Five minutes with Vanessa Holden of West Elm


Courtesy Of: West Elm

It might be your go-to source for exotic patterns and sleek mid-century modern silhouettes, but West Elm probably isn’t the first place you’d think of for eye-popping colour.

Well, that’s about to change. Vanessa Holden, West Elm’s creative director, has dubbed 2014 the “Year of Living in Colour,” embracing hues like coral, paprika and pine-needle green for the brand’s bold new designs.  The Australian-born, New York-based tastemaker recently popped into West Elm’s Toronto showroom to share the inside scoop on colour’s big comeback.
Brett Walther: Why are people ready for colour now?
Vanessa Holden: “For a long time, when people laid down a neutral foundation in their homes, it was in shades of oatmeal, flax and linen. Now people are transitioning to greys—from dove to charcoal—and suddenly they’re able to play across the full spectrum of colour, from cool to warm. Grey is the friendliest neutral and a gateway to colour.”
BW: How is this movement influencing our furniture choices?
VH: “We’re definitely seeing a lot more interest in special-order upholstery in richer colours. Colour is stillrare for a large footprint. People aren’t buying magenta couches or daffodil-yellow sofas, but they do want a small settee or upholstered chairs in beautiful blue velvet.”
BW: What’s the key to getting colour right?
VH: “Confidence. That whole ‘pops-of-colour‘ movement of the past three or four years served as a great entry into colour, but there was still something tentative about it. Colour is most successful when it looks intentional, and that means big, specific statements.”


By: Brett Walther


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