- Fit and fabulous celebrities, how do they do it?
- Interior trends for 2017
- Darren Palmer’s tips for a pain-free renovation
For any celebrity worth their Manolo Blahniks, it wasn’t so long ago that having their own perfume was the ultimate sign they’d really made it.
These days, though, famous faces are just as likely to launch their own homewares collection as they are to lend their name to a signature scent.
Megan Hess’s fashion illustrations have a global audience thanks to a client list that includes Montblanc, Fendi, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Cartier, and Valentino. Now she is using her talents to create stylish pieces for homes.
Megan Hess spends her days in her all-white Melbourne studio using her trusty Montblanc pen, Monty, to create illustrations for leading brands. In 2008, she was asked by author Candace Bushnell to illustrate the re-issue of her bestseller, Sex and the City. Soon after, major brands began calling.
In between commissions for some of the world’s leading fashion houses, Megan has turned her attention to a homewares range that includes cushions, vases, plates and napkins, which sell globally via her website.
“I’ve always been passionate about interiors,” Megan says. “No matter where I’ve lived, or my financial circumstances, I’ve made the most of the spaces I’ve lived or worked in. I used to work off my dining room table in a tiny apartment, and I made that space as lovely as I could.”
Megan’s homewares have been inspired by her travels, and she always carries a sketchbook. “When you are somewhere you’ve not been before, you see different people and hear different sounds and it switches on a different trail of thought that leads to a new idea,” she says.
“I design everything myself, sample fillings for cushions and choose the colours and fabrics. I’ll sample 10 different colourways to find the right shade of pink for a cushion. I am a perfectionist.”
Recently, Megan was invited to work on a teaware collection for Wedgwood, which has been making fine china and porcelain for more than 200 years. “They wanted to incorporate illustrations of modern tea parties on teaware,” she says. “Working with such history was a joy.”
As for her favourite item in her homewares range, she nominates the double-sided Kingdom Vase featuring a model wearing a black dress with delicate gold jewellery. “I have my vases at home and in my studio and I flip them around every week for a different image,” she says. “I pop in a bunch of pink peonies and it’s a quick and easy way to brighten up a space.”
MEGAN HESS \ THE KINGDOM VASE \ $245
Melbourne’s own queen of ultrafeminine personalised stationery was born in Rome and attended art school in Italy at the age of 13. Cristina Re later studied design at Swinburne University, and began her working life as a photographer before launching her eponymous stationery line.
When Cristina decided to open a concept store in Collingwood, selling her personalised stationery, she wanted to create a little piece of Paris. So she opened a cafe in the shop and designed a range of vintage style teaware reminiscent of the most luxurious Parisian salons.
“I travelled to France a lot and loved the beautiful patisseries and I created a mini high tea salon with very French decor,” she says. “Then I designed my own teaware because I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted in Melbourne.”
Customers fell in love with the tea cups and saucers in rose pink and gold, so Cristina began producing the range commercially, adding teapots, plates, old-style cake stands and sugar bowls to the range. They are now sold in gift stores around Australia and worldwide.
She updates her collections every few months. The latest, Paradise Palms, has a tropical influence, while Cristina’s personal favourite, Crystalline, is inspired by rose quartz. “I follow fashion and look at what is happening in couture and interior design to stay contemporary. It’s all about luxury, high quality and design that will last.”
LOVE & XO MUGS \ $29.95
She’s the girl next door whose stint presenting The Block has only furthered her passion for interior design. But, as a busy mum to two young daughters, Shelley Craft believes homewares should be all about durability and practicality.
Shelley Craft’s interest in home style was sparked early. “Mum was very particular and wouldn’t let us leave home for school if our rooms weren’t tidy and our beds weren’t made. So there was always a real pride of house when I was growing up,” Shelley says. “Mum and dad built two of our family homes in the 1980s, so I was exposed to designing through that.”
As a young adult, living in share households, Shelley didn’t pay much attention to interior design. Her interest was rekindled while travelling as a presenter with The Great Outdoors. “We stayed in so many different places [and] I always took great interest in the interiors. I’d love to do an interior design course if I had a moment to study but with two kids and a job that won’t be any time soon.”
Still Shelley has found an outlet for her passion, working as an ambassador with Pillow Talk. “I’d love to do a range of cushions and throws with them because they’re an easy way to update your home every season,” she says.
Shelley has also worked on a flooring collection for Carpet Court called the Real Living collection.
“I like to do things as easily and quickly as possible and within a budget,” she says. “The floor coverings are low-maintenance, eco-friendly and easy to lay. I like the timber look and, living in Byron Bay, I like pale and whiteish laminates. Vinyl is great here because there is so much sand.
Shelley describes her own home style as “easy luxury with a coastal tribal feel”. There are items she’s collected on her travels dotted around her house. “It’s not a show home but there is history here,” she says.
PILLOW TALK IMITATION MOHAIR THROWS, $39.95
Shaynna Blaze is one busy woman. When she’s not fronting Selling Houses Australia or The Block, she runs a successful interior design business, blankcanvas INTERIORS. She also recently launched an online shop, stocking her line of rugs, artworks, furniture and lighting.
Before she became one of Australia’s most famous interior designers, Shaynna Blaze had her sights set on a career as an artist. “My aunty was an artist and I wanted to study fine arts before I got into interior design,” she says. “I did a lot of commission pieces for clients initially, but gradually I was taken away from my art because I was so busy with interior design and then TV.”
A collaboration with online gallery and homewares store Urban Road rekindled her passion, and she has designed a series of works inspired by nature – from stormy skies to the intricacies of a butterfly’s wing.
The artworks are just one aspect of Shaynna’s burgeoning homewares portfolio that includes a lighting range for OneWorld, inspired by a trip to Milan and New York; a beach-inspired range for The Rug Collection; and a furniture collection, made by local company Molmic, which she describes as “classic and timeless”.
“Timeless, for me, is a well-worn structured dinner suit or a black-and-white movie. It’s about a chair that you sit in and don’t want to get out of, with strong, simple lines, fine tapered legs and detail in the back,” she says.
“Many people have open-plan living and are too scared to put a chair or couch in the centre of a room, so I’ve created chairs and sofas where the details are in the back as much as in the front.”
As for her own home style, she says it’s a mix of “formal structure with chaos in between”.
“I have a base and I can add a lamp, use a throw and cushion, move a few pieces and change the look of a room within 20 minutes.”
A favourite item in her own home is the Cary chair – a 1.5-seat leather chair with an embellished back. “My husband and son rave about it. You can sit in it as a couple, curl up in it alone, or sit with a child and read them a story.”
SHAYNNA BLAZE FOR ONEWORLD BLACK MESH AND COPPER CHANDELIER \ $2499
Beci Orpin has developed a reputation as one of Melbourne’s most admired artists and designer illustrators. Her latest project is a book called Sunshine Spaces, which details projects designed to bring the outdoors into the home.
Beci Orpin describes herself as a “nester” – an ideal Saturday morning is spent rearranging the furniture in her West Brunswick house.
“As a teenager living in a 1940s-style bungalow in Kew East, I was desperate for a warehouse-style bedroom,” she says.
“I ripped up my carpets but my parents wouldn’t let me polish the floorboards so I had bare boards and a double bed on a simple base and a clothing rack. And I had lots of collections of things on the wall – I remember lots of Coca-Cola memorabilia.”
Beci now lives in a double-storey Victorian terrace. “Inside it’s quite eclectic and I’m certainly not a minimalist. When I see something I like, I buy it,” she says. One of her most recent acquisitions was a green and pink vintage Argentinian rug bought on her travels.
After working as creative director with the ARRO Home online store for three years, designing linens, quilt covers, rugs, kitchenware and tableware in bold colours and patterns, Beci’s focus is now on home projects anyone can try. Sunshine Spaces shows readers how to make natural dyes, press flowers, make a macrame chair and whip up some outdoor cushions, among other home-grown crafts.
“I recently tried natural dyeing using acorns and that was a lot of fun because I had no idea how it would work out,” Beci says.
BECI’S NEW BOOK, SUNSHINE SPACES, HARDIE GRANT BOOKS \ $39.99
ALSO LOOK OUT FOR …
Miranda Kerr’s collection of silver-plated giftware designed for Royal Albert. The Los Angeles-based supermodel (above) has also created glassware and teaware for the prestigious British brand.
Collette Dinnigan’s range of bed linen for Linen House is inspired by the traditional embroidery the Australian fashion doyenne found in small-town markets in Italy.
She has also created wallpaper designs for Porter’s Paints based on artisanal and heritage textile designs.
The Block winners Alisa and Lysandra Fraser (below) have launched an online store, selling the stylish sisters’ own range of rugs, artworks, cushions and wall panels.
Rebecca Judd has teamed with Adairs to create a range of linen for the nursery, as well as throws and bedlinen under the Rebecca Judd Loves label.
Megan Gale has worked with Target on a range of homewares, including throws for the bedroom or lounge room.
Discover everything you need to know about the latest looks for your home and how to get them in this week’s The Weekly Review!