February 22 2012
Lucia van der Post
I’ve always loved everything Bernie de le Cuona does. She isn’t all that well known to the public at large, but she has lots of fans among the true cognoscenti; Chanel and Ralph Lauren have both at different times turned to her for her floppy linens, soft paisleys, slubby silks and fine pashmina fabric. Her tastes run to the refined, the understated, the truly elegant.
For those who adore the fabrics, throws and cushions, she last year bought the flat above her showroom on London’s Walton Street, where she has introduced an ever-changing collection of furniture that has caught her eye. The things I most covet are the vintage chairs (pictured, around £2,300) and little sofas, often sourced from antique markets in France, which she then covers in her own fabrics. These are the sort of chairs that one might need to finish off a particular corner in a room, to introduce a bit of vintage appeal into an otherwise contemporary apartment. They all have charm, are, obviously, one-offs, and on any given day you never quite know what you’ll find.
But in addition to the vintage collection, she has a small selection of ready-made pieces, 10 in all, which range from four styles of headboard to a dining chair, fabric-upholstered trunks (not only good for storing, but also useful as side tables), a little two-seater bench, and some small stools and cubes. Prices start at £200 (plus fabric) for the small round stool, and all need to be ordered so that they can be upholstered in the customer’s choice of material.
On show in the flat is also her range of eco-friendly paints (£22 a litre, in matt or silk finish), a tightly edited collection of 13 colours designed to go with the palette that de le Cuona chooses for her fabrics. Though there are some clear blues and pinks, a deep wine and purple, she has a particular penchant for subdued oatmeals, greys and chocolate.
This is all part of a gradual expansion into creating a whole Bernie de le Cuona world; if you love the fabrics, you won’t be able to help loving the rest of it. There’s just the one small shop on Walton Street, but you can check her website, which gives a good idea of the fabrics. Furniture will be uploaded in the coming months.