Bella Freud Modeled Her London Shop After Her Own Home

Complete with personal snapshots of Kate Moss with her father, Lucian Freud.

By: Laurel Pantin
Photography: Jake Rosenberg

Even if you haven’t heard of designer Bella Freud, you’ve no doubt seen her work. The “Ginsberg is God” or “1970” sweaters she makes are nearly ubiquitous at this point, having been launched into our collective consciousness when Kate The Great herself was spotted wearing one. And then theres the fact that her name is familiar, as in Lucian (her father, the painter), or Sigmund (her great-grandfather, the father of psychoanalysis).

Ignoring that last name for a moment, upon meeting her, you could be forgiven for assuming that shes a rock goddess—she has that mysterious swagger and aura of deep cool that comes with that territory. And actually, you wouldnt be that far off. Yes, now she primarily designs clothes, but she’s also directed films, worked as a journalist, consulted on other people’s collections—and we were too intimidated to ask, but we’re pretty certain that every one of her friends is a creative legend also.

Freud now has something of a lifestyle line, with clothing (and not just knitwear, but blazers, trousers, dresses, silk blouses, and on and on), as well as pillows, throws, scented candles and fragrances—all of it housed in her Marylebone shop on Chiltern Street. The shop itself was intended to feel like an extension of Freud’s home. And with her own personal collection of art on the walls, and an unexpected mix of paint colors, it definitely doesn’t feel like any shop we’ve ever visited.

Click through to see just what we mean, and to hear how you can make colors like pink, yellow, and red work in your own home.

“The brand has been going for a long time now, but I suppose I started in the usual way. I grew and experienced a lot of the usual problems that people who start their own brand independently do. I had a few run-ins with various investors, and then I scaled back in the middle of the 2000s.”

“I just started doing whatever I felt like. I would do a collection—not always every season—and then I made three short films with John Malkovich and did some journalism. I did all sorts of different things. Then it was a moment when I’d done the last film that John and I did together, and the storyline was around these beatnik girls and they were waiting for their poet guru to arrive, and he never arrives. One of them was wearing a ‘Ginsberg is God’ jumper. I made a really tiny limited edition, and then Kate Moss wore that jumper and it became a thing.”

“What’s been enjoyable about [the candles and fragrance] is taking the look of what I’m used to seeing on a sweater and making into a different scale and seeing whether that works or not. And then doing things like matchboxes, which I really love. I started working with this friend of mine, Azzi Glasser, and we made [a] ‘Ginsberg is God’ candle and ‘Lion’ and ‘je t'aime’ and then suddenly they had a different dimension—they were more like characters because of their smell.”

“I told [my perfumer] the stories behind how I imagined, for example, ‘Ginsberg is God’ if it was going to be a person. There’s this picture of John Cocteau where he’s writing and he’s wearing these slipper boots, but he’s a curly-haired young guy and he’s writing on paper, and I think the whole thing of paper and a pencil or pen is sexy—that’s somebody’s idea flowing down their arm onto the page. That was my kind of image, and all those beat poets—how they did things and how they kind of went against the grain. I’m interested in that, so that was the personality. I suppose it’s the eroticism of the mind kind of thing.”

“This poster is of a picture that my father did of Francis Bacon, a tiny painting or drawing, and it was stolen off the wall of a museum in Germany 30 years ago. Someone obviously just put it in their pocket. A friend of his at the time offered a reward, and he made these posters.”

“Pink is such a difficult color, but the gray and red gives it more depth. Sometimes pink can be cold. It should really [be] a warm color, and it's hard to get it to be warm. You have to put other colors near it.”

“I did really small collections until I decided to build up. I felt like expanding, but by the time I did that, I knew exactly what my strengths were and that I didn’t feel obliged to do things in fashion, just the things I felt I was good at. I feel like my own internal compass is much stronger, so I’m having a lot more fun with the whole thing, which is wonderful.”

“This painting looked terrible in my flat. It looked too grandmother, but here it looked weirdly kind of appropriate. It sort of looked cool in here for some reason. I don’t know why. It’s a Larry Rivers, before he became successful. It’s a bit of a cheesy picture, but it looks really good in here. Then I love that photograph—we’d gone round to visit my dad, and he was ill, and [Kate Moss] just got into his bed and then David Dawson, my father’s assistant, took this picture.”

“I’m passionately interested in language and how it evokes feelings and thoughts, so I choose [sayings] that I like to think that if they’re on a jumper that they’re an independent thing—it’s not a directive, it’s not an instruction, it’s things that I like, really. Like, ‘Libertas.’ I’ve always been quite interested in the aesthetics and the meaning of, like, resistance and protest and how people stand up for their rights and their beliefs. So, ‘Libertas’ is where that’s from.”

“One of my biggest stockists has said, ‘Oh, can you do a little Valentine’s capsule?’ It was really soon after my parents both died at the same time, weirdly in the same week, and I was thinking of like, ‘Who’s close to my heart?’ Who is close to one’s heart? And it just sounded like something I would wear or I would like to see. And then I did a parfum called ‘Close to My Heart,’ and I was trying to think of the words that described it, and I wrote, ‘Into my head, close to my heart.’ Language is what goes into your head and it stirs up your heart.”

“As a child I was really interested in justice, and so it’s sort of been something that I’ve always noticed. I’m always interested in how people keep up their morale when things are very difficult and people’s dignity is under pressure.”

“It’s always kind of a tricky color, yellow, but I remember walking in here when they’d done it and screaming because it was just so great. And then having the red as well, because—if you think red and yellow, [you think], No way you wouldn’t do that.' But somehow or other it just kind of works. It’s really exciting finding colors and making them work a different way, you know?”

“There’s quite a lot of the colors [in the store] that are in my home, and I worked with an architect and interior designer called Maria Speake, and we got on very well too. I like the idea of a shop being somewhere that you’d want to hang out, and she said, ‘Oh it could be a bit like your flat,’ and I thought, ‘Oh great, that sounds perfect,’ because I always like to stay at home anyway, so if I come here, then I feel like I can stay here instead.”

“I wanted it to feel like home, so I brought things from my home.”

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