In the chic mid­win­ter

Christmas is no time for Min­i­mal­ist re­straint

Country Life Every Week - - Interior Design - Giles Kime

MY first job was on an in­te­ri­ors mag­a­zine that ig­nored Christmas. While com­peti­tors filled their De­cem­ber is­sues with ever more in­ven­tive things to do with holly, mistle­toe and lengths of rib­bon, ours was very much busi­ness as usual. I’m not aware that the edi­tor was a fer­vent Hu­man­ist (or in­deed that Hu­man­ists are es­pe­cially prone to fer­vour). In­stead, I sus­pect her ap­proach ac­knowl­edged the fact that clas­sic Christmas dec­o­ra­tion and quiet good taste are in­com­pat­i­ble.

‘Even the icily cool hip­ster gen­er­a­tion is be­ing thawed’

Since then, those of a Modernist per­sua­sion have sought to con­found this stance with a pared­back ap­proach that is sym­pa­thetic to their Min­i­mal­ist sen­si­bil­i­ties— a lonely string of fairy lights trail­ing across a man­tel­piece, a few art­fully placed tea lights and, if they’re feel­ing devil-may-care, an il­lu­mi­nated deer’s head. ‘Yes,’ they say, ‘we are quite Scan­di­na­vian in how we do Christmas dec­o­ra­tion.’

This ap­proach fails to recog­nise that the only re­strained re­li­gious fes­ti­vals are Lent and Yom Kip­pur. Al­most all the oth­ers, from Easter to Di­wali, are about fun. Two re­tail­ers that recog­nise this fact are OKA and Wil­liam Ye­oward. The lat­ter’s cur­rent range in­cludes ev­ery­thing from squir­rels to a dis­tinctly hir­sute, light-up yeti church. The cen­tre­piece of OKA’S 2016 Christmas of­fer­ing is a snowy-owl tree dec­o­ra­tion (main pic­ture) that can be put to all sorts of in­ven­tive uses.

All this rev­el­ling in fri­vol­ity no longer ap­pears to be just for a nos­tal­gic older gen­er­a­tion, ei­ther. There are signs that it’s even be­gin­ning to in­fil­trate Shored­itch, one of Lon­don’s achingly fash­ion­able bor­oughs; the House of Hack­ney’s Christmas of­fer­ing in­cludes baubles in the shape of hip­pos (bot­tom right) and flamin­gos—ev­i­dence, per­haps, that even the icily cool hip­ster gen­er­a­tion is at last be­ing thawed by the spirit of an over-the-top Christmas.

Snowy owls, flamin­gos and hip­pos add a touch of fes­tive flair and fri­vol­ity for those who like to make a state­ment at Christmas

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