While Glastonbury and Ascot took up much of this week there was also a four day festival in London Olympia, a celebration of summer living. The team at Conde Nast House and Garden selected 550 beautiful garden, interior and lifestyle brands to exhibit and inspire us for the summer season. Many of these were familiar brands and always a pleasure to browse. For me there were a few which stood out and my absolute favourite was Montes & Clark. Set up by Lucy Montes de Oca who being married to a Mexican was inspired by the beautiful Mexican textiles. In 2014 they travelled around Mexico exploring and sourcing traditional and highly decorative textiles being woven by womens’ cooperatives which they now support. Kate Clark a great friend of Lucy with a family tradition of working with textiles. Her great grandmother was a court dressmaker and her great grandfather a tailor. Kates Grandmother was also very gifted at sewing and her mother a quilter so not surprising that Kate trained at the Royal School of Needlework and has an eye for detail and technique with her embroidery skills. The combination of the traditional embroidery skills from Mexico and the background which Kate brings to the equation have developed into the beautiful contemporary designs for the home which are available at Montes & Clark. A stunning collection and my favourite stand at this years show.
The concept the spirit of summer was very evident at the show with embroidered baskets and hats at Lily and Bean These can all be personalised which would be a fantastic gift if you are off to stay with someone for a summer break.
Summertime textiles at The Stripes Company is self-explanatory and is a breath of fresh air with brightly coloured horizontals of all sorts.
I was very enchanted by the beautiful garden parasols lined in floral fabrics and wonderful textiles from Titania Tents I particularly loved what I suspect was an Indian picnic set with decorated tin boxes for food and neatly interspersed were tin plates all held together with a clever handle. Very pretty for a more stylish picnic table. I am always on the look out for ideas to glam things up at Ascot or Glyndebourne. Titania have the most spectacular collection of luxury Indian tents and parasols which would also look very stylish.
It was an inspiring day as many of the exhibitors are great artisans themselves or promoting and supporting skills for the production of wonderful goodies.
Jan Constantine was launched 15 years ago. A collection of bold and distinctive designs using high quality natural cottons, linens and wools. She has a design background in fashion, interiors and styling and aims to keep alive the ancient skills of hand embroidery.
As with the winter season Spirit of Christmas there were some really original gifts. A great selection of personalisation which I think are perfect for god children and nieces and nephews as well as those teenagers who are impossible to get right. Oarsum has a nautical feel as it uses recycled sail cloth designing a range of gifts all hand made and can be personalised. The roll up backgammon set is a ‘must have’ for a boat owner!
I would also like to include Memento this is a very appealing concept. A collection of beautiful traditional style leather suitcases which are the vessel in which to create a collection of special memories. These can be a childhood memories or a collection from a special occasion such as a wedding or anniversary. The choice is of course yours but they are beautifully executed and a real treasure.
I loved the variety of Stallholders at this festival of summertime. Many jewellery stalls all with beautiful gemstones and glittering treats. Upstairs gardens, outdoor living and food were all very well represented. A rather terrific luxurious table caught my eye from Unique Tables which incorporated a bbq pit and ice box for your fizz in the centre of the table. I was totally won over by Delivita who are responsible for the production of the most outstanding wood fire pizza ovens which are beautifully handcrafted, I had trouble convincing Alasdair that this was an essential item for our garden but I am determined to get one at some stage!
There were also talks and demonstrations all of which were very inviting. In reality this is a busy week and with only one free day to visit it was not really enough time to fully embrace the experience. I will allow a bit more time for the Christmas edition once our summertime is over!