What are you most excited by right now?
I am loving the mood-boards, drawings, research and samples for my new Leopard collection that launches this Autumn.
What is your must-have when working?
I’m addicted to Jing Earl Grey tea, and veer between 6 Music and World Service radio, depending on whether music or thinking is required as I work. But I always need the radio and tea in some form!
What are the first steps you take when starting a new piece of work?
I draw, draw and draw. Then I start sampling – drawing with embroidery – trying new appliqué, print and embroidery ideas. I look at research images and spend happy hours with books, my own photos, and if required, archive visits and historical work. The act of drawing refines and expands the concept; it’s about understanding the visual language I want for my designs through the act of drawing and then making samples.
What would we find in your studio that is unexpected?
I’m growing a banana tree! I bought a little one as a pot plant to draw the leaves, and it seems to like the window light so it’s expanding . . .
If you could own one piece of art by someone else, what would it be?
I would choose something from the recent Dior show at the V&A – a Galliano period Dior or the catsuit by Raf Simons. To complement that I would want a painting/photo by Lina Iris Viktor and an original chinoiserie 18th-century silk panel . . .
What is your dream commission?
I would love to create an installation of my wallpapers and wall-hangings in a location that offers the chance to create a dialogue – a conversation about patterns, decoration and creative intervention across cultures. Locations I dream of include Leighton House, the Sir John Soane Museum, a corner of the V&A, or one of the quirkier National Trust properties – something that complements my chinoiserie obsession! Imagine being able to create huge semi-sheer, wall-hangings of embroidered chinoiserie that could float over distressed, original wallpaper . . . a new adornment that speaks of those who lived there and those who will live there in years to come . . .