How Window Displays become Story Tellers: London

Lisa Le PeurianHi! I’m Lisa and I’m Guest Blogging for Scarlet Opus. I moved to London in January, where I’ve been inspired by the culture, fashion, design, and fast pace of life, but most of all by the shopping! A trip down Oxford Street is now a daily (very expensive) route to work for me… so come along and have a look at the shopping temptations I face…

Walking down Oxford Street through the hustle & bustle of people – tourists, workers and street performers – with the noise of the buses, traffic and jibber-jabber of voices, there is nowhere to escape, nowhere to hide, nowhere to find peace and quiet other than the silent stillness of a shop window. I’m drawn in by the tranquility of the untouchable beauty juxtaposed against the heavily crowded streets of London.

oxford st

During a days shopping on Oxford street you pass many window displays but at the height of luxury in the West End, no one does it quite as well as Selfridges & Co, with its gilded gold, Art Deco surrounding, and ornate columns beautifully framing the windows below.

selfridgesSelfridges London East Corner by Andrew Meredith

‘Bug’s Diner’ is definitely my favorite window at Selfridges this season, with pastel colours, neon signs, jukebox and bugs!? This strange and fun mix of classic 50s, brought together with large plastic bugs, is very disconcerting in a diner setting but is interesting and eye-catching, and adds an intriguing shock factor. The full swing skirts, matching twin sets and pastel rinse wigs really create a strong retro vibe. The mono colour blocks on the mannequins work well against the checkerboard tile effect background and chrome finishes:


Alongside the diner window is the ‘Meet the Mixologist‘ window.  It’s part of the “Meet the Makers” promotion that Selfridges are hosting this season, enabling you to go along and meet the different personalities behind the making of the products, bars and restaurants that are within Selfridges. There are “live demonstrations, tours and tastings”. The ‘Meet the Mixologist’ window includes diffused pastel backdrops and neon lighting, with rotating ombres of liquor bottles screaming summer city party time:

mix-for-WEBIn complete contrast to these flirty and fun pastel tones and vibrant electric lights is the ‘Meet the Bakers‘ window display. The use of muted tones, bare wood and deep mint green bring a real feeling of comfort and authenticity, with freshly baked bread displayed in the window. Evocative touches are created by the left behind remnants of a customer - an umbrella, newspaper, coat, coffee cup and half eaten roll, reminding us of the simpler things in life:


Meet the Distillery‘ is the story behind the making of gin, which is of course a big part of the summer party scene.  But this window is presented in a stripped back style – a gentlemen’s library, among which the distillery equipment is displayed in the middle along with the home comforts of an armchair, book cases and dog bed (which actually represents Darcy the Labrador’s bed, who belongs to the founders of Cambridge Distillery, Will Lowe and his wife Lucy). It’s a very personal scene that tells a story behind the product you’re buying into, and it’s very comforting and draws you in.

Gin-for-WEBAnother department store that has taken a look at “The Makers” is Harrods.  Their windows are currently dressed to show unfinished garments and accessories, showing the pattern work and construction which tells the story behind how and where the pieces are made:

undressed-for-WEBSome of the ‘Maker’ themed Harrods windows have a big focus on handbags, and there are also handbags that are showcased with graffiti scrawled across them and the mannequins:


This graffiti theme is seen in lower end retail shops such as Topshop too, where splashes of colour decorate the surrounding surfaces of the window display. This look actually reminds me of Holi fest - the festival of colour, which was lots of fun this summer in London, throwing coloured chalk at one another!


Our thanks to Lisa Le Peurian for sharing her store window story finds with us.

If you’re attending TISE East at Miami Beach and you’re interested in learning more about creating store window displays based around storytelling and trend themes, then join Phil & Victoria on their exciting 2 part Workshop on October 20th More details here HERE

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Top 5 Garden Design Trend Tips

It’s August, the weather is glorious (mostly) and right now life is all about being outdoors as much as possible.  And that means that magazine pages are crammed full of this season’s ‘must have’ outdoor products and warn of your total humiliation if you don’t have a huge water feature in your garden by the end of the week!  Thankfully, I’m here with 5 top tips to cut through the codswallop and ensure you make sensible and sensational al fresco decisions this summer.

1. Furniture & Textiles

Garden furniture is not an impulse purchase.  Don’t get caught up in bargain priced tables & chairs in ‘fun’ colours made from bits of plastic, tubular metal, and wood that’s one grade up from balsa.  Simply steer clear of ‘special offer’ furniture on display outside supermarkets and DIY stores, because if you do buy it you’re 1 season away from owning a pile of sun-faded, fraying, rusting, rotting, cracked, creaking, wobbly, wonky junk!  Buy the best quality furniture you can afford and you’ll stand a chance of being able to use it again next year.  Want to stay on-trend? Think low Moroccan corner sofa or chaise lounge, cushions, cushions, cushions … plus an outdoor rug!  Yes, an outdoor rug!


ABOVE: Ikat cushions from Etsy seller CoupleHome in the UK; Treviso outdoor area rug from U.S-based CoolBackYards.

2. Lights

Unless you actually want your outdoor space to look like a bar, you might do best to avoid multi-coloured lights.  A warm 1 colour glow is the way to go (Think Bruce Munro’s work as pictured below).  Alternatively a subtle cold white shimmering light can also look magical. Don’t overdo it – you’re not looking to create enough light to land a plane – simply aim to create pockets of illumination that highlight seating areas and features such as trees, larger plants, pathways and sculptures.


ABOVE: Adjustable pathway lights from Florida-based Interior Deluxe; Halley curved LED floor lights designed by Jordi Vilardell & Meritxell Vidal for Vibia available from OLighting; Field Of Light by Bruce Munro.

3. Sculptures & Water Features

Big is beautiful when it comes to garden sculptures and water features … so don’t be buying tinkling little fountains and collections of random little ornaments.  In fact ornaments have no place being in your garden unless you’re going for a purposely kitsch thing!  Be brave enough to make a big, bold, simple, singular statement or display a cluster of smaller, but nevertheless striking, cloned pieces together as a grouping (like Neil Wilkins’ ‘Raindrops’ pictured below).  Top Tip: Rounded, curvaceous shapes will likely turn out to be easier to live with in the long run than sharp, thin, spiky shapes.


ABOVE: Mirror-polished stainless steel Water Wall by UK-based David Harber; Polished stainless steel Torus sculpture by UK-based David Harber; Glass Raindrops by            UK-based Neil Wilkin.


I’m sure you’ll be very familiar with the trend for bringing the outdoors, indoors.  But I’m a big fan of taking the indoors, outdoors – essentially creating outdoor living rooms and dining rooms with the same level of quality and decorative values that you’d look to achieve inside your home.  In fact outdoor dining areas are the perfect place to be even bolder with pattern and colour that you might be inside your home.  So experiment with mix & mismatched patterns and clashing colours.  Dare yourself to try something outside of your normal style.


ABOVE: Coral & Wilde’s Seaside patterned tableware from Brooklyn-based designer Jill Fenichell of Bongenre (the Queen of melamine!); Chainlink table runner from U.S-based etsy seller The Preppy Owl Boutique; Teal cookware & serveware by Le Creuset  (perfectly suitable for use on an outdoor gas grill).

5. Heaters

Yes, outdoor heaters are a practical purchase, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be gorgeous!  If you think of them as statement design features, almost sculptural, then you’ll be on the right track.  So whether you go for a natural fire pit or gas flames, seek out a heater with some serious personality or you’ll have missed an opportunity to add some serious style to your outdoor space.

montage 5 b

ABOVE: Allison Kindle Heater by California-based Kindle Living; Roberta Linear Fire Pit from Toronto-based Paloform;  Fire Table by UK-based David Harber.

js1600_scarlet opus editBuy the very best quality you can afford & be brave enough to make a bold style statement.

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Today I Love… Marshmallow Pastels

Over the past couple of weeks we have seen lots of emerging designers and architects experimenting with foam as a material. Its soft, touchable qualities draw us in, offering comfort in exaggerated forms. Foam is an essential building material used for many different applications around the world and the experimentation of this material is being pushed to the boundaries.

We’ve seen architects use it for installations designed for child friendly exhibitions such as Sungsin Eo, product designers that are experimenting with tactile installations and fashion designers that combine a range of different materials to create inspiring shaped garments on the body.

I love the use of the pastel colours, they offer a quiet calmness that has a clean, pure impression rather than it being a feminine palette, it promotes a more experimental concept with tactile qualities in the materials, shapes and textures.

It’s fun, experimental and begging to be touched, sat on, and even worn!

The use of pastel colours are very on trend right now, check out how you can work these colours into your wardrobe and home here!



1. Form follows foam by Therese Granlund

2. Neoplasticism in foam by Katja Windau

3. Valeska Jasso Colladoby

4. Foam and Glass by Roos Gomperts Studio

5. Form follows foam by Therese Granlund

6. Foam and Glass by Roos Gomperts Studio

7.Stefanie Högl and Matthias Borowski for kollektiv plus zwei

8. Valeska Jasso Collado

9. Neoplasticism in foam by Katja Windau

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Whatever happened to Zak?

Cast your mind back a couple of years and if you’ve been reading our blog since around 2012/13 you might recall a Work Placement student at Scarlet Opus called Zak who wrote a whole bunch of posts and helped to create our Autumn/Winter 2014/15 & trend boards.

zak and vAlthough Zak left us last summer to return to University to complete her degree, we’ve kept in touch and kept a keen eye on her development during her final year until last month Zak finally finished her degree and showcased her final collection.  And today we’re proud to share that collection with you!

Zak’s print designs were heavily influenced by our ‘Dangerous Apparitions’ trend forecast for 2014 (it’s a trend that Catherine took inspiration from for our dark, seductive Valentine’s Day post this year which included a fab montage showing how to translate the trend for Interiors – check it out if you missed it!).  It was fascinating for us to see Zak’s take on our trend and her translation into a truly sumptuous wallpaper collection.  Below Zak talks us through her designs, the inspiration and intention:

1ABOVE: Initial inspiration board

‘Hidden wonders” is a concept which is based upon what lies beneath the surreal transparency of the wild garden. It has an explosion of colour from my artistic expression of the imagination through dreams, free of conscious control and is linked with the perception of reality. It is a naturalistic approach revealing the unconscious and relating it to the realistic world, as there is ‘more that meets the eye’.


ABOVE: Initial Market board

It has two characteristics – dark seductive surrealism fused with light delicate femininity creating a mysterious mood full of soft, dreamy layers of the natural environment, which intervenes with releasing the imagination.

3ABOVE: Final wallpaper designs

The aim of the project was to create a tranquil, relaxing spa environment, which is stress free and transports the mind to a heavenly haven. It is an ultimate vision for a luxury majestic spa that is designed for the high-end of the market.


ABOVE: Close-up sections of Market board showing design in-situ

The wallpaper and cushions give the appearance of tactile textures and allows one to explore the potential of the luscious natural floral wild garden. The inspiration and creativity forms an escape to a Riviera of bloom and allows the individual to drift into a dream, opening doors to a new reality.


ABOVE: Close-up images of designs on cushions on Market board

78We are pleased to announce that Zak was awarded a 2:1.  Congratulations!!!

As she sets out on her journey into industry we wish her well.

zakYou can contact Zak regarding commissions or employment via:

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How to be Creative with your CV in a Millennial Generation

Being part of the millennial generation myself, I know how hard and frustrating it is to find a suitable job you want to apply for, not to mention then writing the perfect CV to accompany it!

As the economic climate didn’t favour our generation well, we have to work even harder to achieve our dream careers, carving our own path, the way we want to do it. We are the most educated generation, not to mention the deepest in-debt for this education, and most of us, including myself, are probably still living at home with parents! Yet we are tech savvy, we like flexibility and we are ambitious to move up in our career, on average only staying with the same company for 2 years. Therefore regular updates of our CV’s are essential.

This month I expect lots of millennials have attended their graduation date and will be spending the foreseeable future writing and sending their CV’s to potential employers. It is important for your CV to stand out from the rest, it’s not just about what you say but how you say it, presentation is vital! By no means am I saying everyone should have an extreme ‘outside the box’ CV, but I am encouraging you to take the time and care into writing one that accurately reflects who you are, the more effort you put in to the creation of your CV the more likely employers are to read it.

So here are a few inspirational creative CVs to have a look at.

The Resume- Ale

js1024_Brennan GleasonBrennan Gleason definitely thought outside the box when he brewed his own ale and used it as a way of promoting himself. The outside box contains his CV while the bottles display a portfolio of his graphic design work.


 Embroidered CV

js1024_MELISSA WASHINFor all you textile creatives take a look at Melissa Washin’s embroidered CV. It may be time consuming but it is unique and demonstrates technical abilities in it’s design.


 Three-Dimensional CV

js1024_odgers3Dresume_frontweb1Why not be imaginative and original in your CV creation, have a look at this three-dimensional CV idea by Sarah Odgers. This is an innovative idea that will no doubt have a dramatic effect on its reader.

Presentation Pack

Pat Schlaich is a graphic designer that created a promotional piece that was a miniature portfolio with business card and CV. This idea is fun and interactive for the reader yet it is clear and demonstrates all relevant information.

js1024_Pat Schlaich cv Fold out Envelope

Zi-Huai Shen’s  CV is a beautifully presented piece of design work within itself, he works on the idea of presenting personal visual design qualities in the work of the CV so that the interviewer can understand easier and gain more insight into personal and design abilities.­

js1024_zi-huai shen cv

Another way of promoting yourself is via video. There are many examples of video CV’s online as well as many tutorials on how to make it as professional as possible.

Check out Graeme Anthony’s video to give you an idea.


Here are 10 Top Tips to think about when writing your CV

  1. Keep it short and sweet, ideally no more than two A4 pages
  2. Make it well-structured and well presented
  3. Keep it relevant to the job description
  4. Don’t list irrelevant work experience
  5. Include what skills you learnt in each job that you list
  6. Don’t include passive interests like watching TV, make it interesting and diverse
  7. Keep it error free!
  8. Be clear and precise don’t use extravagant fonts or background images
  9. For creative jobs – online portfolio or website is essential
  10. Positive language, concentrate on strengths and sell yourself well

js1600_scarlet opus edit We are a positive and confident generation ready to take on the world! Have the best CV and be the best at what you do!

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