Emotional Ties: Lulu Guinness
From her ‘autumn romance’ to the bag that came up roses, designer Lulu Guinness shares the things that mean the most to her
John [Ingledew] is my boyfriend of 13 years and my great love. He teaches creative design and always gives me handmade birthday and Christmas cards [above]. We met through a mutual friend who we call our bearded Cupid. We are having what they call ‘an autumn romance’.
I have to be surrounded by flowers. Narcissi are my favourites. There’s something so hopeful about bulbs – for anyone who’s struggling, they show that everything passes; it may be a dark winter’s day, but these bulbs will be gorgeous flowers in just weeks.
Dior’s Diorissimo is my favourite fragrance. Its scent is lily of the valley – a flower I adore. It’s very evocative. My mum used to wear it, so it makes me think of her. She gave me this special-edition bottle for Christmas. I love its vintage feel.
I collect powder compacts – I have hundreds of them. I had tables specially made to display them in. The square sapphire-studded one [bottom] belonged to my maternal grandmother, who I was close to. I was the first of her seven granddaughters.
My daughter Tara is a trained chef with her own business [taracookery.com] giving cookery classes and one-to-one lessons. She’s very talented: she loves Italian food and even makes her own mozzarella. This tea towel is the first thing she had made for her brand.
In 2006 I designed a bag for a Sotheby’s exhibition inspired by artist Ann Carrington’s Pearly Queens series. This was one of the first pieces of serious art I ever owned. It really speaks to me: it’s so English and I love the fact that it’s made from buttons.
My daughters Tara and Maddy [who are 27 and 22] gave me this sketch by East London-based artist Ros Shiers for Christmas. It combines two of my great loves: lipstick and supporting young artists. Red lipstick is my trademark – I’ve worn it since I was 16.
My rose basket bag is in the V&A’s permanent collection. That happened in 1997, very early in my career. I’d had no formal training. I thought, ‘If they think I’m a good handbag designer, then I am.’ This bag decided my future. It was inspired by my love of roses.
When my younger daughter Maddy turned 21, I had this portrait of her done by fashion illustrator David Downton. David did some work for me about ten years ago, and Maddy fell in love with his work then, so I knew this would be her dream gift. It really captures her.