Amara and Elizabeth Scarlett: it’s the perfect match. With a textile heritage and background in fine art, Elizabeth Petrides has always been driven by her enduring love of soft textiles, so when we first collaborated with the designer last year, we knew we’d found a fabulous partnership.
Finding inspiration everywhere from music to books, here she discusses the thought process behind the brand new Amara x ES Swallows collection, and we find out what’s at the top of her Christmas wish list…
1. From the initial idea to the finished product, can you talk us through the creative process for a design?
It starts with whatever I am most interested in at the time. That can be a trend, a colour, a movement, something I’ve read, music I’ve listened to. This usually develops into an idea, and I start to look out for ways to bring this to life visually. Once I have imagined the motifs, patterns, colours I get my drawing pad out along with moodboard images I’ve collected and free style the initial design in pencil roughly. Then I draw over that in black pen and pay more attention to the detail and form of the design. I follow this by texturing the design with colours, being careful to limit myself to 9 colours so the design can be embroidered as the machine only fits 9 threads. Then I request fabric swatches from our factory and try different base colour mock ups with the design once it is turned into a digital drawing. When I have a good idea of how the final piece will look I request samples and lay them all out together to pull together a collection.
2. Where did the inspiration come from for the Swallows collection?
I wanted to design something really decadent and regal, perfect for the glamour and glitz of the Christmas season. I have been interested in bird shapes for a while now and looking for the right type. I love the energy of the swallow bird and how they dip and swoop across the night sky at dusk. I always like my designs to be bursting with character and movement so the swallows energy was great fun to translate onto paper.
3. Is there a story behind the colour palette?
I used a black velvet base to capture the deepness of the night’s sky and to contrast against the black and gold in the swallows embroidery. I thought it would be a timeless colour palette, and add a bit of glamour to a winter accessory.
4. We’re sure the Swallows collection is on many Christmas wish lists this year, what’s on yours?
I love trinkets and treasures, anything with a story or a design I can relate to. I love the gold turtle trinket on Amara it reminds me of my travels in Kenya and would go perfectly in my home. I also love this Julia Knight pineapple serving set as I love entertaining and these Bitossi home goblets I love decorating my home and building a collection of accessories that will be with me forever! **
5. Can you tell us about the best Christmas gift you’ve ever received?
It would have to be my dog Lamu. She’s a cockapoo and my husband got her a couple of weeks before Christmas last year. Safe to say she has brought so much joy and was the best present for keeps!
6. What are you doing for Christmas this year?
I’ll be with family, singing songs and eating delicious food.
Do you prefer to spend it at home or away?
7. What does Christmas look like in your home?
My mum hosts Christmas Day and is an amazing decorator. She really goes to town, there is always a glowing Christmas tree and wreaths of foliage on every surface. It’s magical!
8. Do you have any Christmas traditions you can tell us about?
Buck’s Fizz at breakfast, stockings at sunrise and in the afternoon after the Queen’s speech we all love to get on the karaoke!