Thursday, September 23, 2010

Designers Guild, London

So you've noticed this is NOT. ALL THE TIME.  A decorating blog, but you know I AM a GIRL.  SO SOMETIMES this DOES have to be a decorating blog.  Although this post is not soooo much about decorating (well it IS)  but what I really want to have is a discussion about a VISION.  That is seamless and complete and wide ranging.  That there is so much to be learned from.  (If you want to produce your own line of furnishing products - and we all can dream, no?)  

And yes,  I will have to say up front that I have not always LOVED Designers Guild (aka Tricia Guild, for the woman behind the brand).  

Sometimes in the past I have found her designs lacked a little oomph, or were a little cutesy.  Or even, all dessert, and no dinner.  I don't think I've ever bought much from there either, possibly a cushion in the Christmas sale, or a toiletries bag, because the colors are so acidic and jewel-like and hard to integrate into the average decor.  But I LOVE to visit the shop, because there is always so comprehensive and original a visual presentation that extends very consistently throughout all the lines.  Whether furniture or sheets, wallpaper, or accessories for the home or for the person.  I've seen some of the most gorgeous and original flower arranging ever in my life, used in their displays.  And you could never feel asleep or  bored or less than totally alive in a Designers Guild environment.  

Each season's concept is so highly realized and well thought out.  They do a witty integration of old fashioned motifs and modern pared-down style.  For example, this wallpaper with its reference to 18th c. grisaille print rooms, and cabbage flower chintz, and Dior new-look era decor but which is totally modern and perfect for right now.

The store is often on the very cutting edge of trends.

(And geniuses at making something that should be so wrong - like amphibian pattern cut velvet in violet - look so right!  OK I would still never put it in my house!  Would you?)  It was here that I first saw Astier de Villatte ceramics, and Dosa (from L.A.) clothing,

Kantha cloth quilts with their thousands of tiny stitches and dazzling patchwork

and Sue Binns' elegant but rustic blue and white ceramics.

They have irresistible children's collections.  (See what I mean about extending the concept?  From printed upholstery and pillow covers through embroidered cushions.....)

And if you have doubts as to whether you have enough Nathalie L'Ete in your life,

this is the place to redress any deficit!

Cahiers and carriers, notecards and pads, yes that's a cup-and-saucer set above!  I think there were even rubber stamps

and jigsaw puzzles?  You name it, they have it.

There is never any doubting that shopping at Designers Guild is about anything but indulgence and fantasy.  Some indulge more than others......

But if it must be fantasy, then everybody can be happy........what is more fabulous, the true-gold crushed velvet sofa (nothing LIKE the Bradys' rec-room circa 197......?) or the faux distressed rug whose blue I imagine to be raised and soft to the touch and SILK despite it looking like worn denim?  I REST MY CASE!!!!!!  In my rich fantasy life, it would be dessert time 24/7!

Nota bene- this Designers Guild is on the Kings Road at Old Church Street but a new Designers Guild store can now be found on Marylebone High Street.  Now you know!


  1. Thanks for the visit, I can recognize the colorful work of Nathalie Lété, I Love it ... and me too I am in love with the beautiful indian khanta embroidery ...

  2. Of course you can probably guess that I have been a Designer's Guild groupie for YEARS!!! and I mean YEARS. It was always the color for me. I don't live in that palette due to my local but, if I lived in the South of France or South America.....

    Thanks maam!

  3. Wish I could visit, looks like a very fun place! Ohh to dream and sometimes those bits of luxury become truly treasured possessions. Nice post!

  4. that chair! I've very in favor of multiple colors/prints on furniture.

  5. I was delighted to go on this tour with you MP... I've found lots of inspiration over the years from Tricia Guild... starting with a book from well over 2 decades ago when her look was extremely different .... and yet not. Like you... the acid colours dont quite do it for many details to love...her way with flowers and with ceramic pieces and her way of bringing in things ahead of others often always had me spell bound!
    Ive still got a bit of designers guild fabric by Kaffe Fasset (of rather subdued and dreamy cabbage (?) roses) I picked up off a bargain table and have daydreamed about covering a chair with. Luckily its a timeless fabric because that was 10 years ago when bought it. Too much day-dreaming ...not enough 'can do' furniture renos!

    ciao bella,

  6. I just bought a Natalie L'été scarf and marinière both with big kittie faces plastered on them. Couldn't resist!

  7. I really like Designers Guild too, my parents are fans so we used to have fabric and wall paper borders from there in our house when I was growing up :)