It has taken me one whole year to finally take a tour of the LNCC in Dalston. I live in North London and despite having a car I tend to inadvertently neglect certain areas because they simply are so far away from my own hood. Not much of an argument, I know. But since I had a meeting on Saturday afternoon in the East End I decided that a visit was imperative. This is how I found myself in the shabby urban hinterland, magical kingdom of unbearable hipsters, where broken glass frequently crunches underfoot and fly-tipped junk is part of the picture (I’m slightly exaggerating of course for poetic purposes - haha). I do find great beauty in the jagged ugliness of places on the edge (except for Harlesden where I lived for 10 months and I still won’t celebrate the burnt out cars, boarded up houses and crack dealers). The Late Night Chameleon Café occupies a peculiar position, inexplicably concealed in the enormous basement of a grey industrial looking building, opposite a police station and a dusty carpet shop that didn’t seem to be attracting many customers. Having visited their brilliant website on a regular basis I knew this was going to be a very satisfactory moment. I confess I had been wondering how the fascinating concept devised by the creating team would be interpreted in “real” life as opposed to the virtual platform and expected to maybe find a shift in emphasis. The minute I rang the doorbell and entered the space I was overcome by the intensely vivid and thrilling Gary Card displays. It felt like I was suddenly immersed into a mysteriously enticing world lost somewhere between Blade Runner and Dungeons & Dragons. If the resolve of John Skelton and Dan Mitchell is to make retail and storytelling be appreciated side by side then all I can say is that they have succeeded. LNCC is simply genius! From the imaginative boldness of the interiors (three rooms dedicated to clothes and accessories, one to music and books, one used as a party room/changing rooms in the spirit of pleasure and a long futuristic looking tunnel) to the astonishingly informed knowledge reflected in the selection of pieces. I can’t begin to tell you the excitement I felt when I saw so many damned beautiful clothes in one place: Wacko Maria, G.V.G.V, Damir Doma, Ann Demeulemeester, Sasquatchfabrix, Marsell, Haider Ackermann, Preen, Rick Owens among many other wonderful brands. It was difficult to be on good behaviour and not spend all my money. And while certain “exclusive” shops may acquire a reputation for employing irritating, critical, pushy and snobby staff members I can safely say that LNCC does the complete opposite. Dan and Charlotte were a constant source of enchantment, elegance and friendliness. Like all great retails spaces, the LNCC defies easy categorization and has emerged as one of the most exciting fashion adventures London (and possibly Europe) has to offer, leading the way for an entire new genre of shopping, whether it be online or not. I left feeling a mixture of awe and admiration thinking that the LNCC will never quite be equalled, let alone surpassed.
All pictures courtesy of LNCC, collage by July Stars