Aspiration: Johnny's World - All done in the best possible taste

Founder and chairman of The Admirable Crichton Johnny Roxburgh admits the universal appeal of all things kitsch does make for fun, off-the-wall events. Kitsch or rather "real kitsch" is incredibly difficult to do. At meetings, clients sometimes stand waving their hands in the air saying: "We are so unconventional and really want to push the boundaries - make it as kitsch as you can."

My heart rather sinks, as the minefield I am about to walk into is huge.

Kitsch is, of course, like good taste - something entirely personal. Nowhere is one man's meat another man's blow-up doll more the case than in this very subjective area. I always start with great caution.

Having said all that, we have had more fun with kitsch than anything else. Last year, The Royal Academy asked us to organise its fantastic summer party based on "Pink Kitsch".

We started by ordering 300 pink flamingos - plastic ones, of course.

On their journey from North America to London they were miraculously transformed into 600 birds thanks to a computer glitch. When we used this enormous quantity to dress the main staircase of The Royal Academy, which was specially re-carpeted in pink, and surrounded them with 4ft high pink grasses and tangerine ostrich eggs on vibrant pink nests, the whole effect was starting to become off-the-wall.

Thousands of pink and orange feathers were dropped on guests' heads from above the staircase, only to be cleared up by an old woman dressed as a 1950s cleaner with a jewelled dustpan and brush.

At the top of the stairs boys dressed in black tie and pastel coloured tutus offered extraordinary cocktails in empty baked bean cans, while in the courtyard, actors in naked body suits sat in clear balloon-filled baths as their backs were "scrubbed" by Mrs Mops - not perhaps everyone's idea of a regular party.

Rose-filled gutters Asprey opened its flagship store on Bond Street earlier this year and asked us to organise the launch. We closed Grafton and Bond Street, carpeted them in Asprey purple and then filled the gutters with a metre's width of pink and purple fresh rose petals, six inches deep.

The "real kitsch" part of this evening was to fill the entire street with Asprey-clad performers, road sweepers, policemen, dog walkers with giant poodles, their coats braided in purple ribbons, and a purple-clad chauffeur of a convertible purple Bentley, which had a jewel-encrusted wheel clamp, with its own purple traffic warden.

The Asprey purple carpet, the petal-filled gutters and the extraordinary 14ft high purple poodle, made entirely from carnations, created for The Royal Academy appeared in magazines and newspapers all over the world.

So, perhaps tricky though it is, "real kitsch" has universal appeal.


Abigail Wills helps you recreate the spirit of kitsch


Catering company Jackson Gilmour (JG) says frilly, fluffy London or New York is just one end of the kitsch market and that real fun can be had with the truly naff but utterly British. JG director and event designer Anne Aitken suggests Abigail's Party-style prawn cocktails in filo cones served in traditional chip pans, or popadum 'n' vindaloo canapes with thimble-sized lager chasers, followed by a dessert of Rubik's Cube jellies in pink champagne and basil & lime. Contact


Trailer Happiness on Portabello Road is described as having the "E-Z Boy feel of a low rent, mid-60s California Valley Bachelor pad", and if it's shag-pile carpets and vol-au-vents you're after then look no further. Groups of up to 90 can hire the venue exclusively.Rates are based on a minimum spend, which varies depending on which day of the week and what time the event is being held. Contact

Event production and design agency Mask suggests groups consider London eatery Les Trois Garcons but adds that for your own interpretation of kitsch, a blank canvas venue such as the Boiler House at the Truman Brewery is unbeatable. The party planner staged a "plastic fantastic" event at the venue recently and brought in rubber furniture and 60s decor. Contact


The Ministry of Fun has numerous entertainers on its books that would complement a kitsch theme party. Managing director James Lovell recommends groups go for a cheesy compere/MC for the night. Contact

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