I was recently asked to host two Christmas workshops in collaboration with my old employer Anthropologie. The first took place at the newest outpost for the members-only Soho House group, Soho Farmhouse in Oxfordshire, which was really gorgeous, if a little muddy. The second was at Selfridges on Oxford Street in Central London. For both workshops I styled a decadent Christmas table, talking the guests through my ideas for a handmade but luxurious table setting; I offered creative ideas for gift wrapping; and I taught the guests how to make a star ornament similar to something you’d see in Anthropologie’s Christmas windows. These ladies (and one man) loved it!
The most popular idea by far was my gold-sprayed artichokes which I hollowed out and filled with a votive candle. Coated with glossy gold paint, they end up looking like metal and are a great talking point for a dinner party. Also, gold-leafed pears with mini luggage tags tied on as name place holders. Gold-sprayed walnuts piled up as a centre piece. You name it , I turned it gold. As my old Anthro co-worker and I used to joke – when it comes to Christmas, if in doubt put a bit of gold leaf on it.
The beginnings of our Christmas stars. I started with sheets of aluminium which I sprayed with water, then immediately sprayed with paint to get that lovely dappled effect. Once dry I used a die cutter to create the star shape. Labour intensive? Yes. Worth it? Definitely (athough my sliced and tattered fingers might disagree).Some workshoppers (and the one man I mentioned) very happy – and possibly tipsy – with their completed stars at Selfridges.And a few peeks of Soho Farmhouse and its earthy/shabby/luxe interiors (or in this case exteriors). Not since I left LA have I seen an outdoor room done properly. The UK’s weather makes it tricky, but Soho Farmhouse just went for it anyway. Worn rugs, leather armchairs, real lamps, a ping pong table, and a fire that smelled like Christmas in the country (which it was). There’s also a boating pond, cute little green vans and tiny electric BMW’s to drive you around in case you forgot your wellies (although they lend you those as well). All in all, it’s what I like to call posh Butlin’s and it was a real treat to visit so soon after they opened to see what all the fuss was about.