If you’re not yet familiar with Gudrun Sjödén she is a Swedish designer who has a bit of a thing for colour and pattern. She loves to layer it up in contrasting, clashing and clever creative ways. She’s also a bit of an eco do-gooder with a lot of organic cottons and a strong green ethos. Her fashion and homeware range has actually been going for 35 years with stores all over Scandinavia and Germany where she has a cult following. She’s now come to London and last night I went to the store opening on Monmouth Street, Covent Garden.

Gudrun Sjoden store opening, Monmouth Street, Swedish design textiles, colour, pattern, hot shop, homeware, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

It was a colourful affair that felt more like a garden party than a store opening. It was full of typically darn beautiful Scandi’s dressed head to toe in her collections, handsome men in floral aprons handing out canapés and summery drinks, fresh flowers in buckets and an enslaught of dedicated fans (where did they all come from!?) whom Gudrun greeted, one by one, on the door.

Think Anthropologie crossed with Designers Guild

I’m not sure I could pull off the bold, statement attire but the homeware I could happily live with. I loved the folky style rugs, ziz zag towels and gorgeous textiles and bedlinen inspired by meadows, wild flowers and sunshine…

Gudrun Sjoden store opening, Monmouth Street, Swedish design textiles, colour, pattern, hot shop, homeware, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys
I love the zingy citrus shades that feel so fresh and countrified. My bathroom needs a bit of colour and these bath mats would do the job nicely…
Gudrun Sjoden store opening, Monmouth Street, Swedish design textiles, colour, pattern, hot shop, homeware, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys
Gudrun Sjoden store opening, Monmouth Street, Swedish design textiles, colour, pattern, hot shop, homeware, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys
Gudrun Sjoden store opening, Monmouth Street, Swedish design textiles, colour, pattern, hot shop, homeware, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys
You’ll also find shower curtains with trailing floral prints, table linen, cushions, curtains and rolls of fabrics that can be bought by the metre. If, unlike me, you’re not trapped in the capital, then fret thee not as you can also buy on-line. Hoorah and happy weekend! – Alice
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HOT TREND: Safari

February 17, 2011

Don your khaki trousers, grab a pair of binoculars and imagine you’re in a LandRover, not an office – today, we’re hitting the dusty savannahs to check out this season’s safari designs…

Think lions, zebras, elephants and giraffes…I love this cute wall decal from Decosticker. Working clockwise: a zebra chair from BHS (very Peter Stringfellow/Kat Slater), bargain faux-fur animal-print accessories (throw, cushion and picture frame) from Tesco Direct, and a tasty safari map cushion from our dear Africa-obsessed friends at Anthropologie

Any excuse for a spot of Turner Pocock wallpaper (top left) – this Zebra design is one of my favourites. Everything else here is from Anthropologie – I can’t help thinking the design team must have had an epic field trip to Africa – it’s difficult to find something that’s NOT safari-related there this season!

Let’s end with Sue Timney‘s stunning ‘Menagerie’ cushion – part of her new home collection for House of Fraser, hitting stores early April. It’s covered with brightly-coloured exotic animals and insects – a bit like Victorian engravings with a modern twist. I love this style – and once read a novel just because the cover had Victorian animal engravings on it. That’s how shallow I am. Keep your eyes peeled for the rest of Sue Timney’s range – there are monochrome cake plates, glamorous striped lamps and quirky Fornasetti-style ceramics. Not very safari, granted, but let’s sneak it in here anyway:

Now, THAT’S a cake plate. If you can’t get enough of Sue’s quirky style, and fancy dressing up as a barcode, don’t miss her current exhibition: “Sue Timney and the Design of Timney-Fowler“, at the Fashion and Textile Museum until 25 April. – Ellie

HOT SHOP: BHLDN launches

February 14, 2011

Normally, we wouldn’t get away with this sort of thing on here, but it IS Valentine’s Day, so let’s break some rules. BHLDN – the new vintage wedding shop from those clever Anthropologie people – is now OPEN.

Now, I don’t know what they’ve got against vowels, but let’s not nit-pick. This is a beautiful website with GORGEOUS products and we should all rejoice on this marvellous day. Dresses, gloves, accessories, jewellery – it’s possibly the most exciting wedding website ever. I particularly like the ‘inspirations’ section, which contains vintage wedding photographs found in a dusty trunk in Belgium…

What a wonderful tache. BHLDN is live now – check it out. I fear it’s going to be ‘vry, VRY tmptng’. – Ellie


Anthropologie: tribal time

January 5, 2011

Let’s be honest. There’s only so many ways you can shoot rugs, bedding and towels. In a room. On the floor. In a pile. Hanging on a wall. Yadda yadda. I’d love to have been in the brain-storming meeting when a stylist wrote: “just kind of drape them over some old cars” on the spider diagram…

But, as the new Anthropologie catalogue demonstrates, it works. And the retro American neutral backdrop makes the oh-so-tribal, oh-so-2011 African-inspired prints and patterns really POP:

These eye-wateringly bright colour combos are just the ticket on a gloomy January day like today – check out the new Pavo and Yoruba bed linen designs below – tribal-tastic!

Stunning African-inspired designs are all over the catwalks as well as the homeware collections – it looks as though 2011 is going to be a riot of colour! – Ellie

See inside Anthropologie

October 22, 2009

Is there anything I DON’T want in this shop? Erm, no. London’s new Anthropologie did not disappoint when I checked it out yesterday. It was everything I hoped it would be – and more. The interior of the shop is fabulous in itself, before I even get started on the lovely stock! From the huge luxury changing rooms, to the gigantic whale hanging from the ceiling and the incredible living vertical garden wall with 18,000 live plants in it, this shop interior is by far the coolest London’s ever seen.

anthropologie londonThe plants in the vertical garden are watered by rainwater collected on the roof, and reminded me of an eco-house I saw in Paris recently. Every 12 weeks, a team of style gurus and creative set designers will put together a fresh interior look, so it’s going to be one of those shops you’ll never tire of. I spotted strips of vintage sewing needles on the walls, huge apothecary-style chests of drawers, china plate clocks and a curtain made of tea bags.

anthropologie london2Can I just say at this point that, tragically, just when I needed it most, my stupid digital camera failed me and the battery ran out at a crucial moment, so the images on this post are a mixture of PR shots and some snaps taken by the wonderful Wee Birdy, to whom I am very grateful!

anthropologie ukI spent hours browsing and had to be very restrained spending-wise. I basically liked/wanted everything I saw. It was good to see a mixture of American products and stock from home-grown designers such as Becky Oldfield (stunning Union Jack quilts) and the lovely Lisa Stickley. There were too many interesting home buys to mention, but highlights for me included: paint-by-numbers plates from Trey Speegle, cute stamp sets from Yellow Owl Workshop, gorgeous Tokyo Milk bubble baths, cook books from the likes of Ginette Mathiot, Alice in Wonderland drawer knobs, zinc letters, beautiful cards and notebooks, stylish chemistry-set style flasks, and coloured folksy aprons – straight out of Hansel and Gretel. The new folk trend has been embraced by Anthropologie in a big way – I spotted wooden mushrooms, ceramic owls, folk-style patchwork quilts and an unusual vintage-look book titled: ‘Mushroom Magick, a comprehensive guide to psychedelic ‘shrooms‘!

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anthropologie uk3Even the packaging is delicious at Anthropologie, and I was delighted to be given a little Nathalie Lete lily soap in my red-handled goody bag, which made it twice as nice! ‘Mon savon qui sent bon’…sigh. I’m already planning my next Anthropologie trip. – Ellie

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nathalie lete soap

Oh, we’ve waited patiently. We’ve never complained. We’ve twiddled our thumbs and admired Anthropologie.com politely from afar on blogs and in American mags since 1992, with never a moan or a mutter. We waited for the genius Mr Hayne, of Urban Outfitters fame, to remember little ol’ Europe, pack his designer suitcase full of eclectic homewares, and pop over here to open a shop. And now, he’s finally answered our prayers. The UK’s first Anthropologie opens at 158 Regent Street, London, this Friday 23rd October, but I’m going to the sneaky peek press launch at the store tomorrow. Be rude not to really.

Picture 20There’s a Kings Road store planned soon, too, and the online shop Anthropologie.co.uk is launching in spring 2010 to spread the love to the rest of Europe. I haven’t been this excited since 1987, at my 5th birthday party, when I had to be shut in a room to calm down because it was all too much fun and I was in danger of actually popping with joy. Anthropologie, welcome to the UK. We love you. – Ellie

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