23 Dec 2010
avatar Author: Colette Van Den Thillart
Creative Director

In a complete departure (for yes, I am currently abroad) I am moving away from that most academic of all colours (WHITE), to discuss the merits and necessities of pink. And I’m not talking Katie Price pink (though I do adore her!). I’m really talking about more complex shades like that used in the Lucio Fontana‘s ‘Spatial Concept Waiting‘ – which suggests flesh really, but perhaps for decorating sakes we can call it a type of coral pink?

Lucio Fontana Spatial Concept Waiting

I have for the moment left England, so my thoughts are wandering in different visual directions.

While Nicky and I are entirely melded on the ascendancy of white, we then part ways as I would move into pinks and he would move into violets (with full respect and appreciation for the other’s preference – and as this sunset I snapped last night shows, they are very much in harmony with one another).


We will often look for fabrics, finishes and materials that have what I call a ‘metamorphic quality’. That is, they change and adapt depending on the light, setting or use, time of day etc. Nicky will often talk about the importance of the ‘air’ between colours, which is a similar strain of thought. It’s really about the sensory experience, I think, or perhaps the English language is just inadequate?

New Orleans curtain and pelmet

In the curtains and pelmets Nicky installed in that now-legendary New Orleans drawing room you can see in this detail shot how the pale bronze silk is shot with highlights of coral pink.

FT Logo

How much pleasure do you derive from reading you most masculine of salmon pink papers…the Financial Times? (Which is only pink as a marketing gimmick by the way, going back to the late 18th Century).


And for our North American readers, did you not always wonder why our fiberglass insulation was pink? Google tells me that it was a marketing tactic…now why they thought all those butch builders would prefer to buy pink insulation I don’t know…but yet I DO know!!!

Samuel Ward of Yarmouth Norfolk, April 10 1771 (Taken off the Abbott and Holder website)

For me, pink – and now, thanks to Nicky, violet too – are, quite simply, decorating neutrals.

7 Responses to “Never underestimate pink – The first in a series”

  1. I recently discovered your blog and it is amazing. I made some similar draperies for a client in bronze and salmon pink last month and thought I would show you how similar in feel they are to Nickys creation. I agree it is a wonderful combination.

  2. hello Collette
    Pinks are wonderful !! im biased ! I did the first Pink hospital (im told ) in 1980 ) which i will be putting on my blog in the new year Its elegant ,peaceful ,warming , calming (as used in Prison cells too) , traditional,dreamy,ethereal, and FUN to name but a few of its attributes in my opinion !
    Dont get me started on violet mmmmmmmmmmmm its WONDERFUL an essential part of my daily routine You are in the fortunate position ( when you return ) to pop down to Rococo in the Kings road AND Belgravia and pick up some Rose and Violet creams mmmm jealous Enjoy the season love your blog Fay xx

  3. avatar p gaye tapp says:

    that sensory experience is what makes the NOLA room perfection. My idyllic space to inhabit .

  4. avatar bruce barone says:

    And there are Pink Cement Mixer Trucks too!

    I think I’ll wear my pink shirt today; but with the sleeves rolled up, of course, as I am making cocktail meatballs this afternoon for our Christmas Eve Party!

  5. avatar Karena says:

    Collette, shades of pink make me feel many emotions, and the Nola Room is a great example of swoonworthy!

    Joyeaux Noel!

    Art by Karena

  6. avatar susie says:

    Hello Colette,
    We met at the singalong, including the cow.
    I once tried on a dress in Selfridges in a nude-ish pink hue and the assistant shook her head and said, ‘Hardly anyone can get away with flesh.’
    I put that line in a novel I wrote.
    Half my house in pink apart from the kitchen. I like sanderson clearly pink very much, especially old stock from before they changed the recipe five years ago…
    Happy New Year

  7. avatar colette says:

    Susie…i wont be able to sleep tonight trying to decode ‘including the cow’!! WAIT…I’m super proud to say its only taken me 3 minutes to decipher ‘including the cow’ – completely brilliant of you. New Sanderson recipes suck. Happy New Year in return and hope to croon again soon. xx

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