The Inspiration and Shoot


A southern Italian town in the Basilicata region where days are slow, animated men sit outside and chat, and the gelato store is always open. A cinematic town called Bernalda – untouched and authentic – where little English is spoken and few tourists venture. And that is its charm.

I sought great inspiration when designing my latest collection from a recent family holiday to the region, where we stayed at Palazzo Margherita – a grand and dreamy 19th century palazzo owned and operated by Francis Ford Coppola and his Family.

Everywhere you look at Palazzo Margherita are Italian still life compositions — I loved the iron tables and chairs in the courtyard outside the stone kitchen with local ceramic bowls of walnuts and fresh fruit, small cups of strong espresso and an assortment of freshly baked biscotti. The beautiful overgrown garden of enormous cacti, bougainvillea and palm trees around the old fountain added to the tranquility. This is where the Coppola Family holiday and they want to share this experience – the beauty, charm and barefoot quiet luxury.

It was overcast when we stayed, which added to the allure – so I have worked with a watercolour palette of deep inky ocean blues and steely greys to represent the clouds rolling in over the village. A touch of peach and burnt orange was added to reflect the Palazzo courtyard colours. Inspiration can come from anywhere!

With this in mind, I worked with stylist Tory Waller and photographer Abbi Kemp who brought my brief of ‘celebrating the authentic’ to life.

The wall in my studio was painted white with grey stripes to reflect the Charcoal Stripe pattern in my collection. Other set pieces included an enormous blue and white striped backdrop (which I also hand painted), together with stunning rugs on loan from The Rug Company at The Odd Piece; handcrafted pendant lights, a Malawi chair and various props from Tribe Dubai, and special old antique pieces I had at home in my collection.
On the morning of the shoot I baked a Dolce del Tre (The Cake of Three) to pay homage to the Italian Basilicata region.

Here are a few behind the scenes moments (my three week old son William and 3 year old daughter Olivia also make cameo appearances!).