Pippi Longstocking in Pastel

Treasure Hunt: May 2012

On The Town | Michaela Holler | May 2012

Browsing the shop-windows of "Amateur la Boutique" on Gumpendorferstraße will put a blissfully goofy grin on your face! Their droll monster dolls and nostalgically gold-framed serigraphs of jumping rabbits and smirking ducks are predestined to recall fond childhood memories. In my case, I remember watching the spectacular adventures of Swedish author Astrid Lindgren’s feisty, superhuman child protagonist Pippi Longstocking.

Inside the small shop that sells one-of a kind fashion, cushions, patchwork blankets, rag dolls, serigraphs, as well as numerous accessories from scrapbooks and soft ice cream coloured badges to key rings made from matchbox cars, my latent inner-Longstocking emerged: Spotting a white children’s vintage steel bed, I could almost see Pippi lying there on her stomach, with her head propped on her hands.

"Hallo, kann ich Ihnen helfen (... can I help you)?" My reveries are politely interrupted by a slim brunette, 30-year-old shop owner Birgit Rampula.

With the start of her one-woman-business in 2007, Rampula has realized her dream of combining her three passions: art, decorating and fashion. From 4-6 May she’ll be presenting her new collection of women’s and men’s wear at the "Modepalast", a sales exhibition for fashion design at the MAK, Vienna’s museum of applied and contemporary art.

Pippi Longstocking would definitely fancy the comfy yet smart eighties sportswear-inspired jersey garments designed and sewn by Rampula in her shop’s backroom studio. In my mind’s eye, I could see her making faces and grinning contentedly while trying on the loose fitting mini-dresses, hoodie jackets and leggings in creamy mint, pink, blue, yellow, grey or simple black. Strong bright hues like, for instance, a tomato-red, elegant pair of harem pants, are an exception. Many clothes, however, sport deliberately naive grey and black art prints of ducks, whales, rabbits or a pig-tailed girl in a bra and panties which the designer describes as "a cross between children’s drawings and street art."

Equally idiosyncratic and charming as her art prints are Rampula’s funny rather than creepy monster rag dolls, with their wide-set big button eyes and long striped arms and tails. Considering the amount of skill that must go in to making her products, the brand name "amateur" is obviously meant ironically. But as the young entrepreneur points out, "according to the Duden dictionary, an amateur is also someone who pursues an activity out of love for it." Judging by this 25 square-metre muted pastel parallel universe she has created, there can be no doubt that Rampula adores her job.

On leaving, I catch sight of a mint scrapbook, only 5x7 cm, with what appears to be a tipsy duck on its cover. Instantly smitten, I buy it and get a matching mint and vanilla lollipop as an extra. And, who knows, maybe next time I pop in, Pippi might already be waiting for me... I may have to muster enough Pippiesque courage to try the clothes.


Amateur la Boutique

6., Gumpendorferstraße 88a

Tue-Fri 13:00 – 19:00, Sat 13:00 – 18:00

For information on the Modepalast at the MAK see: www.modepalast.com

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