Katherine Hudson of The Arabian Tent Company, the Queen of aesthetics, explains how you can stimulate the sensual with styling and decor.
Katherine founded The Arabian Tent Company in 2004 because of her love of outdoor parties, and a wish to be able to recreate the magic of festivals at events and weddings. Her beautiful, unique designs do just that and so much more. Our favourite are the William Morris and La Rouge. Watch this video on The Life of an Arabian Tent Party to learn more.
1. How did fascination with decor and aesthetics begin?
As a child I lived in an old house, with rooms piled full of furniture my grandparents had collected. One of my favourite things was climbing through these rooms. I was fascinated by the old faded chaise longues, rattan bed-heads, collections of truncheons, elephant feet and chests filled with tapestries… I’d carry pieces of furniture through into my own room to ‘re-style’ it regularly. I simply loved the way you could make the space feel so different, depending on what you put in it.
2. In your opinion, what is the connection between aesthetics and mood?
There’s a huge connection between them. We absorb the atmosphere of our surroundings, which effects the way we feel. Just imagine standing in a brick tunnel; now lying on the grass in the park staring up at the blue sky; and now sitting at a table in your favourite restaurant… how different do you feel in each of these scenarios?!
3. Can colours and textures be aphrodisiacs?
Although I wouldn’t be quite as bold as to claim colours and textures can actually stimulate sexual desire, colours certainly have an effect on our brains…especially male brains! Several studies both on humans and primates have found that the colour red worn by females makes men find them more attractive (although this doesn’t work the other way around!) and textures can certainly encourage us to be tactile…try wearing a pair of velvet leggings and see how many people ask to stroke your legs!
4. What would you say is the number one mistake people make regarding their physical surroundings when trying to create a romantic atmosphere?
Tuning in to listen to a romantic radio station, but then having to listen to the adverts in-between the music! Major buzz kill.
5. How can one create a romantic setting using aesthetics?
Think of each of the senses and ensure you’ve thoroughly tantalised it! Lighting is very important as it affects cognition and mood. You just can’t beat candle-light (definitely no LED lighting), but ensure you’ve got enough candles – dim lighting isn’t sexy, but soft lighting is. Scented candles can stimulate senses in one. Women have been found to have a more acute sense of smell than men do. Scents like jasmine (which is said to induce euphoria), and sandalwood (which heightens sexual excitement by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system dominant during sexual arousal), and rose (an aphrodisiac for women) would all be great choices. Then ensure you’ve got tactile materials like silk or velvet around you.
6. Is a romantic atmosphere just for two or can it be used to stimulate other kinds of love and openness?
A romantic atmosphere certainly doesn’t have to be just for two, although creating one for multiple couples, like for a Valentine’s dinner party, can end up feeling clichéd and cheesy. It’s about generating a relaxed feeling in people in order to encourage intimacy, but you do need to start with a basic level of trust within the group to begin with. It’s best not have too many people involved. So it would certainly work for a dinner party but not really for a large gathering like a wedding.
7. What is romantic for you?
Thoughtfulness. Although oysters are most definitely aphrodisiacs!
8. What are your predicted decor and styling trends for 2015?
Pops of bright colour on white/clean backgrounds will be big this year both at events and in ourhomes, as will metallic finishes and smokey glass! Rather than large floral displays, we’ll be using statement trees and lots of green to add architectural interest and height at weddings. More herbs, berries and woodland touches such as fir-cones will be appearing instead of traditional floral displays, as ‘rustic’ is going to be a key wedding trend this year. That means lots of exposed wooden tables with benches being used in dining areas. And lighting will be very important – LEDs are out. Warm white is in, with a revival of old fashioned Edison bulbs accented by mirrors and other eclectic objects eclectically mixed together.
9. If everyone could only have one styling item in their Valentine’s Day tool kit, what would it be?
A sumptuous large red velvet throw!