Bev's caff inspires posh handbag designer to make bloomin' marvellous Columbia Road range

FASHION designers have flocked to the East End for the past decade or so, attracted by cheaper rents, a buzzing creative scene and its gritty realism . But now Bethnal Green s famous Columbia Road, and its Sunday flower market, is the inspiration for a w

FASHION designers have flocked to the East End for the past decade or so, attracted by cheaper rents, a buzzing creative scene and its 'gritty realism'.

But now Bethnal Green's famous Columbia Road, and its Sunday flower market, is the inspiration for a whole collection by exclusive west London handbag designer Lulu Guinness.

The designer, whose fans include Dita von Teese, Jemima Khan, Sophie Dahl, Rachel Weisz, Keira Knightley, Claudia Schiffer and Debra Messing, approached shops in the renowned East End street a year ago, saying she wanted to feature them in her Spring-Summer 2010 collection.

And now initial designs have come to fruition and the line will soon be available at the designer's exclusive Chelsea boutique.

The collection is said to be inspired by Lulu's love of flowers and Columbia Road and one bag features the fictional "Lulu's Flower Shop" sandwiched between two real East End shops, paper artist Rob Ryan's showroom Ryantown and the popular Caf� Columbia.

Caf� owner Beverley Willsher has been given one of the bags which features here business which she plans to fill with beigels and display in her window.