Apr 042012
 

Paisley pattern these days tends to conjure up images of Bohemian life and rock n roll high-jinx – It’s also something of a paradox; very British, but also deemed as exotic or opulent; probably because of its Indian/ Iranian origins.

When I first saw the new “Paisley Crescent” design from the Mini Moderns new collection, I was really struck by it’s originality. The designs of course contain the famous paisley “crescent” or “teardrop” shape that appears as a bit of a pun in the collection title, representing a “crescent” of suburban Deco houses with  swirls and flourishes of very British flowers, hedges, and bicycles. This is the 2nd set of designs from the “Buddha of Suburbia” collection, which is influenced by the book of the same name by Hanif Kureshi. This stunning design is available in 5 colourways: Chalkhill Blue, Concrete, Pale Verdigris, Lido and, I have to confess, my favourite, Tangerine Dream!

Paisley to a lot of people’s minds is often associated with the hippie era of the 60’s, but it actually lingered way into the early 70’s, and was adopted by the the cool glamsters of the Biba and Bowie set. Paisley was the pattern of choice for rock n roll royalty from this era, even John Lennon had a paisley limo…imagine that! (..Stella McCartney, the daughter of that other famous Beatle, is also rocking the trend right now with her latest collection, featuring dresses with exquisite paisley cut outs).

Of course there was eventually a backlash to the hippie, bohemenian dream, and no doubt the Mini Moderns will cover this at some point in future designs from the collection – as this is also covered in the book!

Another really important development in 70’s Social British history was the growing ethnic population from places such as Jamaica, Pakistan, and significantly, in relation to the history of the Paisley pattern, India. Britain’s always been a lot more culturally diverse than it’s picture postcard image suggests, but a new vitality was brought to British life  in the 70’s with various waves of immigration from different countries. Multi-culturalism is a central theme in the Buddha of Suburbia, and the Mini Moderns have very adroitly incorporated into their design a pattern with a fair bit of history. Paisley has now become synonymous with the town in Scotland where the pattern was originally made in Britain, although Paisley, in the shape we recognise it today originated in India in the 1600s, and is still being made there in the traditional way today!

 

 

 April 4, 2012  Posted by at 7:23 am Interiors Tagged with: , , ,  No Responses »
Feb 202012
 

I love Brit interior company Mini Moderns, and I also happen to love the book “Buddha of Suburbia” by Hanif Kureishi; so I almost hyperventilated when I heard that the Mini Modern’s new collection for 2012 is a homage to that wonderful book! For those of you who haven’t read the Buddha of Suburbia (shame on you), it’s a fabulous roller-coaster ride that ducks and dives through the rich fabric of British life in the 1970s. The book takes a magnifying glass to the social tensions, unemployment, sexual politics and the reality of the growing diversity and ethnicity of 70’s London, and also captures the pressures and excitement of being young at this incredible time. It’s like a social document really; with the narrative starting out in the  early 70’s hippie hangover phase, and then travelling right through to glam rock, punk and eventually winding up at the outset of the Thatcher years.

And herein lies the genius of the this new collection by the Mini Moderns. These designs are based on the distinct and drastically different phases of this  multi layered decade. There will be four designs in total, starting off with the recently launched “Camberwell Beauty” (the featured wallpaper in  this post) which Keith from Mini Moderns recently described to me as “Biba meets a butterfly collector on the set of the 70’s Edwardian drama Upstairs Downstairs!” (a description which I couldn’t possibly improve on.)

Mini Moderns duo Keith Stephenson and Mark Hampshire explain how the new design came about:  “For our new collection we’ve gone back to the decade we grew up in – the 1970s. It was a period of transition for British culture – when Biba and Bowie gave way to bin-bags and Buzzcocks. The design has a decadent look that reflects the start of the decade, whilst the symbol of the butterfly acts as a visual metaphor for the cultural transformation we associate with the period.”

I have already heard a bit about the next design, which thus far only has a working title, but sounds absolutely incredible – although I’m sworn to secrecy, so you will have to watch this space!