I’ve had to ask myself whether I’m truly qualified to deliver a presentation about global style. My overseas travels have tended toward major cities rather than more exotic locales. My family tree is not peppered with a collection of far-flung countries. In fact almost every leaf on my tree is English.
But perhaps it’s that very English-ness that speaks to me of global style. In the 21st Century we see the dark complexities of colonialism through a different lens. But just imagine the sheer excitement in 18th and 19th Century England of seeing that first pineapple or, almost unimaginable, that first elephant!
Arthur Liberty was born in 1843 and founded what was to become the luxury goods department store Liberty’s in 1875. His aim was to create a store laden with ornaments, fabrics and objets d’art from distant lands – to metaphorically ‘dock a ship in the city streets’. Today Liberty’s is still the destination for covetable goods beautifully conceived and designed in England and crafted by worldwide experts.
Perhaps my personal ‘more is more’ interior design preference also has its roots in some sort of ‘English global style’. All those country houses whose generations of inhabitants collected furniture, objects and artworks from all over the world and layered them to highly coloured (and patterned) perfection.
We tend to think of globalisation as a recent phenomenon, but that’s so far from the truth. Human beings have always traded goods and experiences. We’ve always been drawn to the new and exotic. We are global creatures and our homes naturally reflect that – whether we dwell amid the lush greens of England or under the wide blue skies of Australia.