Last Thursday I spent the afternoon at Somerset House, in London.
It’s a glorious place, which is a feast for the eyes, in every sense of the word. A neo-classical building — of epic proportions — that sits between the Strand and the Thames. For years, Somerset House was the national archive for birth, marriage and death certificates but these days it’s home to the visual arts.
Fabulous events — everything from fashion shows to art exhibitions — and most famously it now hosts a gorgeous outside ice-rink, each winter, for budding ‘Torvill and Deans’ to show off their skating prowess.
But I wasn’t there for any of those things. I had been invited to the Matalan SS16 Press Show.
Now, last Thursday was grey. Cold and wintery, with wall-to-wall rain.
The kind of day that makes you wish you’d stayed indoors.
Until I stepped into the warmth of the East Wing Gallery and saw some of the lovely items on display! SO much colour. A real treat on such a grey, miserable day — there were so many gorgeous things.
Preppy casuals for all ages, plus jewelled and beaded sandals for the girls and lots of lovely nautical stripes and detailing.
The coastal feel extended to homeware too, with lovely driftwood ornaments and chunky storm lamps, styled to resemble glass fishing floats.
Strands of gorgeous lights; everything from tiny, colourful houses to miniature jam-jars, lit with a tiny bulb.
Beautifully decorated cushions — a sea of colour with lovely appliqué work and overstitching.
And finally, my very favourite thing of all.
Beautiful homeware, printed in glorious technicolour. The absolute antithesis of last Thursday’s weather, this was an explosion of all things summer, based on beautiful original watercolours by Matalan’s homeware design manager Mags Milliken.
It was so lovely to see the framed originals, side by side with the new homeware ranges. Watercolour has been pretty huge in graphic design, over the last year or so, but I haven’t seen it on any homeware, up until now, and it was lovely to see it making such a bold appearance on the bed-linens and cushions; even on a sweet little storage crate.
I loved everything on offer, at the Matalan SS16 Press Show, but these items were by far my favourite.
So whilst it was grey and miserable outside last Thursday, the East Gallery of Somerset House was a riot of colour.
It cheered me up no end, I can tell you!
Instead of feeling depressed about the long winter ahead, I am now buoyed by the anticipation of these lovely products, hitting the shops next spring and summer.
Bring it on.