Colour me good – India Mahdavi’s interior tips
‘Off’ colours, graphic prints and lots of lighting – this is how to style your home, says ‘queen of colour’ India Mahdavi, who has just made over Tod’s Sloane Street store
SINKING BACK INTO
the sumptuous saffron velvet sofa and taking in the sweep of the revolving book shelves, cocktail bar and monochromatic geometric floor, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were in a swanky Knightsbridge apartment. Except the cocktail bar doubles as a cash desk and the shelves swivel round to reveal shoes.
Welcome to the latest incarnation of the Sloane Street outpost of luxury Italian accessories brand Tod’s. ‘A home away from home,’ was the brief Tod’s founder Diego Della Valle gave to the Paris-based ‘queen of colour’ – interior designer and architect India Mahdavi – when discussing the store’s revamp. ‘ We want customers to take their time, enjoy a coffee and feel at ease.’
Known for her unflinching way with a palette of ‘off ’ shades as well as punchy bolds, India set about finding silk de Gournay wallpaper in the perfect pink, heavy green velvet curtains and red-andblack lacquered tables to house carefully curated finds. ‘I thought of all the elements that make up a home – sofa, dining table, book shelves – and introduced those,’ she says. India also customised Tod’s famous D bag using her distinctive colour palette (think sunset oranges and a pale blue/ green she describes as a ‘thirsty’ colour) and there are exclusive loafers too, designed to complement the surroundings.
Born in Tehran, India’s maternal grandmother was a famous Cairo socialite who wore haute couture, smoked cigars and was one of the first Egyptian women to drive and play golf. A peripatetic childhood meant that India lived in four countries and speaks French, German and English.
After getting a degree in architecture she settled in Paris and spent seven years as artistic director for the interior designer Christian Liaigre. Of her love of colour she says, ‘I learned it was possible to express myself in ways other than language.’ She is especially known for her use of pink. ‘I think pink can say a lot. In this store, I’ve used it in quite a masculine way. I’m also quite into a mandarine au lait, which is like
a milky orange. I suppose I gravitate towards colours that are slightly off, or colours from the sunset. But I can work with whites, too. I always use a minimum of three colours; it’s about seeing how they speak to each other.’
Where do we mostly go wrong when it comes to our own home decoration? ‘People are afraid of not being personal enough or honest with who they are. The furniture and objects you collect over the years speak volumes about your personality, your history, the people and things you love most, and the person you are. That unique mix is the key to a truly stylish home.’ Tod’s, 35-36 Sloane St, London SW1X 9LP
Tod’s revamped store and (left) one of the brand’s bags India Mahdavi has customised in her colour palette