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Theatre Tricks: Using Costumes in Interiors

With every interior practicality is key, however, without beauty and interest, a room will be just that…a room. We like to interweave and adorn spaces with art and textiles that contribute to a space and tell a story. Fashion design and interior design have often gone hand in hand over the centuries, and by incorporating costumes into an interior, one can add a whole new dimension to a room. Here are a few examples of how we’ve used costumes to add layers to a room.

In the Meadow Suite at Crosby Street Hotel, we framed an 18th century silk christening gown in Perspex, complete with an embroidered cherub and stuffed with dried flowers.

In the Drawing Room at Number Sixteen, a pair of vintage shoes framed in a Perspex box are hung between the two grand French windows as a small part of a vignette with butterflies and a sculpture on an antique chest.

For an exotic twist, what about introducing a Kimono?

You can frame an interesting piece in Perspex, such as this Turkish kimono in a suite at The Soho Hotel, or customise a Kimono in a fabric of your choice to wrap around one of our mannequins, as we did for our stand at the CP Hart showroom. My serene Over the Moon fabric gives it a dreamy twist.


Mannequins have become one of our signature symbols. On top of the ones that we place in every bedroom, at Knightsbridge Hotel we have used several bespoke miniature mannequins on the mantel piece. The artist Althea Wilson embellished them with metal beads, petals and feathers.


Busts are sculptural depictions of portraits. These hilarious papier-mâché beauties look like they have stepped right of a Rococo scene of Marie Antoinette and her ladies in waiting. These rouged madams are adorned with pearls, brooches and extravagance whilst safely kept in cloches on a mantel piece of Number Sixteen in South Kensington.

In the days of corsets, bodices and petticoats, layers of toile fabric would be hung on cage-like structures called hoop skirts or farthingales. In the entrance of the Knightsbridge Hotel, an oversized sculptural female figure in a farthingale covered in hessian and stitched in leather stands beside the front door, as if she is waiting for a gentleman to ask her to dance.


Throughout history, from Rodin to Natalia Goncharova, many famous artists have been inspired or invited to paint and design clothes for theatre companies and ballets. In Covent Garden Hotel’s Loft Suite, we have installed a collection of watercolours with the attrezzos of a theatre representation.

We love to combine different artistic backgrounds, to create a layered and artistically rich interior. All stages of a creative process should shine from the initial idea sketches to the finished piece.

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