An interview with KOTHEA’s founder

Notting Hill Carnival 2007 (London, UK)
Notting Hill Carnival 2007 (London, UK) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

London based Lisa Parsons supplies fabrics to the hippest and most exclusive UK designers. The founder of KOTHEA, her Spring2011 collection-in-progress is about to take Velvet to a new level of opulence.

With no time to think I would paint my walls withKelly Hoppen’s “Perfect Taupe”. Her colours are fantastic and, in this case, it does what it says on the tin.

My favourite piece of furniture is … an old chair I picked up in a local junk shop and I had it recovered in one of my fabrics; LeapFrog.

The car’s almost full in that small space I would pack … The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, I’ve just started it and a spot of holiday reading beckons.

Guests to my house are intrigued by … this bizarre surveying tool I have in the corner of my lounge. It’s a measuring stick used with a theodolite and it adds a bit of height and interest to a corner of my room. It also detracts from a piece of my husband’s artwork which, although good, I have to compromise on putting on show from time-to-time.

I am … passionate about my fabrics and design; I am always inspired by many of today’s amazing yacht interiors, Terence Disdale is fantastic.  I would love to be in a position to commission him.

The hardest thing about work is … keeping my beautiful fabrics at home clean whilst having three children and their 30 sticky fingers. Gulp.

In my spare time … I just said I have had a third child; what spare time! I do love yoga though, with headstands being my forte. I have also designed and made many pieces of jewellery. Chris Farrow made this one up to my design, it has 3 rotating rings with a semi-precious stone on which rotate around a larger holding ring also with a set stone.

The trendiest colour is … hmm, trendy. Difficult one, KOTHEA operates at the top end of the market and I would have to say that the desirable colours there have varied little over the last ten to 15 years. Lower down the market it is different.

My favourite designers are … well I’ve mentioned a few already. I would certainly look at Gotham (Notting Hill) for furniture. John Hutton did amazing chairs and I was privileged enough to sell a few when I worked at Donghia in the 90s. Nick & Christian the famous Candy brothers have done some amazing things just look at One Hyde Park.

The best technology is … I suppose I should say Apple but I love my Blackberry as it helps me stay in touch with everyone and everything.

The most iconic British designer is … without a doubt, Terence Conran. His massive influence has probably been understated.

A plug for your company?…We mostly deal with the very top interior designers; not all of them but many of them. That’s the market we are in and intend to stay in. We know it pretty well and we like to think our fabrics meet their needs. A case-in-point is our new velvet collection. Opulent Cashmere and Italian Silk velvet.

Most interesting use of your products? … Some of the yachts they are specified on are pretty interesting! We’ve supplied some pretty interesting pop stars and celebrities (if you are into that sort of thing). One interesting client came through a Mayfair yacht broker and temporarily wanted his ‘fishing boat’ fitted out wall-to-wall with faux leather. All I can say is that it must have been a pretty large fishing boat and certainly not what I had in mind when I think about fishing boats!