Flora Soames studied History of Art at Edinburgh University, leaving with a degree with which she intended to kick-start a career in the art world. She quickly realised though that working in the art world, more often than not, entails being chained to a glass desk in Mayfair rather than working directly with artists. Serendipity had it however that Ken Bolan, the owner of Talisman, was looking to set up in London and needed a creative director. Enter Flora, who subsequently worked there for several years before setting up on her own as an interior designer. Now Flora is one of House & Gardens Top 100 designers and in 2019 she dropped her first line in fabrics & wallpapers, the launch of which had the design world in a frenzy. It was the stuff that dreams are made of: Edward Hurst's barn covered in chintz and flowers. Well, the stuff that my dreams are made of at least.
It has been an odd year for all of us, but even more so for Flora who has given birth in lockdown which I think must one hell of a rollercoaster. So I was so pleased that, with her new baby and an ever-expanding business, she was able to take the time to humour me with Tete a Tat!
Best Moment in your career so far?
The launch of my fabric collection with all my friends and family. It was a real labour of love in every sense and seeing it all come together in front of those who really matter to me was a huge moment. That and Robert Kime being quoted in his Top Ten- to say he admired my ‘wonderful sense of colour’.
What is your favourite day of the week?
Friday, when I largely work from home with our baby Lily Hope bouncing on my lap. I have time to peruse my textile collection for inspiration towards upcoming designs and then take her and the dogs for long walks in the woods behind my house whilst deliberating these over and over again in my head. I have to have a distance from the office in order to do so.
Any good advice? Who gave it to you?
Melissa Wyndham used to say no solution to any problem is further than a few phone calls away. Having taken a leaf out of her book, I rarely take no for an answer!
A vintage Landrover Defender- the muddy paws in my current car is constantly under scrutiny by friends and clients alike.
Nancy Lancaster- she was taste personified both at home and at work.
Alexander Macdonald-Buchanan- talented, patient and kind.
Daphne Odora- I wish I could bottle it and it flowers when little else is out in the garden yet.
What movie can you watch over and over without ever getting tired of?
International Velvet with Tatum O’Neal.
Favourite Restaurant in the world?
Da Fiore in Venice. There is a single balcony hanging over the quiet canal. Deeply romantic and delicious.
What would your autobiography be called?
Given I can’t steal ‘Too much of a good thing can be wonderful’ from Mae West- let’s go with ‘Collecting AND colour is key’!
Do you have any annoying habits?
Never being able to pass a market stall or antique shop without perusing- put it this way, you don’t want to visit a French market with me unless you’re in it for the long haul.
What is often your last thought before going to sleep?
Is there a (now online) antique textile sale I should be bidding on instead of turning out the light!
A song that can always make your foot tap?
Supertramp, I was indoctrinated by my mother.