Flower-headed fairies wrapped around candles, a punk-haired zebra housing a diffuser and a blue sandwich tray – welcome to Jo Malone London's first ever home accessories collection.
The quintessentially British fragrance brand is inviting you on a surprisingly surreal trip 'Up The Garden Path', in collaboration with set designer Shona Heath.
Inspired by the magic of the traditional English country garden (which has long influenced Jo Malone London scents), the charming assortment of limited-edition candle and diffuser accessories will immerse you in an avant-garde fairytale world, where flower people and animals frolic just out of sight of human eyes.
In creating the collection, Heath was inspired by her favourite kitsch porcelain figurines, which her mum and dad used to collect, and the odd animals and funny figures often found in children's stories.
“I've always been a massive fan of the flower fairies, that was one of the first things that I think got my creative brain ticking when I was about eight,” reveals Heath. “I got a little flower fairy book in a game of pass the parcel – it was The Flower Fairies by Cicely Mary Barker. I remember the car journey on the way home from the party. It was dark and every time a streetlamp went over, I would flip the page. I remember feeling, well, a little sick – but I was mesmerised by it.”
These flower figures from her childhood, alongside the spookier half-flower, half-human characters illustrated in the work of Francoise Pinet, were at the forefront of her mind when Jo Malone London's creative director Wandjina Glasheen-Brown asked if she would like to create some ceramics for the brand.
“Wandjina and I have worked together on loads of different shoots,” says Heath. “I think we share a love for very similar textures and references, stories and artists. We'd always spoken about doing something like this.”
In fact, long-time fans of Jo Malone London might have come across some of Heath's work already. She has worked on creative projects for the company for almost 10 years and is known for designing some of the graphic sets for its eye-catching advertising campaigns.
Heath – who is also recognised for her surrealist set designs for the award-winning photographer Tim Walker – even wrote her own short fairytale, Up The Garden Path, to bring the new Jo Malone London range to life.
“It’s based on two characters, Mr D’Vingles and Lily Cordelia Garget. He’s rather stuffy and she’s this prim girl. They walk down the garden path together, and he smells roses, falls flat on his face and something overcomes him,” explains Heath.
“[They] transform into flower people, with petals for hair and stems for arms and legs. It’s a tiny bit psychedelic and not meant to be taken seriously. But we loved this idea of flowers and nature cross-pollinating with humans to create these surrealist objects.”
Each piece in the collection depicts a character or scenario from that story, with inspiration also being drawn from Jo Malone London's fragrances that evoke the classic English country garden, including Honeysuckle & Davana, Wild Bluebell and Orange Blossom. Heath's own favourite is the classic bestseller Lime Basil & Mandarin.
The characters were then brought to life in the collection's campaign, when the beauty brand and the set designer collaborated with the photographer Tim Gutt, giving the models giant flower heads and puppet-like features.
As for the ceramics themselves, they were all made in the UK by the family-run Staffordshire pottery company, 1882 Ltd. If you notice the brushwork on the colourful collection isn’t inch-perfect, that’s deliberate: Heath hand-painted the original casts to embrace the subtle imperfections of original porcelain figures.
“There is something about hand painted porcelain that is often a little 'off', like the eyebrows are somewhere not on the eyebrow or the shoe buckle is a bit squiffy and I've always really liked that. I wanted to dial that up a bit and I actually did some splattering with a toothbrush and some of the mistakes where I removed the colour but it didn't come completely off has ended up being part of the design.”
As such, the full collection is a kaleidoscope of colour and creativity that will make the perfect centrepiece for your home this summer. From a punk-themed zebra diffuser to a beautiful flower-girl candle holder, each piece is a sure-fire conversation starter.
“It was really important to me that they worked as beautiful objects with or without the products, because I think that gives you more reasons to want them,” reveals Heath. “So, the flower lady candle holder is actually a little trinket box; the candle lids have faces on the inside when you take them off, and I imagined using the candle tray for your earrings and accessories, too.”
“I would love them to hang around and be a really funny thing that in a hundred years’ time somebody would think, ‘What is that?' I'm certainly not obsessed with good taste. To me, that’s just a series of lost opportunities for people to live with colour and pattern. If somebody told me I had really good taste, I think would be quite offended.”
Shop the collection
The Petal Head
Petal Head Candle Holder, £392, SHOP NOW
A flower-girl porcelain doll gives your favourite Jo Malone London candle a hug.
"Sometimes the words for what I have to do will spark an idea. For example, a candle holder. What holds a candle? And, wouldn't it be really nice if something was hugging the candle?" says Heath about creating this unique piece. "Funnily enough, when I made my first ceramic piece at school, it was of a girl reading a book on her stomach in a tutu. When my mum said saw this, she said, that looks just like that thing you made at school. I'm always surprised at how the ideas ingrained in my childhood still bubble up to the top."
The Lesser Spotted Zebra
Lesser Spotted Zebra Diffuser, £384, SHOP NOW
Make a statement with this zebra-shaped diffuser, complete with a striped Mohican hairstyle.
“Lying-down horses are actually rather rare to see, says Heath. And when you do see one, there's always daisies and bluebells and buttercups around them – I love the contrast of these really strong beasts and the flowers,” says Heath. “It became a zebra when I was trying to work out how to include the diffuser sticks into the design. I wanted them to become part of the horse's mane, like a punk hairdo.”
The Daisy Cheeks Lid
Daisy Cheeks Candle Lid, £98, SHOP NOW
Inspired by the moon and dusted with pink florals, this daisy-cheeked lid is a sweet addition to any burner.
The Blue Sandwich
Blue Sandwich Duo Tray, £392, SHOP NOW
“This is one of my favourite pieces – a candle tray that’s actually a blue sandwich," says Heath. “We even made a blue sandwich by painting some bread blue and sticking some fake flowers on it to get the idea. It was also sort of a nod to the blue baguette by Man Ray. I really liked the idea of a blue sourdough sandwich, as a modern take on it. So, I thought, how can I make it look like a sandwich? Oh, the rose would look like the ham. And the leaves would look like the lettuce. So it's like a flower sandwich.”
The Rosy Lid
Upside Down Rose Lid, £220, SHOP NOW
Do candle lids get any prettier than this English rose design? There's the added touch of a hidden face that peers up at you when you light your candle, too.
The 'Up The Garden Path' collection is available at jomalone.co.uk and Jo Malone London stores for a limited time now.
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