Ep. 10: Holly Hollingsworth Phillips: Florence Broadhurst's Fearless Frontier


Holly Hollingsworth Phillips

Florence Broadhurst's Fearless Frontier

Episode Notes

With zero notion of a "glass ceiling," Florence Broadhurst brushed bold, new strokes across the landscape of midcentury wallpaper and textile design, and her brand is still ahead of its time. Interior designer Holly Hollingsworth Phillips, owner of The English Room in Charlotte, NC. has been named by Signature Design Archive as the first US brand ambassador for the iconic brand, focused on the Florence Broadhurst Fearless Design campaign for 2018. A maven of maximalist sophistication herself, Holly talks about the brand's fresh appeal, her role as ambassador, and her own "buy what you love, do what you love" signature style.

Read the full article here, transcript below.

LOCATION: High Point Spring Market 2018, High Point, North Carolilna

DATE OF INTERVIEW: April 14, 2018

INTERVIEWED: Holly Hollingsworth Phillips, Owner, The English room



TDD:  You've just been named the first US brand ambassador for Florence Broadhurst and for the brands' Fearless Design campaign. And I wonder, what excites you the most about representing this brand?

HHP:  Well, I think the fearless design fits so well with what I do. I'm a huge fan of color and pattern and layers of more pattern and pattern. So I kind of loved the 'more is more' aesthetic and so did Florence. I feel like I align really well with the brand and it's something that I naturally have been drawn to for years. Unfortunately, in terms of the wallpaper, it hasn't been very accessible to American designers. So it's a really an exciting time as York is coming on as well as Selamat Designs having their new collection and expanding the collection. So it's a great time for Florence Broadhurst.

TDD:  What are some of her design ideals that you admire the most and how more specifically do they align with your own? 

HHP:  She was a prolific designer. She had over 500 patterns, so she really loved pattern more than anything. She was unbelievable; how many people she had working for her in her studio and what she produced in a really pretty short amount of time. And this was her third act. This was her third career. She was a singer and dancer. She actually had a school in Shanghai for teaching musical education to students. She then was a fashion designer in London and said she was French. This was her third act. So it's really interesting that she truly is the fearless design leader. I kind of feel the same way about design. It should be fun, it should be exciting. It should be pattern, versus living in something so sterile.

TDD:  So it's kind of a no rules approach to everything.

HHP:  Absolutely. It's kind of buy what you love, do what you love, make your life, you're a part of her fearless design campaign.

TDD:  What do you think would happen if she met, say Phyllis Morris or Iris Apfel?

HHP:  They would probably not get along as I would imagine they're such strong personalities.  I mean, I think she is that kind of Iris Apfel of her generation. I think she loved the way she lived and dressed, from the red wigs out front. Really, she was iconic and she did not care what other people thought. She really was fearless in how she lived her life and made it all her own, which is what we can all strive to do.

TDD:  And I thought you might say there might be an implosion in the universe if they met.

HHP:  Right, kind of all of those people have the same personality.

TDD:  In what environments do you see her designs best incorporated?

HHP:  I think her designs can go from very traditional, the cranes wallpaper or the egrets are some of my favorites and they can look really traditional, but then you can see them in projects where they look very modern. So it's really interesting how broad her brand is and how much you can actually see, how much it can go from contemporary to traditional very easily.

TDD:  What about the specific ones that are featured here? What are some of your favorites?

HHP:  The new Cockatoo chair, which is right behind me is absolutely adorable. It's one of the new launches for this market and I love that it has the white lacquer with the faux bamboo. It's on the carved wood frame with the cockatoo arm, which is a nod to her famous Cockatoo wallpaper. And then the rattan and caning on it. I felt like the caning is so hot right now and wicker and rattan is, just from one day at market walking through, I feel like it's everywhere, which is nice.

TDD:  And it can go in so many places.  You almost almost feel like that little bit of British Colonial or tropical - so many different environments.

HHP: Absolutely, and I think you can dress it up too and put on a more formal fabric, or it can be very playful. I love the whimsy of her designs -  when they're not serious, they're sophisticated still in some way.

TDD:  Don't you think that's really where we are? We're kind of in a no rules environment?

HHP: And I think that's what makes design interesting right now, because for so long it was very traditional and you felt like you had to follow this kind of rule of your sofas, and your chairs are this, and your side tables should match, and now it's everything should be different and everything should be fun. It should be what speaks to you and what makes you happy and I think that's how it should all be done. It should be everything in your house, you should love. You shouldn't buy anything unless you love it.

TDD:  Just whatever you're in the mood for.  What colors do you see are prevalent right now?

HHP:  I have a serious love of chartreuse. I can't seem to get enough, which is funny. It's kind of coming back down. I think we're still seeing lots of lavender or lilac; chartreuse is certainly there. And I think jewel tones, bright jewel tones. Bold color is here. I mean, I think the beige on beige is kind of dying. I still use a lot of neutrals, as colorful a designer as I am. I still use a lot of neutral for base things and then really punch it up with lamps, art, pillows, and accessories for the client that's scared of color.

TDD:  Do you ever have a client kind of say, I'm not sure about what you're doing here?

HHP:  Absolutely. I'm like, you just have to trust me. This is why you hired me. And I still have clients who want the very neutral look, and I can certainly do that, but what I prefer is to do something, give them something that's a little more bold, a little more fun.

TDD:  What are some of the things that you will be doing as part of the campaign?

HHP:  I'll be promoting the new wallpaper collection. I will be using it for myself, which I can't wait, so that'll be exciting and I will be sharing a little bit about Florence every month on my blog as well as sharing lots about Florence - her patterns and her designs on Instagram. There are over 500 patterns I think they've found thus far and they continue to find archives all over Australia, which was really fun. Somebody in their house, will take down something and there'll be wallpaper behind it. That's a Florence wallpaper. So they're continuing to uncover archives of hers. She was so prolific. It was amazing.