A clutch of UK female designers are celebrating sexuality with a passion, beauty and wit that will bring romance into your home on Valentine’s Day and beyond.
In Islington today, a saucy “nude net curtain” is currently raising eyebrows at The Surface Design Show.
Show this page for free admission until 9pm tonight, and 5pm tomorrow.
On a visit to Palmer’s London studio, Raffo spotted a sketch of lovers in an erotic embrace inspired by a 5th century Greek plate.
The artist’s great great grandfather was a Nottingham Lace designer, and this was her amatory update. Raffo made this happen.
She tracked down a heritage print works in Lancaster, whose “burn-out” technique partly dissolves fibres in a fabric leaving transparent areas, for a lace effect.
Body Lace voile is in nude or a limited edition black, in a viscose/polyester mix, at £78 a metre.
“Nets are intended to hide and obscure,” says Palmer. “And mine have an extra layer of concealment, as you probably won’t spot the erotic imagery at first glance.”
Emily Dupen’s burlesque-inspired plate
Artist Alexandria Coe lives in East London and has a studio in Soho, where her style typically reduces forms to the barest minimum. Her friend Sarah Bell has a London candle brand.
Together, they present Lover’s Embrace, which depicts a gold-foiled couple on black glass — “deliberately neutral and non-gender specific,” says the artist.
Bell’s bespoke scent combines gardenia and rose petals with base patchouli, amber and tuberose — “warm and sensual like the drawing,” she says.
London designer Anissa Kermiche abandoned a career in engineering and computer science to train as a jeweller at Central St Martin’s, and now ranks Gwyneth Paltrow, Lily James and Gigi Hadid among her celebrity clients.
Ceramics are a new venture. Her irreverent Love Handles vase, stocked by the Conran Shop, was an instant success, and she is adding breasts and torsos for jugs and small pots, which evoke prehistoric fertility goddesses.
In Brighton, illustrator Emily Dupen is celebrating the 10th anniversary of her brand Dupenny.
Profoundly deaf, she was unable to pursue a previous career as a singer, instead building success on her imagination, sense of satire, and drawing skills.
The women she celebrates are mainly clothed, but in the provocative poses of, say, burlesque or fifties pin-ups.
“They stem from my love of old school Hollywood glamour,” says Dupen, “along with cheeky late night cabaret shows and the golden days of fully fashioned seamed stockings.”
A roll of paper is £185, or simply buy a 3m panel for £80 (52cm wide); there are matching fabric for some designs, at around £85 a metre.
London fashion designer Lauren Dickinson Clarke worked with Mary Katrantzou and Hussein Chalayan before creating her signature monochrome “madames” — not unlike up-market internet emojis — to adorn her own brand of ceramic candles and tableware, inspired by women in art.
Composed of moss and stones with miniatures, the Temptation Terrarium costs £145 from The Conran Shop
For example, the Provocateur design references Illona Staller, muse to Jeff Koons — described as “fresh, raw, full of passion & sensuality.”
Candles take up to six months to perfect. First eyes and mouth are endlessly mixed and matched, then comes a scent to match.
Finally, there’s a lot of “sewing, sampling and tweaking” for the idiosyncratic hats, which finish off a design.
Melanie Roseveare’s award-winning Melody Rose tableware started as somewhat surreal motifs added to upcycled plates, cups and so on.
Now the bone china is hand made by an old-established firm in Stoke-on-Trent, gilded and hand-burnished, but robust enough for the dishwasher.
Imagery includes bare bodies, fashion, art, and circus, and patterns have spread onto plush velvet cushions with flamboyant gold tassels.
“The nudes bring a sense of intimacy and shared secrets — and are very good for breaking down barriers at dinner parties — especially when suddenly revealed,” says Roseveare.
Going to the chapel
Declare your love, pop the question or renew your vows at Fortnum & Mason.
The Piccadilly grocers has built a Chapel of Love in its signature gold and eau-de-Nil in the atrium.
For a legal marriage ceremony, you must first book a slot, the Registrar and get a licence.
But visit free for a romantic selfie until the end of the month.
A wedding package with champagne afternoon tea, tea tasting and gift bag is £100 a head.
To book and for further info, email [email protected].