Is there such a thing as New London Style and just how does it relate to Shabby Chic?
Looking through Chloe Grimshaw and Ingrid Rasmussen’s book New London Style recently I started to wonder if there really is a distinctive ‘London’ style and if there is how would you describe it. One thing is for sure there are unmistakeable elements of Shabby Chic and Vintage, maybe even a bit of Kitsch.
The book is arranged by postcode and gives a flavour of some of stylish London homes. It reminds me a bit of an old favourite from long ago An English Woman’s Wardrobe as it gives you glimpses not only of where but how people live.
New London style seems to be a quite eclectic mix. It doesn’t quite have the elegance of classic French Country or even Parisian Shabby Chic. There’s more humour here and a definite touch of irony.
Furniture is often re-upholstered with quite random fabric, rather like the Egg Chair from Squint.This gorgeous piece of expensive nonsense (£3000+!) takes a vintage design classic and then plays with it in quite a whimsical way. Swatches of random wallpaper or fabric may be used on walls or even on furniture. There’s decoupage but never ‘cabbages and roses’, maybe skulls and roses though. It has an edgy, urban quality, though there is often the odd item that looks as if it’s been looted from the parental ‘country house’. More likely it has been picked up at one of the London street markets. London style is quite knowing, it’s saying “Oh yes, we know this is a major design classic, or even a potential antique, but we can still have fun with it” It plays with styles from all eras and from all over the world.
Squint is one of my favourite places to see this style in action.
Of course the book New London Style is not brand new any more and the fickle style gurus have probably moved on. Still this way of playing with design and achieving a sort of Bo-ho, designer Shabby Chic look is moving into the mainstream and cheaper copies are making this style accessible to those of us without £3000 to spend on a chair.
So grab a copy of New London Style for some inspiration and then have a go at recreating the look yourself.