• Profile: Colette van den Thillart

    by  • 15 Feb ’11 • Colette van den Thillart, London, Nicky Haslam, profile • 11 Comments

    Toronto native Colette van den Thillart is the creative director of London-based NH Design and the key complement to founder Nicky Haslam.

    Famous for her witty and utterly fearless decorating style, Colette has worked on spaces from Moscow to Milan. Colette moved to London from Canada in 2000 after obtaining an AAS Interior Design degree from The International Academy of Design in Toronto and completed a Masters of Art Degree in Decorative Arts at London’s Wallace Collection.

    In 2003 she met Nicky Haslam and the synergy was immediate. Under their joint guidance, NH Design has taken great strides into modern design, mixing the deeply serious, grand and impressive with charm and wit, reinforcing what has become known as the NH Design aesthetic.

    The duo and their team have secured clients in the English countryside and London, Toronto, New York, Montreal, Morocco, New Orleans, Denmark, Curacao, Barbados, St Jean Cap Ferrat, Monaco and Moscow.

    How would you describe your personal style?
    I’m driven by an international viewpoint and an eclectic sensibility.  As a closet historian I feel strongly that rooms, including contemporary ones, should have emotional layers. However, in the end, its about making glamorous spaces where people look beautiful and feel uplifted.

    What is your most prized possession?
    John Fowlers’ address book.

    What is your idea of earthly happiness?
    Feeling things very deeply…otherwise white plaster, and cashmere underwear—seriously have you tried them?

    What is the one thing in life you cannot live without?

    What inspires your creativity and designs?

    It’s endless! Nicky who keeps me fearless, my children, nature, TRAVEL, the smell of creosote (seriously, we have to include the sensory aspect of design!).

    Fashion is a big one including what I call ‘sense memory’ experience you get from editorials. Movies old and new.   Ephemera is a favourite, finding beauty in the unexpected is very important . The V&A, Soane and Tate museums for starters…. RIBA and Vogue libraries, the Internet obviously is now an abundant source of information! And lastly…Hogarths line of beauty.

    Who are your style icons?
    Lou Doillon, Elsie Mendl, Diana Vreeland, Auntie Mame, Serge Roche, Balenciaga, Galliano, Schiaparelli, Jean Nouvel, Diaghilev and Sarah Burton.

    Who would you most like to collaborate with on a project?
    Cedric Gibbons for glamour, William Kent for scale – ideally together no?! Emilio Terry, Elsie Mendl, Velasquez, Stephan Tennant, David LaChapelle and Steven Meisel—PLEASE!

    What books are currently on your bedside table?

    Savage Beauty – The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay by Nancy Milford
    Citizen of the World – The Life of Pierre Elliott Trudeau by John English
    The Book of Symbols- Reflections on Archetypal Images, Taschen
    Redeeming Features – Nicky Haslam

    What is your favorite luxury in life?
    Wood fires and my children

    Past or present who has most influenced your direction in life?
    Auntie Mame, Nicky Haslam, my family, Marlo Thomas, and without a doubt my grade 10 art teacher who told me to quit.

    Profile by Ronda Carman

    11 Responses to Profile: Colette van den Thillart

    1. 15 Feb ’11 at 10:29 pm

      Colette is a dazzling addition to your list! Cashmere underwear, here I come!

      • allthebest
        15 Feb ’11 at 10:33 pm

        Emily it sounds like a must try.

    2. 15 Feb ’11 at 10:48 pm

      I met Colette and Nicky at a party last fall in London. She is uber chic and so much fun.

    3. 15 Feb ’11 at 11:11 pm

      Lovely, lovely….very inspiring . I love the last point Colette makes about her grade 10 teacher.! ONWARD!
      …my grade 10 French teacher told me the same….what a great push….I loved her for it…and still send her Christmas cards.xxx

      RONDA~ your new delicious blog look….IS..so well done! BRAVO! You never cease to amaze. Ever proud to be in your mix…thnx & love

      • allthebest
        16 Feb ’11 at 9:21 am

        Thank you so much Tracy! I CANNOT wait to see you in LA!! xo

    4. 16 Feb ’11 at 5:32 pm

      Rhonda – i am so flattered to be part of your new launch and all your deserved success. Im sure we have all had one of those ‘grade 10 moments’ its so great to look back on. And ps…Cashmere underwear from Myla right by our office….when are you coming for lunch again!! xx colette

    5. 18 Feb ’11 at 12:41 am

      I really like her style, it feels luxurious but still fun…I’m really loving this new blog design too!

    6. 18 Feb ’11 at 7:13 pm

      As an artist and a student of design i am loving your blog. thanks so much!

    7. 28 Feb ’11 at 11:18 pm

      I’m embarrassingly late adding the new address to Google Reader and am therefore just getting back to thus post. Collette is fabulous. Great profile. And the mention of adding a sensory element to design has me dreaming of a NH Design/Francis Kurkdjian collaboration!

    8. 5 Mar ’11 at 9:08 am

      Shani what a great idea and so strange you mentioned it…i have a bottle of a strange elixer sitting on my desk that i keep thinking about!! thanks for the comment

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