On Sunday, September 22, Kensington and Chelsea get to be the centre of the decorating universe, pulling in interior designers from all over the world. The London Design Festival itself may be closing but opening in the glass domes of the Design Centre Chelsea Harbour is the annual Focus show for interiors. At the same time, Decorex, an upmarket parade of posh decor, is in a new Kensington Gardens venue — a huge tent plus the historic Orangerie.
Both these are "trade shows" aimed at professionals. But you can visit Decorex on Tuesday afternoon (September 24) for £30 and Focus all Wednesday (September 25) for free.
Osborne & Little has scooped designer Matthew Williamson for an autumn launch of Eden wallpapers and fabrics. It is simply divine, from an established designer with a fervent fashion fan base. He once did wallpaper for Habitat, and his Butterfly Home is ongoing at Debenhams.
But this is a way more ambitious and wide-ranging venture into the home, with 10 designs in trademark colours: cérise, jade, lemon, rose and amethyst. There's the exuberant feel of Antony Little's original 1960s wallpapers, with a similar upmarket chic, underpinned by fantasy and romance. Expect peacock feathers, hummingbirds and winged horses cavorting on beaded and holographic wallpapers, ocelotprinted silks and textured velvets (osborneandlittle.com).
Also find luscious peacock feathers on a rich chocolate background in Sanderson's new Aegean collection (sanderson-uk.com). And Jean Paul Gaultier at Chelsea Harbour sports loosely clad ladies on a lightweight toile, ringed by coy cupids. Surprise touch: they wear JPG's trade mark marine-striped tops (lelievre.eu).
Emerald and turquoise wallpaper and fabrics bring the vibrant shades of foreign seas into dull London homes. Do it like Guild and you cannot go wrong. "My new palette embraces rich emerald green, jade, cobalt, amethyst and magenta," says Tricia Guild, whose latest book, Colour Deconstructed, is out this autumn (Quadrille, £30). Her Astrakhan collection at Designers Guild has damask curlicues, poppies and fullblown roses printed on to stout cottons and sheer, wide-width linens mixed with velvets, silks and taffetas.
Sharp-angled geometrics are a clean, crisp alternative to dense prints and saturated colours. This modern take on pattern is widely seen at the London Design Festival, including Lorna Syson at 100 % Design (opens today, trade only, public day Saturday) and Sian Elin at Tent London (opens tomorrow, £10).
At Focus in Chelsea Harbour, the quirky woven velvets by Romo are based on neat little 1930s geometrics. And Sir Paul Smith has done dramatic triangles at The Rug Company at Decorex.
The high street is drowning in massproduced artefacts — agreeably affordable but never unique. So high quality craft is the new luxury. With the fervour of the newly converted, designers embrace hand-making - cutting, turning, carving, engraving, stamping, stitching and more. The offspring of this is "bespoke" — your own special something, a one-off in size, material, colour and craftsmanship.
And Decorex is where to find it. Its aisles ooze luxury craft at every turn: mouth-blown glass (Curiosa & Curiosa), etched leather floor tiles (De Ferranti), gilded wall coverings (Tatania Tafur), hand-thrown pots (Billy Lloyd), lacquered, inlaid and mirrored furniture (Hyde House), hand-tufted rugs in silk and wool (The Rug Company, Front London).
But it's metalwork that steals the show, with copper, steel, and bronze catching every ray of light, from exquisite table lamps and consoles ( Julian Chichester, Cox London) to a bath that's clad in radiant gold leaf (Drummonds) and a vast, faceted cupboard in patinated copper (Andrea Felice).
This is a look on the grand side, inspired at Rubelli by the faded interiors of Venice (rubelli.com). And Zoffany looks also to Venice and to Spanish Mariano Fortuny, who lived there, designing stage sets, costumes, textiles and fashion. New designs are based on archived antique fragments of brocade, damasks, velvets and paisleys, reworked with modern foils, digital printing and machine embroidery. This sumptuous look can create small intimate rooms, or add grandeur to a large hall (zoffany.co.uk).
* Focus is open from Sunday, September 22 (10am-6pm, trade only) until September 25's public day, which is free to all. It fills 99 showrooms with shows, talks, demos, a treasure trail and tea parties. The Wednesday programme starts with a briefing breakfast by Tatler (please book, £10); then an all-day master class with KLC School of Design (please book, £20); and an "editor's eye" tour, 2pm, with stylist Emilio Pimentel-Reid (please book, free). Call 020 7352 1900 or visit dcch.co.uk. Design Centre Chelsea Harbour, Lots Road, SW10.
* A free shuttle bus operates from/to Sloane Square all day. Imperial Wharf Overground is just three minutes away.
* Decorex with 300 exhibitors runs for trade only from September 22 to 25, at Perks Field and The Orangery, Kensington Palace Gardens, W8 (enter through Orme Gate, off Bayswater Road). Public afternoon is Tuesday. This year it sumptuously celebrates the old Silk Route that linked the riches of China (fabrics and porcelain) with the capitals of Europe, taking in India, Persia and Arabia on the way. Tickets are £30 but get a 20 per cent discount by quoting code DECX on decorex.com, or call 0844 557 2306.