Field Notes

Note 9: Whitechapel

Locarion: Albert & Son, 9 Whitechapel Road, Whitechapel, London E1

Whitechapel field trip map

In 2003

In 2003

• Albert & Son lives next door to Lilly Bling. Lilly is the My Little Pony of retail experiences, a contrast to Albert’s sombre mother-of-the-Bar-Mitzvah-boy knitted coordinates. Vici and I ponder one of the mannequins in Albert’s window – is she our photograph heroine? Albert’s dolly looks like she’s had a night on the town too many; her ash-blonde wig is askew, she’s wearing a polyester lizard-print top. We are puzzled by a cactus in the window that sits between the mannequins’ bare feet. It looks like it needs watering. We are too scared to go inside the shop, but from the street we survey a series of purple stretch skirts along a rail, in sizes 8 to 22. There are a few stray fascinators in a metal rack by the door. We go instead to Lilly Bling, where we buy a pair of fashion tights in shade Bamboo. A few doors down, on the site of Bloom’s kosher restaurant, is a shop selling Jack the Ripper tee shirts. We tell the owner they’re too pricey at £10, but ask if we can take a picture of him holding one up.
• Words Tamar Yoseloff / Photos Vici MacDonald

Below: Speciality fashion for all tastes at Whitechapel. Bottom: exhibition display of field notes.

Whitechapel field notes display