Your new book, A Certain Style, celebrates your forty years in design. How have you evolved as a person and as a designer over the course of the years? What has changed in your personal taste and what has remained the same?
Even when I started, I always had thought of an interior in its entirety — as in furniture, wallpaper, fabric, etc. I was always interested in the relationship between all the elements in an interior and I am thrilled that over the years I have been able to incorporate all of them and design my own ranges. In terms of my personal style, it has definitely evolved and changed and what I love now is probably different to what I loved then but in essence it remains the same — colour, pattern, texture.
I know it is a very generic question, but I really need to ask. What is your definition of style? Is it something that can be taught, cultivated?
To me style is a personal expression of colour, texture, form and function. My own take on that is a sort of modern glamour.
Your book takes us from a London warehouse to a Parisian apartment and then to a New York loft. Do those projects share any common characteristics? What were the biggest challenges in all of them?
Each space was different and each space had its own personality. In all of them however, the owners had a willingness to be daring and open to a new interpretation. There are always challenges to furnishing a space accommodating existing furniture and fittings is one!
Do you have a personal favourite when it comes to the houses featured in your book? And why?
No, I love them all.
How does one manage to make bold patterns timeless? What are your thoughts and tips on that?
I am thrilled that many of our designs remain constant for a long time — some have been in the collection for twenty years or more — it is hard to define what makes them so enduring — I think that if a design is right and genuinely has something to “say” then it will stand the test of time.
What are the most common mistakes people do when tampering with colour? How should someone approach it?
The most common mistake is that they use too much colour and too many colours and not enough neutral. If you want to use bold colour you have to be very considered and always use lots of white and neutral to allow the other colours to sing. Otherwise you will end up with a technicolour mishmash that is neither stylish or restful!
What, according to you, gives character to a home? You have said that people need to be more brave to avoid blandness, but what is the necessary mindset for someone who wants to stand out from the crowd?
Decorating is such a personal thing. If you have a big personality — you are more than likely to be more confident with your choice of colours and patterns. If you are quieter, the chances are you will prefer a quieter scheme. There is no right or wrong but you must be true to yourself. Often I think people make the wrong choices because they are scared of what their friends might think — that to me is totally absurd and a recipe for disaster.
Do you have certain patterns and colours that are constant favourites or is it something that changes with your mood?
A bit of both really — I always love warm lavender blues, aqua and lime, the dynamism of black and white and the wonderful vibrancy of shocking pink.
You believe in making small changes to our homes, the same way we do with our wardrobe. How feasible is that, given the difficulty in disposing furniture for example, or restrictions in budget and space?
It doesn’t have t be expensive to change things around in your home — a new cushion here a throw or a rug… I like to make changes that help your house to evolve with the seasons — warmer textures and toes in the winter, lighter, cooler ones in the summer.
Do you follow any trend reports regarding colours and fabrics or do you trust your instinct?
No, I just follow my gut instinct!
Have you picked out the trends for this fall - winter? Do you have a favourite one at the moment?
Our brand new digital panels are, I think, fantastic and I totally love them.
This interview has also been translated and published in Casa Vogue Greece.