I’ve just got back from the Fashion and Textiles Museum, where I was lucky enough to see the fabulous new Very Sanderson exhibition, to celebrate 150 years of Sanderson fabrics and wallpapers. It’s a really fascinating show, with beautiful designs from the archives on display, and a clever layout that imitates the famous Berners Street Sanderson show room (now the Sanderson hotel). I particularly enjoyed looking at the retro Sanderson adverts from the past, including some fabulous 1970s ones, and checking out the new Vintage Fabrics collection of revived archive designs:

Chatting to some of the designers was very interesting, and I learnt that they’re currently working on Sanderson’s next big collection (due out in January 2011) which will be a range of six 1950s-style fabrics, inspired by Lucienne Day. Hurrah! Right up my street. I’d recommend this exhibition to any interior design addict – I left feeling very inspired. It was funny to see how the designs started off chintzy in the late 1800s, then went all funky in the 1940s-1970s, then went back to chintz-ville for the 1980s-1990s, then flipped back to retro designs like Dandelion Clocks more recently. If you go, remember to check out the gift shop at the end for Sanderson postcards, china, stationery, and cute vintage books. Very tempting! – Ellie

I’ve just got back from Most Curious, Sanderson’s 150th birthday tea party in Marylebone Lane’s coolest shoe shop, Tracey Neuls. To mark Sanderson’s 150th birthday, Tracey has covered elegant shoes with vintage fabrics from the Sanderson archive including a quirky 19th Century squirrel design while designer Nina Saunders has created a fabulous ‘melting’ armchair installation upholstered in a beautiful blue rose Sanderson fabric from the 1950s.

The venue was decked out with an indoor silver birch forest, which was all very trendy, and woodland-chic, and all that jazz. I chatted to Nina about her amazing upholstery, and she told me that she bought the armchair on eBay for very little, then manipulated and bent the arms to create the strange flowing look. Her expert upholsterers somehow managed to cover the foam shape she carved for the base without any bumps, lumps or pleats in the fabric – incredible when you think how many creases/pleats/GENERAL ISSUES we have on photo shoots when we’re covering foot-stools or head-boards! (Thankfully PhotoShop takes care of most of them, tee hee).

Perhaps I should attempt to explain the little squirrel perched inside the squirrel shoes here…Nina Saunders is really into taxidermy (which you can see from her online portfolio…check out the fox-heads-on-the-sofa-styling…hmmmmm, no comment), so there were various little critters scattered around the installation. Including this hilarious parrot, face-down inside a beautiful emerald shoe. Curiouser and curiouser…

No self-respecting stuffed parakeet would want to get this close to my odour-eaters, that’s for sure. – Ellie