by Katie on November 23, 2011

Joan Burstein has been collating the best of international design talent for four glorious decades after launching Browns on South Molton Street with her husband in 1970. Renowned for her canny commercial eye, Mrs B. (as she’s fondly known throughout the industry) was an early adopter of Alexander McQueen, and famously featured John Galliano’s graduate collection in her store windows.
How fitting then that Browns should play host to Le Cabinet de Curiosites de Thomas Erber, a selection of rare and unique products spanning fashion, furniture design, literature, and art, curated by the esteemed art director, and consultant to luxury brands such as Boucheron, Cartier, and Chanel.
Inspired by the Victorian penchant for collecting rare and beautiful artefacts and oddities from the world around them, Erber’s choices reflect his fondness for authentic luxury and craftsmanship, whilst also providing an insight into the minds of the designers and artists involved.
Global brands Lulu Guinness, Manolo Blahnik, and Rodarte, rub shoulders with lesser known names, such as Wommelsdorff, a Berlin-based couturier, whose luxurious cashmere poncho highlights designer Anne Schramm’s passion for sustainable materials and contemporary and sensuous design ethics, and Loree Rodkin’s handcrafted jewellery, a favourite of Michelle Obama.
Chic mink-lined boots from Pierre Hardy, a red ostrich handbag by S.T. Dupont, a manuscript from celebrated author James Frey…Erber’s cavalcade of exquisite limited editions and one-offs reads like God’s own Christmas wish list, and it’s hard to imagine the definitive Man Who Has Everything not coveting Jose Levy’s Mirror Book, Paul Kelley’s dressing table, or Pinel & Pinel’s Mies Van Der Rohe-inspired chair trunk boudoir. For us mere mortals, a selection of reasonably priced T-shirts, scarves, and leather goods is also available.
Not just an exercise in aesthetics, or a mere platform for creativity, a portion of the sales from the project will be donated to charities concerned with conservation and community in Namibia, causes close to Erber’s heart.
The exhibition promises to remain a talking point long after its 23rd December close, as Thomas Erber’s Cabinet de Curiosites takes the twin concept of curated collections and luxury to the next level and beyond. With the world’s economies floundering, maybe a design classic is the soundest investment after all?

Article written by Lee Clatworthy (@TeamChutzpah) for Katie Chutzpah blog.
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