Last night I went to the launch of bohemian Swedish design guru Gudrun Sjödén’s UK flagship store on Monmouth Street in Covent Garden. I have long been a fan of her colourful floral patterns and laid back Scandi style and I was particularly excited to see how they translated into a standalone store.
As soon as I walked in, the hustle and bustle of Covent Garden seemed miles away (and this alone is reason enough to pop by and check it out): bright greens, warm pinks, deep crimsons and Jodhpur blues all jostled from every wall and surface in a whirlwind of prints and textures, and I loved it.
From Gudrun’s S/S 2012 lookbook
While fashion remains Gudrun’s mainstay, the interiors line is hot on its heels. Brimming with Indian-inspired florals, warm overdyed shades and soft, thick organic cotton, it is perfect for creating a warm, eclectic, summertime feel, with flowered cushions, soft patterned bolsters, colourful lampshades and lovely thick table linen at the core of the collection. “I like to use the same colourways in the clothes and the homewares because it is about more than just individual pieces – it is about a lifestyle”, says Gudrun. “You wear a certain style of clothing, and you decorate your home the same way.”
And the results are pretty yet versatile, with quilted covers and brightly woven dhurries that delicately complement a colourful dress or scarf creating a complete little world in which you can escape to the bohemian dream. Conveniently, you can also buy her fabrics in the store by the metre, so you can tailor them to your own designs at home.
The flagship store
With her floral and folk-inspired designs clearly rooted in nature, Gudrun is known for having championed organic cotton and natural fabrics ahead of the curve. “We print most of our fabrics in India, and all our dhurries are woven by hand in Rajasthan. Where we do not use organic cotton, we use man-made natural fibres, including silk, bamboo, viscose etc. People are still focusing on buying things at a cheap price but I think we are slowly realising that it is better to have fewer things that are made sustainably and which support traditional artisan methods. I think it is more important than ever to keep these crafts alive, and we currently work with a design school in Gujarat to this end”.
In the same vein, the furniture in the store has all been upcycled, and Gudrun and her team have painted and revamped every piece themselves. Big baskets full of flowers perch on top of pastel coloured chests and cabinets, and they have even let the creative juices flow on the concrete floor, which is replete with flowers and swirls and folksy motifs.
The flagship store
On her site, you can see some of Gudrun’s sketches that inspire her designs (she paints every morning at 7am and will stop at nothing). It is well worth a visit, and the store is as pretty and homey as any I have seen.