To celebrate Christmas this year, the window displays in our shops have been created by floral designer Paula Ellis of Fox & Thorn, who is also our Assistant Buyer for House & Home. “I wanted to create something that would last throughout the winter months, to reduce waste,” Paula says. She considered materials that would age, dry and become beautifully textured as time passes.
After visiting the local flower market, she returned with a wealth of natural materials including pines, conifers, asparagus fern and nigella pods. These were incorporated into the varied suspended installations, which are inspired by festive rituals and our seasonal theme of Rewilding.
Paula considered folkloric decorations such as Polish pajaki mobiles, which are traditionally made from straw and paper, to create the suspended structures. They trace back to the 18th century and symbolise health and happiness, being typically made by women to adorn the house for celebrations and festivities such as weddings and Christmas. “They’re just so joyous,” Paula says. “I drew inspiration from them, focusing on natural elements. That idea of bringing the outside in is key at Christmas.”
To create the structures, Paula used a base of pliable monkey vine, which was wrapped around to create a circle, like a wreath. “I enjoy how they’re not a neat circle, you get slightly different shapes that feel natural,” she says. Instead of being hung upright like a traditional wreath, the circular structure is suspended above the ground with wire. The wire was threaded with dried poppy seed pod heads and bamboo straws for a sculptural element.
Paula also incorporated festive dried orange, lemon and lime slices, which were chosen for the way the light passes through them when hung. Dried magnolia leaves were added as “they will darken and become beautifully textured with time, becoming a beautiful golden brown” she explains. “The leaves curl slightly as they age, giving a sense of depth and movement.”
“In my installations I always experiment with different textures and consider how they will change over time.”
Hops bring a delicate texture and rosehips were used to bring a pop of colour, with the shapes informing where they were naturally placed. “I like how they go slightly crinkled as they dry,” Paula says. “In my installations I always experiment with different textures and consider how they will change over time.”
Watch Paula put the finishing touches to our Christmas windows on our Instagram.
You can view our Christmas window installations, created by Fox & Thorn, in each of our UK shops apart from London, Mayfair. Share a photo with us on Instagram using #TOASTbeing.