When I was approached by Helen Cormack of Tissus D’Helene to style her Chelsea Design Week (12 – 17 March 2017) window display, to say I was excited was an understatement! As dream jobs go, this is right up there. When I styled some features for Homes & Gardens magazine, they often used Helen’s fabrics – and I have always adored them.
If you read my post from last year’s Chelsea Design Week – you might remember that this event is now more than just a pretty big deal in the interiors calendar. The styling of the Design Centre atrium and surrounding showrooms is becoming a worldwide (and instagrammable) must-see for the window displays as much as for the collections. This year, a pretty big show stopper of an installation is ‘Newton’s Cradle’ from luxury floral designer, Larry Walshe. Soho House are styling a pop-up window for Turnell & Gigon and Tatler magazine has a glamorous pop up restaurant and bar (where I spotted at least one Thibaut wallpaper).
This is always the fun bit. We discussed the British Summer Season – the designs of the fabric companies that Helen represents are just so pretty, lending themselves to a feminine setting such as a wedding or garden party. Tissus D’Helene specialises in representing artisan fabrics and wallpaper companies whose designs are either hand blocked or hand screen printed. The fabric and wallpaper companies in Helen’s trade showroom are from the UK, Europe and from countries as far afield as America and Australia.
(Left: Print, from Ananbo; right: Sher Bagh, Rajasthan, luxury safari camp, Relais & Chateaux)
I suggested an Indian inspired wedding tent with tasselled pelmet, tent walls complete with window, a faux wedding cake covered with fabrics and trimmings, wedding presents in wrapping paper with fabric ribbons and wallpaper tags. Oh and fake grass, tissue paper confetti, champagne glasses …
(Left: Sher Bagh (Rajasthan) luxury camping, Relais Chateaux.com; right: faux grass sample, B&Q; confetti, Hobbycraft)
Helen’s fabric designs
As well as representing other companies, Helen designs her own fabrics such as ‘The Gabrielle Spring Green’ tulip fabric from her Fleurons d’Helene collection (used on the bottom tier of the faux wedding cake). This delicate design is a copy of a French design from the mid 19th century. Helen goes to textile fairs and has been collecting old documents for some years. This document was actually a water colour for a proposed fabric design, which Helen had drawn up and printed in France.
Fabrics and trimmings for wedding tent
Helen chose the key fabrics and colour scheme for the tent. I enjoyed watching Helen and her staff moving from one display to another, like wine sommeliers or perfumiers, picking up and expertly mulling over swatches, considering which designs best to feature. The welcoming Tissus D’Helene showroom is like a large glamorous walk-in wardrobe of textiles and wallpapers.
A-dore a door!
Note the exquisite bank of green glass cupboards on one side of the showroom. I adore the colour and the criss-cross wooden door frame design.
Fabric for tent window pane
This embroidered voile (‘Delfina Ivory’ from Fleurons D’Helene collection) was chosen to form the window pane of the tent. The embroidery is so delicate and pretty. It would make beautiful curtains but also I can’t help but think it would make a perfect 19th Century Regency wedding dress too! Last summer I visited the fabulous Fashion Museum in Bath and would highly recommend it for inspiration.
Showroom window size
Did I mention the size of Tissus D’Helene’s showroom window? It is a small but perfectly formed 97 cm square x 250 cm high.
Dress rehearsal in a shower cubicle
Tissus D’Helene’s showroom window is on the ground floor at Chelsea Design Centre. Rather fortuitously it is – give or take a centimetre – the dimensions of our shower cubicle at home.
The key with maximising such a small (but perfectly formed!) window is that every centimetre needs to be carefully planned out and that dimensions of curtains/pelmets/made to measure display table and the height of the cake all work to create maximum impact.
When I was designing the elements of the Tissus D’Helene’s window, it was really helpful to be able to try out proportions in my shower cubicle. This was a newspaper pattern I cut out for a scallop edged tablecloth. The height of the bespoke display table (MDF) I got a carpenter to make will hopefully ensure that presents can sit beneath it and the cake on top. The idea being, that from floor to ceiling, your eye will rest upon a joyous celebration of Tissus D’Helene fabrics and wallpapers.
I decoupaged the base and stem with the Faux Bois Lavender Ref MLB1107 fabric by Martyn Lawrence Bullard and designed a tablcoth for the tabletop.
Wallpapers for wrapping wedding presents
It was a happy accident that the colour scheme of lilacs and greens enabled Helen to showcase some fabulous wallpapers in this year’s Pantone colour Greenery. If you needed persuading how well this colour could work in your home, then just take a look at these wallpaper beauties!
Faux wedding cake tiers
To create the perfect confection, I searched high and low to find the right evenly sized cake tiers. For the window, I needed quite a bit of height, so with the combination of the bespoke display table, these paint pots presented themselves as the best base for the fabric covered wedding cake. Thank you to Louise at Kitsch en sync for coping with decoupaging the conical and awkward shapes of the paint pot ridges!
Raiding the dressing-up box at home.
Tissus D’Helene Chelsea Design Centre window 2017
For more inspiration on glamorous tent and wedding styling check out my Pinterest board here:
Raise a toast
I hope you will join me in raising a toast to Tissus D’Helene and the 2017 Summer Season – when it comes! A big thank you too to Samuel & Sons for their tassels, to Harlequin for their Arabella trimming for the cake and to William Yeoward for their Elizabeth champagne flutes. If you need help with styling a window or with a fabric and wallpaper collection for photography, please do get in touch.
In the meantime, thank you so much for reading. If you have enjoyed this and would like to receive email alerts for future posts, then please press the large blue ‘Follow’ button either at the beginning or end of this post. With many thanks, Charis x
11 thoughts on “Tissus D’Helene: styling for Chelsea Design Week 2017”
Wow, that looks great – and a whole lotta work!
Not sure if you know that you can get polystyrene cake dummies from cake decorating shops. They start at 6″ and go right up to 14/16″. Might be useful for future projects. xxx
Thank you Emma. Yes I looked at all those options but none were quite tall/deep enough – hence the paint pots! xxx
Quite fantastic, Charis. I love it all. Well done! Jenny J
Thank you so much Jenny. As you can see it would be difficult to go far wrong with so many beautiful fabrics and wallpapers!
Fabulous. Really loved the wallpapers – Cats have sadly stopped stripping my hallway and Andy knows I have enough Nina Campbell to redecorate! But hey 10 years later I feel I really need a change! Super window display too.
Thank you Jo! That’s tricky if you fancy a change. Perhaps you outdoor eBay the Nina Campbell – but then again it is so lovely…
Absolutely fantastic Charis!
Thank you so much Wook.
Fascinating Indian references and ingenious construction. Am I the only one who wants to stand in Charis’ tent and look out on a wet March day in Lotts Road?
Dr Toby Haggith