established designers who gave us judges quite a hard time coming to our decisions. Full details of the winners are in Retail Jeweller’s September issue.
Elsewhere at the show yesterday, we’ve seen some fantastic new designs from William Cheshire, who managed to create wristwear that you can type and write in without scratching it up (a must for any journalist so he gets my admiration), and Alexander Davis, who is equally gifted at solving engineering problems in his jewellery, having modelled pieces using the relief maps of the Grand Canyon and Washington skyline. Why wouldn’t you?
But the revelation of the fair for me has been finding out just how many connections the jewellery industry has to the new world I am entering on Thursday - when I start officially editing Nursing Times magazine.
Of course, Alexander has always been renowned for letting biochemistry influence his work, so he was happy to share with me his views on antibiotic-resistant strains of diseases. If he hadn’t been a jeweller, he’d have been a doctor, he says. So our paths would have crossed, which is a comforting thought because I consider my life richer for knowing this quirky talent. But I bet that retailers and recipients of his absolutely gorgeous jewellery are delighted that he opted for diamonds over the defibrillator.
And I discovered that Gecko’s very own Barry Bennett was also planning on training as a nurse after a brief stint as an ODA (hospital orderly to you and me), working on prepping patients prior to their ops. Once again, I feel glad that our lives were destined to connect in some way, whatever career decision we had taken. And while Bennett’s generous spirit and positive attitude would definitely have benefitted the NHS, I feel quite glad that it’s been benefitting my team and I for the past few years. Bar Gecko at IJL and Spring Fair is a bit like Club Tropicana…where the drinks are always free and Gecko reps welcome you to wonderland (albeit not from beneath their panamas).
I may as well borrow some other song lyrics from that Wham! classic while I am at it. I do have to pack my bags and leave tonight, because today is my last day as editor-in-chief of Retail Jeweller. I’ll be spending it introducing the fabulous new editor of the magazine Laura McCreddie to all my old friends as I sign off at IJL, and no doubt shedding copious amounts of tears as I dole out a few farewell hugs. Waterproof mascara at the ready…