New Scarves now on sale at Liberty

September 18th 2012

 

First batch of scarves have arrived

 

We are very pleased to announce that our scarves are now in Liberty of London, just in time for London Fashion Week so pop in if you can or visit our website for a closer look  Jocelyn Warner

 

Flora Midnight

I have been wanting to translate some of my wallpaper designs into scarves for a long time and now I have finally been able to do it. The Letter scarf I designed some 25 years ago, which proves I’m now possibly vintage !!

In those days I hand printed them myself in my print studio and was lucky enough to sell to Paul Smith, Joseph and Bergdorf Goodman, although I really love screen printing it’s great to have them digitally printed this time round.

 

 

Flora Misty Wool 140cmx140cm

 

 

Poppy Dusty Silk 140cmx140cm

 

 

Letter Scarf in Wool or Silk

 

Poppy Gilded Silk

Watch this space for SS 13 preview

 

Posted in fashion, printing, textiles, vintage, wallpaper

Floating in Venice

May 11th 2012

Smell the wisteria.

Vintage wisteria Venice

Grand Canal 'don't look now'

Venice April 12

 

My recent trip to Venice was blighted with rain, but this didn’t seem to matter as it still felt like a film set.

So much wisteria, the rain just made it smell more heavenly!

When I get a minute I will post some more.

Posted in botanical, colour, vintage

Susan Collier

May 24th 2011

It is very sad to hear the news that Susan Collier tragically died just a few weeks ago before the opening of their retrospective at The National Theatre and just ahead of the re-launch of the Collier Campbell brand. The textile diva sisters Susan Collier and Sarah Campbell had worked together for 50 years producing textile designs for Habitat, Yves Saint Laurent, Cacheral, Liberty, Marks and Spencer, Jaeger to mention just a few of the top names the duo worked for.

 Bauhaus roller-printed cotton furnishing fabric designed by Susan Collier and Sarah Campbell produced by Liberty 1972

Bauhaus roller-printed cotton furnishing fabric designed by Susan Collier and Sarah Campbell produced by Liberty 1972

Collier Campbell Bird fabric

Collier Campbell Bird fabric. Another of my favourites showing their painterly approach.

During the 80’s when I was studying textiles at Camberwell their work was thought of as some of the best around as it portrayed a painterly style that was so very lacking in the majority of prints available on the high street, distinctive for its large brush strokes and thoughtful mark making with accentuated textures all beautifully executed into flowing repeats.

As is quite often the case with textile designers their names are not known to many but most of their work would be widely recognisable and commonly found in the British household, from duvet covers and curtains to make up bags and scarves, a Collier Campbell print is iconoclastic of that time.

Do pop down to the South Bank and check out more. The exhibition is on until July 3rd but if you can’t make, have a listen to the interview about their work on Radio 4 Women’s Hour.

Susan Collier

Susan Collier. Image courtesy of The Guardian.

Posted in colour, interior design, pattern, textiles, vintage

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_the_toolbox

Something from my toolbox!

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

Grace Kelly Style Icon

April 30th 2010

Again at the V&A, Grace Kelly Style Icon as the title suggests, traces her journey from actress, bride, princess to fully fledged icon by focusing on Kelly’s style with dresses, jewellery, hats and bags that made up her legendary look. Like Kelly herself, the exhibition is very well put together. There is some great film footage of scenes of her with Gary Cooper and Frank Sinatra, you can see more of her on Pathé of her early days as a model before her film career had really taken off.

The exhibition is very much about what she represented and her persona as opposed to just a series of garments. It makes you wonder about the meshing of her real personality with her starring roles and question which was more influential on how she dressed. Was Kelly’s style molded by Hitchcock and wardrobe designer Edith Head (after all, the studio even made Kelly’s wedding dress and honeymoon outfit), or was this Kelly’s natural look and they created the costumes and characters to match? Either way, the result was effortless and enduring – a style that was simple, understated and elegant, which she seemed to exude in her acting as well as her off-screen presence.

Very GK.

There are a few unexpected pieces to be seen. I loved the black floral dress (wearing pattern was untypical of Kelly) this is the dress she wore to the Cannes festival and on her meeting with Prince Rainer.

Posted in fashion, vintage

The magnificent Mrs Delany

March 5th 2010

At the Sir John Soane’s Museum in London Lincoln’s Inn Fields there’s a lovely exhibition of the work of Mrs Delany, née Mary Granville.

Born in 1700, in the days when embroidery and art showing pretty flowers was considered charming but not taken seriously because being female then, creating such things was regarded as a hobby. However, Mrs Delany’s is a considerable body of work in its own right, combining such a high level of skills, dedication and passion. Working at least 100 years before Marianne North of Kew Gardens fame, during her lifetime Mrs Delany built up a strong relationship with Kew Gardens who gave her plant specimens.

She started off with embroidery and sketching and then at the age of 72, she began her remarkable series of 1000 flower collages, Flora Delanica, now owned by the British Museum.

Portlandia Grandiflora, © The Trustees of the British Museum

She managed to get hold of glossy black and vibrantly coloured papers to make collages which, looking at them now, feel current, appealing and never twee.

I found it quite up lifting to see a woman’s work from this era held up in such high esteem and not just considered something to pass the time. She went about her work in a very methodical manner, organising her household to store the materials she would use to make her collages and embroideries. The collection of her sketchbooks depicting gardens scenes and delicate graphite fauna left me scraping my jaw off the floor! Through her visual style, techniques and by proving that a woman could be considered a serious artist, in many ways Mrs Delany was way ahead of her time.

Everybody should go to see this exhibition it’s free and at the wonderful Sir John Soane Museum where one should never need an excuse to visit the fantastic yellow room!

‘Mrs Delany’ and Her Circle is on until 1st May.

Posted in art, botanical, craft, handmade, review, vintage

Shape the future

January 23rd 2010

In 1957, Stanley Coren and Tristram Hull set up Hull Trader’s, a company to promote ‘new ideas, good design and sound workmanship’. It became part of what was more like a movement that supported the creativity and production processes of designers, artists and craftsmen, rather than simply exploiting “design” in the commercial way we see so often now.

This year, Heal’s celebrates its bicentenary. During the early part of the last century, the store’s mission had a similar honesty and integrity to Hull Trader’s’ and I think this legacy of really nurturing and championing good design is something it could revisit in a big way. Plans seem afoot to do so with furniture but by delving into it’s amazing archive of fabric and wallpaper prints there’s a real opportunity. Similarly, although it was Cath Kidston who made retro florals desirable again, Laura Ashley has a wealth of vintage designs, and not just flowery prints, locked away, which could be tapped into, brought out and up-to-date, enabling them to take the world by storm again. Adopting this approach has really helped brands like Liberty and Sanderson’s reinvigorate themselves and it’s exciting to see. Back in 2004, Charlotte Abrahams in her article ‘Morris dance’ wrote this about a then-floundering Sanderson’s, “…here is our cry: face the challenge… You are sitting on one of the most exciting decorative archives in the world. All it needs is a bit of rethink (a colour update here, a change of scale there) and we’ll all come running.” They did and it worked. If you were a design-led company once, it’s worth reminding yourself of exactly that and a good way of doing this is to look back into your history and find inspiration in the design archive. All it takes is a bit of bravery but within their own treasure troves, these companies could find the key to a brighter future.

Posted in design, interior design, pattern, textiles, vintage, wallpaper

Future imperfect

January 18th 2010

Huma Quresh’s recent review of the last decade of interior design really struck a chord with me. She says “Our noughties homes were characterised by comfort, colour, thrift and green living… interiors styles have grown more individual and less prescriptive…. back came colour and patterned wallpaper, and in came the feature wall, with everything from heavy damasks to florals and designer prints.” I couldn’t agree more.

Entering a brand new decade with continuing economic uncertainty, not to mention heading towards a general election, I believe that we’ll continue with more of the same, at least for a while. We’ll see even more patterns, prints and objects which, whether hand-made or using the latest technologies of mass production will at least look hand-made, old-fashioned and lo-fi with brush strokes visible and full or little quirks and smudges.

It’s part of the ever popular boho, shabby chic look that’s sweeping much of the Western world’s homes, cafes, bars and hotels: genuinely second-hand furniture and little junk-shop finds, mixed (but and deliberately not matched) with new hand-made pieces and some artfully distressed items to create an eclectic, unstructured and individual space. Places like Story Deli near our studio, or Annie Morris and Idris Khan’s home currently featured in Vogue that have an informal, unfinished  - often because, purposely or otherwise, they really aren’t finished – feel. The desire for putting a stamp of personality and individuality in our homes, including as we have found by using wallpaper, offers people a less expensive way to add a new dimension to the home that makes it feel more like theirs.

Posted in interior design, trends, vintage

Old vs. new

December 7th 2009

In the studio, we were discussing the merits of buying vintage earlier today. OK very old items might not be in perfect condition but in order to find really classic, unique pieces that express your own individuality and taste, it’s hard to beat vintage. Tomorrow’s ‘Passion for Fashion and Fine Textiles’ auction would be a great one to go to. Otherwise near our studio we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to vintage clothing (although the quality varies from shop to shop). Designer vintage pieces are best sourced at Rellik and One of a Kind in Notting Hill. If you happen to be in the States then Resurrection leads the field and stylists and trend-watchers always seem discover amazing pieces within the Clignancourt flea market. A great excuse to book that Eurostar Christmas shopping trip!

Posted in fashion, vintage

Click here for inspiration

December 1st 2009

Getting out and about to absorb as much of the arts and culture available on my doorstep no doubt has a direct influence on my work but I also find a wealth of inspiration from online sources.

Now that all of Pathé’s newsreels are available online I’ve been checking a few out. They have an enormous archive covering news, sport, social history and entertainment from 1896 to 1970. The programmes about interior design and domestic life in general are especially fascinating. There are some great ones from the 1950s and 60s from which you can get a genuine insight into the materials, patterns, colours, furniture and other objects of that time.

Country Cottage – not sure if I like the final outcome of this but it’s fascinating to watch her striping the wallpaper in her finery , reminded me of seeing Gilbert and George recently blow torching the paint off a their front door in Spitafields all dressed up in their wonderful suits.

Cottage Conversion

The Dome House – a great space to work in I wouldn’t mind one of these, I love how the windows open.

Glass Dome Studio

1953 Fashion Show – I love the stripey yachting outfit , how very NOW !

British Wool Fashions 1953

Carpets – Wilton and Axminster with some great shots of rural Britain and of hand knotting.

Carpets

Another that I often delve into is VADS, the online resource for visual arts. It is managed by the Farnham Campus of the University College for the Creative Arts and is an extensive collection of images including fine art, illustration, advertising posters and textiles as well as including the Design Council’s slide collection and the London College of Fashion’s archive. Worth a look!

Posted in architecture, design, fashion, interior design, textiles, vintage

Craft Luxe

October 30th 2009

For a while, I’ve been pondering the renewal in interest of hand-made, artisan goods. It’s a trend that has filtered down into everyday life, including food. But reading recently that Hermés is continuing to thrive during these economically challenging times, and Goyard just opening a store in London, again made me wonder about issues of craft, quality and desirability at the top end of the market.

In the mind of the consumer, genuinely luxurious goods are increasingly perceived as such through the knowledge they have been carefully hand-crafted, with a great deal of time and dedication by only a small number of individuals and in limited quantities. With this process comes an inherent one-offness, a quirk, difference or personalisation that the next piece from the same workshop won’t have. And it’s this resulting combination of uniqueness and subtlety is what distinguishes them as ‘luxe’.

The hospitality business and network Rough Luxe sums up the current mood and goes a step further; “Rough Luxe… is a new way of looking at luxury as part of time and not just as an object of consumption. Luxury should be an enriching personal experience and not simply the ownership or utilisation of an expensive object.”

THE ROUGH LUXE HOTEL LONDON

THE ROUGH LUXE HOTEL LONDON

In my own industry there are a number of companies that are offering hand-painted papers and interior products. Others are re-creating the hand-made feel using machine and digital prints. It’s great that new technologies mean that quality and beauty are more widely available but there is an enduring respect and desire for craft.

Posted in craft, design, handmade, interior design, trends, vintage, wallpaper