MARION REYNOLDS - Interview with the Fashion and Interior Designer who has styled young Kardashians and Diddys.
Fashion Designer turned Interior Designer - Marion has styled the children of royals and celebrities like Kim Kardashian, P. Diddy, Angelina Jolie and Sarah Jessica Parker. We ask her why fashion designers create great interiors.
You have had a stellar career in the fashion industry - what would you say were the key ingredients of your success?
Determination and hard work. Be a trendsetter, not a follower. The creative industry is a busy place and in order to be seen you need to have the ability to surprise and take risks.
You recently wrote: ‘When Fashion designers collaborate outside of their familiar catwalk, something magical happens. How has your career in fashion translated into interior design?
This describes me very well. I am from a fashion background that has transitioned into interior. I have not been trained in the boundaries, which gives me the freedom to create and daring to take risks. Moving into interior was a natural step for me. Design and interior has always been my passion. To surround myself with beautiful objects and interior is a part of my identity.
You have lived and worked in London, New Delhi, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Oslo, USA and Denmark - what draws you to embed in various cultures?
Living and working in so many countries has influenced me in many ways. Leaving behind what is familiar to settle in the unfamiliar comes with it’s own challenges. Everything is new, the job, colleagues, city, streets, culture, house and food keeps you on your toes. How you deal with this is what makes you grow as a person and enriches your life. This is a lifestyle. I find it more difficult to come ‘home’ where you feel everything is as you left it. This is when I feel my creativity stagnates. I find different cultures incredibly fascinating and always learn something very valuable from my interactions with people at all levels, from street vendors to Bollywood directors.
Your work in fashion and interior design strike me as ‘eclectic influences meet uncompromising refinement’ - How would you describe your style in your own words?
Thank you; I think it is easier for people on the outside to define my style but if I were to try,
I would describe my style as opulent but also nostalgic, I love the diversity in elements and expression. My style will always have a subtle undertone of lux.
You finished top of your class at the prestigious French Fashion Design University, Esmod – how did your education help to future-proof your career?
I remember my first day, on the notice board it was a list of suggested vitamins to take. I thought it was odd at the time but a month in, it made perfect sense. It was French teachers and discipline all the way. My first meeting with the teachers left me thinking what have I signed up for. The information was clear, there were no excuses not to deliver a project on time, the class would reduce to half after 6 months and for the next 3 years the word vacation would be a vague memory.
I would say these are the key points that has shaped me as a designer:
Be a trendsetter, not follower.
Always keep to the deadline, always!
Change – you can never fully prepare yourself for it but the understanding that when you think a collection is complete; it never is.
Work ethics and discipline.
You have a vast amount of sourcing knowledge – ranging from Rugs by Dianne Von Furstenberg to Petrified Wood Furniture from Indonesia – how do you work with clients to gently expand their horizons?
The key for me is the understanding of the client and their needs. Whether it’s a new restaurant to open, a private home or a property going on the market. Only after understanding the client’s needs, can I influence and use my esthetic knowledge. During this creative process it’s vital to keep within the clients universe and to bring them along on this creative journey as then they will be more receptive to change and design they would not naturally have embraced themselves.
Part of your proposition is deep knowledge of the local market – why is it important for design consultants to also be property investment consultants?
We can see the potential in the property. Having the ability to see past the renovations, clutters or decoration is a skill not everyone processes. It’s our job to help the client see past this and present them with the opportunity and the potential that is in front of them. This allows the client to make a fully informed decision in their buying process. At the end of the day it all comes down to one thing, sales. With property it’s all about getting one more bidder in the auction. It’s my job to attract the client to the property by creating a visual universe they can see themself living in.
In your online shop you curate ‘carefully selected treasures’ that are affordable – why is it important for good taste to be accessible?
The world has become very small, which means the choices of things people are faced with are huge! My Grandparents would visit their local store and choose from the stock they had but now it is difficult to know what options are available to you. Part of my passion is keeping up with not only the latest trends in interiors but also what vintage items will mix well with them. When selecting my treasures, I like to keep a balance of style and quality.
You have focused on styling young girls in the past – is the furniture industry missing out on high quality products for that group?
I feel in Scandinavia we have focus on children’s furniture, quality and design. Having said that, many are led by trends and price over quality, no different then from the fashion industry. There is amazing design furniture with heirloom qualities for children on the market but the market is unfortunately led by quick purchases in volume at lower cost. Comparing the two industries the interior industry is less volatile.
What are your biggest all-time and current creative influences?
Hotels. On my travels over the years I always prioritized staying in good hotels. I can make my itinerary around a hotel, so the Hotel sets the destination. It’s the perfect illusion and stages were I can be the most creative.
You settled in Helsingborg to raise your daughter – what was it about this town that makes it a great place to live?
Had you asked me 10 years ago if I would ever live in Sweden, my answer would be no. It was never on my list of places to live. Some times life has its own plan for you. We moved here from London setting up our design company with the intention to move back. During our first years here we traveled a lot so it was nice to return to a place where the pulse was a few beats down from New York and Shanghai. This gave me the calmness to create new collections. We live 100 meters from white sandy beaches with the same distance to the forest; an ideal place to raise our daughter. We are on our 7th year and are enjoying a more laid back lifestyle, for now. When I get a big city urge I take the car and we’re in Copenhagen in an hour. Having everything within reach is amazing.
What local furniture brands and artists would you recommend we check out?
Scandinavia has so much creative talent and difficult to limit the list. I have favorites within the different design houses, and not the range as a whole. Here are a few: Bruno Mathsson, Arne Norell, Eric Sigrfid Persson, Overgaard & Dyrman, Poul Kjærholm, Verner Panton, Arne Jacobsen, Hans J. Wagner, Preben Fabricius, Gubi, OX Denmark, Sigurd Resell, AYTM, Smaelta, Louise Roe Copenhagen, Menu, Skultuna.
Credits – Pastiche