Inspirational interiors sit comfortably with era-defining portrait photography at London Design Week

The Chelsea Harbour interiors event showcases iconic and glamorous work by some of the world’s most collectable photographers

Twiggy by Justin de Villeneuve, prints from £1,200
Twiggy by Justin de Villeneuve, prints from £1,200 | Image: Iconic Images

London Design Week opens at Chelsea Harbour next week with a glamorous enticement. The Legends at London Design Week initiative sees design companies team up with leading interior designers to create eye-catching showrooms or window displays, many of them inspired by era-defining photographs from the archives of the Chelsea gallery Iconic Images (all photographs can be ordered to size). The gallery specialises in representing the oeuvres of some of the world’s most stylish and collectable photographers – from Norman Parkinson to Terry O’Neill – so a remarkable gathering of Hollywood stars, 1950s fashion models and 1970s music icons, from Audrey Hepburn to Michael Caine, will set the stage.

Wenda Parkinson by Norman Parkinson, from £2,400
Wenda Parkinson by Norman Parkinson, from £2,400 | Image: Iconic Images
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Fox Linton, with its classic English fabrics, has joined forces with interior designer Henry Prideaux, using items by Stuart Scott furniture and CTO Lighting. Prideaux has chosen Justin de Villeneuve’s flowing image (prints from £1,200) of British model Twiggy in a satin evening dress, shot for Ken Russell’s 1972 film The Boy Friend, as the inspiration for his elegant window. At George Spencer Designs, Sophie Ashby, one of the UK’s hottest young talents, has combined fabrics by Zak+Fox (from £207 per m) and an Izapa hand-knotted rug by A Rum Fellow (£900 per sq m) to create an up-to-the-minute response to Eva Sereny’s dramatic late-1970s shot of Bianca Jagger dressed in Zandra Rhodes (from £1,194).  

Decca and HBA London’s window design drew inspiration from the portrait of Wenda Parkinson in Nairobi. HBA Sleep Set at Decca: super king four-poster bed, £10,500; night stands, £3,450 each; footstool, £1,500 excluding fabric
Decca and HBA London’s window design drew inspiration from the portrait of Wenda Parkinson in Nairobi. HBA Sleep Set at Decca: super king four-poster bed, £10,500; night stands, £3,450 each; footstool, £1,500 excluding fabric
David Bowie by Terry O’Neill, prints from £1,920
David Bowie by Terry O’Neill, prints from £1,920 | Image: Iconic Images

Norman Parkinson’s romantic image of American actress and singer Ava Gardner as Guinevere (1953; from £2,400) has inspired Bunny Turner, of Turner Pocock, to create a multilayered installation of different fabrics at Tissus d’Hélène (fabrics from £154 per m). Meanwhile, his classic shot of his wife Wenda waiting for a plane in Nairobi in 1951 (from £2,400) sets the scene for furniture maker Decca and hospitality designer HBA London’s Out of Africa-style window (HBA Sleep Set at Decca: super king four-poster bed, £10,500; night stands, £3,450 each; footstool, £1,500 excluding fabric).

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Hand in hand with glamour, there is wit. Furniture maker Julian Chichester draws inspiration from two fantastic Terry O’Neill images of David Bowie from 1974, the singer’s long limbs stretched out or folded into a chair (prints from £1,920). The image of quirky informality is an ideal match for the brand’s new upholstery collection (Royere single chair, £690).

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