I think the title of this post says it all! I’ve loved Cleo Ferin Mercury’s incredible scarves for some time now, and was tremendously excited when I got the opportunity to interview her…read on for some tres stylish scarf tips, plus info about her upcoming collection showing at Pulse (which starts this Sunday at London’s Earl’s Court).
How did you get into designing scarves?
I have always loved and collected scarves especially souvenir scarves. I grew up in the African and Arabic neighbourhood in Paris and I think being surrounded by African prints and woven fabrics really fed into and developed my passion for textiles. I came to London seven years ago to study Surface Design and I began designing and printing for silk. After graduating I just carried on designing and making scarves. It’s the perfect medium for me, somewhere in between art and design, it allows me a great freedom to express myself whilst remaining marketable.
Your designs, whilst being fresh and innovative, also have an old school Hollywood glamour about them. Who is your favourite film icon and why?!!
I’ve designed scarves featuring Grace Jones, and Elizabeth Taylor and they are both strong female icons of mine. I’d say I am really inspired by 1950’s America, I love pin-up magazines and teenage culture. But being French I am perhaps more inspired by French New Wave Cinema, the films of Jacques Demy and Agnes Varda, as well as Brigitte Bardot and Catherine Deneuve!
I really like your men’s range of kerchiefs and other accessories – they would be cool for guys or gals – any plans to add to this collection?
We’re planning on releasing more Icons handkerchiefs – previous designs have depicted Grace Jones, Wanda Jackson, Brigitte Bardot, Bo Diddley, Albert Camus and James Dean. This time we want to open it up to our friends and followers to submit their icons. The ones we like the best will get produced! What I like about the handkerchief is, like you say, both boys and girls can wear them!
Scarves are so popular right now. I love that you also frame them and put them on the walls – have you ever had any of your scarves framed for your own home?
Our studio is full of scarves pinned up on the wall, although I prefer to be able to wear them so most of my collection is displayed in my bedroom, easy to reach!!
Loving the collar ranges that you’re now doing; do tell me more about how this came about!
Our collars are very easy to wear over a t-shirt and they just make any simple outfit more cute and fun! The inspiration was 1960s dresses, with those wonderful rounded collars they have. Also fur collars, except I don’t want to use fur.
Please do tell Pargy readers about things you have planned for the Pulse exhibition!
At pulse we will be showing our Pearly of London Collection – a range of silk accessories inspired by the Pearly Kings and Queens of London and their beautiful outfits covered with pearl buttons. I think it is perfect time for them to be out as London is centre of attention right now! We will also show our autumnal ‘Animal Friendly’ products, with our little hibernating animals collars and big animal padded scarves..
…any advice for how to wear a scarf with style?
Why I love scarves is because they are so versatile, you can wear them in so many ways, they make any outfit look better! The way you wear them is a personal thing, and you can experiment. I like to wear them as a triangle tied over my shoulders, that way you can show more of the design, and when it’s cold I like to tie them around my neck.