Well, here we go again. The days are getting shorter, the nights darker. Summer barbeques are no more than a distant memory, as on goes the heating and out come the winter woollies. If the billboards on every hotel, restaurant and hostelry are to be believed, not only should we have booked every last detail of our Christmas festivities by now, but we really should be seriously thinking of Easter too. It’s enough to bring on the glums isn’t it ?
Well no, it isn’t. Certainly not in the world of interior design anyway. Autumn is the time of year that we look forward to the most (until someone comes in on December 1st wanting new curtains for Christmas of course). It’s the time when all the major design houses have their main product launch of the year. This is timed to coincide with Decorex, a massive trade show held in what is basically an over-sized tent, pitched in a large, often rain-sodden field in west London. I know that doesn’t make it sound particularly glamourous, but it’s great fun really.
Off we all troll to the great metropolis, and spend a splendid day or two sniffing out the best of the new offerings at both Decorex and the Aladdin’s Cave that is the Chelsea Harbour Design Centre, followed a week or two later by the exhilaration of opening the seemingly endless amount of parcels containing the new pattern books we’ve ordered. It really is like an early Christmas !!!
There are some companies that get it right now and then, but there are also those on whom you know you can rely for consistently coming up with something fabulous. This month I’ll be talking about two of them – G P & J Baker, and Mulberry Home.
G P & J Baker have released two new collections for autumn; they are the Cosmopolitan collection, comprising four books, and the fifth volume of their Originals collection.
An exciting new departure for GP & J Baker, the Cosmopolitan collection achieves the perfect balance between its legendary heritage and stunning new designs. The vibrant palette is evident in the gorgeous silks, embroideries, and velvets including the striking ‘Menagerie’, a riot of birds, rabbits and monkeys printed on to a soft, supple velvet. This elegant and sophisticated collection features beautiful jacquard damasks woven from lustrous silk cotton blends, an inventive yet classic silk stripe, and a smart textural linen. With two striking geometrics providing a contemporary edge, the palette reflects these glamorous designs with a range of subtle neutral shades and lustrous metallics.
Six sumptuous cut velvets together with an opulent plain are contained in a book called Cosmopolitan Velvets, and add a luxurious dimension to the collection. Stylish and contemporary, ‘Fairford’ and ‘Maynard’ which reflect a mid-20th century aesthetic in a striking and colourful palette, are joined by ‘Harcourt’ a small scale graphic geometric. ‘Gosford’ is a light-hearted take on an animal print and the superb ‘Kelway’ plain velvet has a magnificent handle and a gorgeous colour palette, ranging from the coolest neutrals to some magnificent rich shades.
There are two further books, entitled Cosmopolitan Weaves I and II, which complete the collection. These stylish, richly textured weaves complement not only the designs in the Cosmopolitan collection but also many other Baker designs. Book one contains two robust herringbones Braddock and Trevone, which are balanced by two supple chenilles, Trew and Merryn. Book two consists of a stylish structured geometric, Maughan, and two soft textured chenilles, Burford and Netherton.
The new Originals volume V contains a fabulous collection of printed cotton velvets and linen unions by such Arts & Crafts superstars as C.F.A. Voysey, proving that it’s not only the stables of William Morris and Liberty who have the monopoly on these timeless classics.
Mulberry Home’s Bohemian Travels is a stunning sequel to their award winning Bohemian Romance collection (which I must say is my favourite collection of 2015). A tribute to the discerning traveller/collector, this adventurous anthology brings together exciting, inspirational designs with unique, exotic textures and in a palette of radiant, contrasting colours. For me, the crowning glory of the book is a super-heavy embossed weave called Bohemian Paisley. It’s only available in one colourway – vibrant reds and subtle golds on the most sumptuous turquoisey jade background. I would happily have it made into a jacket, except for two reasons: firstly my wife would never be seen within a hundred miles of me wearing it, and secondly I would need to frequent the gym for a month or two before even attempting to lift it, let alone put it on !!!
The second book in the collection is called Bohemian Velvets II, and contains some lovely velvets printed with ancient maps in beautiful antique shades, a fabulous flight of wild geese, and a glorious design reminiscent of an ancient oriental carpet. A stunning textural cut velvet patchwork and a luxurious plain in a comprehensive range of vibrant and neutral colours complete this inspirational and spirited collection.
The final book in the collection, entitled Bohemian Checks and Stripes, adds to the Mulberry Home library of versatile upholstery weaves. This subtle, stylish collection features the well balanced ‘Haddon Stripe’ in a soft, natural palette, with the corresponding design ‘Haddon Check’, reflecting the same shades. ‘Drummond Plain’ with its twisted soft chenille yarns offers a hugely adaptable fabric.
So there you are, plenty of fabulous offerings from two superb design houses that are guaranteed to get your creative juices flowing.
John Biddell, John Charles Interiors
Live 24 7 magazine editorial - November 2015
Images above or to the right courtesy of GP & J Baker
Image immediately below courtesy of Mulberry Home.