I don't think it would be an exaggeration if I were to say that one of my favourite homes of all time is the home of Carolina Irving. I have cited it many a time when talking about iconic rooms and interiors that have inspired me. I think of it whenever I am trying to layer fabrics & patterns, although unfortunately my attempts never come out as effortlessly beautiful as they do in the world of Carolina. No surprise there. Some people have a natural affinity for patterns and Carolina is most definitely one of those people. She was born in the United States to Venezuelan parents and was educated in Paris. She went on to study art history and archaeology at the Ecole du Louvre, where she specialized in 17th Century Italian art and began her never-ending fascination with design and antique textile documents. As she puts it: "I particularly like fabrics that are easy to live with, look handmade, slightly old and colours that are not jarring, but never beige… I'm not a beige person!"
Thank god! In 2006, she started her fabric collection; when I started at House & Garden I remember sorting through the masses of fabric swatches and coming across 'Indian Flower', which must have been five years ago. To this day it remains one of my favourite fabrics, and I have a sneaking suspicion it was a subtle catalyst for my love of red and white stripes.
She has worked with some of the great names in interior design, and was the Creative Director of Oscar De La Renta whilst also working as an editor on a pleather of magazines, including Elle Decor & Vogue Living. In 2013 she joined forces with Penny Morrison to create the jaw-droppingly beautiful Irving & Morrison. Most recently, she has embarked on a venture with her two daughters, Olympia and Ariadne. If I wasn't already head over heels with her, I would be now. Carolina Irving & Daughters range of tableware is quite the most beautiful on the market; they work closely with artisans in Portugal, Spain and India, with a commitment to keeping these precious skills alive.
As ever, I am hugely touched by Carolina agreeing to answer these questions. I was genuinely embarrassed to ask the questions - 'Do you believe in ghosts?' but my curiosity got the better of me as ever!
Best Moment in your career so far?
Three years ago when my daughters Olympia and Ariadne decided to join me to create Carolina Irving and daughters.
Do you believe in ghosts?
I absolutely believe in ghosts
Favourite find? (vintage/ antique - clothes / furniture)
Twenty years ago at Sotheby’s in NY, rolled up in a plastic bag and miscatalogued, the Venezuelan crest made out of feathers.
My sister’s restaurant in Paris, Le Ferdi.
Any good advice? Who gave it to you?
Follow your instinct no matter what and stick to it. ( as per Anna Wintour in one of her master classes)
Our house in Melides. Portugal
Pot pourri Santa Maria Novella
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
What kept you sane during lockdown?
Videos of Russian ballet on insta. Have become obsessed.
A song that can always make your foot tap?
Mambo #5 by Lou Bega