I first discovered Society Limonta in 2006 when it opened a store in Milan just off the Via Solferino, one of the main arteries of the huge furniture fest held in the city every year. I was literally stopped in my tracks by an ethereal window display of delicately-coloured linens wafting gently in the breeze. Inside was a vision of luxurious calm, and stacks upon neatly-piled stacks of linens in the most glorious colours imaginable. And the palette was the thing: the most perfect sludgy pinks, celadon greens and dove greys via teal and turquoise and mellow yellows. And for a girl previously only familiar only with the hitherto perceived wonder of John Lewis’s bedding department this was something else indeed. It basically had me at the napkins.
Society is essentially a homes linens collection envisioned as a fashion line for the home; I think I could go so far as to say it pioneered the ideal of ‘dressing’ your bed, table or bathroom, to suit your personality and style — the concept of layering with different weights of sheet, cloth or towel; combining colours; adding pattern, and absolutely revelling in texture. This was a whole new and wonderful world of home play, and by taking all of the finesse and skill applied to creating designer fabrics for fashion houses and applying it to collections for the home, Society was way ahead of the game. It was, and still is, a revelation. And now it’s coming to London!
But back a step… before Society, sure we all knew a bit about thread counts (higher good, basically), understood that linen was cooler than cotton, and had got the memo on how our bedrooms in particular should be our sanctuaries, and the importance of switching up/down our pillowcases and throws with the seasons, and yet, how many of us actually did this? It was all just too complicated, and besides, how did you work out what to go with what, let alone ‘layer’! However, once you’ve been introduced to the ‘Society’ way, you will be compelled to get with the home dressing programme. This stuff is so sensuously, texturally beautiful, I defy you not to be seduced.
It’s also a touch unconventional which is why I particularly love it, being subtle not showy; casual yet exquisite. It has that kind of stealth swoon quality (think Celine handbags) that doesn’t need to be all shouty because the shades and weaves speak for themselves. And this is even for the prints, which you might baulk at choosing, recalling perhaps a childhood of candy-coloured striped flannelette and believe pattern in the bedroom is not for you, but these are in another league. Even if you’ve previously only done plains, or whisper it, white, I guarantee you’ll do a re-think.
Crucially though, because the range is wide, you won’t feel dictated to in terms of what to combine, you can mix and mismatch to your heart’s content. In fact, in store, they have little mini beds with doll size versions of all the various colours and fabrics on offer so you can compose your perfect bed in miniature! Also, it’s sort of the house philosophy not to proffer pre-determined ‘bed-sets’, the idea being it’s entirely upto you to clash or coordinate as you will.
Caveat: the goodies are not cheap (eg a pair of froisée linen pillow cases is £115), but then we’re in for the long-term here; and as I’ve often said, it’s the things that we use everyday that we should spend the most on. And, considering we spend approximately a third of our lives in bed… well, you do the maths, anything that makes getting those precious hours more joyful and restorative is worth it in my book. Besides, trust me, once you really get into the whole notion of ‘dressing’ your bed (and then matching in your dining table, not to forget towels and teacloths!), there are few so easily attainable pleasures like it. And, just as in fashion, mix the haute with the high-street for a truly individual, and affordable look (for example, H&M do perfectly decent washed linen sheets, albeit in rather limited colour ways).
In short, when my bed sports freshly laundered linens, and is plump of pillow and smooth of eiderdown, it is my favourite, and most effective, place to write, and my perfect place of an early weekend morning to while away a few hours reading (or more likely ploughing through emails), with my son curled up all cosy at my side. As Thomas Hood so eloquently quipped, “Oh bed! Oh bed! Delicious bed. That heaven on earth to a weary head”.
Some fast facts about Society Limonta…
• An Italian brand, it was founded in 2000 and is part of the Limonta Group, a textile manufacturers which dates back to the 19th Century and is based in Costa Masnaga, near Lecco, in Lombardy.
• The philosophy of the company is ‘Never settle for anything less’. As it puts it, this means, “being daring and experimental, carefully selecting the best of fabrics, and discovering new and unusual textile combinations.”
• Society do a particularly lovely extra light printed cotton to mix and match in with its heavier linens. It’s like sleeping under feathers!
• Everything is made from the finest natural materials: linen, cotton, silk, wool and cashmere. And most recently it’s introduced a collection in hemp too, weaving it into table linens and bath towels so soft they feel like velvet. No scratchy stuff here!
• Society creates two seasonal collections a year, just as per fashion.
• The brand uses a special ‘garment dye’ colouring technique, which means that every piece is unique as the fabrics will vary in tone.
• It recently introduced ceramics to its range. Made from Limoges porcelain, and imprinted with the impression of fine linen, all pieces are hand-made using an ancient finishing technique known as “terra sigillata” which creates fantastically tactile, matt surfaces.
• All the shops are designed by architect and designer Ferrucio Laviani, he of the terribly popular ‘Bourgie’ table lamp for Kartell.
• And all collections are manufactured using 100% self-generated power and super energy efficient generators for maximum sustainability points — for the company, this is about respecting the environment as well as people’s wellbeing. Bravo!
• But, most importantly, although it has shops all over the world, as well as an online outlet, in May 2018 the doors open to its first London flagship store, hurrah, as nothing beats handling these fabrics in person.
170 Walton Street, London SW3 2JL
Telephone (0203 144 0000)
Opening Hours: 10: 30-18: 30 Monday to Saturday. Closed Sundays.