Talking Shop: Julie Verhoeven

The artist and designer has worked for Mulberry and Versace - and has a weakness for garish bog bling

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What unusual shops do you love?
‘I have a soft spot for Pricebusters [Unit 311, Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre, SE1 6TE]. It satisfies on every level. It resembles a mini B&Q, but with the addition of nonsense household items.’

What do you spend your cash on?
‘Other than overpriced swanky cocktails in smart hotels, I excel at buying an excessive amount of pound-shop tat.’

What do you scrimp on?
‘That word doesn’t exist for me. It’s an unattractive idea.’

What piece of your own clothing do you get the most wear out of?
‘It’s kind of dull, but I am very attached to my studio attire: a builder’s all-in-one.’

You’ve worked with some of the biggest names in the business, but who in London do you consider really stylish?

‘There is a local Walworth Road character who is a cross between an ageing Cher and Dolly Parton. She’s always fully made-up and wearing outrageous outfits.’

If you only had a tenner, what would you spend it on?
‘I would go to the Book & Comic Exchange [14 Pembridge Rd, W11 3HL] for instant gratification. I’d hunt out a random book or an old copy of Spare Rib magazine.’

What is good and bad about shopping in London?

‘There is everything good about shopping in London. The only downside is the ever-increasing arrival of malls like Westfield.’

Of all the places you’ve been, where has the shopping been the best?

‘Rua 24 de Maio in São Paulo, Brazil. It’s full of colour and noise and everything imaginable to kit out a carnival. It’s pure bliss.’

Weirdest thing you’ve ever bought?
‘A printed fake-fur toilet seat cover. I have a dark penchant for WC accessories.’

Biggest purchase mistake?

‘I once bought one of those clear plastic blow-up armchairs in a moment of madness. Impossible to inflate – and such a design cliché!’


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