Alex Eagle reveals five style tips she took away from the experience of putting together her book More Than Just a House: at Home with Collectors and Creators
From Dior and Fendi director Kim Jones, to fashion heiress Margherita Missoni and designer Rosetta Getty, the list of home-owners featured in Alex Eagle’s book More Than Just a House: at Home with Collectors and Creators (Rizzoli) reads like a who’s who of the creative elite. “Most of the people in the book are my friends,” explains Eagle, whose own home is in Soho, London. “The inspiration for the book came from the homes. It was that feeling of being in someone’s home and being delighted and overwhelmed by it.”
Having begun her career at Tank and Harper’s Bazaar, before moving into the PR world in her role at British fashion label Joseph, Eagle is the very definition of ‘connected’. In 2014 she launched her eponymous concept store, Alex Eagle Studio, blending fashion and lifestyle. Having cemented her position as an authority on luxury style, she has teamed up with publisher Rizzoli to realise an idea a decade in the making. “The concept of the book had been in my head for about ten years – I was collecting the people for it like they collected things for their homes.” Having teamed up with photographer Kate Martin and writer Tish Wrigley, the trio took their time creating More Than Just A House, savouring the unique experience of shooting people in their homes. “We weren’t trying to get it all done in six months, we took a couple of years,” notes Eagle. “Most of the houses I’ve got a special memory of – of staying with the owner or visiting. It’s nice talking to people when they’re in their own home. You really see the real them, and the way they use the things around them and make you a cup of tea and feel relaxed.”
While the book does feature some of the most lavish interiors you’re ever likely to see, Eagle insists that this is not a book about interior design. “The idea was to document the people that inspire me. I had a desire to capture them, to tell everyone that these people are cool, interesting people who I feel are going to be even more interesting in years to come. It’s a documentation of what’s going on culturally or creatively around the world.” While it may not be a design book per se, there are plenty of style tips Eagle took away from the experience:
1. Don’t be scared of a souvenir
“Some houses had really amazing pieces of art and design furniture, but a lot of them had things that people had collected and loved and brought them joy. The inspiring things weren’t always things of high value, it was more personal value. It was holiday memorabilia or things their kids had made, or things they’d bought for themselves that reflected a milestone in their life.”
2. Don’t rely on an interior designer
“None of the houses were done by an interior designer. It was a slightly eclectic feeling of things collected over the years. No home was completely homogenous. They weren't done ‘in the style of’, they felt they’d be collected and built over time.
3. Love conquers all
“If you love it, it should work. It’s about collecting something not in a theme but because you can make it work if you like it. It was mixing a designer chair with a flea market find or something they’d found on eBay. It was pieces being joyful or personal, rather than being picked for a room.”
4. Collect furniture, not art
“Good bits of design are really worth investing in. They act like a piece of artwork and a piece of furniture. I definitely found it inspiring seeing really important and special bits of design furniture being used in a decorative and functional way. If you’re investing in pieces then furniture is a great choice. They often do more than a piece of art can.”
5. Think illogically
“Have fun with colour! It was the mismatching of things I found really inspiring. There was no rhyme or reason to it and that was a real takeaway for me. Don’t overthink the palette and keep everything in the style of something.”
More Than Just a House: at Home with Collectors and Creators is published by Rizzoli.