Top-end British design in Kyiv

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Dec. 5, 2011, 10:42 a.m. | Op-ed — by Leigh Turner
There are few things which make me happier than to see the ambassador’s residence here in Kyiv packed with British business types. So I was delighted recently when the residence hosted a “British Design Showcase”, bringing together a series of English and Scottish companies specialising in UK-produced textiles, wallpapers, curtain poles, furniture and fabrics.

To enter the residence during this time was like walking into an Aladdin’s cave of lush textiles, top-end furnishings and exquisite accessories.

Companies represented included Henry Bertrand (luxury and specialist silk fabrics); Swaffer (English floral prints and classic British wovens for upholstery); Voyage Decoration (fabrics and wallpaper); Joshua Ellis (the “Kings of Yorkshire wool” with fabrics for fashion and interiors); Whitehead Furniture (from Nottinghamshire, producing handmade English sofas); Trimont and Handsome Trimmings (from Derbyshire and Yorkshire, classic and modern trimmings); Resina Designs (classic wooden curtain poles); Jocelyn Warner (designer wallpaper in florals and geometrics, and whimsy from East London); and Monogrammed Linen (specialist “monogramming” onto fine items).

There was also a room full of top-quality Scottish companies, representing high-end wool products. The companies included BeggScotland; Holland and Sherry; The Isle Mill; Johnstons of Elgin; and Morton Young and Borland.

If you’ve ever heard that old canard that they don’t make anything in Britain anymore, here was evidence to the contrary. I was intrigued to discover that several of the companies exhibiting supplied products to fashion brands more commonly associated with other European countries; and that others supplied many of the world’s leading fashion and interior designers as well as opera and theatre companies and Hollywood blockbusters.

Best of all, the exhibition attracted a host of buyers and I was told that a number of important contracts were signed.

There was much talk of holding a further “British Design Showcase” on a future date. I look forward to it.

More pictures of the British Design Showcase, led by Henry Bertrand Company, you can find here.

Leigh Turner has been the British Ambassador to Ukraine since June 2008. You can read all his blog entries at (in English) or (Ukrainian)

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