Designing Women – Lady Sibyl Colefax (1874-1950)

Lady Sibyl Colefax was an English interior decorator and a socialite.  She was born in Wimbledon into a well-to-do family and grew up in Cawnpore, India until the age of 20. In 1901, she married a patent lawyer, Sir Arthur Colefax, and settled down in England.  They lost most of their money in the Wall Street Crash in 1929 so she began to use her decorating talents professionally. 

Fortunately, she had a many wealthy & influential contacts and was admired for her decorating abilities.  She purchased the decorating division of the antique dealers Stair and Andrew of Bruton Street, Mayfair & created Sibyl Colefax Ltd. with Peggy Ward, the Countess of Munster. 

In 1938 after the Countess’ early retirement, John Fowler became Sibyl’s new partner.  The decorating division of the business still continues today under the name Sibyl Colefax and John Fowler Ltd.

Fowler & Colefax were known for their English Country House style.  This particular style combined tradition with comfort & simplicity. Although Lady Colefax was known for being extravagant, a socialite, and a part of fashionable society, during WWII, Lady Colefax showed her generosity by organizing a soup kitchen.

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