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

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, All done in the best pos, off-the-wall events 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 purpleclad 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.


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