When I picked up this month’s edition of Livingetc (shameless plug – I bloody love that magazine), it came with the latest John Lewis catalogue. I’ll be honest, it wasn’t that much of a draw for me – I like John Lewis as far as it goes but I rarely shop there. A few days later, I thought I’d have a flick through to see what John Lewis had on offer this season. I expected more of the usual – lots of pared back Scandi style, some on-trend geometrics and some delectable tableware (they always have nice tableware don’t they?!). Yup, they were all there, looking all shiny or muted or sophisticated. Or all three. Great stuff. But you know what I hadn’t seen coming? John Lewis’ new Fusion range which, frankly, is freakin’ awesome.
John Lewis describes Fusion as ‘a globally-influenced style that inspires the senses with its rich tapestry of colour, pattern and texture‘, and I really think they’ve nailed it. The collection clearly draws from a range of influences – there are kilim rugs, cushions and prints, bold Ikat designs mixed with Moroccan inspired hurricane lamps, as well as a genuine mix of Indo-Chinese finds (I spotted ornate metallic finish elephant candles and buddha statues sitting alongside a pair of blue Chinese Foo Dogs). There’s texture galore too – bold metals with hammered finishes, dark woods, and ceramics. And I never thought I’d see a decorative bowl made of horn in a John Lewis. Did you!?
I love how the range brings global style to the high street and demonstrates to a wider audience that mixing up different styles, cultures and influences doesn’t always result in cluttered, unsophisticated schemes. Quite the contrary – when done well, global style looks effortlessly put together without being dull, matchy-matchy, or safe. When it’s good, global style gives a strong first impression, then keeps your interest through little elements of the unusual, hand-made, unique and curated. As such, overall, I like what John Lewis has done.
Having said that, I’ll be giving the elephant candles, the buddha statues and the foo dogs a miss. It’s not that they’re not nice – they are, and we know John Lewis has an excellent reputation for good quality. It’s more that I think these kind of treasures work best when they have a story to tell and a memory of far flung travels to unleash. It just wouldn’t feel authentic to me to tell someone who asked where I picked something up that it came from the high street. And I’m a terrible liar – they’d know in seconds if I tried to conjure up a fake tale of antique store rummaging in some exotic place as the passion I would normally display would be missing. So though I’ll be avoiding the trinkets, I think the cushions, furniture, fabrics and possibly a hurricane lamp (they’re really pretty!) are fair game.
The other thing I really like about this collection is its authenticity. Lots of the pieces are made in the country from which their inspiration is drawn – much of the dining furniture is made in India (including the Maharani dining bench above), the Flores bedroom range is made in Indonesia using local timber, and the Tokyo tableware is made in Japan using traditional techniques. They also have a range of authentic kilim rugs on offer. And there is a focus on sustainability, with the teak used in the Javi outdoor furniture range in particular certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Even better, the Weaver Green Provence rug in the picture above, is made in India out of recycled plastic bottles – and it only costs £75! I do love an eco-bargain.
What do you think of John Lewis’ Fusion range? Hit or miss? Let me know in the comments below. For me, it’s a definite hit and I’ll let you know if end up with any of it in my home (although I better be quick as its selling out fast!).
Happy travels, and shopping – and don’t forget to talk to me in the comments – it gets lonely sometimes you guys….