Passementalists

Most of us haven’t given too much thought to the tassel. However, design duo Spina – also known as Robbie Spina and Joe Zito –  aren’t like most of us.

Dubbed the ‘tassel boys’, this pair has elevated the oft-forgot craft of passementiere and taken it firmly into the 21st Century. Though Spina works throughout the sphere of home accessories, their forte remains the tassel, as shown in an exhibition and auction later this month for charity Kid’s Company.

The retrospective exhibition Tassel Dazzle celebrates ten years of tassel design, aiming to show how home accessories can become veritable works of art. Alongside tassels, lighting displays, embellished footstalls, chandeliers, cushions and other home ware items will be on show.

Zandra Rhodes
Zandra Rhodes

The project has seen 30 famous faces and names come together to design their own tassels, which will then be auctioned off. Joe Zito, Spina co-founder says, ‘It’s our ten year anniversary, and tassels is where it started, but we also wanted to have a charitable element.

‘We created a beautiful, simple, large white tassel that’s really elegant and exquisite and wrote to people to see if they wanted to get involved. A lot of people were fascinated and have returned tassels with real genius – it’ really captured a lot of people’s imaginations.’

Kelly Hoppen
Kelly Hoppen

Those involved include interior designers Kelly Hoppen and Martin Brudnizki, burlesque star Dita Von Teese, fashion designer Zandra Rhodes, interior designer Kelly Hoppen, home ware designers Nina Campbell and Jonathan Adler and illustrator Daisy de Villeneuve.

up close and personal with Dita Von Teese's tassel
up close and personal with Dita Von Teese’s tassel

Zito adds, ‘We wrote a super cheeky letter to Dita Von Teese  “to the queen of tassels from the king of tassels”.’ He says that the responses have been very diverse, with Daisy de Villeneuve turning her tassel upside down and cropping it; architect Nigel Coates moulding ceramics around the fringe of his and Nina Campbell turning hers into a birdcage-like structure.

Martin Brudnizki
Martin Brudnizki

The project will raise funds for Kid’s Company’s Colour a Child’s Life scheme, in  which workers from the charity visit the homes of struggling children and their families and help make their homes into healthy, safe environments.

Children helped by Kid’s Company will also have work on show in the exhibition in the form of a series of miniature wardrobes, created in response to being asked the question ‘ if your life was a wardrobe, what would you put in it?

Zito says that it’s hoped Spina will also host a workshop for children from Kid’s Company, and that an ‘apprenticeship’ style work-experience programme could follow on from this.

up close and personal with Dita Von Teese's tassel
Dita Von Teese

The exhibition runs from 27-30 September in The Great Room at 1508 London, Design House & Gallery 7 Howick Place London SW1P. The auction will take place on 27 September.

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