Styling Tissus D’Helene’s colour window for Focus/18

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).

Entre nous

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.

Showroom at Tissus D'Helene, London.
Tissus D’Helene Showroom at Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour, London.
Pretty table lamps on the showroom desks at Tissus D’Helene from Richard Taylor Designs at Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour. Photo: Charis White

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.

Mannequin wearing Kurta made from Ola in Stick of Rock from Virginia White Collection at Tissus D’Helene; tassel from Samuel and Sons; fabric walls in New Bokhara, John Stefanidis at Tissus D’Helene; braid, Sandboys; Photo and styling: Charis White

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.

Left to right: Reverse Monarch Light Kelly, Galbraith & Paul; Red wallpaper, Fiddlehead by Peter Fasano; green rice pattern wallpaper, John Stefanidis; 25mm width linen herringbone kT52.07 Peacock braid, Sandboy Textiles; Jaisilmir Peacock JHS412 wallpaper, wallpaper, Stefanidis; wallpaper in butterfly shape, Juneberry, Tyler Hall; Bokhara Peacock John Stefanidis fabric; Ola in Stick of Rock by Virginia White Collection;  red silk, Faille Antoinette Scarlet Col 153; Jaali fabric, Peter Dunham; Turquoise Volpi Wallpaper, Quadrille. Photo and styling: Charis White

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.

Mock up of handbag designed by Helen Cormack made from embroidered silk fabric by Namay Samay in Bhutan. Background fabric: Jaali, Peter Dunham at Tissus D’Helene. Photo and styling: Charis White

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.

From this

Helen made some colour change mark ups in pencil on a sample of Bokhara – a John Stefanidis fabric for the printer. Photo: Charis White

To this

Vibrant new colourway of John Stefanidis Bokhara by Helen Cormack at Tissus D’Helene. Turquoise Volpi wallpaper by Quadrille at Tissus D’Helene. Photo and styling: Charis White
With the precision of a designer, Matthew from the TDH showroom installs the walls covered in the recoloured Bokhara Peacock fabric by John Stefanidis and Sandboys trimming at Tissus D’Helene. Photo: Charis White

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.

Image by Tamu McPherson, lifestyle blogger and editor
Sophie Robinson, designer and judge on the Great Interior Design Challenge

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 …

Meet ‘Purdey’ sans wig – suitably and modestly attired in a sari whilst she waits for her ‘haute interieur’ AW18 window outfit to be made. Styling: Helen, Photo: Charis

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.

Tissus D’Helene’s Colour Window for Focus 2018. Photo and Styling: Charis White
Tissus D’Helene’s Colour window for Focus 2018 with wallpaper floor in Reverse Light Kelly by Galbraith and Paul; bobble braid and tassel courtesy of Samuel and Sons; trousers in Peter Dunham’s Jaali trimmed with red silk from Faille Antoinette Scarlett Colour 153 at Tissus D’Helene. Photo and styling: Charis White

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!

Laser cutting 2
Here is the laser machine in action on the back of the wallpaper. Photo: Funky Lemon.
laser cutting 1
Wallpaper butterflies ready cut by the laser machine. Photo: Funky Lemon.
Beautifully cut butterfly shaped artisan wallpapers by Funky Lemon for Tissus D’Helene. Photo and styling : Charis White
Gluing together double sided artisan wallpaper butterflies on nylon fishing wire to hang in the Tissus D’Helene window to form the butterfly storm. The stones were used as weights to keep them flat whilst they dried. Photo and styling: Charis White

*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:

  1. Kitri Studio
  2. Finery
  3. Me & Em

Blog rewind

Just a little reminder of the previous two windows I styled for Tissus D’Helene:

Japanese Style window for Tissus D’Helene and Tissus D’Helene: Styling for Chelsea Design Week.

Thank you

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

Interior stylist, writer and on-line shop keeper


9 thoughts on “Styling Tissus D’Helene’s colour window for Focus/18

    1. Thank you Karen, I hope you have a fantastic time when you go. There are going to be some many lovely new fabrics and wallpapers to look out for and of course all the other windows too! I always make a bee-line for Turnell & Gigon which is handily next door to Tissus D’Helene.


  1. Wow, the window looks wonderful; such a beautiful creation. As are the other two you have done – I love the wedding one in particular. And great that you use your shower cubicle to test run. Such a lovely blog to read on a Thursday evening – thank you!



  2. What a fabulous feast of fabrics and colour. The window is stunning and I love your beautiful butterflies. So clever. I’m still dipping into all your links, and revisiting my favourites. Always thought seasonal lampshades were a great idea!

    Liked by 1 person

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