www.hastingsonlinetimes.co.uk     Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper

Diamond anniversary

Exactly one year ago, the Kings Road in St Leonards was made a little bit like Chelsea by the arrival of Susan Diamond’s boutique. To celebrate, she is hosting a ‘Walk on the Wild Side’ exhibition. HOT’s Erica Smith slips on her high-heel sneakers and glittery eye-shadow and asks some pertinent questions…

Susan Diamond at the boutique door…

Susan Diamond’s boutique is not one for wallflowers… darn it, you need to be feeling pretty sparky to simply step through the door. Once inside, however, you are instantly made to feel at home and even if you are as straight-laced as a Salvation Army boot, your inner freak will start wriggling around, making you try on all manner of outrageous garb. The first time I went in, I walked out with a pair of 6” heel, knee-high glittery platform boots, a shocking pink B-52s shift dress and a pair of giant-sized nipple tassels (or were they epaulettes…?). Be warned!

As well as being a boutique owner, a partner in Charles of London clothes label and a silver-sprayed singer in a noise band called Gobsausage, Susan D. finds time to be a visual artist. The walls above the clothes rails are used to exhibit her work, and that of her preferred artistic contemporaries. The last show was digital work and screen prints by tattoo-inspired psycho-rocker Vince Ray. Before that, there was a group show including some of Susan’s work called Diamond Dawgs. Nothing stays still in Diamond Land – in fact it was hard work to pin her down long enough to interview her. This is as close as I could get to the shape-shifting whirlwind known as Susan Diamond…

Diamond Wolf at the foot of London Road

How would you describe your self-named boutique?
Susan Diamond is a A Throbbing Collection of Local Talent and A Worldwide Platform and Showcase for Art, Fashion, Music, Jewels, Punk, Literature, Exhibitions and Events…

And YOU – what are you wearing today?
I am a wearing a Siouxsie Sioux t-shirt by Juan of a Kind, Berlin, black zip trousers and caged wedges!

Your shop has been open for a whole year now… What drew you to Kings Road – and has the street changed in the time you have been here?
The name Kings Road for one! And that it was so near the train station. Kings Road has an edgy creative, cosmopolitan feel and I think things are improving with more interesting shops/tea rooms opening etc…

Charles of London Bowie shirt

Charles of London Bowie shirt

You are American – where did you grow up, and where have you lived on your life journey as you drifted towards Kings Road?
Yes, I am. I grew up in Springfield, MA, studied Fashion design in Boston, MA, travelled to New York quite a lot of with my Mother and oldest brother doing vintage fairs, then to London, where I met my partner, Mark Charles, then we started our label, Charles of London and the rest is history, as they say!

What artists/artworks are included in your Walk on the Wild Side exhibition
We have a mix of very talented artists that have created a piece each based on the theme, Walk on The Wild Side  To name a few… Tom Lynn, Drew Droobie Copus, Shuby, Tom Bartlett, Richard Heslop, Adam Espira, Ella Guru, Billy Houlston, Sexton Ming! and Maureena

Tell me about Gobsausage – any gigs lined up?
We started Gobsausage some years ago when we were living in Shoreditch, we played and got banned from most of the dives, travelled our way around Europe and even still get asked to do the occasional gig – including the last Outrageous Decadence New Year’s Eve Ball at the Masonic Hall. Our next gig in the line-up is a festival in Holland.

What are your plans for the next year?
To keep one step ahead of the game!

Susan Diamond’s Walk on the Wild Side exhibition starts this Friday and runs until Friday 26 September at 22 Kings Road, St Leonards-on-Sea. Go on – dress up and shimmy along to pick up some of the Susan Diamond vibe. You can find out more on Facebook.

Posted 16:35 Wednesday, Sep 3, 2014 In: Shops & Things

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