Hollywood glamour at home
Our fashion editor talks to LA stylist, Bea Åkerlund, whose new collection of boudoir-inspired home accessories for IKEA has sent fashionistas into a spin
No-frills Swedish flat-pack giant IKEA really surprised fashion fans with its new wardrobe collaboration with LA fashion activist and costume designer Bea Åkerlund.
You may not have come across her name until now, but you will certainly have come across her work as she has collaborated with Madonna, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga and Rihanna on their wardrobes.
"Style is style so if you're if you're interested in fashion, chances are you'll be interested in interior design," says Bea, whose 35-piece Omedelbar (Immediate) collection has just dropped into the Ballymun store and plays directly to the affections, and functional needs, of fashion lovers who want to pay homage to their favourite pieces. It will certainly appeal to those who want their bedroom to take on a dressing room/curated-feel where, like Bea does professionally, you can assemble complete looks on rails with hangers in beech and brass (€7.50 for two); layer shoe boxes with a clear panel (€12 for two), and decorate with iconic rock'n'roll pieces like the top hat (below), which Bea has re-imagined as a vase. Stockholm-born Bea lives with her 10-year-old twin daughters and her director/drummer husband, Jonas, in West Hollywood "behind the Chateau Marmont."
"I designed the collection for myself and all the things that I wanted and needed," says Bea, who has always had a love for mixing up vintage furniture with affordable pieces.
As a child, Marilyn Monroe was her biggest inspiration. Bea is an avid collector of vintage shoes and sunglasses and in her black-walled and black-ceilinged studio in LA she has a doll's house measuring 11 x 10 feet tall, like a giant jewellery case.
"I'm always needing clothes racks and I had silver ones but I wanted something that looked pretty, and I have about 15 of my new racks in my studio and each one is a project. I'm just finishing up tour costumes for a band called Ghost," says Bea. When I comment on the black and white cushions bearing a picture of Bea's immaculately applied eye liner, she explains, "This collection was dedicated to my ego because I thought, 'I design for other people all the time and for the first time, I can design for myself and what I want.' The first person to receive the eye pillow was my mother and she was very happy because she lives in the south of France and doesn't get to see me that much. I really wanted my DNA and my aesthetic all over this collection, and the red lips are mine, too. I love the lip pillows (left, available in two sizes, €10 and €13). I have them all over my bed, and I also love the top hat," says Bea, who dressed Madonna in one in her Ghosttown video. Bea says the top hat "represents rock'n'roll, and I like all the pieces in my collection, but the lips and the top hat are the two things that define me. I never leave the house without red lipstick."
She explains how stripes make her "happy", and there's no doubt that €7 striped wallpaper will appeal to Kardashian fans. A quest with her husband to find a great lampshade informed her decision to include two black ones, in different sizes, which she says look good with a few clumped together.
"As a child I always had a canopy over every bed, it just made me feel special so, it is dedicated to my childhood," says Bea, whose philosophy is to be yourself, hence her 'B' initial LED light (€24).