A-GENT OF STYLE’S WEEK WITH ‘THE PRINCE OF CHINTZ’ MARIO BUATTA





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At Core One, The Gasworks, London

At Core One, The Gasworks, London



The last few weeks have been utterly enthralling for A-Gent of Style. As the party season of the London design calendar comes to a close, A-Gent of Style took stock over the weekend of all the incredible events and celebrations he has been privileged and honoured to be part of, now partly documented on this blog (there is much more on his Instagram), ranging from the exclusive interviews with
Christine Van der Hurd as well as David Collins Studio for the launch of ABCDCS, meeting Jacques Grange, collaborating on various features with Sibyl Colefax and John Fowler as well as Christie’s who have also featured him in their magazine available imminently (let’s not forget their phenomenal Art Ball with Tatler), to The Spring Clean charity event, getting a sneak preview of Ham Yard Hotel and also the Masterpiece antiques fair, returning as a guest lecturer at KLC School of Design and of course the design lunch A-Gent of Style hosted at Redloh House Fabrics last week with editors, stylists and designers. 

But one encounter particularly stuck out: A-Gent of Style‘s chance meeting with Mario Buatta two weeks ago and the four consecutive occasions during which
 A-Gent of style spent time with the illustrious decorator during his stay in London that week.

 

Mario Buatta against a backdrop of his favourite chintz, Floral Bouquet by Lee Jofa

Mario Buatta against a backdrop of his favourite chintz, Floral Bouquet by Lee Jofa



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Mario Buatta is an icon and living legend of American decoration with a career that spans five decades who is acclaimed around the world for his unmistakable
(self-proclaimed) “Undecorated Look” and the distinctive English Country House style he brought States side in the second half of the 20th century. With his singular eye and distinctive flair at layering and ‘filling’ sumptuous rooms with fine antiques, china (blue and white ceramics), drapery (“confectionary curtains”), trimmings and art (he has a penchant for 19th century portraits of dogs), Mario Buatta excels at creating an atmosphere of lived-in opulence. He is known as ‘The Prince of Chintz’, albeit too reductive considering chintz has always been one small part of the his career, for his devotion to glossy, over-the-top floral prints and interiors blooming with exuberant colour and fine antiques (or “clutter”. “Dust is great for clutter. It protects fine antiques”). The refinement, comfort and beauty of his designs earned him over the decades to have his name and style firmly anchored in the history of design thanks to an impressive roster of clients from the worlds of entertainment, business, fashion and high society such as Jacqueline Onassis, Henry Kissinger, Henry Ford II, Malcolm Forbes, Barbara Walters, Nelson Doubleday,
Mr. and Mrs. S.I. Newhouse, Charlotte Ford, Elaine Stritch, Mariah Carey, Billy Joel, as well as overseeing the interior of the Blair House, Washington DC. His designs have also been featured in the Kips Bay Show House in New York.  


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After studying architecture at Cooper Union in New York and attending Parsons School of Design in Europe, Mister Buatta began an apprenticeship in the decorating department of B. Altman and Company, a famous New York City department store. He went on to work with several decorating firms, including Elizabeth Draper, Inc., and started his own firm in 1963. He cites none others than Billy Baldwin,
Nancy Lancaster, Sister Parish, Rose Cumming and George Stacey as his favourite decorators (he has written a foreword to the newly published book about the latter) and claims to owe a lot to John Fowler whom he first met in London in 1964 and admired for his sense of colour and arrangement (“When I first saw a room by Colefax and Fowler, I went berserk”).



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Whilst he must admit he finds at times the ornamented, genteel, ‘old school’ interiors of The Prince of Chintz’s too overwhelming for his affinity with the simple serenity of Art Deco and mid-century design, A-Gent of Style has always admired Mario Buatta’s joyous and daring style and found it at times a great antidote to the bland 21st century minimalism and the soulless beige palette (“They’re afraid of their own taste. They’re afraid of their imagination!”). Thanks mainly to the educational features of Jennifer Boles who unearths historical interior decoration from the 20th century (mostly from 1970) to the present on her fascinating blog The Peak of Chic (you must subscribe now. “Lovely girl. Lovely book too”), A-Gent of Style has been able to discover, study and appreciate the time-honoured decorator for his mesmerisingly seductive and somehow nostalgic approach to decoration.

 

Olympia International Art & Antiques fair, London

Olympia International Art & Antiques fair, London

 

Mario Buatta was in London three weeks ago for the publication of his eagerly anticipated first monograph, Mario Buatta, Fifty Years of American Interior Decoration (more about it at the end of this feature) and was consequently celebrated at various functions. A-Gent of Style‘s first encounter with Signor Buatta (his parents were Italian, he was born on Staten Island, NY. “Of course I’m fluent in Italian! Buongiorno, Si, Tagliatelle, Arrabiata, Chianti, Risotto…”) started with the lunch talk the Olympia International Art & Antiques fair had organised for him. The decorator entertained us over an hour not only with stories and anecdotes of his illustrious career but also with oodles of jokes, tricks and theatrical shenanigans, living up to his reputation as a notorious prankster (he is known for carrying a stringy toupee in his pockets and reading from bundles of pieces of paper, in various colours, all taped together and covered in notes, doodles and scribbling) which had the audience in fits of laughter but also equally kept them on their toes (“Yes, you, the lady in the pink hat, what did I just say?”). After the talk,
A-Gent of Style went to meet the famed decorator and exchanged a few discussions with him about his experiences in interior decoration and antiques sourcing in London (“I don’t recognise most of the shops. Where are all the dealers? Most have gone; some have died”). Star-struck, A-Gent of Style had to leave soon after knowing he would see the Prince of Chintz again the following evening. 

 

Olympia International Art & Antiques fair, London

Olympia International Art & Antiques fair, London

 

Olympia International Art & Antiques fair, London

Olympia International Art & Antiques fair, London

 

On the Wednesday evening, Sibyl Colefax and John Fowler had invited Mario Buatta to give a private talk at the Design Club of the Design Centre Chelsea Harbour. Before his speech, A-Gent of Style introduced him to a couple of his friends, also admirers of the Prince of Chintz (“You can call me Mario now, stalker”) who was once again very generous with his time and interest. He then took to the stage and delighted us with stories of his prestigious lifework and even more pranks and anecdotes (time with Mario Buatta never gets dull).

 

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Design Club, Design Centre Chelsea Harbour, London

Design Club, Design Centre Chelsea Harbour, London



As for the third encounter, serendipity herself reunited A-Gent of Style with Mario within twenty-four hours. The following evening, as he was walking gaily down Mount Street to attend the launch of the new home collection at Oscar de la Renta, now under the aegis of the fabulous Carolina Irving, a stranger tapped on
A-Gent of Style‘s shoulder with their walking stick declaring “Quite a nice Chevrolet, don’t you think, stalker?”. As he turned around, A-Gent of Style was face to face with Mario (now on first name basis, you see) who was pointing at the fancy car parked outside the store. As luck would have it, Mister Buatta had recognised A-Gent of Style in the street as he was walking back to his hotel, and, once again, the two besties started chit-chatting there and then (Now if that’s not fate, what is!).
Five minutes later, A-Gent of Style had invited Mario to come with him to the Oscar de la Renta party round the corner and surprised Carolina with his guest. As the event drew to a close that evening, A-Gent of Style and Mario agreed to meet up one last time before the end of his trip to go around the antique shops as A-Gent of Style wanted to introduce Mario to dealers he didn’t know.

 

Oscar de la Renta, Mount Street, London

With Carolina Irving at Oscar de la Renta, Mount Street, London



Forward to the Saturday morning and A-Gent of Style made his way to pick up Mario at his hotel in central London (Mario was patiently waiting in the lobby) and the pair hailed a cab that took them to various antiques dealers around the
New King’s Road, the Fulham Road and finally to Core One in the GasWorks.
There was a much-needed late lunch break involved and some retail therapy too at Ralph Lauren but that’s another chapter for A-gent of Style‘s memoirs. Suffice to say, it was an incredible experience and also an invaluable education to observe the master at work and to learn from him as he scoured the shops in search, mainly, for a Versailles-like chandelier for his penultimate project, a house in Palm Beach (“my last project?! Retiring!”). Six hours later (“I’m so grumpy and you’re still here! You’re weird!”), abound with fantastic pinch-me-I-am-dreaming memories and indelible images from this incredible, coincidental encounters, it was time sadly for A-Gent of Style to part with Mario who kindly invited to come and see him next time he was in New York, an offer that did not fall on deaf ears.

 

Guinevere, king's Road, London

Guinevere, king’s Road, London

 

Matthew Upham, King's Road, London

Matthew Upham, King’s Road, London

 

For all the grandeur of his interiors, Mario Buatta was nothing but gracious, charming, unpretentious, histrionic and magnetic. A-Gent of Style is immensely grateful to il Signor Buatta for letting him spend time with him and for the unforgettable, fun experiences.


 If you want to delve into Mr Buatta’s world, you shouldn’t hesitate to get hold of his glorious, hefty book (all 432 pages of it). Written by Emily Evans Eerdmans (whom A-Gent of Style almost met after his sourcing expedition on the Saturday with Mario; our timings clashed), a leading authority on antique furniture and interior design (she has authored the brilliant The World of Madeleine Castaing), and with a forward by Paige Rense, who championed his work during her longtime career as editor in chief of Architectural Digest (“It seems impossible to imagine being depressed in a Mario Buatta interior”), this lavishly illustrated survey -filled with images taken for the foremost magazines as well as many unpublished photographs from the designer’s own archive – closely follows Mario Buatta’s highly documented career from his professional start in the 1950s working for department store B. Altman & Co. and Elisabeth Draper, Inc. to his most recent projects, which include some of the country’s finest residences. Mario Buatta shares in this monograph exclusive insights into his process, his own rules for decorating, and personal stories of his adventures along the way.


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LONDON MASTERPIECE 2014





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Summer in London means Masterpiece, one of the landmark events in London’s collecting calendar, which opens today. As a huge devotee of antiques and art fairs, A-Gent of Style was eager to witness this year’s edition, now in its 5th year, and attended the preview yesterday, his enthusiasm hugely enhanced in the last few weeks by the daily build-up on Instagram. Rating Masterpiece as one of the highlights of the London art fair circuit, A-Gent of Style was wowed this year once again by the sheer brilliance and diversity of the elegantly curated vignettes showcasing objets of the highest calibre.

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Masterpiece London brings together 150 leading exhibitors, old friends and newcomers (A-Gent of Style made some great discoveries), from around the world to showcase a superb selection of museum-quality art, antiques, jewellery, furniture and design. The fair attracts keen collectors, connoisseurs and enthusiasts across a wide range of collecting categories and has established itself as notable highlight of the annual art fair calendar. Set in the magnificent South Grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea Masterpiece takes place during London Art Week until 2 July.


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As in previous years, the range of disciplines is vast, providing something of interest for every visitor. Each item is selected and individually vetted by a committee of independent experts and specialists before the fair begins, which guarantees quality and authenticity is of the highest order alongside fabulous bars and dining such as Scott’s, The Ivy and Le Caprice.


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A-Gent of Style
 presents today snapshots he took yesterday of the works which dazzled him, offered for sale at the 2014 fair. Visitors will no doubt relish the chance to acquire such rare pieces or simply enjoy temptation on a grand scale.

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“Masterpiece is just that – a masterpiece. Its success is a testament to the vibrant international art scene, the passion of collectors, exhibitors and curators, and the dedication of those who devote their time and energy to making this show a reality.



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– Imagery by A-Gent of Style – 






WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT: CHRISTINE VAN DER HURD






In today’s feature, A-Gent of Style introduces the fifth participant of his interview series ‘We Need To Talk About’ .

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” Inspiration is a moment in time”

– Christine Van der Hurd –

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Since his career change into the world of interior decoration in 2008,
A-Gent of Style has been fortunate to meet many esteemed designers over the years and has even had the privilege to know some of them personally. 
Christine Van der Hurd is one of them. Whether it is at Tissus d’Hélène,
Veere Greeney Associates or currently at Redloh House Fabrics, there hasn’t been a month in the last six years where A-Gent of Style has not been in contact in one way or another with Christine’s divine textiles or carpets, nor have her new products or collections failed to get unnoticed by his deco-dar. A-Gent of Style will also go as far as saying that Christine, with a few others, has somehow been instrumental in making him not only appreciate and embrace colours and patterns but more importantly not to be afraid of them, and for that, he is very indebted to her.


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Back in February, A-Gent of Style managed to catch the intrepid and itinerant Christine Van der Hurd, based again in London after many years in
New York, who opened the doors of her newly-redecorated, light-filled, white-walled mews house in Kensington one evening to talk to him about her life and career whilst they both savoured tasty Italian wine and delicacies.

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Christine, ‘the VanderQueen”, gave A-Gent of Style a tour of her beautiful home adorned with 20th century antiques, her collections of covetable objects, Swedish ceramics, contemporary photographs, and of course some of her own creations – dhurries, cushions and upholstered furniture – all which evince an exquisite collector’s eye for detail, and let him into her fascinating textile design world, delicately suffused with patterns and colours.



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Vanderhurd, the company, has evolved over the last thirty years from the inspired designs of a young student born in London’s Portobello from established antiques dealing parents into the internationally acclaimed design studio it is today. Within months of graduating from the esteemed Winchester Art College in the early 1970s, Christine Van Der Hurd was designing textiles for, amongst others, Osborne & Little, Liberty’s, Etro and Yves Saint Laurent. Her success as a textile designer followed her to New York City in 1977, where her work was commissioned by many designers, including Angelo Donghia and Jack Lenor Larsen. Then, in 1980, as Christine designed and produced a one-off carpet, she experienced a revelation that became an all-enveloping inspiration for what was to become her eponymous bespoke textile design firm.


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In 1981, Christine set up her atelier at Modernage, a seminal specialist gallery representing new internationally acclaimed designers, which she opened in partnership with David Hurd. Immediately, Christine received commissions from leading designers and architects such as Beyer Binder Belle, Pentagram and Gensler. These collaborations continue to this day, with leading architects and designers. Vanderhurd has designed and manufactured collections for the Italian furniture company Cappellini and for Liberty’s of London, and has produced a line of men’s carpetbags for the luxury house, Louis Vuitton. Recently Vanderhurd collaborated with India Jane Birley on the carpeting for Annabel’s, the famed London nightclub, as well as with hotelier/designer Kit Kemp, of Firmdale Hotels, for the Crosby Street Hotel in New York and the newly opened Ham Yard in London. Her creations grace public spaces such Claridge’s, the Federal Reserve Bank, Saks Fifth Avenue and Browns of London, to name but a few, as well as the private residences of an international discerning clientèle. Past collaborations include designs commissioned by Thomas Goode, Paul Smith and Browns. Some of Vanderhurd designs are part of the collections of several museums, including The Victoria & Albert Museum in London and are regularly featured in the international leading press. Christine is also a guest lecturer at London’s KLC School of Design.


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With her constant experimentation in textiles and techniques and her search for perfecting new constructions and developing new designs, Christine’s bold, cutting-edge patterns and new trends in carpets and rugs have deservedly vowed the design world over now three decades. Vanderhurd have sought out the finest manufacturers in India (Varanasi, Jaipur and Delhi and their surrounding areas), Nepal (Kathmandu), the Philippines, New York and Europe, and can boast studios in London and New York as well as showrooms in cities worldwide servicing trade and retail customers.


Christine Van der Hurd, Jaipur, 2014

Christine Van der Hurd, Jaipur, 2014

 

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Christine Van der Hurd’s unswerving passion for textiles, enthusiasm for life, charm, humility and generous spirit have won her many loyal admirers over the years, and this feature will hopefully turn any newcomers into new converts. 


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And for those of you who want to grab a piece, or several, of Christine’s “Vanderworld”, Vanderhurd invites you to their annual summer sale this coming Thursday and Friday. Don’t miss it!


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– THE INTERVIEW – 


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How did your past influence and shape what you do today? 

My parents were antiques dealers; I was brought up on Hamilton Terrace in a house full of antiques and colour. There were always fabrics, tapestries and ceramics which had a real influence on how I looked at things. My mother was a beautiful woman and she was passionate about fabrics. She used to take me with her to the sales at Liberty or Harrods, and she made most of her clothing herself, and she would always dress impeccably; she still does at the age at 98! Quality was so important to her. It is essential to me too; I suppose those things were instrumental in me wanting to do textiles; I never ever thought of doing anything else, only acting perhaps but I was too shy, and I was so passionate about fabrics and colour from a very young age that I decided to do a textiles degree. I’ve had tragedies, but textiles and creating pattern has always been a part of my life, and given me the ultimate distraction.

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How did you discover textiles? Can you remember your first ‘encounter’?

I can’t really pinpoint one thing. Maybe my mother wearing an incredible emerald green thick silk satin dress one night. I saw antiques mixed with textiles all the time; every summer we used to drive to Spain and then Morocco and stop through all the flea markets on the way. I was always looking. It was an incredible education.


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Who were/are your design influences? Do you have any design muse?

Sonia Delaunay definitely. When I went to the Bauhaus exhibition at the Royal Academy in 1968 or 1969, that‘s what took me down a path I have been on ever since. I’d lived with antiques and suddenly saw this extraordinarily disciplined architecture and design from buildings through to textiles. I was just blown away. It was a revelation. This incredible movement that was a lifestyle influenced me hugely. And so did the Russian Constructivists and Mondrian. My work is very much about structure for I see things in lines and my work has also been inspired by Egyptian, Roman or Chinese cultures, as there are often lattices and layered patterns. There’s also flora and fauna; within that, you’ve got structure again; leaves and petals are formed by millions of tiny structures. My art work is very detailed, very intricate and it was only in my late twenties when I started in the carpet world that I became able to enlarge the scale I worked in. The first carpets I designed were large collages, similar in method to Matisse.

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Sonia Delaunay, Electric Prisms, 1913

 

Lyubov Popova Scenic architectonics, 1918

Lyubov Popova
Scenic architectonics, 1918

 

Piet Mondrian’s Composition No. II, Composition in Line and Colour, 1913

Piet Mondrian’s Composition No. II, Composition in Line and Colour, 1913

 

The Snail, Henri Matisse, 1953

The Snail, Henri Matisse, 1953

 


How did Vanderhurd come to life?

After leaving college in 1973, I was based in Europe and created textiles under the name of Christine Van. I worked with designers such as Yves Saint Laurent, Liberty, Osborne & Little and Biba. In 1980 when my daughter was born, I launched the company Christine Van Der Hurd, and that is when the carpet designs began. A major turning point was in 2003 when Jasper, my late son, joined the business and ran the New York studio whilst I worked in London. We became Vanderhurd, and unlike me he did all his designs on the computer. He really brought Christine Van der Hurd into the 21st C.

Jasper Van der Hurd

Jasper Van der Hurd

 

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Tell us a bit more about your life between London and New York.

London was an amazing place to be in the 1960s especially in the art and design world. I moved to New York in 1977, aged 25, and the city was one of the best places you could be at that time. It gave me the chance to grow; New York was accepting and unlimited for designers. In the 1980s and ‘90s people had faith in a young person, less so than in London. It gave me a very good grounding. My ex-husband and I opened a vintage furniture shop, mainly European, in Manhattan next to the 26th St flea market which was very popular. By 1981, we had relocated to Broadway, and opened Modernage. We focused on European modern furniture design and helped launch people like Tom Dixon, Ron Arad, Danny Lane with shows in our Gallery. Then we progressed and began launching other European furniture companies such as Cappellini, Moroso and Magis. My background concentrated on high-end modern aesthetics then. Later we opened the flagship store for Cappellini in SoHo but sadly this closed in 2003 after 9/11. With Jasper at the helm in New York, I returned to London.

Christine at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, c.1997

Christine at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, New York, c.1997

 

ICFF, New York, c.1997

ICFF, New York, c.1997

 

Christine, David Hurd, Rosi Levai Opening party Capellini flagship store at Modernage, May 1998, (Marlborough Fine Art NY)

Christine Van der Hurd, David Hurd, Rosi Levai Opening party Cappellini flagship store at Modernage, New York, May 1998, (Marlborough Fine Art NY)

 

Modernage, c.1999

Modernage, New York, c.1999

 

Vanderhurd showroom, New York, 2014

The Vanderhurd showroom, New York, June 2014

 

Vanderhurd showroom, New York, 2014

Vanderhurd showroom, New York, June 2014

 

Vanderhurd showroom, New York, 2014

Vanderhurd showroom, New York, June 2014

 

Vanderhurd at Redloh House Fabrics, June 2014, London

Vanderhurd at Redloh House Fabrics, London, June 2014

 

 

Where do you find your inspiration?

Everywhere! Inspiration is a moment in time; you look across the room, one colour hits the light or a structure in a room. It can be a photo, you could be walking down the street and you’ll see an extraordinary facade, a wonderful dress, it could be in a book. It’s never the obvious. If you want it, if you are receptive to it, it’s there. My problem is never ‘what shall I do next?’, but ‘what I shall not do next?’; in the studio they have to edit me. I don’t know when to stop!


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Where and how do you work or get your inspiration?

I need to be really private. Running the business takes a lot of energy so right now I have less creative time. All of my work is painted or drawn by hand and requires a great deal of concentration. When my little cocoon upstairs is finished and when I have my beautiful photographs on the wall, I will go there to paint and draw.


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What or who is inspiring you at the moment?

So many designers are frightened of using colour. It doesn’t have to be like that, you need to incorporate colour; what frightens me is a beige room; when you walk in the bazaar of Morocco or Istanbul, it’s atmosphere. My house is not bombarded with ridiculous colours but it has injections and flashes of colours. It’s quite toned down actually. There is a balance; it’s relaxing here. We are lucky enough to work with many inspiring designers on extraordinary projects around the world, and recently helped complete some of the suites in Kit Kemp’s Ham Yard project. Jonathan Reed, for example, has incredible colour sense and a unique eye for texture and detail. As a young designer Faye Toogood is also amazing. She’s not frightened of mixing different textures with structured colours. She’s not formulaic. One of my heroes since I was young, is Jacques Grange, who I have been lucky enough to work with on a number of projects recently.

Ham Yard Hotel by Kit Kemp, Firmdale Hotels, London

Ham Yard Hotel by Kit Kemp, Firmdale Hotels, London

 

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Interior by Studio Reed

 

Faye Toogood

Faye Toogood

 

Jacques Grange

Jacques Grange



Who are your icons?

John Miles. He was my tutor at Winchester School of Art and later became Professor of Textiles at the RCA; he is an amazing man. I had a tough term at art school and considered dropping out. If it wasn’t for his encouragement and faith in me, I might have not carried on with this career.

 

Fabric design by John Miles, 1969; with help and kind permission from Heal's department store and the University of Brighton Design Archives

Fabric design by John Miles, 1969; with help and kind permission from Heal’s department store and the University of Brighton Design Archives




Which three interior designers or artists of the past would you invite to a dinner party?

Gio Ponti! I’m so inspired by him, and I have been since I was 30. It’s once again the structure and the colours. My new collection is inspired by him. He was an amazing man. One of my early rugs, from 1993 I think, was called ‘Ponti Pucci’ after Gio Ponti and Emilio Pucci; the border was like a key border and very much like one of his ceramics and the centre is Pucci’s free forms, but I did mine in black. Helen Mirren would be there too; she is such a versatile actress. And Leonard Cohen of course!


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Parci dei Principi hotel, Sorrento, designed by Gio Ponti, 1961

Parci dei Principi hotel, Sorrento, designed by Gio Ponti in 1961

 

Vanderhurd Azul collection inspired by Gio Ponti

Vanderhurd Azul collection inspired by Gio Ponti

 

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The Ponti Pucci rug

The ‘Ponti Pucci’ rug by Christine Van der Hurd

 

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Dame Helen Mirren

 

Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen

 


What’s the most rewarding aspect of your job?

Seeing my girls happy, my “Vanderbirds”, seeing them inspired and excited. They’re such a wonderful group of people!


The 'Vanderbirds', London

The “Vanderbirds”, London, June 2014


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What do you attribute your success to? And what’s your proudest career achievement?

To still being here! After 40 years, I’ve managed to survive. I never ever betrayed myself, I have never compromised myself or been overtly commercial. I enjoy doing what I do and being able to make a living and make people happy because of what I create for them.



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You already have a few of your pieces at the V&A. How do you feel about leaving a legacy?

I’m hoping that one day people will look at my work not just as a product but as an archive that will be important to other people who want to see it, and who can benefit from it.


Watusi rug, V&A museum ,1996

Watusi rug, V&A museum ,1996

 

Watusi rug, V&A museum ,1996

Watusi rug, V&A museum ,1996

 

Annabels', London

Rug by Vanderhurd, Annabels’, London


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Do you have any advice for young craftspeople or designers today?

Patience! Never lose your confidence, keep trying even though you may be knocked back; experiment, just be true to yourself that is more important than anything, don’t compromise your ideas too much, be open to advice. And always, always listen.

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What exciting new projects do you have on the horizon?

Well, I think the interesting thing going forward for me will be collaborations. I’m doing a collaboration with a painter called Cipriano Martinez and I’m going to interpret his paintings into silk flat weaves. He has very similar aesthetics to me; he thinks in lines. He’s Venezuelan and he’s brilliant. I am excited as I haven’t made carpets for other people before; this is going to be something different. We currently create a bespoke fine weight silk dhurrie textile for the New York designer Wendy Nichol. She is incredibly talented and individual, and her products are made entirely by hand in New York. She has recently launched a new Wendy Nichol x Vanderhurd Bullet bag exclusively for Net A Porter.

Cipriano Martinez, Untitled (From the Series Colour Testing), 2013

Cipriano Martinez, Untitled (From the Series Colour Testing), 2013

 

Vanderhurd Bullet bag exclusive for Net a Porter

Wendy Nichol & Vanderhurd Bullet bag exclusive for Net a Porter

 


Why India and Nepal? Why not keep all your production in the UK and support the British economy?

The reason we make our carpets and dhurries in India and Nepal is because I have 25 years experience of working closely with them and training them. The Vanderhurd fabric collections are all printed in the UK. Why is ethical production so important to you? Our weavers and embroiderers are the most important people to me, and they have to be paid fairly and looked after well. The workforce in India can be fickle and I am confident that due to the care we show, and effort we make means they thoroughly enjoy their work. Everytime I visit I can see their pride in their work. You get what you give.

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What do you like to do most in your spare time?

I love cooking and entertaining for my friends and family, and discovering new worlds through reading.

Home cooked lunch by Vanderhurd at Redloh House Fabrics, February 2014

Home-cooked lunch by  Christine Van der Hurd at Redloh House Fabrics, February 2014




Tell us something we don’t know about you.

I’m obsessed about photography; since I was a child, I’ve always taken photos of my friends and family. I’m surrounded by them in photographs. I suppose I live in the past and the present and not so much the future. Photography is the one thing I definitely would have loved to have explored. In my new studio at home, they’re doing an entire wall with all my photographs. It will be my “Vanderworld”! I also speak several languages; French [Christine has a perfect French accent] as I went to the Lycée français from the age of 4 until 18, and Spanish as I spent every summer in Spain until the ages of 9 and 45. I wish I spoke Italian, I stumble at it and I find it frustrating as I have many Italian friends. But I’m trying!

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What is your most cherished possession? Do you collect things?

My personal photographs are my most cherished possessions.

What was your favourite holiday?

What is your dream holiday destination? I don’t have a favourite spot as such or certainly not anymore. Baja in California is exquisite, the beach is so beautiful there. I love the Caribbeans where the water is so clear. I used to be a fish; I loved swimming, any time of year. I guess I love being with my family together in a warm climate where there’s water.

Baja, California

Baja, California



What is your favourite natural scent or perfume?

Perfume sounds awful to me; I like something that no one knows. I like a mixture, something complicated; I mix scents together. A natural scent would be jasmine or ‘rakirani’ in Indian.


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What would be your ‘last supper’ like?

What a dreadful thought…there’d be lots of vegetables, beautifully cooked, with freshly caught fish, cooked by son-in-law who’s an amazing cook, in a warm climate near water with all my friends and family.

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Home-cooked lunch by Vanderhurd at Redloh House Fabrics, February 2014



What books are currently on your night table?

I love reading; I can go from novels to biographies, it really varies. At the moment I have ‘Chatting with Henri Matisse The Lost 1941 Interview.’


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Do you have any current favourite TV shows?

I don’t watch television; I love movies which I watch mostly when I fly. I was brought up at the Lycée in the 1960s and a lot of directors at the time were people like Buñuel, Fellini, Bergman, and we used to go to the Curzon and watch these incredible films on a Sunday afternoon.


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Describe a really good day in the life of Christine Van der Hurd.

Being with my kids, dancing, flirting, beach sun, water…heaven!


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A-Gent of Style would like to thank Christine Van der Hurd for letting him into her fascinating “Vanderworld” and also her ever so lovely “Vanderbirds”.


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– Imagery by Vanderhurd, A-Gent of Style and as otherwise stated –








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