10 questions with…Philippa Prinsloo of John Lewis

In our interview series, we talk to the experts about their trend predictions and styles. Here, we meet Philippa Prinsloo, Head of Design at John Lewis

Follow John Lewis on Instagram @johnlewisretail and Twitter @johnlewisretail

1. Which key trends should we be looking out for come summer?

Fusion – embrace the free spirited feel of summer with an eclectic mix of influences. Find globally inspired prints in earthy colours, distinctive furniture designs and a wealth of woven textures. Painted tableware, embroidered fabrics and playful details add a bohemian edge.

Scandi – brings together rugged textures, hardwearing materials and clean lines in contemporary designs that are built to weather a life outdoors. A subtle palette drawn from watercolour combined with soft greys with accents of dusky colour.

Modern country – inspired by enduring appeal of heritage designs, this trend evokes the idyllic feel of a rural garden. Find painterly floral prints in vibrant shades and outdoor furniture that balances traditional charm with subtle elements.

Summer party – brighten yup your outdoor space with Fifties silhouettes in hothouse hues. Practical pieces for alfresco entertaining sit happily with a selection of quirky accessories in this light-hearted look. A tropical palette and mix of bold prints complete the picture.

2. Where do you find your inspiration?

It comes from a mix of places and people. I have a team of 19 so when we start a season everyone has a lot to say – it can be anything from a new view on a trend after research trips or personal travel & exhibitions, to new homes they are decorating themselves or have visited and of course we look into the changing ways we live at home from voice activated hubs to making the best use of our spaces.

3. Predicting trends is big business. How does trend forecasting work?

It’s very much a gather of information – we absorb the shifts and predictions of economics, social behavioural & aesthetics plus what we know we want to do for our customers. We then filter it through the creative process.

Image credit: John Lewis

4. Can you share your top design tips?

Don’t be afraid to mix styles – your home should reflect your personality, so choose things you love. I have ‘pre loved’ furniture alongside really modern pieces. Be playful and trust your instincts. Be comfortable – don’t choose furniture just by looks, you want to be able to enjoy relaxing on a sofa or armchair for years. Try seating out in store before you buy and feel the fabrics. Allow a treat per room – it’s worth spending more on at a least one thing for each space. That could be anything from wallpaper to rugs or a statement piece of furniture. Consider functionality – think about how each room will work. Consider what you want to hide away and plan enough storage from the start.

5. Which designers should we be checking out?

Doshi Levien, Bethan Gray, Genevieve Bennett, Tom Raffield and my designer – Tom Bentleys DP knives – I am a convert.

Image credit: John Lewis

6. Have you always wanted to work as a designer?

I always knew I wanted to work with creative people and travel, wanting to work in the design world came later, which is a great mixture of both.

7. Do you see every product through from conception to execution?

There are key stages where we launch the research and creative vision concepts, then products go into the design development stage which can take between 6 months to two years, depending on the product. I review the collections at key stages but there are those that are much closer to it during its evolution – the designer, the buyer and the product technician who all work tirelessly to make each piece the best it can be.

Image credit: John Lewis

8. Describe your style in three words:

Simple, tactile and tranquil

9. What’s the most common decorating mistake you see?

I don’t see them – I just see wonderful ideas that suit the individual style.
Although, overhead lighting that is too bright – I’ve noticed it in public spaces – the right bulbs, ability to dim and a mix of sources allows you to flex with the time of day and the mood you want.

Image credit: John Lewis

10. What interiors objects are you currently lusting over?

Plants, I saw an a Zebra stemmed Tiger Elephant Ear plant, Alocasia zebrina. They can change a feel of any room.

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