Blonstein Creative Production

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Blonstein Creative Production's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Blonstein Creative Production is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

www.blonstein.co.uk

BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
20 | SEARCYS
reinvent modern British dishes. Our
recently awarded Two Star Food
Made Good rating by the Sustainable
Restaurant Association is a testament
to how provenance and sustainability
are at the heart of our business.
This year sees us expanding our
commitment to sustainability with
a new set of pledges. This includes
an ongoing partnership with Beyond
Food, a social enterprise that helps
those who are most at risk of
homelessness to gain employment
in hospitality. In December 2018,
we raised £10,000 for the charity
through our A Very Searcys
Christmascampaign.
We have established a number of
meaningful brand partnerships in line
with the company’s rebranding goals.
Supper clubs and collaborations with
well-known UK chefs like Saturday
Kitchen TV presenter Matt Tebbutt or
the award-winning British chocolatier
William Curley were the highlights
of our events calendar. This January,
Searcys at The Gherkin partnered
with Great British Bake Off finalist
Ruby Bhogal, Harley Street nutritionist
Rhiannon Lambert and ethical yoga
company Yogasphere for a month
of wellness-related supper clubs
andevents.
Outside of London, we have
collaborated with the quintessentially
British perfume house Penhaligon’s
to create a series of afternoon tea
packages at Blenheim Palace and
with Extract Coffee, a sustainable
roaster in Bristol. Our espresso has
been specially blended by the team
in collaboration with Extract Coffee,
using 60 per cent Project Peru beans.
These are directly sourced from an
organic co-operative of smallholders,
who work closely with Extract Coffee
to build a “quality pays” ethos in
theircommunity.
An oversaturated market
One of the main challenges we face is
the level of competition in our industry:
there are too many providers for
too few customers. Many choose to
discount their products, but we prefer
to add value. As we are in a service
sector, we need to think laterally
to ensure that we remain attractive
toconsumers.
We work hard to retain the customers
we have while expanding our
profile. Key to this is supporting
sustainable and ethical products, as
the importance of ethical consumption
continues to grow. By continuing to
uphold our heritage and embrace
these modern trends, we are sure
we will be able to thrive long into
thefuture.
The
importance of
ethical
consumption
sits firmly in
our minds and
so we support
sustainable
and ethical
products
Over 56,000 bottles of Searcys
signature cuvée are sold each year
Helix at the Gherkin
21BLONSTEIN CREATIVE PRODUCTION |
DIGITAL, CULTURE, MEDIA & SPORT
Founder Sara Blonstein
Roksanda LFW runway at
the Serpentine Pavilion
Founded in 1990, Blonstein is a prolific creative production
agency based in Brick Lane, east London. It delivers a wide
range of high-calibre experiences for world-leading fashion,
lifestyle and consumer brands including the British Fashion
Council, the Mayor of London, London Fashion Week, Selfridges
and Pernod Ricard, to name a few, as well as for a number of
other innovative, cool and niche clients. Founder and Director
Sara Blonstein reflects on the journey so far while discussing
how the agency continues to identify and champion the next
generation of talent.
Blonstein is situated on Brick Lane, the heart of east London’s pool of new talent,
new thinking and emerging cultural trends. This enables us to take inspiration
from this world every day. We employ a 360-degree boutique philosophy to all our
productions, from imagination to concept, delivery and completion. We are best
known for our elaborate attention to detail and our unique ability to creatively and
consistently place the brand at the centre of an experience.
Reinvigorating derelict spaces
We started off the business in the whirl of a post-feminist movement in the early
1990s, taking over derelict iconic buildings to host incredibly lavish events, entirely
run by women, from security and DJs to performers and bar staff. These immersive
events quickly gained press notoriety for their beautiful art direction and for the
reclamation of neglected urban spaces, in a truly unique way.
FACTS ABOUT
BLONSTEIN CREATIVE
PRODUCTION
»Founder: Sara Blonstein
»Founded in 1990
»Based in east London
»Services: Creative production
»No. of employees: Project-
dependent
Blonstein Creative
Production
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
22 | BLONSTEIN CREATIVE PRODUCTION
Our first commercial commission
came from Channel 4, who wanted
to offer edgy yet high-end events
for their advertising partners. At the
time, it was very much a disruptor
in the TV market, so we decided to
hold their party at a tiny jazz club in
London Bridge. At the back of the
club was a door that led to a huge
vaulted space below the train arches.
They were thrilled with the outcome
and became a regular client. Together
we threw huge parties in the empty
County Hall and the derelict Battersea
Power Station. Soon Sky, MTV and
20th Century Fox also became clients
and we continued to push boundaries
with our experiential events, sourcing
abandoned spaces in London and
abroad and then reinventing them.
As we grew, I started looking for a
new location for the business. The
Truman Brewery had just been bought
by a completely new type of investor.
They were letting
only
artists, creators
and fashion designers rent spaces
at far lower rates than elsewhere to
generate a new creative hub. All the
big British designers were born out
of this time and place: Alexander
McQueen, Kim Jones, Gareth Pugh
and Hussein Chalayan were all working
out of east London. They were gaining
traction and wanted to run shows
in non-traditional spaces. We were
perfectly primed for this and started
producing runway shows for both
Chalayan and Pugh.
Evolving and improving
What differentiated us was our ability
to transform these empty spaces.
We took the lead from our clients
and mixed it with our unique skills in
working with disused buildings. Being
in east London and surrounded by
this fashion crowd, with the fashion
movement growing around us, we
simply translated our core production
skills and applied them to that industry.
Soon we were delivering shows all
overLondon.
We started collaborating with the
British Fashion Council when they
moved London Fashion Week to
Somerset House, producing their
showrooms and installations. This
led to an Olympic project called
Hatwalk, where Britain’s top milliners
designed hats for 25 statues across
central London, including Nelson. We
installed them all in secret overnight
with an army of cherry-pickers to great
acclaimglobally.
Our work with Roksanda and Ozwald
Boateng had also become increasingly
ambitious with each project. With
Ozwald we produced a show at the
Odeon in Leicester Square, placing 100
models on the runway at once. For
Roksanda we moved the production,
season by season, from the half-
finished Shard, to a disused sorting
office, to The Serpentine Pavilion. All
this was unprecedented at the time.
After attending one of our Roksanda
shows at the converted Seymour
swimming baths in Marylebone, the
BFC approached us to produce the
London Fashion Week Festival at the
Saatchi Gallery.
What
differentiated
us was our
ability to
transform
these empty
spaces
Blonstein-designed and
built runway
Her Majesty The Queen
and Anna Wintour at
the Richard Quinn show
23BLONSTEIN CREATIVE PRODUCTION |
DIGITAL, CULTURE, MEDIA & SPORT
The festival was such a huge success
that we were asked to tender for the
transferring of the whole of London
Fashion Week Men’s and then LFW
Women’s to 180 Strand.
180 Strand was a semi-derelict building
that had just been bought by an
investor who, just like in the Truman
all those years ago, was setting out
to generate a new creative hub in
hisbuilding.
The BFC wanted us to bring an edgier
vibe to fashion week and this proved
to be the perfect venue.
We have now produced LFW and
LFWM inside the space for seven
seasons and it has been a fantastic
opportunity to work with some of the
world’s most inspiring designers.
Coming full circle, in 2019 we worked
with the BFC to relocate their HUB to
the East End, while London Fashion
Week Men’s took place at The Truman
Brewery, and the empty spaces that
we brought designers to all those
years ago were right at the centre of
theaction.
Nurturing the next generation
Throughout our history we have
worked with so many fantastic
young designers and creatives, which
has often entailed more than just
producing their shows. We collaborate
with them, making sure the platform
they are inhabiting is perfectly
executed. We also act as mentors,
guiding them as they move through
the industry. To actively help build their
confidence and skills in such a way has
been a truly rewarding experience. Last
year we produced Richard Quinn’s first
fashion show, which was also the first
runway experience ever attended by
Her Majesty the Queen. It was a true
highlight for Blonstein and propelled
Richard into the fashion stratosphere.
Being there for young people is so
important and we have a responsibility
to share our experience, promote their
interests and protect the future of the
creative industries. In pursuit of this
goal, I became a board member of
the Institute of Contemporary Arts.
This has given me the chance to speak
with a diverse range of young artists,
championing the London art scene
while also keeping an eye on the
future of fashion.
It is terribly important to evolve
with society and commerce, while
retaining your original aspirations,
loving what you do and staying true
to your essence. The market for the
unique, immersive experiences that we
spearheaded over 20 years ago is still
very fashionable and desirable for many
brands. We are looking forward to
where the next 20 years may take us.
Throughout
our history we
have worked
with so many
fantastic
young
designers and
creatives
Left: The Elle Style Awards
Centre: Paula Knorr
installation
Right: Molly Goddard LFW
runway at the Foreign and
Commonwealth Office
Ozwald Boateng show
at the Harlem Apollo
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
22 | BLONSTEIN CREATIVE PRODUCTION
Our first commercial commission
came from Channel 4, who wanted
to offer edgy yet high-end events
for their advertising partners. At the
time, it was very much a disruptor
in the TV market, so we decided to
hold their party at a tiny jazz club in
London Bridge. At the back of the
club was a door that led to a huge
vaulted space below the train arches.
They were thrilled with the outcome
and became a regular client. Together
we threw huge parties in the empty
County Hall and the derelict Battersea
Power Station. Soon Sky, MTV and
20th Century Fox also became clients
and we continued to push boundaries
with our experiential events, sourcing
abandoned spaces in London and
abroad and then reinventing them.
As we grew, I started looking for a
new location for the business. The
Truman Brewery had just been bought
by a completely new type of investor.
They were letting
only
artists, creators
and fashion designers rent spaces
at far lower rates than elsewhere to
generate a new creative hub. All the
big British designers were born out
of this time and place: Alexander
McQueen, Kim Jones, Gareth Pugh
and Hussein Chalayan were all working
out of east London. They were gaining
traction and wanted to run shows
in non-traditional spaces. We were
perfectly primed for this and started
producing runway shows for both
Chalayan and Pugh.
Evolving and improving
What differentiated us was our ability
to transform these empty spaces.
We took the lead from our clients
and mixed it with our unique skills in
working with disused buildings. Being
in east London and surrounded by
this fashion crowd, with the fashion
movement growing around us, we
simply translated our core production
skills and applied them to that industry.
Soon we were delivering shows all
overLondon.
We started collaborating with the
British Fashion Council when they
moved London Fashion Week to
Somerset House, producing their
showrooms and installations. This
led to an Olympic project called
Hatwalk, where Britain’s top milliners
designed hats for 25 statues across
central London, including Nelson. We
installed them all in secret overnight
with an army of cherry-pickers to great
acclaimglobally.
Our work with Roksanda and Ozwald
Boateng had also become increasingly
ambitious with each project. With
Ozwald we produced a show at the
Odeon in Leicester Square, placing 100
models on the runway at once. For
Roksanda we moved the production,
season by season, from the half-
finished Shard, to a disused sorting
office, to The Serpentine Pavilion. All
this was unprecedented at the time.
After attending one of our Roksanda
shows at the converted Seymour
swimming baths in Marylebone, the
BFC approached us to produce the
London Fashion Week Festival at the
Saatchi Gallery.
What
differentiated
us was our
ability to
transform
these empty
spaces
Blonstein-designed and
built runway
Her Majesty The Queen
and Anna Wintour at
the Richard Quinn show
23BLONSTEIN CREATIVE PRODUCTION |
DIGITAL, CULTURE, MEDIA & SPORT
The festival was such a huge success
that we were asked to tender for the
transferring of the whole of London
Fashion Week Men’s and then LFW
Women’s to 180 Strand.
180 Strand was a semi-derelict building
that had just been bought by an
investor who, just like in the Truman
all those years ago, was setting out
to generate a new creative hub in
hisbuilding.
The BFC wanted us to bring an edgier
vibe to fashion week and this proved
to be the perfect venue.
We have now produced LFW and
LFWM inside the space for seven
seasons and it has been a fantastic
opportunity to work with some of the
world’s most inspiring designers.
Coming full circle, in 2019 we worked
with the BFC to relocate their HUB to
the East End, while London Fashion
Week Men’s took place at The Truman
Brewery, and the empty spaces that
we brought designers to all those
years ago were right at the centre of
theaction.
Nurturing the next generation
Throughout our history we have
worked with so many fantastic
young designers and creatives, which
has often entailed more than just
producing their shows. We collaborate
with them, making sure the platform
they are inhabiting is perfectly
executed. We also act as mentors,
guiding them as they move through
the industry. To actively help build their
confidence and skills in such a way has
been a truly rewarding experience. Last
year we produced Richard Quinn’s first
fashion show, which was also the first
runway experience ever attended by
Her Majesty the Queen. It was a true
highlight for Blonstein and propelled
Richard into the fashion stratosphere.
Being there for young people is so
important and we have a responsibility
to share our experience, promote their
interests and protect the future of the
creative industries. In pursuit of this
goal, I became a board member of
the Institute of Contemporary Arts.
This has given me the chance to speak
with a diverse range of young artists,
championing the London art scene
while also keeping an eye on the
future of fashion.
It is terribly important to evolve
with society and commerce, while
retaining your original aspirations,
loving what you do and staying true
to your essence. The market for the
unique, immersive experiences that we
spearheaded over 20 years ago is still
very fashionable and desirable for many
brands. We are looking forward to
where the next 20 years may take us.
Throughout
our history we
have worked
with so many
fantastic
young
designers and
creatives
Left: The Elle Style Awards
Centre: Paula Knorr
installation
Right: Molly Goddard LFW
runway at the Foreign and
Commonwealth Office
Ozwald Boateng show
at the Harlem Apollo

www.blonstein.co.uk

This article was sponsored by Blonstein Creative Production. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett.

Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett

The ability to listen to and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones.

With ongoing fractures in Westminster, the reverberations of which are being felt across the country, it is essential that politicians have a firm understanding of the challenges with which British organisations must contend; and that leaders in both the public and private sectors are aware of the difficulties faced by those working in all levels of politics, from local government to the national arena.

This is why The Parliamentary Review combines political content with stories from a wide range of organisations- small and large; new and old; those at the peak of their powers and those who have peaks to surmount. It is why these stories seek to inspire and challenge all who read them.

And it is why we, as former Labour and Conservative cabinet ministers and current members of the House of Lords, feel it is important to put aside our political differences and work together to ensure these stories are given the platform they deserve.

In this publication, you will find an insightful take on the past year in politics from the BBC’s Andrew Neil and a concise rundown of key events in industry and parliament. Most importantly, you will be able to read in-depth accounts from the individuals and organisations who make The Parliamentary Review what it is.
Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett
Co-Chairmen of The Parliamentary Review