Where are you on the colour spectrum? Are you more of a neutral Kelly Hoppen fan or perhaps a maximalist colour lover such as Sophie Robinson? A celebration of colour in all its hues is a big interiors trend this Autumn and happens to be the theme of Focus/18 at The Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour in London (16 – 21 September 2018). I am really excited to have been again asked to collaborate on Tissus D’Helene’s window at the centre and the blog is going to share with you some of the ‘backstage’ styling secrets of how it came together…
Interiors love fashion and fashion loves interiors
My meetings with Helen Cormack (owner of Tissus D’Helene) often start with a virtual window shop amongst the rails of the latest online fashion company that Helen has come across. Some of Helen’s fashion tip-offs come from her interior design clients who, of course, can be completely relied upon for their highly tuned design sensibilities. (Please see the end of this post for the blog’s insider’s guide to Helen’s Fashion Little Black Book).
The atmosphere in the wallpaper and fabric showroom encourages the sort of ‘entre nous’ chats about what the latest and greatest might be – and not just for interiors. It was perhaps no surprise then that Helen suggested a mannequin dressed in soft furnishing fabrics for the AW18 Tissus D’Helene window.
Caught in a colourful butterfly storm
The idea for Tissus D’Helene’s window spotlights a mannequin who is caught in the middle of a colourful butterfly storm (yes, there is such a thing – David Attenborough just hasn’t got round to filming it … yet). The mannequin is wearing some of the world’s to-dye-for artisan interiors fabrics, wallpapers and trimmings in an ‘haute interieur’ outfit designed by Helen and myself.
Tissus D’Helene in microcosm
Due to the petite dimensions of the window (250 cm x 97 cm square) our mannequin has no catwalk but the intensely cocooned space creates the perfect microcosm for showcasing the fabrics and wallpapers.
Tissus D’Helene’s colour scheme for Focus/18
The decorating scheme which Helen has put together for the window shows exactly how to mix pattern on pattern with colour.
Tissus D’Helene handbag
This is a mock up of the last prop to be made and will just finish off the outfit. It is a beautiful hand-embroidered silk made by Namay Samay in Bhutan.
Helen Cormack’s bespoke fabric
Helen updated Bokhara a John Stefanidis linen to a vibrant new colourway for the window. The transformation is quite stunning.
Its a fabulous, fashiony colour mash-up
For the mannequin’s outfit, I am ‘channelling’ a bit of inspiration from fashion label Shrimps as well as *Sophie Robinson (designer, ex magazine stylist and presenter/judge of The Great Interior Design Challenge) – with her signature coloured tights, fabulous earrings and passion for colour.
There’s also a little bit of Boho inspiration with our version of a Kurta and some sassy crop trousers inspired by style blogger Tamu McPherson. The mannequin is going to be holding a wonderful handbag designed by Helen, with fabric embroidered by Namay Samay and made by the ever-wonderful seamstress (whose name begins with an M who can never be named … as she will get inundated) … But if you are in need of an an interiors soft furnishings seamstress then let me refer you to a previous blog post where you will find my list of the ‘King Makers‘ (who may also be inundated but you can try!)
We are filling the window with a butterfly storm made from artisanal wallpapers and have looked to a bit of Jean Shrimpton for a 60s ‘do’. Not quite sure that our mannequin’s wig is up to it though …?! It needs some work.
What’s in a name
It is actually a little trickier than I thought to choose the right mannequin. Helen and I did our ‘casting’ online – looked at several vintage ones as well as new. We had to look at body shape and demeanour as our model needs to carry several of the world’s top wallpaper and fabric designers on her shoulders.
Some faces looked miserable, bodies too stiff etc, etc. James in the Tissus D’Helene office keeps calling our mannequin ‘Chardonnay’ much to the annoyance of Helen … so let me introduce you … to Purdey …
Tissus D’Helene’s haute interieur outfit
Rather fortuitously, Helen has recently employed a new member of staff in the showroom who studied fashion design at college. Usvah very kindly offered to interpret my drawings and took Purdey (the mannequin) home to make the outfit and did a great job. The sleeves were finished with a bobble braid from Samuel and Son and who also provided a red tassel to form her pendant.
Creating the perfect butterfly storm
To achieve perfectly cut butterfly shapes Funky Lemon in Suffolk laser cut the wallpapers for me from my butterfly shape. This is how they did it – the results are amazing, I am so pleased with them!
*Colour Psychology Workshop
On Tuesday 18 September (trade only this day but there are other workshops from the 19th for non-trade) Sophie Robinson will be doing two workshops on Colour Psychology with Sanderson Paints at theDesign Centre Chelsea Harbour at 12 and 3 pm.
Helen Cormack’s fashion black book
Finally, keep this to yourself, but Helen has confided in the blog three inspiring fashion companies for grown-up women who want to look stylish without breaking the bank:
Just a little reminder of the previous two windows I styled for Tissus D’Helene:
Thank you so much for reading. I hope you have had a lovely summer? Can’t quite believe that it is all over. However, there is so much interior and fashion design to look forward to and the blog is going to endeavour to keep you in the know.
In the meantime, if you have enjoyed reading this blog and would like to receive email alerts for future blogs, then please share with your friends and press the large ‘Follow’ button either at the beginning or end of a blog. With many thanks, Charis x