I recently became London’s most fashionable garden designer. I went to the Fashion and Textile in Bermondsey, London, where they had a exhibition of work by Louise Dahl-Wolfe. She is credited with modernising fashion photography and her iconic images depict beautifully the era in which she lived.
She studied anatomy as well as drawing during her student days in San Francisco. She cites this as being an enormous boom to her fashion photography as it made her aware of the differences between men’s and women’s bodies both in terms of form and movement.
Fashionable garden designer
For me, there is always excitement at the point where design needs art. As an art student myself, I love the form-follows-function notion, and I am compelled to make my craft as artistic as possible. When your creativity also needs to be functional it throws up a new challenge which I find hugely exciting. I love bringing that energy to my clients because it will always unearth their passion for garden design. This is why I am making a point of visiting as many art exhibitions and design shows as I can.
Fashion and gardens
To keep my work influenced by changing styles of what is current and what has gone before means that I am permanently being influenced by all forms of art and design. This exhibition was no exception, and as I found out, the works of Louise Dahl-Wolfe really inspire the part of my mind that creates your garden.
The world around us
Gardens, unlike fashion, are not expected to be icons of design. After all, many magazines covers feature famous icons from the film, celebrity and fashion world, shot by renowned photographers. The finest landscaped gardens are rarely given such attention. Where fashion and garden design do meet however, is the use of colour and materials to shape the world around them. The bright funky colours of the Harper’s Bazaar magazine from June 1953 show a new world opening up to tourism, present in the Moroccan tile background. Bold moves, such as the cover from September 1949, have a vast proportion of the space left empty, the fashion model offset in the bottom left-hand corner. It is pure Dior. Understated and classy.
Fashioning the garden format
The front cover of the magazine is very similar to a garden layout. The composition of the space is the beauty of the design. Magazines portray items of beauty as part of a lifestyle. Similarly in gardens. Ultimately, the basic elements of elegant garden design are a hard surface, usually a lawn, some plants, and perhaps a feature or two. Simplicity of inspiration and my being present in the needs and desires of you, the client, defines the garden’s style. The colours used in the Harper’s Bazaar iconic covers are cutting edge for the time. There’s no reason why your garden can’t be as inspirational for you to look at, too.