Within just a couple of years, the Sparklewren brand had grown a significant fanbase; Jenni Hampshire’s sculptural approach to design was in high demand, and was beginning to outgrow her home workspace.
In late June 2012, following a successful crowdfunding campaign, Sparklewren opened a boutique in Birmingham’s historic Great Western Arcade, a perfect location to showcase the brand to the general public: the exquisite display space featured original Victorian architecture, with the shop space including an original curved glass display window.
The boutique interior was created as an exhibition space for the couture creations, with gilded panelling (created specially for the location by artist Emily Swift-Jones), translucent textile drapery and wooden display cabinets. Renowned burlesque artist and Sparklewren client Immodesty Blaize modelled in the window for the boutique’s opening party.
It was in this space that the concept of ‘gilding the lily’ truly came into fruition: from the literal gilding of the boutique interior to the decadent metallic laces that were painstakingly appliquéd onto the corset surfaces.