The wait is over. Whether you are a football fan or not, for five weeks every four years the entire country falls under a sporting spell. School children stay at home, office workers call in sick, all struck down with the same bizarre illness, a disease that comes around like clockwork, the inevitable World Cup fever! Here at Podarok we strive to bring you the best of British boutique produce, but we also love to showcase items from all across the globe. Here are a few products that represent some of the countries who will be facing off in search of the coveted FIFA World Cup Trophy this month!
ENGLAND - Penny Williams Clocks
We know better than to get too excited about England's chances of glory these days, but it still hurts just as much when that inevitable final penalty gets slotted limply wide of the post! Make sure you never miss a single kick off with one of these beautiful pendulum clocks by Birmingham based artist and designer Penny Williams. Penny's clocks are made from heat treated brass and copper, as enjoyable a way to use metal as the long suffering and long travelling England band! And if all the tension starts to become too much for you, the quirky designs of the clocks can always distract you from the on pitch action!
FRANCE - Origami Jewellery
France's recent World Cup history is a vision of mixed fortunes, from being crowned champions on their home turf in 1998 to crashing out in the group stages without winning a single game in South Africa in 2010. Something of much more reliable quality and satisfaction, however, is this collection of stunning origami themed jewellery from French designers Claire Naa and Arnaud Soulignac. Clearly inspired by the Orient, the French artists have been much more creative than their football team's midfield and come up with several wonderful designs including cranes, rabbits and even dinosaurs. (No reference to France's ageing defender Patrice Evra of course!)
NETHERLANDS - by-Lin Bags
Widely regarded as the best team never to have won the World Cup, the Netherlands will be looking to avenge their narrow defeat to Spain four years ago in the final of the tournament. Their rough and ready tactics turned the match in to a brutish spectacle in 2010, but one Dutch team that operate with nothing other than style and finesse are those over at by-Lin. Captained by Linde Van der Poel, by-Lin produce a range of amazing leather bags, with their signature design being the famous Amsterdam tulip. Each bag range is inspired by different species of foliage, and the Dutch will be hoping that their national side will be just as creative in their play as by-Lin are in their design process.
PORTUGAL - Corticeira Viking Bags
Portugal are lucky enough to have arguably the best player in the world right now, Cristiano Ronaldo, in their team. He's strong, sturdy and plays with a hell of a lot of style, and the very same could be said about this collection of Portuguese made cork bags and accessories by Corticeira Viking. Founded when little Cristiano was only ten years old, the company specialise in an eco-friendly practise of producing bags made from cork. Sure, they don't use as much hair gel as their footballing superstar compatriot, but the bags have been a huge hit in our Cambridge store and are likely to be more successful over the summer than the football team in humid Brazil!
RUSSIA - Podarok Russian Shawls
Fresh from hosting February's Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia continue their year of sport by heading to the hot climates of Brazil in hope of qualifying from their group including Belgium, Algeria and South Korea. Though without some of their more well known players from the past like Andrey Arshavin, they will be somewhat of an unknown quantity to worldwide TV viewers. Something a bit more familiar though, is the traditional Russian shawl, an instantly recognisable accessory from the largest country in the world. Founded in 1795 in Pavlovsky Posad, the Pavlo Posad Shawl Manufactory in Russia create traditional Russian shawls, the epitome of subtle elegance. Committed to creating high quality designs, many of the patterns in use have been passed down from generation to generation.
U.S.A. - Michael Michaud Jewellery
Perhaps better known for different sporting histories and pastimes, the United States have successfully managed to become part of the World Cup furniture over the last twenty years. They hosted the tournament in the 1994 and brought a refreshing sense of show business and style to the proceedings. Adding a further sense of style on behalf of the U.S.A. is New York based jewellery designer Michael Michaud, who creates magnificent pieces of nature inspired jewellery cast directly from actual leaves, branches and flowers, resulting in impossibly intricate creations. America might not have the best 'soccer' team in the world, but they sure do produce some exceptional jewellery!