A Chat With Our Head Designer
In our series of interviews, we thought we would start with the creative behind our brand Evie and Skye…our very own Daniela Townson.
What do you love most about being a designer?
I love bringing a vision to life. You look at the world with different eyes. I see beauty in the smallest things. You even start noticing things like a pattern on a drain cover. I dream of patterns and colour combinations and often get my little sketchbook out with new ideas. It’s simply exhilarating for me.
I have always been like this. One of my earlier memories was when I was 10, and I loved drawing and designing kitchens and living spaces. My mother kept all the designs in her cookbooks. It’s simply bringing a vision to life. That’s so fulfilling.
As a grown-up, I found it difficult to find the designs and quality that I was looking for, and I often had to order from the USA or Australia. There was still a big gap in the market. I could not find what I so desperately wanted, so after a chat with Caroline, we both decided to fill that gap and create what we were so passionate about. Meeting Caroline allowed me to partner with someone with business acumen who also has a great eye for styling, design and colours. Without her, I would have never known where to start. Dream team!
Who or what inspires your designs?
What inspires me are all things classic and well designed, always maintaining quality and simplicity. I like to stay away from the norm and mass-produced designs. I want to attract customers who, like me, are looking for something different to reflect their personality. A home is a big part of you; therefore, it should reflect that.
My personal favourite is The Coco in Dark Blue and Green and the Savannah. So edgy and fresh.
I love the vintage era of the 1950s and 1960s Amalfi Coast and the French Riviera at their best when life was about truly being in the moment. No social media, no phones. Good company and conversations in a nice environment. What a lifestyle!
I like to escape by watching old classic films or more recent films based on days gone by, such as The Talented Mr Ripley. I treasure a timeless style and can still be seen in the finest boutique hotels all over the world. It’s beautifully executed at the gorgeous Mezzatorre hotel in Ischia, the Arienzo beach club in Positano and the stunning beach club La Fontelina on Capri. To name a few.
In America, New York excites me with its bold clean lines and simple hints of Art Deco. I adore the Tribeca loft penthouses with touches of Crittall mixed in with the old original fixtures.
Palm Springs’ playfulness in the 1960s will always be popular in every generation to come. One of my favourites is poolside at The Parker Palm Springs. Quirky yet simple and fresh with a touch of the Bertoia barstool to add that cool mid-century modern detail. I could go on and on. Slim Aarons’ photography captures the lifestyle that so many of us still fondly look at. A coffee table book must-have.
Could you walk us through your design process? How do you create a new design?
I strictly avoid looking at other brands during design periods, as I want my designs to be completely original. Then I play around with a pattern either from my sketchbook or a random one. Constantly adding little details. I make sure to leave it for a few hours. With a fresh pair of eyes, I tweak a few more things. Suddenly, there it is! After that, I show Caroline. Sometimes she will see small details that need adjusting, and it’s perfect. She has a great eye. We then play with colour combinations. This is my absolute favourite part. We squeak with excitement when our vision comes to life. I did our first collection in one evening and stayed up until 3 a.m; my creative juices were flowing. It’s the best time to do it whilst listening to tunes surrounded by fragrant candles lit in the quiet of the night.
What would be your dream design project?
A boutique hotel. From poolside sun loungers, towels, parasols, bedding, bathrobes, body products and the creation of a signature fragrance. We aspire to be a lifestyle brand, adding more and more every year. That’s our dream.
Tell us about your perfect holiday?
That is a very, very hard one for me. I am a big foodie, so travel is based on what cuisine I most crave at the time. Based on hospitality and the sheer escapism of a full-on London lifestyle with a young daughter, I choose Italy. It feels stuck in time, and I always switch off and relax.
I adore Tuscany with all its gems such as San Gimignano, Siena and Lucca. One of my favourite hotels is Villa Cora overlooking Florence. They are so welcoming and spoil your kids rotten with customised surprises during the stay. I highly recommend it.
We got married on Lake Como at Villa Del Balbianello so jumping on boats and exploring all the towns is always very reminiscent.
I love the simplicity of Puglia, we stayed at Borgo Egnazia a few years ago, and my daughter still talks about it. My grandfather’s family came from Naples and Rome, so the Amalfi Coast is an absolute must. Amazing food and beautiful cliffside towns such as Positano and Sorrento are the perfect romantic spot. I adore La Sirenuse in Positano. Such a beautiful hotel with breathtaking views. There are so many more places to see in Italy, such as Venice and Portofino. Based on food, culture and variety, I put Italy at the top of my list. I have even converted my husband, who is a big fan of the south of France.
I was born in Austria, so I also enjoy city breaks in Salzburg, Graz and Vienna.
We love staying at the Gran Ferdinand in Vienna. The unparalleled finesse and food choices for both savoury and the coffee cake culture make Austria a must for me. There is nowhere else in the world like it. Considering how small the country is, there is a huge variation one to explore all year round.
Who is your style icon?
Easy. Audrey Hepburn always has been from a very young age.
I also love Romy Schneider and Claudia Cardinale. It’s hard to pick from so many amazing icons! But all from the Hollywood era of the 1950s/1960s.
Name three of your favourite restaurants and why?
I will stick to London restaurants for this question.
- Sketch London because of the interiors and cocktails.
- Brunch at the Wolseley is divine; I love the building and architecture.
- Tucked away in Notting Hill is Mazi, a gorgeous and intimate Greek Restaurant. Perfect for a small group of friends.
What three objects in your home could you not live without?
Aside from the essentials…
My Marshall radio in the kitchen, ambience music is essential to me and reflects my mood and vibe. As shallow as it sounds, I love a bit of nighttime Netflix with a vino in hand and a luxury scented candle helps me unwind. Coffee table books, art surrounded by unique accessories make me smile.
I have recently discovered Emmie Lou, a British-Australian artist. Her art makes me smile every day, and she lets me escape. Her vintage French/ Italian road trip vibe mixed with mystical femininity is eye-catching to all that come to my house.
We will plan a little collaboration soon as our colours and patterns complement each other so well.
Tell us about a day in the life of Dani?
Besides enjoying lots of creative moments with Evie & Skye, I am also a hands-on mother to a gorgeous 7-year-old girl. I don’t want a nanny, so my normal day means getting up early and making sure all the school work is up to date and double-checking if I need to remind my class of anything due to being a class rep … all very normal everyday stuff. We now have a gorgeous little Maltese puppy, so that I will be walking her in the park after drop off and enjoy a peaceful coffee whilst doing some work in a quiet house (Sometimes I go on strike and meet up with friends and have a proper girly day out all around London and get very little done. Good for the soul). 3.40 pm is when it’s time for school pick up. After that, I am rushing her around for activities/clubs. By the time I have cooked a nice meal and tidied up, I enjoy watching some well-deserved television. I stay up way too late as I get greedy and crave ‘me time‘ like so many mothers out there.