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Pillow Talk with Flora McLean | House of Flora

September 28, 2017

Pillow Talk with Flora McLean | House of Flora

Were you creative when you were younger? 
I used two sew clothes on my mum's sewing machine for my Snoopy. I also got a tool kit when I was 7 and used to make wooden and plastic furniture for my dolls house.

House of Flora Flora McLean Tracey Neuls Bedroom

Tell us about the origins of House Of Flora, what path led you to it and when did it launch? 
I went to fashion school but when I left I ran out of space to make clothes and wanted to make stuff,  so hats seemed to be a good plan. I had won a Kangol hat competition at the Royal College of Art in 1996 and I had encouragement from my teachers to do this. The company evolved over time , its was not really a plan....I started making props and hats for promo shoots and editorial and pop videos.... I made hat collections first then added jewellery and much later eyewear. I made a logo and formalised the company in year 2000. The logo was designed by Mark Boyce.

House of Flora Flora McLean Tracey Neuls Bedroom

Your hat designs are very architectural, who are the main influencers of this? 
My brother is an architect  and my grandfather was too. I have always had a fascination with severe concrete structures . I love Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer.

You have many iconic deigns. The Marcel hat is simply incredible….Was this a real light bulb design moment?
I worked on this with hair stylist Neil Moodie we made many iconic hairstyles. The wooden block we made is even better that the hat in my opinion. this was a great project. Neil has an amazing knowledge of the history of hairstyles and form. This is an on going collaboration.

House of Flora Flora McLean Tracey Neuls Bedroom
House of Flora Flora McLean Tracey Neuls Bedroom

The HOF Beret made out of PVC is such an established signature of yours and recently you’ve made some amazing inflatable designs. Are plastics your preferred use of material?
I do love Plastic and hold a week of tales and the Royal College of Art about the various function and possibilities for plastics in fashion. My graduate show was all inflated. I recently re connected with the same collaborator Nick Crosbie at Inflate in Antwerp to make new work with air. He also helped me dip mould the beret at his then workshop in Islington back in 1996.

House of Flora Flora McLean Tracey Neuls Bedroom

You share a studio with your father artist Bruce McLean, do you work together well? 
We share the studio and I make the tea sometimes. We are very good friends.  We don't really work together but we have on occasions in the past. We support each other and sometimes comment on each others work "do you want a tutorial?" and now we plan a show together in October 6th at One Paved Court Gallery Space.

Who and what inspires you? 
I am inspired most of all by light and music. I love shadows and making shadows in bright sunshine and watching the light change. I love listening to and watching live music both jazz classical and funk.  I am inspired by people who can design and make things with amazing materials. 

House of Flora Flora McLean Tracey Neuls Bedroom
What’s this book we’re reading (one on the bed) 
Its a book about the artist Naum Gabo some of his work looks like my hats..

Did you have a book read to you when you were younger? One in particular you remember that left an influence? 
Dr Seus Cat in the Hat

What’s been one of your favourite bedrooms you’ve inhabited? 
I shared a room with my brother and sister as child it was painted lime green walls and floors very 1970s colour and we had bunk beds on the walls it was filled with lego and of toys and mess.

What is your bedroom like? 
It's small, I have lovely modernist desk and  huge orange painting of my dad's called 
"Going for Gucci"

Are you a morning or night time person? 
I like the sunrise but then I fall back to sleep I prefer the night as my face has settled by 10 pm and I get energy and have creative ideas and plans.

House of Flora Flora McLean Tracey Neuls Bedroom

Anything interesting under your bed?
Not really many clothes in boxes and a violin.

Do hats recur in your dreams much? 
I don't  think so  but I did have one about a salamander in my mouth recently!! Quite epic

What are your dreams for the future?
To have a shop like Fiorucci was in the 1970s with a DJ and loads of plastic toot

You have been DJ'ing for the past few years (always wearing a HOF hat and collaborating with Ladies and the Amp). What have have you been listening to in your bedroom recently? 
I have been playing the "Existential Soul of Tim Maia"

Flora is wearing her Tracey Neuls Loaf slip on, similar to the Geek but also rocks a monochrome Molly Interweave. Her glasses are by KINSOLE.

The sheets and bed linen are from The Linen Works, with our Matthew Hilton bed (made by De La Espada) and designer Michael Anastassiades lamp setting our bedroom scene. Below is a HOUSE OF FLORA montage. 

Unscripted: Bruce and Flora McLean
6 Oct – 4 Nov 2017
Bruce & Flora Unscripted
At One Paved Court, Richmond
Exhibition Details...




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