This March sees the second footwear and apparel collaboration between PUMA and playful décor label House of Hackney drop in South Africa. First founded as an interiors company with an emphasis on quality, design and ‘Made In England’, the brand now encompasses everything from luxury printed wallpapers to bespoke blinds, teapot and cosy sets, and kitchen textiles. It began in 2010 as a quest ‘to take the beige out of interiors’ and has evolved into an internationally acknowledged brand that ships around the world, occupies a permanent space in the famous Liberty of London department store and has a flagship boutique in the humdrum of UK hipster-ville, Shoreditch. ‘For decades, interiors were very plain, bland and disposable; we wanted to breathe life back into them,’ says Frieda, who together with Javvy has pioneered a collection of wildly eccentric patterns and products that are steeped in tradition yet are also bold and subversive for a truly modern update. ‘I love to take risks and mix prints and colour,’ says Frieda, who cites American interior decorator Dorothy Draper as one of her muses. Draper was known as the anti-minimalist of style, her work revolutionised the concept of ‘period rooms’ and she created a new genre known as Modern Baroque.
Rococo scrollworks and her trademark cabbage-rose chintz brought life and colour into a sad and dreary era. Similarly, Javvy and Frieda are best known for turning staid heritage prints upside down with pops of fresh colour and a humorous, tongue-in-cheek take on old-fashioned iconography. Inside their home, near London Fields in the borough of Hackney, is a living showroom for the brass pineapple lamp stands and cutglass wine goblets they produce. The sitting room is an ode to their Hackney Empire print; emblazoned on curtains, footstools, sofas and fringed lampshades in shades of grenadine and midnight blue. The entire look and feel was created through working with an illustrator who painted directly onto wood. Sloths, otters, parrots and squirrels mischievously engage in playful debauchery – a badger sips on a piña colada while a raccoon pus lazily on a hookah pipe and a frog wears a bowling hat.
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The design was devised to illustrate the ‘melting pot of characters and quirky individuals that make up the Hackney community,’ says Frieda. And just by gazing at its tapestry of tales, you will feel as though you’ve been transplanted into a scene from Kenneth Grahame’s storybook, The Wind In The Willows. One thing is for sure: in this designer duo’s household, more is more when it comes to mythology and the psychedelic. And the bedrooms? One is entirely devoted to the Dalton Rose aesthetic in cream and navy; with large jacquard cushions, a frilled feather eiderdown, and a 300-thread count duvet set that contrasts what could be considered an antiquated rose sprig design with a contemporary ombré eect – traditional Victorian print meets the dipdye of today. The other bedroom adopts a softer approach, in hues of dove grey and champagne yellow with a medley of silver heritage frames and mirrors hanging on the wall. Here, the entomology-inspired queen bee print reigns supreme on pelmets, pillowcases, pincushions and a De Beauvoir screen. With an approach strongly influenced by English heritage, it was paramount for Javvy and Frieda that British-made materials and manufacturers would be used.
As a result they’ve kept production close to home and supported small industries: their furniture is handcrafted in Nottingham, their crockery is produced in the home of fine bone china in Stoke-On-Trent and their fabrics are created in Lancaster using only British velvet. But the fashion industry has always been something that pulls at the very core of them both – Frieda previously worked as a buyer at Topshop and Javvy was a stylist. ‘Fashion doesn’t mean clothing so much as a mood or trend. The 1970s is a big trend on the catwalks and this can be seen in interiors as well,’ Frieda acknowledges.
‘Interiors are really an extension of fashion, but with more longevity and flexibility.’ Today, the House of Hackney label has expanded to include clothing after Opening Ceremony invited them to create a guest collection. Now, with an 18-piece range for ASOS and a 1970s-inspired platform line with rock ’n’ roll cobbler Terry de Havilland under their belt, the duo are about to unveil their SS15 PUMA collaboration in South Africa. This year we see two new prints: Palmeral, with its green fronds and 1930s influence, is light, summery and fun. Midnight Garden, with its layered roses and leafy foliage, is reminiscent of a romantic garden at night.
The collection takes its form from this season’s must-wear tennis silhouette, including a hooded backpack, track jackets and high-tops. But the Becker OGs steal star spot; the shoes that Boris Becker wore to his win at Wimbledon in 1985, re-imagined with buttery leather trims and an explosion of Art Deco palm leaves. Like the rest of the duo’s output, ‘the PUMA x House of Hackney SS15 collection is for the strong, non-conforming woman who sees the beauty in everything,’ concludes Frieda.
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