Magazine article The Spectator

Wicker's World

Magazine article The Spectator

Wicker's World

Article excerpt

If you have ever received a hamper, you will be familiar with that delicious quiver of anticipation as you unbuckle the creaking wicker lid to see what lies within. How often have you then suppressed a twinge of disappointment to find that, apart from a pretty tin of lapsang souchong and a bottle of decent Sancerre, there is nothing you really want? More than likely those jars of stilton, piccalilli and mincemeat no one knows how to cook with any more are still languishing at the back of your kitchen cupboard.

It might seem obvious to fill a hamper with things we really, really want but, like all great, simple ideas, they sometimes need a touch of inspiration and genius to realise. In this case, it has taken the combination of Selfridges, with its passion for innovation and for fusing food and fashion, and the handbag designer Anya Hindmarch to come up with a collection of 11 all-singing, all-dancing hampers to cover every gift crisis imaginable.

There are two Thank You Hampers, a Glutton's Hamper, two Best of British Hampers (perfect for homesick friends overseas, containing as it does Marmite, Coleman's mustard powder, Golden Syrup, HP Sauce and a Monty Python DVD), an Ultimate Girlie Hamper at £1,000, heaving with treats like a full range of Essie nail varnishes, Eve Lom products, cashmere socks, pink champagne, an iPod, Pretty Woman and Breakfast at Tiffanys DVDs; and there is even the witty Mother's Ruin Hamper, containing a pair of Marigolds and bottle of Hendrick's Gin. Of course, for the season, there are two Ultimate Christmas Hampers and a New Year New You Hamper, with a detox theme that includes a pedometer, health log, oxygen water, tape measure and skipping rope, plus a bottle of champagne for when you are ready to retox.

Every hamper contains a cracker with a chance to win an Anya Hindmarch handbag and has a leather luggage tag, in Selfridges yellow, that can be embossed with a personal message in your own handwriting, making the hamper even more of a desirable personal keepsake.

Anya Hindmarch's headquarters is in an old brewery on Wandsworth Road. When I visit, Anya is between fashion weeks in London, New York, Paris and Tokyo, and it is two days before the press launch of the hampers at Selfridges.

Aside from her hectic work agenda, Anya has five children and has just seen her eight-year-old son off to boarding school for the first time. …

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