Homegirl London pays homage to Lux and Bloom (usually written as Lux & Bloom). This brand is synonymous with luxury interior accessories. They are known for their exquisite soft furnishing fabrics and fabulous upholstery fabrics. From the purest silks to the softest cotton velvet and crisp cotton panama, it’s a textile lover’s dream. Ready-made luxury throws, sumptuous silk velvet cushions, premium upholstered footstools and delightful lampshades are available to adorn your boudoir and glam up your home. The captivating collection features delicate Oriental flora and fauna designs to Gothic glam sinister crows in ghostly greys and dramatic black. I caught up with the owner and designer to find out more about Lux and Bloom.
Meet The Lux and Bloom Designer
This brand is owned by Louise Armstrong Rushford. Louise tells me about her background – “I attended Cambridge College of Art and Design where I studied just about every aspect of visual art, from welding in sculpture to soldering tiny pieces of silver in jewellery design. I then moved to London where I gained a BA Hons in Sculpture at Ravensbourne College of Art and Design. This period was truly a steep learning curve with the emphasis on life drawing and all aspects of the techniques of making sculpture. I was immediately in love with clay and mould making which was perfect for the large female torsos I created at the time.”
Louise Armstrong Rushford
This led Louise to a postgraduate in Contemporary Dance and Choreography at the prestigious Laban Dance Centre which was then based at Goldsmiths University in South London. She reveals – “I had studied ballet as a child to quite a high level and discovered contemporary dance while at art school. I joined small touring dance company after college for a few years and also worked as dance and art specialist in schools and colleges. Now as a textile designer and looking back at my training in sculpture and then choreography, it is obvious that my skills have always lay in composition, form and shape and pattern whether with clay, bodies or fabric!”
Mr Magpie Cushion
Her business ideas came about last year when Louise was teaching drawing skills to first year textile students at Bath Spa Art school. She explains – “The students were developing designs for digital production. I was so inspired by them that I created my first textile design which was called ‘Crow Patrol’ and it’s still my best seller. I took this to London Design Week and had such an amazing response which led to a light bulb moment. With enormous will and hard work miraculously I have achieved everything so far with no financial help. My designs and products seem to sell well where ever I showcase them and it funds itself. I have taken the route of trade fairs so far which is a good way to get motoring as you only need to produce samples and then make to order. The stands are expensive but you have guaranteed visitors, retailers and therefore orders so it’s a route which works for me.”
Crow Patrol Cushion
As for the brand name, Louise tells me – “that actually took a while to come up with but was born out of ‘luxury’ as I decided to concentrate my business on the high end of the interiors market and ‘bloom’ as my starting point is always flora and fauna. I also love the way it sounds and looks visually … very well balanced.”
Chrysanths Japonais Lampshade
The business is situated in Bath which is where Louise now lives. She elaborates – “I’m originally from Glasgow but ended up in London. I left the capital some time ago with my young family as it seemed too hectic and expensive a place with a two-year-old. Bath is a stunning city, small enough to be safe and peaceful but large enough to have most of the cultural benefits of a city plus only two hours from London. I also have a cushion manufacturing company and a lampshade making business based in the area. This means my business can support local specialist industries and continue the aim of 100% made in Britain.”
View The Lux and Bloom Collection
The brand is focused on creating glamorous luxury textiles; the highest quality vibrant pure silks, super soft cotton velvets and crisp cotton panama. These are all printed at the Glasgow School of Art using the latest digital production. You can buy fabric by the metre to make your own home accessories. Or you can buy ready-made exotic silk and velvet throws, cotton velvet cushions, velvet footstools and some fabric lampshades and tassel doorstops. Louise also makes a limited edition range of wallpapers. The product colours are a vital part of the design; Louise elaborates – “Rich jewel colours or subtle ghostly hues with elegant greys or dramatic black represent the label. I generally only select a palette of two or three colours per design which keeps it simple and more elegant.”
Bill’s Bees Cushions and Lampshades
Louise talks me through her design style – “My focus is on Oriental flora and fauna inspired with a contemporary British twist and a hint of the Gothic. It’s glamorous, dramatic, beautiful, unique and art led. All the designs start life as my hand drawn illustrations and have very little other technical tampering with from start to finish. They are created by hand with pen and brush and not on the screen apart from basic preparation for digital production. This gives the finished designs a freshness and originality. There are six key designs so far with two more in the pipeline for later in 2016.”
Chrysanths Nuit Silk Cushions
Crow Patrol: “This design features sinister crows on the lookout in the thorny branches. This was my first design and was inspired by an 18 century American Indian tapestry design I saw while visiting the American Museum near Bath. The pattern is available in Gothic Grey or Gothic Rose and across all products.”
Crow Patrol Footstool
Mr Magpie: “One of the newest designs which features these striking confident birds in all their black and white glory set against a striped background for a perfect composition. In Lemon or Vanilla colourways, pure silk or cotton panama, cushions, throws and lampshades.
Bill’s Bees: “The newest design is a busy pattern of spiky thistles and fluffy wee bees. It is particularly special to me as it is dedicated to my late father who as a passionate Scottish patriot was often to be seen with a thistle in his lapel. He also adored bees and purple, as does his daughter! A choice of Highland Purple or Ghost Lilac and this design looks great in all fabrics and all products. Bill’s Bees is proving to be a fantastic seller so far.”
Bill’s Bees Fabric
Louise tells me about her other designs – “Little Finches focuses on tiny birds alert among the cowslips. It is very Chinese in feel with a fabulous flowing design. The print is available in Tangerine and Silver or Vintage Violet. Chrysanths Nuit features huge vibrant Chrysanthemums with strange birds hovering in the shadows. A very bold, large scale pattern in Cerise or Lime. This is available in pure silk only, in cushions and throws. Chrysanths Japonais is all about massive flowers with tiny hummingbirds. In Gothic Rose or Midnight Blue and in pure silk only. This design has been fantastically popular, particularly in the Gothic Rose colourway with its subtle shades of dull pinks and greys. Available in pure silk cushions, throws and lampshades.”
Little Finches Cushions
Inspiration for Louise comes from Chinese and Japanese art and design and beyond, she elaborates – “The Arts and Crafts Movement, Art Deco and Renaissance Art influence my work as does Victoriana. The natural and botanical worlds also play a large part especially the more sinister side. Then of course there’s dance, particularly Spanish Flamenco. The people who inspire me from the modern world are Alexander McQueen; he was a true artist who used textiles and fashion as his medium but he could have gone in any direction. Timorous Beasties, the design duo from Glasgow are bold and original. They always do their own thing, don’t follow trends but have still managed to be successful. You have to admire that.”
Buy The Lux and Bloom Products
To find out more about this brand and to buy the products visit the website: Lux and Bloom. To give you an idea of prices points – the fabric prices for pure silk or cotton velvet is £125 per metre and £110 for orders over 5m. Cotton panama is £115 per metre and £100 over 5m. Cushions range in retail price from Boudoir cushions at around £65 to Giant Floor cushions at £375. Footstools traditionally upholstered in 100% cotton velvet start at £275. Throws in pure silk decorated with giant silk tassels at £330 for medium sized to large at £395. Silk or cotton lampshades from £48. Louise often works with interior designers and sometimes takes on commissions for hand printed wallpaper, decorative painting on furniture and licenced designs. Contact her for more information.
Author: Homegirl London. Photographs: L&B. Thanks: Louise Armstrong Rushford.