Colour File interview: Miranda Dunn

Miranda is the creator of clothing label Miranda Dunn London. Her colourful, monogrammed faux fur coat – The Happy Coat – has become an iconic, must-have statement piece. Miranda lives in West London with her four children and husband, Tom. Here, she tells The Colour File what colour means to her, from remembering things in colour to telling her mum she wasn’t happy that her socks were no longer white…

House of Hackney’s William Morris Blackthorn wallpaper


Martha: Can you describe your first colour memory?
We grew up with William Morris Wall Paper with a riot of colour on the walls. House of Hackney have recoloured some of the Morris prints and the memories came flooding back when I saw them. This is my earliest memory as well as an amazing blanket we had as children which was a patchwork of red and bright pink which I later learnt was made for my parents by my grandmother.

Martha: Do you have a favourite colour and has this changed over the years?
It changes and it really depends what is for. That said, I always veer towards pinks and pink tones but love all shade of green as it makes me feel close to nature.

Martha: What is your favourite colourful object and why?
It’s a painting by one of my favourite artists Charlie Mackesy. It was painted on the set of Love Actually and is so full of joie de vivre. The colours really reflect that.

The Happy Coat

Martha: How does colour make you feel?
I work with colour every day as a clothing creator and manufacturer. Colour is as important, if not more, than the fabric and the style. Each store sells colours differently as their customer is slightly different – younger or older or more fashion-forward perhaps. For one of our customers, green always sells really well, and for another brights always work while for another black and navy fly. There will always be fashion colours each season and these are hugely influenced by what’s happening in the world – for example the metallic silvers and golds that are on trend at the moment really reflect the age of technology that we live in, and green was the Pantone colour of the year which reflects our yearning to be close to nature.

Martha: Do you have a colour you could happily do without? 
Miranda: There is no colour I could do with out as you can change the tone or shade to make it more exciting. However, I could definitely take or leave orange flowers and always make sure florists take these out of bouquets when sending flowers. Sorry, orange!

The Happy Coat on tour!

Martha: What does colour mean to you in your day-to-day life? 
Miranda: As well as being my day to day life, colour is also a feeling. We are exploring colour in the work we do every day and I visualize everything in colour and take very few notes in meetings as I remember things through picture and colour.
When working on garments it is amazing when you change colours how it can look completely different. We are mixing colours too through trim and through creating new colourways of prints or plains or stripes. I love being brave with colour and that doesn’t always mean bright it just means pushing the envelope and try something new. A new combination that looks modern and unexpected. My working palette is out every day.
We are about to move house to a beautiful house that the same family has lived in for 27 years. It is a big step for our four children who have never lived anywhere else but first stop will be painting their rooms and creating a haven where they feel safe, secure and calm.

Martha: Do you think there are rules about colour (or are rules made to be broken…)?
Miranda: There are no rules at all with colour. A dash of something extra can make it look totally different and it is wonderful that over centuries colour has evolved and we never get bored of it. Why ? Because we are always breaking the rules and making and trying something new. Create the unexpected. Calm it down, tone it up, throw in some metallic or neon: there are no rules.

Martha: Do you have a favourite colour story or anecdote? 
Miranda: When I was six, I took my mother outside for a quiet word. I had a white piece of paper and put my school socks against it. The shade has changed I told her – they are now grey. Old eagle-eye was colour-aware from the beginning!

Martha: If you could give people advice about using colour, what would it be?
Miranda: Be Brave, follow your heart, do what you want to do (there is no right or wrong) and choose what makes you feel happy (this will be different for different people). If you’re choosing colour for clothing, wear only what suits you. If it is for your home, follow what makes you feel calm, comfortable and hopeful. Be prepared to make mistakes and go outside the norm.


Photographs © Martha Roberts, @chloelovestoshop and House of Hackney

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