06. Spring Inspiration – Sofie D’Hoore

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WHEN it’s dark outside and you’re (like me) counting down the days to the winter solstice and the promise of light on the other side, a flash of spring inspiration and a vision of what 2015 will be about can be just what you need… Sofie d'Hoore dress

Sofie D’Hoore’s new collection for Spring / Summer 2015 is described as “elegant and feminine, practical and comfortable.” Sofie, now in her 50s, is interested in clothes that “fit into the realities of everyday life” that are “simple and sophisticated, classic yet wholly contemporary.” Sofie d'Hoore black and white

I love the fact that her clothes suit women of all ages, without adding assumptions about that age. You wouldn’t think an older woman wearing her clothes was trying to look younger, or a young woman trying to look older… We could all wear these clothes. And that’s my definition of “wholly contemporary.” Sofie dHoore 3

UK stockists include: Egg, Fenwick, Epitome, Dover Street Market, and Feathers. www.sofiedhoore.besofiedhoore5

05. Christa Davis Does Style

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WHENEVER you find a slightly older woman doing great clothes for slightly older women, you hang onto them like glue… Christa Davis cashmere

Christa Davis is one of those women. Christa started her label over 20 years ago selling from Portobello Road, and then from her own store on All Saints Road. When she had a family she scaled back for a while, but a few years ago started trading again from her Hackney, north east London, studio.Christa Davis Jazzy

Her clothes are timeless, but yet again of the moment. They’re fun and feminine but don’t make you feel silly. You can play with the kids in them. She recycles cashmere (and also offers a rescue / pimping service for a favourite cashmere jumper gone to seed) that is embellished with sequin trim or patchwork additions; does flattering dresses and blouses with a 1940s feel to them; and dresses the kids too.Christa Davis Annie Star

All designs are incredibly affordable for a high quality / boutique line… (Designs from approx £60). www.christadavis.com

04. Calligaris Does Colour

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Design / Interiors

I DIDN’T know much about the Italian brand Calligaris until I interviewed the NYC-based designer Stephen Burks over the summer. Stephen – funny, candid, a great interviewee basically – spoke about how the folks at Calligaris are keen for him to help them revisit the values they started the company with, many moons ago.

It’s an issue most commercially successful design companies share today: namely handmade values and how to reinstate them into larger commercial outfits/ how to reclaim a bit of that soul that all these family companies began with either pre-or post 2nd World War (in Calligaris’s case in 1923 when Antonio Calligaris produced his first wooden chair with hand-woven rush seat, the Marocca). Particularly now that that company produces the most chairs of any Italian manufacturer. Calligaris Blues

Stephen’s first produced design for Calligaris is seen below. It’s the Frame table, £1338 – a beautiful, minimalist table with echoes of post-war design and a bit of Gio Ponti elegance thrown in (the light above it, btw, is the Pom Pom, £852). It’s gorgeous, but we’ll be keen to see Stephen’s ongoing ideas with the company unfurl and see how they embrace ‘handmade’ more and more in upcoming collaborations. Stephen Burks for Calligaris

Stephen aside, Calligaris also do fabulous rugs (that perfect combo of ethnic and modern) that I am completely hankering after, and which seem to grace every interior I am in love with at the moment (below in red is the Marocco, £684), as well as nice shots of colour (the Pom Pom floor light in red, £886; Electa blue chair top, £1434, green Lazy armchair bottom, £1505).Calligaris rugs

They’ve picked up perfectly on the key colours for this next year and beyond: dark red, blue and green. There’ll be a lot more of these around in the coming months… Calligaris reds & rugs


If you have the time, read my full Stephen Burks interview here: http://howtospendit.ft.com/house-garden/66161-stephen-burksCalligaris green room set

03. Kids Need…

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I JUST read a pointed little comment from one of my favourite instagram accounts mamajdawn, (www.instagram.com/mamajdawn) about kids and Christmas and rejecting commercialism (see the gorgeous photo of her kids making tree decorations out of twigs). Because children rarely need toys.

Mine (and I think most) are much happier with packaging and bits and pieces (ribbons, buttons, stones, etc) than anything that comes in an actual box. And it made me think of this moment from summer. Kids don’t need toys; they just need a field….





02. Urban Patterns

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Design / Interiors

URBAN Patterns form the new print collection from Dutch product designer Manon Garritsen and printmaker Jessica Nielsen.Urban Patterns Cushions
Handmade and ecological (naturally tanned leather straps, solvent-free inks and heavy organic canvas), the collection is inspired by the gridlines seen in buildings and urban life of Rotterdam where Garritsen and Nielsen are based (and which is famous for its urban architecture, and also a super-fun weekend destination, though you might not think it…). Urban Patterns tote bag

I especially love the dark green (this season’s colour!) version of the cushion (top pic)…Urban Patterns pencil case

Designs are priced from €6.95 for small notebooks to €79 for the large shoppers. Buy them  here www.manongarritsen.comUrban Patterns bag