Mignonnette Tea Talks with Interior Colour Consultant Fiona de Lys

Mignonnette Tea Talks with Interior Colour Consultant Fiona de Lys

Welcome to the Mignonnette Tea Talks, where we speak to wonderful women who inspire us and explore what it means to be a modern day enchantress.


Today’s guest is the wondrous Fiona de Lys - Interior Colour Consultant based in North London. Fiona combines colour with history, design and well-being to tell personal stories through colour in the home.

The collective of designers, artisans and alchemists she celebrates through her work are those that also carry stories in their brand, so Fiona is a perfect source to tell us how we can enchant the world around us and how she literally transforms the spaces she touches.


 Mignonnette London - Fiona de Lys - dining room


Fiona, your work with interiors and styling is so unique, can you tell us how you got started on this journey?

It’s been a lifetime of evolving through different design disciplines, from set design, floristry, gardening, interior decorating and editorial styling. As a child, I grew up in the UK and spent holidays with my family in Italy. My aesthetic environment very much centred around these influences, and from the annual Christmas window displays and ballet that my mother took me to. The stories, layers and colours remain ever vivd for me.


You draw on so many inspirations through your work, as well as continual life long study - from the Arts and Crafts movement, Italy, architecture, nature, floristry, fashion, culture, spiritualism... Can you tell us some of the central elements you love bringing together?

This depends on the person I’m working with. For myself, the elements I naturally navigate towards are colour associations and form. For example, the colours of the buildings in Liguria, Italy, are warm and so I have painted my dining area in warm colours that evoke a sense of place and have several large antique, earthenware preserving pots. The colour and form of the association is where the magic happens.


Can you tell us a bit about your work with Edward Bulmer Natural Paints and why you wanted to work with the company?

I had been researching breathable paints for my nearly 300 year old Georgian cottage and discovered a trail of information that eventually led to Edward Bulmer Natural Paints. By that time, I had opened my shoplette in Hampstead selling botanical curiosities and antiques to supplement my ad-hoc editorial styling work. As a former florist, the idea of natural, plant-based paints was tremendously exciting to me and the historical element worked really well for me too - it carried a story. It was a very serendipitous chapter in which a relationship forged. I trained with Edward Bulmer, and now carry out colour consultancies, and write and present their online Colour Clinics.


MIGNONNETTE LONDON Tea Talk Fiona de Lys - pinks


With Mignonnette London, deeply embedded in the core of our brand, is that when you put our clothes on, they bring our your inner enchantress, you transform. It starts with the design process as a way of telling stories. Although working with physical spaces, in a sense, colour styling has similarities. Can you talk a little about your process working with a client and the ways you tell personal stories through transforming a space?

I start with understanding more about what is experientially deficient for the client in the existing setting, and combine this with what I notice is actually lacking from reading the light and space. Colour is such a subjective matter, so it’s really important to understand how to combine palettes and pairings that create atmosphere. Inevitably, this involves colour references to culture, nature, industry and travel, or an experience, for example, relative to the person. There is a degree of needing to intuitively feel my way through the process, as much as theoretical application. Some people need a new story and so the colour palette becomes more about an aspiration, rather than from inspiration.


Do you think through transforming these external physical spaces there are elements of yourself that have changed over the years?

Absolutely. Progress is extricably linked to process. Emotional, psychological and vocational evolution is about remaining a verb in one’s work. I constantly remind myself that I bring the best I can to this moment, and that it is a little more than yesterday and less than it will be tomorrow. I do not adhere to trends, although I do acknowledge them, and this is partly because I believe that in understanding ourselves better we can create our own aesthetic narrative. This means growing into change when it presents itself and for me that is undeniably connected to colour and form.


You often talk about “aesthetic narratives’, the “use of space and light” and “the poetry between object, space and person” - there is an enchantment happening even in the way you describe your work. Do your clients feel this energy through the design process, or is it something they intuitively understand when a final space is complete?

Thank you. It’s a good question. Much like cooking a meal, it’s often the end result that is noticed, but I encourage clients to ‘taste’ with me along the way because it’s so important to impart rationale in the process in order to help them connect with how they could feel. This is where energy starts to shift - I’ve walked into consultancies where the mood is down and anxious and left with spirits lifted and dynamic. And then later received videos, messages and emails of clients operating on a much higher vibration than before because of the excitement in how they feel. This changes the energy within the home and even between people within it. This is what is meant by a poetry and internal narrative, when a beautiful flow takes place.


You are full of fascinating stories and so many passions, but one we really want to know more about is your antique vessels! Please can you tell us more about them?

These are really about the symbolic representation of humankind. You see, the vessels are mostly antique preserving pots which were used to contain and protect that which was of value to us, such as oils, water, wine and food. I associate the human condition a little with these vessels - we are the vessel in our life and we carry what is important to us - emotions, memories and relationships, dinks and imperfections. They are beautiful pieces to look at too, each unique, but I like to think that a moment of reflection happens when you admire these. Because they are culinary vessels, they are part of the process from plant to plate - and for that reason I also like the associations with labour, love and sharing. I have a collection for sale, and my personal collection can be hired for styling shoots as some have been featured in the interiors press.


MIGNONNETTE LONDON Tea Talk Fiona de Lys - vessels


Perhaps unsurprisingly for a master of aesthetics, you dress fabulously with such a love of colour and patterns. Are there any tips you can give women to feel more confident playing with these elements?

Avoid trends! Find colours and styles that you notice serve your mood. I love to layer up in colour and in style. It’s the same process as my interiors work, funnily enough. So think of clashes and the unexpected for energy and vibrancy, or perhaps gentle monochromatic layering for feeling supported and held. When I need clarity and focus, I often go minimalistic so that my senses are honed inwards rather than outwards - so a kimono is a favourite of mine.


In daily life – what do you love to wear?

Ha ha! Daily life?! I have more jeans than any other item as a quick go-to but then that depends on the mood as to the style of jeans I wear!


What does style mean to you?

A representation of one’s personality through fashion.


Who are some of your personal style icons?

Iris Apfel, Sophia Loren.


What’s your favourite Mignonnette dress?

Miss Incognito in ink blue is a very versatile dress for a number of occasions and moods. It offers an elegant reservedness in the high neck and closed chest but sexiness from the transparent arms and back. It’s perfect for statement jewellery - taking the eye away from the collar bone to the ears or hands for a special piece. It can dress up or down so I love to clash it with a smart casual jacket and fun trainers, as much as wearing it with heels. Win-win for me!


Mignonnette London - Fiona de Lys - Miss Incognito


Fiona is wearing the Miss Incognito High Collar Wrap Dress in ink blue georgette silk



You can discover more about Fiona and her work at:

@fionadelys_colour fionadelys.co.uk



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