Describe yourself in a 5 words.
Creative, innovative, eclectic, passionate,
What inspires you? Where do you get your inspiration from?
I am inspired everyday by the world around me – from great architecture, flowers and nature to fashion, the arts and my family to name but a few sources. We live in a visual world that all make an impression – I think it is a case of being open to it.
I’m good at…
I’m bad at…
not working, everywhere I go I see something that might spark the thought process for a design or collection.
What are the highlights of your career thus far?
I think it would be collecting the OBE from Queen Elizabeth, for services to interior design. It was an incredible day, and one that I will never forget.
What are your goals for the next 5 years?
Lots more new collections and exciting projects, watch this space!
What do you enjoy most about working in the interior design industry?
The creative process of designing, which is always unique for each collection. Each new design brings its own identity, challenges – and when complete – rewards and all of our designs are created as a piece of original artwork in the studio. Colour, pattern and texture are all key elements in the creative process of designing collections. There is a real alchemy in the process of design and just as each thread of colour is considered, each pattern is also hugely important. The placement of every stripe, petal, ikat and even subtle shading can radically alter the feel of a design. I tend to work instinctively and the designs grow organically as a result. From more dramatic large-scale florals, abstract ikats and flowing damasks to geometric small scale stripes and checks, subtle ombres and shaded patterns – all these patterns bring a point of interest and personality to a design.
How did you develop the concept for Designers Guild? Can you explain how Designers Guild was started and what your role entails?
It is strange to think, but at that time I started my shop on the Kings Road there was really no concept of ‘lifestyle’ as we know it today. I had this idea to present a lifestyle that could offer a sense of informality with a contemporary yet decorative look – I always think it is so much easier when people can see the evidence of how something works visually by touching and feeling the products. With this in mind I began with just a few items that I put together, it was a small business with a small amount of money, but so rewarding when I found that it seemed to work for people and I realised that I had found my passion and drive. I then started researching textiles to use in my shop and for projects I was working on, but felt so frustrated at the lack of designs that I felt inspired by. This led me to designing the first collection, which was a set of Indian block prints, and I have continued from that point to where we are today. Much has changed in terms of the size and scale of our business yet the concept has always remains the same – to offer beautiful products for the home that are of the utmost quality, and this is what I passionately strive for.
What has been the most exciting collaboration you’ve worked on so far?
There have been many, but most recently with Christian Lacroix Maison, The Royal Collection and William Yeoward – each collaboration brings a different dimension and element to what we offer and it is wonderful to work with other very talented designers with their own sense of their brand and direction.
What do you believe sets you and Designers Guild apart from your competitors? What are you working on at the moment?
I couldn’t say, we just focus on what we do and hope that people enjoy it.
What is your top tip for flawless interior style?
There are no set rules when it comes to interior design, it is a very personal and subjective decision to how one chooses to live. However I would say that when using lots of colour and pattern it is a good idea to combine it with plenty of white, and to keep floors and ceilings neutral – this will help to maintain a sense of harmony.
What is your favourite room in your home and why?
Perhaps my studio, it is where my most favourite pieces of art and ceramics are – as well as my grand daughters paintings.
Do you have any top interior trend predictions for SS 2015?
Texture will be key – from combining contrasting textures as upholstery, for example a flat , matt wool flannel with a shimmering velvet. In terms of colours this season emerald green is very important. Green is a colour that I do tend to use almost as a neutral – it is the palette of nature and emerald green has that glimmering depth to it that is so full of life, giving unique character and spirit.
Do you have any words of wisdom that you would like to pass on?
Try to find your own sense of colour and listen to your own instincts. I believe we all have a colour sense, it is just a case of tuning into it. I would suggest spending the time discovering what emotional reactions certain colours evoke – do they make you feel restful, invigorated, happy or sad? Colour is emotive and it is important to understand how these emotions are triggered when considering introducing colour into your home.
What do you feel are the most important trends / changes happening in the industry that you feel designers should be aware of?
The way we use our homes has changed radically over the past years and modern life calls for our spaces at home to work harder for us providing not only spaces to relax and unwind, but also to cook and entertain, to enjoy with family and children as well as get away from the bustle of modern life. I think that it is not our job to tell people how they should live but to give them a broad range of options that are beautifully designed and deliver quality and personality.
What is your must-have item for next season?
A Kashgar rug, it brings an instant update to a space and the gorgeous shades of blue and cobalt bringing warmth and depth to a space.
Who’s your favourite Style Icon?
There are many, perhaps Coco Chanel
Most inspirational person you have met?
Howard Hodgkin, a truly incredible man. I am honoured that we have been able to produce a collection of textiles with him – I think that there is no other painter who captures the brilliance of colour in each stroke in the same way.
What is your favourite location?
There are many, I love London for its ecelctic style, New York for its energy, Paris for its vigour and Italy for the landscape and food!
In a nutshell, your philosophy is…