Know your lace!

February 6th 2012

As Hugh Montgomery says in this Sunday’s Independent ” Know your lace cos it’s not just for doilies and dresses ……”

Thanks Hugh.

Know your lace. Hugh Montgomery, IoS, 5th February, 2012

Posted in design, fashion, pattern, trends, uncategorized, wallpaper

Made in the UK, we should be proud

September 20th 2011

At the moment its very much about having a look that ignites a mood, the resurgence of wallpaper way back in 2000 has made it the catalyst for the pattern boom we are seeing today it started on the walls and has spread right across fashion to furniture to ceramics. People are more connected to pattern now in this country, which means they can more easily digest and relate to it in their homes.

Jocelyn Warner Wallpaper Wisteria Silver Blue

Jocelyn Warner Wallpaper Wisteria Silver Blue


Flowers and plants of all sorts are still really powerful in print, they offer a form of beauty that with the right colourway and printing process can create a mood of tranquility and calm even if the repeat size is on the larger scale. I think ( from a designers point of view) that scanners, digital photography / digital printing has revolutionized the way we look at nature “enlarged” and “close up” dissecting images into pixelated abstracts; very much like when photography first hit the art scene when you had photographers such as Karl Blossfeldt taking purposely styled studies of plants. It made people look up close at texture and form, the same has happened now with designers using new technology, you get the chance to get in close to you subjects and this means you can form a closer relationship, generating a different mood.

The colour and tone you can alter at a click of the mouse has revolutionised design and I think the wallpaper and print we see now on the high street possesses some of the finest design and print qualities for a long time. Considering most of these are designed and manufactured in the UK we should be very proud.

Posted in botanical, design, pattern, textiles, trends, wallpaper

Li Edelkoort on trends in textiles

May 3rd 2011

The most important event in the furniture design calendar, the Salone in Milan, ended recently. There’s always so much news that comes out of it but now I’ve had a chance to go through everything I thought I’d pick out one thing in particular that caught my eye, the ever wise Li Edelkoort’s exhibition Talking Textiles held at the Spazio Gianfranco Ferré.

Li Edelkoort talking to Domus

Li Edelkoort giving a tour of 'Talking Textiles'. Image courtesy of Domusweb

When Edelkoort gave a guided tour to Domus magazine she made some interesting comments that compare the upsurge in the use of textiles in the home nowadays – “a full-on textile tsunami”  to the 70s when the world had fallen in love with plastic. Thank heavens! Let’s hope this continues as she does sound a word of caution that if the textiles trend doesn’t continue we’re in danger of seeing the end of the industry. And we wouldn’t want that!

You can click on the photograph above to watch the video and designboom has a great selection of images too.

Posted in design, interior design, textiles, trends

Shopper’s paradise

March 29th 2011

Redchurch Street’s reinvention as the area’s best shopping street seems unstoppable, both APC and Labour and Wait have moved in to join Aesop, Sunspel and Caravan. A.P.C is at number 5a and Labour and Wait further down at number 85.

5a Redchurch Street, London, E2 7DJ
T +44 (0)207 729 7727

Labour and Wait
85 Redchurch Street, London E2 7DJ
Telephone +44 (0)20 7729 6253

Posted in design, fashion, interior design, product design, trends

Design*Sponge interview

March 17th 2011

I’m excited to say that the lovely online design magazine Design*Sponge has just published an interview with me as part of the ‘What’s in your toolbox?’ series. This is a peek behind-the-scenes, giving readers an insight into the likes and inspirations of a particular designers. Click here to read my contribution

Thanks so much to Design*Sponge for the feature.


Something from my toolbox!

Posted in books, botanical, colour, craft, design, interior design, pattern, printing, textiles, trends, vintage, wallpaper

Future Style – a round-up from Premiere Vision Spring-Summer 2012

March 11th 2011

Returning from Paris laden down with brochures, swatches and info packs it’s taken a little to digest but here’s my take on last month’s Premiere Vision show.

Florals were a strong presence again, described as ‘bucolic’ at times, other times they were more painterly. There was a dominance of tropical motifs (either palm trees or parrots!), tribal/ethnographic prints and geometric patterns.  In terms of colour, there were loads of really modern-feeling warm brights, sometimes perhaps inspired by Pop Art and Jackson Pollock. Edges of fabrics were often frayed, scalloped or laser cut in ways to deliberately enhance the qualities of the material.

Fruit has been an emerging trend recently (see Stella McCartney’s lemon print dress below) and featured again, mostly lemons, strawberries and cherries but sadly on fabric, these don’t count towards your 5-a-day.


Citrus print dress by Stella McCartney

Citrus print dress by Stella McCartney.

Another growing trend that we’ll still be seeing a lot of this winter and next spring is sequins. Prada featured them in its forthcoming winter collection, large and like fish scales!


Prada's large sequins

Extra-large sequins featured in Prada's Autumn/Winter 2011-12 show. Image from

At Premiere Vision there was a real sense that fabric manufacturers are continuing to experiment with sequins even more in terms of how they are applied and the possibilities of combining them with other techniques and materials.

The best thing about Premiere Vision is that it’s an opportunity to see first-hand what the very best manufacturers are doing and check out the newest innovations and creative technologies. My favourite of the show was Jakob Schlaepfer. Two of their fabrics particularly caught my eye. One was a layered piece with a butterfly print layered onto chiffon with scalloped sequined edges.


Sketches at Premiere Vision

Trying to capture the intricate and delicate Jakob Schlaepfer fabric in my sketchbook!

The other was covered in white sequins that were reversible by touch. On the back they were digitally printed with a floral pattern. It’s hard to describe but it was really amazing. Here are a few images:


Sequinned reverse fabric by Jakob Schlaepfer

Visitors to Premiere Vision play with the reverse print sequin fabric. Image (c) Jakob Schlaepfer

Intricate fabric by Jakob Schlaepfer

Detail of one of Jakob Schlaepfer's intricate fabrics. Image (c) Jakob Schlaepfer

Intricate Fabric by Jakob Schlaepfer

Another 'haute' fabric by Jakob Schlaepfer. Image (c) Jakob Schlaepfer

Posted in colour, pattern, printing, review, textiles, trends

Roll on spring!

January 12th 2011

I know this has been out a while but I really love the prints in Miu Miu’s Spring/Summer 2011 collection. The mixing of lamé with pigment prints and appliqué creates such lovely contrasts of shiny and matte and of course the silhouettes’ and shoes are great too!

Just one of the interesting prints from the current Miu Miu collection

You can watch the fashion on YouTube

A fashion moment from the Miu Miu Spring/Summer 2011 catwalk show

Posted in fashion, pattern, printing, textiles, trends

Dancing shoes

January 10th 2011

If you haven’t seen it yet then there are only a few days left to visit the V&A’s enormous Diaghilev exhibition showing the work of the Ballet Russe, created over a century ago. This show is a monster and will truly inspire.  It includes costumes and set designs from drawings to films to actual Picasso scenery backdrops for Le Train Bleu

Looking around, I could see some trend directions for spring-summer 2012, such as bold coloured prints and use of satin and metallics… mmmh very Mui Mui!

Posted in art, review, trends


November 27th 2010

Jack Frost has definitely come to visit and it looks like he’s staying for a while so, it’s time to get cosy. Over the last few years, knitting has really taken off, near our studio in East London you can easily stubble across knitting circles in cafes and pubs and there are a number of trendy knitting shops around the country, plus countless blogs.

I love Wool and the Gang, based in New York. They make gorgeously packaged knitting kits and the website contains loads of inspiration, encouragement and online video tutorials. It’s so cold right now so please let me finish my lovely Wool and the Gang scarf whilst the snow is here.

Wool and the gang scarf

Here's my scarf, nearly there!

Posted in craft, fashion, handmade, textiles, trends

Decorex International

September 30th 2010

It’s been referred to many times in the blog but the fairy-tale theme just won’t go away! At Decorex, not everyone picked up on but some did really went to town. For example Hali publishers of Cover: Modern Carpets and Textiles magazine. They created a large scale installation of tree branches which were wrapped in fabrics by Decorex exhibitors. On the table was a big bowl of apples, each labelled with the exhibitors’ details.

Those I saw and loved included Frederique Morrel (again!) and contemporary rug designer Sonya Winner.

The Hermes area was lovely – inside a dark tent they display their new, nature-influenced tableware on tables made of branches.

Posted in design, interior design, review, trends

Premiere Vision Autumn/Winter 2011 – 2012

September 30th 2010

The other day when I popped over to trends and fabrics fair Premiere Vision in Paris I scribbled down a few observations I thought worth sharing.

The most noticeably recurring trend was for fabrics that felt very luxurious and soft, yet weighty at the same time – whether cashmeres, silks, shearling or boiled wool. And there seems to be less and less separation between textiles for interiors and fashion.

There were lots of surreal, fairy-tale inspired prints – artist Frederique Morrel combines this with another trend; tapestry.

Image © Frederique Morrel

She also has an exhibition on at the Galerie Chevalier where she’s using 18th and 19th century tapestries to create a series of animals, if you’re in Paris, I’m sure is worth seeing.

The inspiring thing about Premiere Vision is seeing the key themes brought to life in huge styled and curated spaces. These included ‘Disruptive Weaves’ (tight yet soft textures), ‘Deceptively Austere’ (antiqued looking super-soft boiled wools), ‘Luxurious Heaviness’ (faux fur and satins), ‘Fierce Softness’ (strong velvets) ‘Natural Knop’, ‘Beyond Tradition’ (contemporary, sculptural lace), ‘Strange Nature’ (spooky, leaf-less trees) and ‘Zoo’ (bizarre monkey and bird imagery)

Last time I was there, blues were a key colour and they’re still very much in evidence, especially turquoises – often combined with yellows and golds, and sky blues. The other colour that seemed to pop up a lot was a burnt orange as well as misty pinks and reds. A palette called ‘Candied Fruits’ summed this up. Here’s my take on the new colours, which I’m thinking of exploring:

A palette of colours I'm playing with

Posted in colour, design, fashion, pattern, review, textiles, trends

Fashion and fairytale on film

September 17th 2010

This week I’m attending Premier Vision, so trendspotting is at the forefront of my mind. When I recently posted about Leonora Carrington I mentioned the fairytale theme in her work and this new film by Luca Guadagnino fits the bill on both counts in terms of its surreal qualities and directional fashion.

Still from Chronology

A still from Chronology by Luca Guadagnino courtesy of Nowness

Called ‘Chronology’, it’s Guadagnino’s first fashion project and a collaboration between Nowness and Net-a-Porter to showcase the autumn/winter 2010-2011 collections. Definitely a must-see if you like your fashion inspiration with a bit of a twist.

Still 2 from Chronology

Chronology's surreal take on the current season's collections. Courtesy of Nowness

Posted in fashion, trends

Red hot

September 17th 2010

All summer I was meaning to check out this year’s Serpentine pavilion. French architect Jean Nouvel was in charge of the latest garden addition and what an amazing job he’s done…

A view of the pavilion

Nouvel's pavilion with matching flowers!

A view of the pavilion from the gallery

The pavilion as seen from the gallery

Red has so many associations with Britain and London in particular with our red buses, Beefeaters and so on. But the colour doesn’t just mean tradition, it’s sexy and is definitely having a bit of a moment right now. Along with camel, red has been bubbling under for a while and is a colour we’re going to see a lot of this season, in both fashion and interiors.

For me, red is a colour I’m quite careful with in my work; it can really dominate. Yet even here where it’s such a dense, dare I say ‘true’ red, it doesn’t appear overpowering.

The structure has very bold geometric shapes, the steep slopes and slanted angles give the red its sharply tailored footprint.

Pavilion in detail

The structure and geometry in detail

With seating under retractable awnings it is a great place to stop and just feel the space. With a café and ping pong tables outside, it has a real sense of fun and warmth that will cheer one up even on these rainy days as we head towards autumn.

Pavilion with ping pong tables

A table tennis game at the pavilion

Posted in architecture, colour, trends

Having a textiles moment

September 10th 2010

As we’re gearing up towards production of our own fabrics I’m even more tuned in to trends in handmade textiles – knitting and lace are noticeable. Having just missed Studio Tord Boontje’s exhibition The Lacemaker I next came across the work of a Danish designer/artist called Isabel Berglunds. She’s made a knitted universe, which is great and you can see it here:

Isabel Berglund’s knit universe

Isabel Berglund’s knit universe

Speaking of Scandinavians….

Posted in craft, design, handmade, textiles, trends

Trends from I Saloni

May 27th 2010

Less is more was the order of the day at this year’s Milan furniture fair. Visitors and press alike wondered ‘does the world need more chairs?’ So in tune with leaner economic times and a greater social and environmental conscience, the newly launched products had a pared down feel. Designers focused on how things are made, exposed construction methods and celebrated traditional craftsmanship skills. The natural state and shape of materials was shown off.

This simplified feel calls to my mind the landscape designer Jacques Wirtz. He might be in his 80s but he’s so relevant, creating clean, beautiful sculptural forms that are refreshing and highly in step with what’s being produced by younger designers across interiors, furniture and product. It’d be great to see him create something for Milan one year.

Jaques Wirtz hedges, private garden

Jaques Wirtz hedges, private garden

Jacques Wirtz, private garden

Jacques Wirtz hedges, private garden

Trade fairs are still an essential part of doing business in this industry but these events are expensive, short-lived and incredibly wasteful, really taking their toll on the world’s resources. Not in keeping with current thinking around environmental issues. Saved by Droog’ picked up on our desire to take better care of our planet, inviting a range of designers (nicknamed ‘revivers’) to recycle and upcycle over 5000 items rescued from liquidation sales.

At Moroso there was talk in emotional tones, new designs were developed around words such as ‘memory’, ‘wellbeing’ and ‘intimacy’. In their showroom, the company presented ‘Tumbleweed’, an installation by two artists Francesco Simeti and Andrea Sala that juxtaposed the prevailing trend for plain, angular furniture with large-scale prints inspired by travel and journeys – both real and imagined – to invigorate the overall space.  Similarly at Poliform a blowsy, bold print by Ken Scott was used to upholster sharp, modern pieces.

Moroso, Tumbleweed by artists Francesco Simeti and Andrea Sala

Poliform, Ken Scott print

Posted in art, craft, design, interior design, product design, trends