Tricia Guild loves colour which, in itself, is not terribly peculiar. Guild, however, is British, and the British, as everyone knows, are deeply afraid of colour. “The artist Howard Hodgkin was once quoted as saying that the British are ashamed of using colour. It expresses too much emotion,” says Guild, founder of the seminal London-based institution, Designers Guild. In her quest to bring patterns and prints into living rooms and bedrooms across the world, Guild has influenced three decades of design, penning more than a dozen books, collaborating with LG on a swank series of washing machines, and sweeping up numerous awards along the way. At Mumbai’s Bungalow 8 for a talk on colour and print trends, Guild spoke with us about doing the unthinkable—mixing stripes with florals—and why a little colour goes a long way.
Indians adore colour, and sometimes we tend to go overboard. Any advice?
I think Indians have this intuitive sense of colour and everywhere you look you can see that, and that’s always touched my heart.
What in India inspires you?
I’ve found the women in India extremely inspirational, and beautiful. Saris are just fantastic. You’ll see women walking down the street and you’ll think they had a chat in the morning about what they’re all going to wear. But it’s not like that. It’s just an innate sense.
Is there a rule about mixing florals with stripes?
Those go great together. But it has to be the right ones. It’s like anything. You have a feel for it; you can take risks, make eclectic mixtures of styles, and it can work or not. And the best way to help yourself is to read magazines, buy books, look around you just to try and make your eye more selective.
You partnered with LG to design washing machines. What’s the most fun project you’ve had?
Well, it was actually very exciting working with them. My books are also very exciting. I’m on my 13th book and just about to launch another book on using flowers and, when the book is there, you can’t suddenly say, ‘Oh well, I’ll change that page’. It’s done, it’s printed. But it’s the same with any collection. You can’t change it once it’s launched.
Do you look back on collections from 10 years ago and go, ‘Oh God, what was I thinking?’
Some things remain absolute favourites. But yeah, that’s why I always go and pick the first run of the collection because it means I can’t go back and say I wish I had done that differently. I’ve given it my best shot. But some things have a longer life than others.
Your husband is a restaurateur. Do you ever get inspired by food?
I love cooking and I think food is just as much a part of a lifestyle as anything else. You know what’s always interesting is a total lifestyle. And food is part of that. How you eat it, the way the food is served, the actual ingredients used, it’s all part of that which makes us who we are.
Designers Guild cushions will be available at Bungalow 8 until 25 March. Other furnishings can be found at F&F outlets around the country. Visit www.fandf.in.