I first came across the name “Madam Bukeshla” while trawling Pinterest for Lagenlook (layered look) fashion. I was enchanted by the photoblog of Design Files, with the many beautiful photos of the interior and exterior of Madam Bukeshla’s home and boutique, as well as the fascinating and colourful story of owners Trish Bygott and Nathan Crotty. You can read the Design Files article here.
I contacted the owner of Madam Bukeshla, Trish Bygott, about visiting her and taking photos of her shop for my blog. Trish very graciously agreed, but warned me that she was about to leave in a few weeks’ time for a long trip to India.
I’d only begun my new job walking dogs and pet sitting, and last Friday I only had the one home to petsit, so I found myself with some free time afterwards and decided to drive to Fremantle, to satisfy my curiousity about the enigmatic Madam Bukeshla. As it were, that was the very day Trish had set off for her Indian adventure.
For the uninitiated, Madam Bukeshla is a fictitious name with an enchanting story attached, concocted by owner Trish Bygott:
(The following is taken from the website of Madam Bukeshla):
The Story of Madam Bukeshla
This is the fictional story written by Fremantle artist and writer Jennifer Kornberger for the launch night of the Madam Bukeshla store…
Trish has named her design studio after the famous historical figure Madam Bukeshla, and I think it would be fitting at this opening fo the Studio to tel a little of the story of this enigmatic woman who lived at the turn of the century. She was an artistic and sensitive daughter of the Russian Tsarist and adventurer Anton Bukeshla and the Zulu princess Ata Bukeshla. She grew up in both Africa and Europe, and studied art at the French academy, becoming fascinated with the elements of good design. One of the stories that has come through tells of her visiting the William Morris Studios in England and peering with great longing through the window in the pouring rain at the wallpapers and furnishings. The head designer, who was at that momentslightly tipsy from drinking French red, spied her and invigted her in to share a glass. Hearing that she was an artist, he flung out a challenge: ‘Find me a palette of fabrics that matches exactly the flavours of this wine.’ Madam Bukeshla took up the challenge. She entered the workroom and turned it upside down: colours, patterns, braids, bibs, bobs, buttons… Out of the creative chaos she emerged triumphant with a stunning combination that took England by storm. She was given a trunk of fabrics, which she took with her as she continued in her travels, visiting all the dress houses on the continent, collecting as she went more and more trunks of fabric. Then a great longing arose in her to connect with her mother’s heritage. She booked a passage to Africa and lived in the rhythm of song, into colours so boldly put together, beads, sun and women singing as they worked with cloths wrapped around their bellies. She returned to Europe with more boxes of fabric. With all these experiences behind her, Madam Bukeshla went into a textile mill in Brittany and climbed the stairs to the very top of the mill and in the last rrom she found an old woman with a spindle. And then for the second time in recorded medical history, a woman (this time Madam Bukeshla) pricked her finger on a spindle and fell into a deep sleep, which lasted 100 years. When she woke up she found that her name was Trish Bygott. And all the boxes of fabric had survived and here they are in this room, under the table. I must tell you that when Madam Bukeshla went to sleep the whole world went to sleep and had a textile nightmare – millions of soulless garments churned out of factories, ugly things with inane prints, some had never been touched by a human hand. But Madam Bukeshla dreamt of divine cloths, of stitching with strips of silk ad she dreamt of garments so individual that each one had a name. So, now she has her own design studio and others come to the window and peer in to see Trish Bygott ‘living that which she loves’.
And now let us venture within:
More in Part 2 tomorrow! 😉