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Designer of Dreams.

A few weeks ago, I went to the V&A in London to see Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams. I had to book tickets months in advance but it was certainly worth the wait. I took photos, lots of photos. Everything was so beautiful that it was hard not to.

I touched on the idea of finding inspiration in my last post, and this show was full of it but this time I got to see it from the other side - seeing final collections of garments and learning about the variety of starting points the designs had. The exhibition layout itself then complemented these themes - a simple, dark room filled with bright, beaded and jewelled clothing inspired by exotic countries such as Mexico, China, Japan and Egypt. Other rooms were dream-like (very fitting to the name of the exhibition), transporting you to the rooms of the Palace of

Versailles or a garden full of flowers (all cut paper).

The uniqueness of each of the head designers could be seen, with similar starting points being realised in very different ways, with the most obvious being the designs of John Galliano, showing that even with the same beginning, you can get very different results. In the exhibitions final room we even got to attend the Dior Ball - a room totally full of dresses, complete with rotating platform in the centre, accompanied by music and amazing projections on the walls.

The whole show was spectacular but my Mum (who I went with) and I both agreed that the room we liked best was the Ateliers Room. However lovely it was to see the finished garments in all their glory, it was fascinating to be able to match them up with their white cotton counterparts in this room. These "toiles" are how a piece of handmade haute couture starts its life as these become the pattern for the final piece, making sure the design and fit are exactly right before it is made in the chosen fabric. It really helps you to appreciate just how much craftsmanship has gone into each garment. I also think that the true beauty of the construction of the designs can be seen, without being distracted by any patterns or embellishments.

The house we rented when we first moved to Derbyshire, was decorated throughout in white and it was a huge reason for us choosing the property. Not only did it seem bright and clean, it meant that we could just bring in all our existing furniture and accessories without a problem. I do love colour and it has been so fun now that we own our own house choosing and experimenting with colours (I just painted our little utility in Pelt by Farrow & Ball!) but plain white can be very lovely, a classic.

The most recent decorating project has been repainting the studio and for this I chose white. It isn't the biggest step away from how it was originally (white ceiling, cream walls) but I can't believe the difference in how the space feels. It is an attic room so there is already a lot of light, but now the whole room seems to glow. With the ceiling and walls painted the same colour and all the furniture being white or neutral shades, it makes the space feel bigger and uniform. This creates a calm space with little background visual noise when I am trying to work.

White can also be great in a living room where you might have a large expensive item like a sofa which you want to keep. Instead of worrying about finding a colour to match your sofa, how about giving it a plain backdrop so that it becomes the focus of the room instead. Same goes for it you have curtains or blinds which you don't want to change. Architectural or original features such as wooden floors can be appreciated more with a white background as there is nothing else to distract the eye. Brilliant White paint is a relatively cheap option for a freshening-up project (although don't buy really cheap paint, or you'll be needing a lot of coats!) and as a bonus, it leaves you with a lovely blank canvas which makes it very easy to paint on to if you decide to add some colour.

As you can see from these examples, white rooms are far from boring. They are relaxing, fresh and easy to furnish either with all white or with accents of your favourite colours and makes a great background for artwork or houseplants. It just may not be the best idea if you have pets or young children...unless you opt for scrubable paint! I'm still working on my studio but keep an eye out for the reveal when it's all finished.

And one last thing, here is my favourite dress from the exhibition, who doesn't love a bit of gold!?

Wouldn't mind the suit too actually...

R x

(Room images via Country Living, House and Garden and Pinterest. Exhibition images are my own).


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