Janice Issitt                    Life and Style

travel, interiors, photography, home, crafts, personal style

22 Jul 2017

Latest Swedish Trend - William Morris

I certainly didn't see this coming! The latest trend in Sweden is for the British Arts and Crafts guru William Morris, who famously said the following ; 

"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.
The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life.
I do not want art for a few any more than education for a few, or freedom for a few."

So In this current climate of slow living and seeking happiness in the small things, his visionary ideas still hold true. 

Art teacher and Yoga lady Anna who I met recently got me up to speed on what's happening now in Sweden.

So who would've thought that the land of minimalist monochrome design led functionality would so wholeheartedly embrace this English embellishment.  Well, to be truthful, I have seen it coming for quite some time, you may remember a few years back how I found that the Swedish were now decorating much more with colour and frippery, and how I believed that the British idea of 'Swedish Style' wasn't keeping up with what they are actually doing. 

My friend of many years, Rachel Van Asch brought her unique style of posh goth, skulls and roses, decadent, luxurious and interesting colour combinations to Sweden over ten years ago and the interest and love for her work was a clear indication that the nicest nation on earth were so open to any new ideas outside of their own view.

There's nothing like staying with families to really get a feel for a country and over the years I have begun to find out what true Swedish lifestyle is all about.  Firstly, nearly everyone has a second house in the countryside which they escape to for a long summer holiday. Don't expect to get your car fixed or your house repaired during the summer, as they've all disappeared off to wooden cabins near lakes.  The Swedish summer house is all about getting back to your roots, it's rustic, wild and away from the mod-cons. 

This seasons photo shoot for the Van Asch Autumn Winter catalogue took us to visit the beautiful yoga teacher Anna at her family plot about an hour outside Stockholm.  Typical of how the family ethos works over here, well, you have a bit of land with your summer house, and then your sons and daughters build their little cabins on it so that you can all be together for the long hot summer days. 

Anna's little three cabin area doesn't even have an inside loo! She takes her washing-up in a bowl to the veranda overlooking the lake, while all around on the gently sloping hillside there are blueberries ripe for the picking.  Perhaps you can even catch your own supper by fishing in the lake?

The Swedish don't leave their style behind though when they go on holiday, oh no, and so Anna has featured William Morris wallpaper in her little cabins, mixing it with traditional Swedish antiques. She so loves his designs that she even wears them! 

On a visit to Uppsala (a bit of a Viking pilgrimage for me as I'm mad for the tv series!) we found some very cool and stylish interior shops. Urban Collection being one of them and despite it's name, yes here was proof positive that Morris & Co designs are most definitely the theme of the moment here. Mixing it with cool contemporary, I really need to see more of how the Swedes are using it and I'm excited that perhaps I may give this a go myself. 

My first ever real passion was for the Pre-Raphaelites, I knew their names and their lovers names from the age of 12, I visited their paintings in the Tate Britain (back when they were so unfashionable they were hidden in the basement).  I visited William Morris's house so long ago I can hardly remember it and I sat and copied his patterns into my sketch book.  

So, I really need to get back into his designs again, and as I may be moving house for a new re-decoration project, then this could be the perfect time to mix up some Arts n Crafts styles with the Bohemian ethnic. Could be very interesting I think. It's time to start raiding the charity shops then for old William Morris fabrics before the trend hits the UK again.  

 And so before I sign off, here's a sneaky peak at our creation for the Van Asch shoot, our warrior queen ...

Van Asch will be showing their new Yoga and Clothing at Formex for Autumn Winter buying. 
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