Our Story - Through the Looking Glass
As with all the best adventures, it is difficult to pinpoint exactly where Jump Like Alice began. Or indeed where I end and it begins. But once I did open Jump Like Alice in Shoreditch seven years ago, it seemed that everything else had merely been a preparation for this moment. It has turned out to be the biggest adventure of my life.
Jump Like Alice is in many ways a visual autobiography of my life. It is a highly personal and perhaps idiosyncratic approach to retailing. I buy what I like and hope you like it too. My shop is only open at the weekends which has allowed me to do a different sort of buying. Jump like Alice bears the fruits of my travels abroad and is an ever changing cornucopia. Rummaging through flea markets in Paris, souks in Marrakech and Cairo, bazaars in Istanbul, Bangkok and Rajasthan early whetted my taste for the unexpected and a dislike for the prepackaged. There is nothing precious here, except perhaps the most precious thing of all - a passport to dream and indulge the senses. Here every piece of jewellery, every hat, every rug is there to be picked up, touched and experienced. As one visitor remarked, 'Coming into Jump like Alice is like every holiday I have ever had, or am yet to go on'.
Alice will not be dictated to by an increasingly dull retail world, where a sense of fun is all but gone. As Coco Chanel said, 'In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.' Nor are the jewellery and accessories I choose bound by the harsh dictates of the fashion world. Here you can buy fifties style swimming caps, wool berets, Madagascar hats, Panama hats, kurtas from Kashmir, hand-picked jewellery and rugs all year round.
For the launch of jumplikealice.com, I drew inspiration from Matisse and the exhibition of his works in Tate Modern. He paints a world I want to be part of, colours I want to be immersed in and a beauty I want to be lost in. I am certain that composing a painting, a phrase of music, a memorable sentence or deciding on your clothes and accessories on a daily basis, all draw on the same thing - a sense of proportion and balance. Style is a fine balance. Diana Vreeland described it as an elegance of the mind from which everything else naturally follows.
Columbia Road, Shoreditch recently voted one of the most fashionable streets in London, is home to the much loved Sunday Flower Market. Over the years, the popularity of the flower market has spawned an eclectic and bohemian row of independent shops, galleries and restaurants. The jewellery and accessories in my shop can be seen on some of the most photographed women in the world. But more importantly they can be seen and enjoyed by you. I hope that jumplikealice.com offers the same thrill of serendipity as Jump Like Alice on Columbia Road.
'Clothes change our view of the world and the world's view of us.' Virginia Woolf
Catherine Chester Levy