Florence Broadhurst
Culture, Design

Sex, Lies and Wallpaper

For those of you who know that I am a bit of a minimalist, this may come as a surprise…

I love wallpaper. So I was particularly excited to have the opportunity to attend a lecture given by Annalisa Capurro during Modernism Week in Palm Springs titled Secrets, Lies and Wallpaper: The Life and Designs of Florence Broadhurst.  The subject was the extraordinary life of mid-century Australian designer Florence Broadhurst.  You may not recognize the name but you’ve probably seen her designs. 

FLorence Broadhurst Turnabouts

FLorence Broadhurst Poppies

Florence Broadhurst Japanese Floral

Florence Broadhurst Cranes

Florence Broadhurst Cockatoo

Capurro’s lecture kept you on the edge of your seat as you learned about the flamboyant designer who traveled the world changing her identity with each move.  She lived so many lives – from a singer in the roaring 20s, to a French couturier, to an English aristocrat, to an Australian painter, and finally and most successfully a wallpaper designer with a booming business that she started in her 60s (it’s never too late!). 

In 1977, at the height of her success, Broadhurst was brutally murdered, a crime that remains unsolved today.  After her death, her collection was forgotten. 

However, Signature Prints Pty. Ltd. acquired the collection and began reissuing her designs which now enjoy prolific distribution.

You may recognize some of Florence’s designs thanks to a recent collaboration with Kate Spade.

Florence Broadhurst for Kate Spade Florence BRoadhurst For Kate Spade Tote Bag FLorence Brodhurst for Kate Spade Bracelet

Annalisa even spotted a Florence Broadhurst sideboard at a local hotel called La Villa Serena. 

Naturally, David and I had to go visit to check out the décor and have a cocktail at their restaurant, Azucar.  While the bar menu left a little to be desired, the ambiance was on point.  

Azucar at La Serena Villas Palm Springs 2

Azucar at La Serena Villas Palm Springs

One element I found particularly interesting about Florence Broadhurst’s eccentric life was the power and influence that reinvention played. 

While Broadhurst obviously took reincarnating herself to an extreme, it did make me think about the creative freedom and opportunity for personal and professional growth that came with a certain level of anonymity not afforded to us in the age of the internet and social media.

What do you think about Florence’s designs?  How do you feel about wallpaper in general?      

Despite my reluctance to settle in one location, I do fantasize about having a space that I can invest time and creative energy into making my our own. I love the fun pops of color and patterns wallpaper can bring to a space, and hope to have my own little piece of Florence’s designs one day (I’m envisioning a very bold powder room). 



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  • Reply Christy VivianoApril 6, 2018 at 7:54 pm

    I think her designs are fabulous and am glad they are finally being being shared with everyone. Perhaps you can incorporate her designs, and those of others, in a home decorating business?

    • Reply AnnaApril 6, 2018 at 9:08 pm

      I wish! That’s a great idea.

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