Four of my favourite things on a Friday. Red or Dead’s Space Baby collection is what I wanted to wear more than anything else in the world when I was 12, sadly my mother didn’t see it my way. What I wouldn’t do to track down one of the see-through jackets now! Seeing the logo always reminds me of that time, when I was little but wanted to be big. Model Aly Dunne kicking back in 90s Gianfranco Ferre, both starring in the V&A’s very exciting exhibition, The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945 – 2014. Then, Neil Tennant and Anna May Wong, cool as a cucumber and fabulous both.
What are you doing this weekend? I heartily recommend Pop Art Design at the Barbican in London. Hits include: lots of iconic pieces by absolute design hero Ettore Sottsass, brilliant works by Richard Hamilton, Studio 65 and this searing piece by Elaine Sturtevant. There’s a room of tired 60s music posters and paraphernalia (including Cream’s truly toe-curling Disraeli Gears) towards the end, but that’s a mere blip in an otherwise genius show.
I first saw the work of Brittany-based design studio Jallu Ebénistes earlier this year when I was putting together a feature for Alto magazine on decorating with semi-precious materials. Sandy from the company was kind enough to send me info about their latest pieces this week and, of course, they’re beautiful. The studio specialises in techniques from the Art Deco period, using materials including parchment, straw marquetry, horn, gypse, precious veneers and metals. This new Roxy cabinet is pure glamour, veneered in crystal-white gypse (selenite in English).
Mitas & Co is a great fabric and wallpaper company which curates prints by young designers. I saw their stand at Decorex and this design, Peg O’ My Heart by Alex Bigois-Jeambrun, was an immediate favourite. It’s like an Andy Warhol take on the peg, a mundane item transformed into a striking pattern in brilliant colours.
Duos are common in the design world – someone to balance you out, someone to make you laugh. Zak & Fox is a textile design duo from New York. I met the charming Zak at Decorex during LDF, while Fox was at home in the Big Apple. He was probably keeping the business ticking over, in between chewing bones and wagging his tail. Yes, Fox is my dream business partner – Fox is a dog. Back to the fabrics, though. They’re understated, modern yet timeless, drawing influence from Japan and the Middle East. My favourite is Uroko (below, top right) which is from a collection inspired by Japanese legend. ‘Kiyohime, a centuries-old, Japanese folktale spun of unrequited love and tragedy, served as the catalyst for our newest trio of geometric patterns,’ says Zak. ‘Classically inspired shapes are rendered in earthen and watery hues, giving a soft, almost aqueous quality to their structured formations.’ The whole story is beautifully told on the Zak & Fox website. I’d use it in a living room with chalky-black walls and wide-plank, pale-wood flooring. Zak & Fox has also designed fabrics for Sofa.com (above), the first US designer to do so. Zak & Fox fabrics are available in the UK from George Spencer Designs.
I always think Patternity is like having another set of eyes that help you see the world in a different way. Both mathematical and poetic, these eyes pick up on the shadows, splashes, ripples, edges, corners and mixtures that might normally go unnoticed, or at least not be celebrated for their pattern. And it’s an addictive fella. Pattern Power / Superstripe is the team’s first annual festival of pattern exploration, which will be about ‘celebrating pattern everywhere – from the mundane to the magnificent.’ Lovely dreamy soundtrack from Death In Vegas on the website, too. The festival opens on Saturday 6 April, but expect pics to be Tweeted at tonight’s launch!
There are lots of events, talks and workshops (I love the sound of Patterns in Space and Beyond), as well as collaborations. One of which is with designer Richard Brendon in two striking bone china tea sets – Reason (top) and Warp (bottom). You can enter a draw to win a set at the exhibition. I’ll be buying many, many tickets.
One of Damien Hirst‘s rugs is called Beautiful Oasis in a Deserted Expanse, Drink up the Beauty Before it’s Too Late Rug. Others are Beautiful Primal Urges Rug, Beautiful Saucy Spit Roast It’ll All End in Tears Rug and Beautiful Abstract Landscape Pretentious Art Nonsense Rug. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a giant painting under-foot, in wool form? I think so. Especially with wallpaper like there is after the click through…
All available at Other Criteria.
If I could dress head-to-toe in Issey Miyake I would. I love the idea of stopping being a person and becoming a walking sculpture. Yes please to Pleats Please. I first heard about Miyake Design Studio’s collaboration with Italian lighting brand Artemide a year ago when I was at Livingetc. It wasn’t out, but there was a prototype – just enough to get very excited about. But the IN-EI collection – Japanese for ‘shadow, shadiness, nuance’ – is here now. I saw it last night at the Issey Miyake store on Conduit Street, in fact.
The idea began back in 2010, when Issey Miyake and his research and development team Reality Lab presented 132 5.ISSEY MIYAKE. This new process was developed using a mathematical programme with 3D geometric principals, and is a rather ingenious way of making clothing. In a nutshell, the programme results in clothes that can be folded flat and become 3D shapes, starting from a single piece of cloth. Reality Lab saw lighting as a natural extension of the programme, and the collaboration with Artemide was born.
It’s a collection of freestanding, table and pendant lights. The structure of the recycled material used, together with an additional surface treatment allows the shades to keep their shape perfectly without the need for an internal frame and to be re-shaped when needed. They can be easily stored flat when not in use.
Click through to see the beautiful collection…
In celebration of my mum and dad buying a new puppy (Mr and Mrs Bruce can expect a huge increase in visits from me), I am having a gooey moment for sweet animals. The dog on the dress is the type of puppy they’re getting, in fact. He’s called Brodie, after the main character in Jaws, I like to think. Swimsuit and T-shirt dress, We Are Handsome; Cushions, By Nord.
I first saw the work of wallpaper design duo Barneby Gates when I was news editor at Livingetc. In fact, their super-fantastic Horse Trellis was one of the first things I picked to feature. So, there was much intertal cheering when I received an email from Vanessa Barneby which included some new designs. And boy, they don’t disappoint. This is called Dogs, a cool play on houndstooth (love that). I think it’s original, smart and elegant but also nicely eccentric – which is everything I want from anything I want to have in my house. The glamorous model belongs to a friend of Barneby Gates and is called Doris. There’s a lovely pale colourway after the click-through…
More new high-street buys! And pared back is all very well, but sometimes don’t you long for a ‘yeah, sod it, I’m having cerise leopard print’ type of room? I say go for it, don’t mess about, this bed was made for flouncing on (and a bit of a Bobby bargain to boot).
I know the snow is lying all over the ground like annoying cotton wool, but my thoughts are beginning to turn to summers in Capri, yacht by day and cocktails by night. Not my summer, obviously, but the kind of summers I quite fancy having. Until that happens, I’m going to make do with bright and breezy anchors and stripes. Cushion, RE-Found at Liberty; Striped bag, Marc Jacobs at Net-A-Porter; V-Neck heels, Christian Louboutin at Net-A-Porter; Anchor earrings, DSquared2 at Far Fetch; spring/summer, Dolce & Gabbana.
Catwalk image via style.com.
The first time I was allowed to decorate my bedroom, aged 11, I sploshed Habitat‘s Pool Blue paint everywhere (my mother grimaced from behind her hands at my slapdash technique – cutting in was not my forte and, needless to say, my beige carpet did not come off well). I definitely grew up with Habitat, although we didn’t have any bits at home (my father is an antique dealer so liking new things was perhaps my first act of rebellion!). I caught a bus home from school outside the Habitat store in Edinburgh, so I watched seasons come and go through the glass for years. There was always something unusual happening. Here we are, the spring/summer ’13 collection – designed by creative director Polly Dickens and her in-house team – and the pieces feel unique, cohesive and unexpected. Certain accessories particularly caught my eye, with colours and techniques that remind me of favourite paintings…