Celebrating 50 years of witty and whimsical design
In celebration of its 50th anniversary since first opening on Chelsea’s trendy King’s Road at the height of the Swinging Sixties, Osborne & Little has created a patriotic pattern that subtly represents their love for Great Britain. Along with this devotion to Britain, the brand is also celebrating its birthday with a design that nudges to the British love for the Italian Riviera; tumbles of painted houses facing out to sea take us back to heady summers in Italy. If its ‘British Isles Damask’ celebrates a 50 year relationship, then the ‘Portovenere’ surely represents a passionate love affair. Either way, both designs are part of the new S/S18 Manarola collection and have us dreaming of sunnier climes.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Since launching its first ever collection of hand-printed wallpapers in 1968, Osborne and Little has branched out to include silks and embroideries, printed linens and cottons, wools and velvets and chenilles, voiles and trimmings, and has collaborated with celebrated designers such as Zandra Rhodes, Quentin Blake, Nina Campbell and Matthew Williamson.
The brand has also worked closely with the Royal College of Art, commending and commissioning designs from talented young designers. You’ll find Osborne & Little’s wallpapers and fabrics in some of the world’s most stylish homes, as well as in major hotels from Marrakech to Moscow – not to mention The White House and numerous royal palaces.
One of their most recent projects, the aforementioned ‘British Isles Damask’, was for the launch of Heathrow’s Terminal 5 and British Airways lounges worldwide. Designed as a damask wallpaper in metallic colourways in the 2018 spring collection Manarola, the patriotic all-over pattern alludes to the four countries of the United Kingdom; the rose of England, the thistle of Scotland, the daffodil of Wales and leaves of flax for Northern Ireland.
Among the rest of the Manarola collection are Sirocco – the famous wind which blows from the Sahara across the Mediterranean lends its name to a collection of softly coloured linens that evoke memories of summer breezes – Palazzo velvets, Castello chenilles, Mezzanotte polyester (washable, and with the appearance of woven linen), and our favourite; the refreshingly different Portovenere. The carefree cluster of sun-kissed palazzos has us looking up trips to Cinque Terre, pronto.