No one does embellishment, adornment or accessorising quite like London haberdasher Annabel Lewis. From covering the windows of her famous ribbons ’n’ trimmings shop, V V Rouleaux, with pom-poms to wrapping blousy rosettes around the woodwork, her dedication to decoration has earned her a dedicated following. Crowds flock to marvel at her window displays in Marylebone – either to browse or just to snap a cheeky photo destined for Instagram. With her philosophy of fully embracing a more-is-more attitude plus a sprinkling of sparkle, who better to offer her eight top tips for Christmas tree dressing? Oh… and did we mention that she loves a bow?
Treat your tree as if you are painting a portrait.
You want to find the subject’s best side.
• Start early
‘I always put my tree up around the 5th of December – you need enough time to show it off!’
• Find your best side
‘Treat your tree as if you are painting a portrait. You want to find the subject’s best side, so keep turning it until you’re satisfied that your tree is sitting particularly prettily.’
• Get organised
‘I like to lay out all of my decorations and see what I have to work with. It helps me create an order to hang my adornments in.’
• Lights first
‘Plug in the lights and make sure they work before you start wrapping them around the tree. Always put the lights on before the other decorations, starting at the back, so you can hide the wires, and working top to bottom.’
• Mix it up
‘I like to keep to a fairly traditional colour palette – gold, silver, red and green. But I always avoid using just one colour, as it’s nice to have some contrast so that the decorations really pop.’
• Get creative
‘Floristry wire is my go-to when it comes to decorating the tree. It’s much more discreet and durable than thread. It also means you can make almost anything into a tree decoration, from sparkly pieces of jewellery to my beloved ribbon bows.’
• One at a time
‘I start at the top and only hang one type of decoration at a time so that everything is spaced out evenly. After the lights, it’s the bows and then the baubles.’
• Get some perspective
‘It’s important to keep stepping back from your tree to make sure the overall look is right. You don’t want to end up with clusters of decorations and bauble-bare patches.’