The end of September saw the familiar buzz throughout the interiors world as all of the major design houses launched their new collections for the autumn season. Chelsea is the epicentre for the week with Focus/11 at The Design Centre and Decorex International at the Royal Hospital. These are complimented by various showroom offerings throughout the Kings Road and 100% Design at Earls Court, which was one of the original exhibitions that kick-started the design week events many years ago.
It is clear as we move into this cooler period that style and comfort are key in the minds of those who have been developing these new creations.
Timeless classics are forefront in many collections, which may be recognition in these more austere times that anyone investing in their homes at the moment will want things to last just that little bit longer than they might have done in the past.
As central heating begins to be switched on across the country, people tend to look for warmer feeling fabrics when decorating their homes, so the autumn collections often have a heavier weight to them – emphasising comfort and indulging our love of semi-hybernation as temperatures nudge downwards.
A number of houses have begun to feature wool collections over the last couple of years, but this trickle now seems to be a flood; hopefully, this will help give a well-earned boost to the Scottish economy where much of the wool seems to have been sourced.
Osborne and Little have introduced Kinloch, a collection inspired by the Scottish Highlands which features checks and stripes with a slightly modern twist and contemporary colour palette. Of particular note are Morar, an informal stripe of slightly blurred colours composed of a tiny herring bone weave (£88 per metre) and Boisdale a paisley-style damask woven in wool and linen in restrained colours that have a reassuring “pre-loved” look (£98 per metre). For more details and stockists visit www.osborneandlittle.com.
Zoffany also has a new range of wools this season, the majority of which are woven in the lowlands of Lanarkshire, Scotland, near the hill and town of Tinto which is used to name the collection. Tinto Wools epitomises British style and features a mix of natural marled wool yarns in a selection of colours that conjure up images of heather on the hillside. The palette is refreshing and natural – injecting a breath of the outside to upholstery and curtaining. The range features traditional plaids, damasks and knitted patterns. Particular favourites in this collection are Garrick (£79 per metre) and Fair Isle (£99 per metre). You can see more of the range at www.zoffany.com.
Colefax and Fowler has a strong selection of plains, woven checks and stripes which are offered in the appealing soft, matt finishes of pure Italian and Scottish Wool.
The Lisle weaves feature strong, traditional designs in sophisticated shades of neutrals, slate and pewter enhanced by the addition of burnt red and orange. These truly autumnal hues are both relaxing and comforting. Kelburn Check stands out as a simple, but effective plaid which is available in six heart-warming colour-ways (the image featured is Blue/Beige). All fabrics in the Lisle Collection are £85 per metre (visit www.colefax.com for details of stockists).
If your taste is a little more avant garde, then the take on this trend by Designers Guild may be a little more suited to you. Their Culswick Fabric range includes a wonderful array of velvet, chenille and flannel wools in an arresting colour spectrum. I am particularly taken with the Culswick wools, a beautiful range of subtly shaded felted wool which has a slightly raised surface texture, making it irresistible to touch and perfect for curtains, cushions and bedcovers (£85 per metre). These are complement by Phipps, a soft striped velvet with a subtle aging to the finish resulting in a really luxurious texture that seems to shimmer. The fabric is ideal for hardwearing upholstery and curtains (£110 per metre). To see the full colour range visit www.designersguild.com.
A similarly striking colour choice is evident in the Sophistication Collection from Prestigious Textiles. The range features satins and velvets in bright, contemporary hues. The collection is more upfront than many this season, but the beautiful lines of Glamour Mulberry should ensure that it is certain to feature in many homes seeking a strong statement fabric (£58 per metre). Visit www.prestigious.co.uk for details of stockists.
It is clear that velvets and wools are still firm favourites and I suspect that some of the designs introduced this season will definitely stand a very long test of time – proving both stylish and appropriately cost-effective.
Jamie Hempsall is an award-winning interior designer. Visit him at www.jamiehempsall.com or call him on 0800 032 1180.