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King of kitsch asks if the new trend for mega-bucks bling is cash for trash

A pineapple lamp for £900, a black fringe pouf for £21,000, or maybe a peacock dining table for £120,000 might not be to everyone's taste.

But this kind of junky maximalism - or over-the-top kitsch decor, as it will appear to many onlookers - is selling hand over fist with the cognoscenti.

As the socially insecure continue to buy everything from John Lewis in shades of oatmeal - allowing them a level of beige control that means they will never judged as being 'too tasteful' or 'too untasteful' - young, wealthy Carrie Antoinettes are heading in the opposite direction. 

Deliberately smearing kitsch around their homes and buying items that would appal their parents, they are desperate to show how cool they are. 

They're turning their backs on what John Betjeman used to call 'ghastly good taste' and they're paying a fortune for it.

On the one hand, who can blame them? The Prime Minister's fiancee Carrie Symonds and her set fear the 'suburban decor' of their parents' generation most of all. 

Why would she want to copy Theresa May, who made No 10 look like someone's sitting room in Coulsdon, South London? 

The introduction of pricey, ugly items and 'matchy matchy' decor of the kind sold by Downing Street designer Lulu Lytle are deliberate style statements. 

They take the perception of what good taste is, reverse it, get it stuck in the photocopier and reproduce it in retina-crushing palates.

That's not to say I don't like them. I'm well known for living in that design space between ghastly and glorious. I know it's not for everyone. 

But remember that these colours and confrontational ideas are what led to design revolutions such as Versailles and Rococo. I'd rather be on that side of the design line than the safe spaces of Scandi chic or mid-century modern design.

Lockdown is partly to blame for this new trend for going ever bigger and bolder. Being imprisoned within four greige walls means that people have gone a bit nuts.

Ordering everything from the internet also means there's no judgment on whatever you buy for your home any more. 

You can avoid that moment where you pick up the cushions in raspberry and teal and the shop assistant goes: 'Really?' Of course, the prices are astronomical. 

Customers such as Carrie wouldn't buy them if they were cheap. Which makes it all the funnier that the end result is meant to look like it is assembled from a charity shop. 

Would I pay those prices for what I know is, mostly, absolute rubbish? Of course not.

It reminds me of the character that Harry Enfield used to play of the antiques shop salesman flogging tat for a fortune with the words: 'I'm just selling stuff, and it's just stuff and it's pounds and pounds' and people would say: 'Oh, that's marvellous.' 

Smart designers are putting fabulously ridiculous price tags on their items because the more expensive the item, the greater its perceived credentials as a design icon. 

These objects say: 'I have got enough creativity, flair and individuality to pay an enormous amount of money for this' — along with all the other individuals who have also paid an enormous amount of money for it.

That said, don't judge too harshly. You may think you will never own a pineapple lamp or Medusa head leopard-print cushion. 

But just as the haute couture fashions on the catwalks work their influence on all of our clothes, in five years' time perhaps we will all have one of these items — albeit diluted. 

It will come from one of the more edgy homeware-selling stores such as TK Maxx or H&M, rather than John Lewis. They would never have the guts for that.

For those with cash to burn, there's no end of in-your-face interiors to choose from. But does an eye-wateringly high price tag always equal impeccable interior style, or are those willing to shell out £600 on a serpent-framed mirror as mad as a snake?

HOT DOG'S DINNER 

Seletti hot dog sofa, £6,650, amara.com

Proof that designer sofas aren't always classy, this one — billed as 'fabulous fast food furniture' — resembles a huge hot dog, complete with tomato and cucumber cushions. 

FURRY EXPENSIVE 

Medusa leopard faux fur cushion, £590, versace.com

Some might say embroidering Medusa's head on to a cheap-looking faux fur leopard print cushion would be tasteless. 

Judging by this price tag, Versace would disagree.

COMPLETELY FLOORED

Seletti wears Toiletpaper lady in carpet rug, £1,045, madeindesign.co.uk

Just what every chic home needs — a £1,000 rug that gives the illusion of a surprisingly cheerful woman stuck underneath it.

NOT TO BE SNEEZED AT

L'Originale gold and crystal tissue box holder, £1,470, artemest.com

Cardboard box of Kleenex lowering the tone? 

Pop your tissues in a 'mouth-blown crystal holder with an exquisite hand-engraved diamond pattern'.

BLOOMING BONKERS

Fornasetti infilzato vase, £1,982, amara.com

Not the most romantic vessel for flowers, it is emblazoned with the face of Italian opera singer Lina Cavalieri and has a silver dagger poking through it.

PILE 'EM HIGH

Boca Do Lobo Stonehenge console, £10,070, luxdeco.com

It looks like a pile of sausages in gold foil, this brass and marble table is 'inspired by one of the world's most ancient mysteries'.

BUZZ OFF

Bloody Empire wallpaper, £380 per roll, timorousbeasties

This wallpaper gives the impression that enormous squashed insects (and the resulting mess) have been plastered all over your walls. 

FINANCIAL CUSHION 

Seletti upholstered sofa, £5,724, amara.com

A word of advice for those wanting a designer look on a budget. Don't buy this sofa. 

Save yourself £5,000 by throwing a dozen or so cushions on top of your existing one instead.

NAKED DISTRACTION 

Horm & Casamania him and her chairs, £1,030 each, amara.com

They say that if you're nervous speaking to people, you should imagine them naked.

Sit guests in these glossy plastic chairs — created using 3D scans of real bodies — and you won't have to try very hard. 

MONEY DOWN THE PAN

Coloured skull toilet with LED lights, £1,881.03 (or £2,162.63 for a metallic finish), waterthrone.fr

Feeling flush? 

This French-designed skull-shaped loo has handy yet terrifying flashing LED eyes to help you find your way — or scare you to death — in the bathroom at night.

THIS ISN'T ONE TO RELISH 

Seletti burger chair, £5,410, amara.com

The 'perfect' complement to the hot dog sofa, the seat is a rather unappetising- looking burger — and it comes with tomato and gherkin cushions. 

Maybe one to watch a cookery show from.

RUFFLED FEATHERS 

Franco Lapini lapis and malachite peacock dining table, £120,780, artemest.com

Why have a wooden dining table when you could have a ridiculously ostentatious one with silver peacocks on precious stone?

DON'T LOSE YOUR HEAD

Giuliette table, £1,495, uk.jonathanadler.com

Cast from orange acrylic by famed interior designer Jonathan Adler, this table 'emits an amber hue and radiates personality'. 

It also looks like a lady who's had an unfortunate run-in with a guillotine.

A SHADE TOO FAR 

Flora Fantasia tilia noir lampshade with ananas black lampstand, £870, houseofhackney.com

It may look like a tacky junk-shop find but this over-the-top black pineapple has been designed by hip homeware brand House of Hackney and symbolises 'warmth and welcoming'.

SNAKE IN THE GLASS 

Serpentis large verdigris mirror, £595, houseofhackney.com

No more teenagers hogging the bathroom! 

Hang up this designer snakeframed mirror and they will be out like a shot.

HAIRY SITUATION

Oglof pouf limited edition by Ctrlzak, £21,960, artemest.com

One of only 33 made (it's hard to imagine why) this armchair/pouf is made from several kilometres of black fringing and looks like a sinister giant wig has been discarded on your floor. 

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