Turn away now if your school uniform was bottle green and you swore that the colour wouldn’t darken your door again. Every which way you look, the mystical and glamorous combination of green and velvet is, to put it quite simply, ‘big’ for Autumn/Winter 2016 fashion and interiors. Although I put my neck out and made a prediction at the beginning of February with my post on the launch of Farrow and Ball’s Paint Colours 2016 that it might be, even I have been taken aback at the the groundswell of this new direction.
Love it or hate it, there is something very alluring about green and, in particular, the effect of velvet upholstery. Both the Victorians and the Arts and Crafts movement loved it – it is an organic colour derived from nature but one which also exudes sophistication and glamour. While there are hints of the Pre-Raphaelite in fashion – some of it from AW15 collections – there are undertones of Arts and Crafts style for interiors too.
It seems timely then with this colour scheme to reconsider the exquisite wallpaper and fabric designs of William Morris. The enduring design legacy of Morris is that his designs will work in any space, however big or small and pretty much in any architectural and decorative style. (I had the privilege a little while back of working with photographer Polly Wreford on a brief from Sanderson to style room sets showing how to use Morris in a contemporary way. It was for a V&A book written by Lucia van der Post on William Morris.)
In true Arts and Crafts style – the fashion for floor and wall tiles right now is all about pattern and texture. These tiles from Bert and May are handmade and really rather exquisite: (left: handmade Bejmat tile and right: Olvera tile).
The dark interior movement has focused on charcoals, greys and indigos but now is the moment for emerald to forest greens to shine. Green your space from ceiling to floor (covering picture rails, dado rails and skirting boards) in one colour. Not for the faint-hearted and it might be that you decide the loo is a good place to experiment with this bold move but I think you will be surprised at how fantastic the result is. Highlight your scheme with a metallic such as copper, gold or pewter or with white, turquoise or fuchsia coloured accessories. Bold mirror shapes and large canvases would look great here.
In October, Annie Sloan is launching a velvety dark green in her ever growingly popular Chalk Paint range. It is called ‘Amsterdam Green’ which is suitable for furniture, walls and paint effects:
From online atelier to high street store, you will be literally tripping up over green velvet upholstery this Autumn and there is quite a bit of it on the catwalk too from Ralph Lauren to Fendi. However, there is one stand-out piece of furniture amongst this, which I admit I have already mentioned in my post on Styling The Perfect Drinks Cabinet and I find I have to again here, as the shape of the design and the velvet used just sums up everything I love about green. It is a glamorous cocktail stool from Brabbu …
Velvet crush on the high street
Round cushion, £25, Velvet throw, £120, Jasper Conran, tassled cushion, £22, Matthew Williamson at Debenhams
When I think of green coloured fashion, it is impossible not to mention two of literature and film’s most famous green gowns. They are almost as famous as the actresses who wore them and as the films in which they featured:
The first was the 1939 film from Margaret Mitchell’s book, Gone With The Wind. Scarlett O’Hara played by Vivien Leigh is completely broke and with taxes to pay on her land, finds herself having to turn to Rhett Butler for money. In true ‘wartime’ style, she tears down the velvet curtains in her mother’s mansion and makes a dress out of them. (Which reminds me that if you happen to be handy with a sewing machine, interiors fabrics so often make incredible outfits!) … and the other is the 2007 film of Atonement by Ian McEwan where Keira Knightly wears the most incredible emerald green silk dress in the sultry library scene with James McAvoy …
If you wish to channel your own ‘Green Goddess’, H&M currently have some ‘Atonement’ style dresses at very affordable prices whilst Plumo have a beautiful ‘Sea Velvet’ plunge wrap neckline dress £339, as well as a rather smart forest green funnel neck jumper, £115, and jumbo pearl pink brooch £149; …
For more green inspiration, check out my Pinterest board:
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