Can you really leave that chic, pastel-coloured, deep-buttoned chesterfield out on your London patio all summer? Yes you can, and it’s a show-stopper in the new display of furniture for outside spaces at Harrods in Knightsbridge — along with parasols, weatherproof cushions in trendy prints and jewel-coloured “synthetic crystal” tableware.
However, this audacious outdoor style offensive is only a part of a mega furnishings makeover by the shop. Harrods has transformed almost all of its third floor, following the success of last year’s luxury brands revamp on the floor below, where china and glass now twinkle with exclusivity and glamour.
It is all the vision of a no-nonsense, newly married Yorkshirewoman, Annalise Fard, 41, director of home, a Harrods veteran who worked up from the beauty department. She says: “There’s so much out there now for interiors and people can feel confused and lost. So we’ve done the legwork, pulled everything together, given brands and customers plenty of room to breathe, and made exploring easy.”
FLAMBOYANT TO URBANE
YOO Home by maverick French designer Philippe Starck and London property magnate John Hitchcox is also included. Their quixotic style has marked out their YOO hotels/interiors worldwide for 15 years. Now YOO has designed an eclectic furnishing mix of everything including the kitchen sink. Customers can play with the new-tech “YOO Styler” and make their own 3D room plans and mood boards in the shop.
Unveiled this month at Harrods is a remote-controlled Samsung washing machine, a world first, while its new Sub-Zero & Wolf kitchen appliances include easy-clean blue porcelain-lined ovens and banks of coffee machines, wine coolers, range cookers and tall fridge-freezers.
All the big interiors brands can now be found under one roof. Squint’s punchy patchwork upholstery is here, along with the flamboyant fabrics of House of Hackney, and a spectacular suspension of 19 copper Mirrorball lights by designer Tom Dixon. Nearby, The Rug Company flaunts its floor candy. There are consulting rooms where you can plan your makeover, choosing fabrics from walls of swatches, including Hermès, Jean Paul Gaultier and Missoni, and pick wallpapers and Little Greene paints to go with them.
Sanderson printed cottons start at £38 a metre. Cushions in neat compartments cost from £50. Own-brand towels and linens are super-sophisticated and good value.
New furniture and vintage accessories come from Les Trois Garçons, the “lifestyle”restaurateurs of Redchurch Street, E2. The eccentricities of Dutch interior design company Moooi are patrolled by its famous lifesize black horse floor lamp, in contrast to classic chairs by Vitra and a huge area for Ligne Roset, urbane and debonair.
HIGH STYLE — AND HI-TECH
Just arrived are top Italian brands Giorgetti, Baxter and Bottega Veneta, all master-makers with a modern flair. BoConcept is sensible and Scandi, while Timothy Oulton does a kind of upmarket ethnic Brit chic, with flags, leather, and inspiration drawn from cars and planes.
Harrods is pushing Portugal with outré brands bearing exotic names such as Boca do Lobo and Ginger & Jagger. Old-style craftsmen meld baroque, modern and surreal. A sleek sideboard rests on a bronze log, swivelling ceramic tiles front a door, and a faceted stone rock holds up a table. London’s Amy Somerville is sensational.
Outré good looks: on twig-like legs, the Ginger & Jagger Fig Tree console table is £4,919
Salespeople are informed and friendly. Computer-aided furniture plans cost £250 with a home visit, but this will be deducted from your purchases. Over in fabrics, experts can make mood boards to give you a clearer view of what your design ideas will look like, and style your curtains, covers and blinds, which the store can make and fit. Though Harrods is keen to play down excess and the eccentric, you can still buy a large glass tropical fish for £13,000, huge fossils, cut-crystal chess sets — or cover a wall with Warhols.
HEY, BIG SPENDERS
For the big spenders who crave Wedgwood, there’s the largest selection in the world, radiating from a round lacquered table laid up with gold-embossed bone china, with a multi-tiered centrepiece flanked by serried urns and busts. It’s Harrods’ own stately home dining room. And if you do feel flush carry on to the new home fragrance haven, and a writing room for pens of limitless cost.