LONDON — Anya Hindmarch may not be staging a show this month in London, but that doesn’t mean she’s standing still. On Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day, the designer known for her cheeky sense of humor and quirky designs, plans to fill London’s skies — and monuments — with enormous red chubby heart balloons.
Hindmarch has teamed with the Mayor of London, the British Fashion Council, the City of Westminster, the Civil Aviation Authority and a host of businesses and councils across the British capital to plant the giant heart balloons in 29 locations around town.
Starting on Feb. 14 and continuing through London Fashion Week, the balloons will be suspended over — or squashed within — famous London landmarks and locations across the city.
The balloons are set to float near places including Battersea Power Station; Chelsea Barracks in Knightsbridge; 80 the Strand, home of the British Fashion Council’s runways and showrooms; near Central Saint Martins, Leicester Square, The Dorchester, The Ritz and Wellington Arch, and at Westfield London.
They will appear above different locations over seven days, while Ocean Outdoor will screen the campaign throughout the city, including Piccadilly Circus at 7:20 p.m. on Valentine’s Day. People will also be encouraged to follow the campaign on social media and share their own images of the balloons.
Hindmarch said in an interview the idea for the project came to her after sitting at a packed concert at Royal Festival Hall in December. “I was in awe of the resilience of Londoners and its visitors. This city takes your breath away at times, actually. Tying giant helium-filled chubby hearts onto buildings all over the city is simply a surprise love letter to London as a tribute to its strength and to celebrate our amazing creative city.”
She stressed that the project is very much a civic one, with no company branding involved. The heart shapes are based on charms and bags from her Chubby Collection, which is made from quilted napa leather with hand-stitching and oversized piping.
“We’re going directly to the consumer for the first time [in September], and we were thinking that we still have this capacity to have a little pause, and thought it would be really nice to do a civic project. We had done things in the past that essentially used the platform of fashion to message about something that’s not strictly fashion.
“We thought that, given everything London went through, we wanted to high-five the city in a lovely little moment.”
The balloons will fly from dawn until dusk, depending on the weather, and then they’ll be taken down and rise somewhere else. “So it will be sort of five balloons a day popping up in different locations plus all the squashed ones, too,” which will stay in place all week.
As reported, Hindmarch is moving to a see-now-buy-now format. She plans to show her fall 2018 collection to buyers in Paris over the next weeks and then start talking about the collection in September with consumer-focused events.