You may have already seen her work on Instagram. We here @superyachtcontent regularly share her beautiful settings. Chief Stewardess of 54m Motor Yacht Maraya, Shannon Thomson, runs the influencer account @thefabulousfusion, where she shares her unique, innovative style of table settings and Interior creations with us.
Shannon puts a sustainable twist on all of her creations using a unique and elegant touch of dried flowers, up-cycled glass bottles, jars, and fabrics such as linen and organic cotton. If you are looking for table inspiration, @thefabulousfusion is certainly an account you should be following.
We here at Superyacht Content were lucky enough to grab an interview with Shannon to find out how she turned her 8 years on superyachts into a role in Event Styling and Interior Design:
How Did You Get Into Yachting?
Being based in Cape Town as a makeup artist working on multiple television shows, fashion shows, commercial shoots, magazines and teaching makeup at a college–my passion for travel became too thrilling to remain in SA. I then took action by exploring the possibility of working as a makeup artist on yachts.
In 2013, I landed my first job on an 80-meter yacht as the beauty stewardess. During my time as a Beauty Stew, I quickly realised to further my position as a yacht stew. I would need to decide whether I wanted to remain in beauty or further my skills and experience and become a HOD in the superyacht industry. I decided I wanted to pursue a role as a Chief Stewardess to expand my experience in table settings and theme knowledge.
Was Interior Design an Interest You Had Before Entering the Yachting Industry?
No interior design is a passion that has developed during my time working on yachts. I have always been a creative individual, often shown through my makeup. I think designing themes, tables settings and fun events onboard has made me even more creative. So I guess this is where the passion for interior and event styling really developed and became a reality.
What Inspired You To Create Fabulous Fusion Platform?
Fabulous Fusion was inspired by ‘Fusing’ all of my passions into one:
- Floral Design
- Interior Design
- Event Styling
- Table Styling
- Service and Yachting Etiquette
On top of these being Environmentally Conscious, it is the ultimate aim for me as an artist.
Fabulous being all things that make something look and an environment/space feel Fabulous.
Fusion being fusing all my passions into one, creating a versatile platform that offers an array of experiences, inspiration, and opportunities.
I am a yogi at heart. My favourite place is to be in the ocean. I gain inspiration from nature, movement, people and being consciously connected to what brings my soul to life.
Through this, all my designs have soulful affirmations, creating from the core of passion and joy. Allowing every creation/theme/event to be fun, interesting, and enticing.
You create table settings and design interiors. You decorate for occasions such as weddings and birthdays. How does your approach vary when dealing with different projects?
The initial approach is always the same – What is it I need to Create?
With that thought in mind, I gather as much information from the client to bring to life their visions for their special occasion. It really is a matter of thinking outside the box and how you can create memorable experiences for your guests. As a stylist, one needs to acknowledge the likes and dislikes of their guests/clients and keep note of them.
I adapt to what they want to experience from each occasion and create from there, always adding your personal touch to every occasion to provide that unique experience whilst also fulfilling their needs and desires. Styling on superyachts I like to create freely and organically. I always have an idea in mind of the style I am going for, trying to work my tables around the flowers I have on board and reusing and recycling the resources we have to create and present an aspect to every evening.
I believe the yacht stewardesses should present the guests with a unique element and experience every night.
Does Fabulous Fusion have a particular aesthetic? If so, do you think it’s vital for yacht interior design teams to have a recognisable aesthetic?
Aesthetics is a core design principle that defines a design’s pleasing qualities. Fabulous Fusion’s particular aesthetic would represent Organic, Natural, and everything derived from Mother Nature’s gifts.
Aesthetic includes factors such as movement, colour, height, shape, balance and pattern. Designers use all these factors to enhance functionality with attractive layouts. Individuality is what makes you unique. Having a particular aesthetic is what makes you stand out from the rest.
However, having a particular Aesthetic does not mean your brand represents one style of design. As a designer, one has to be adaptable to the needs and visions of the client or guest when creating/styling an event.
An open mind makes an artist more approachable.
You have travelled to various places in the world. Do different destinations inspire your style?
Yes certainly. Getting to experience different cultural elements first-hand certainly brings a unique touch to one’s creative outlet.
It helps to expand your creative mind by bringing all different themes and experiences to the table or event.
What do you look for when choosing accessories/props/furniture, and do you have any go-to accessories to create your own flare?
I don’t really look for anything in particular when choosing accessories/props/furniture. I try to have categories in mind and choose items that can bring life to different styled events and themes.
Go-to accessories would be:
- Fairy Lights
- Sheer Linen Fabric
- Fresh Flowers
- Dried Flowers
These accessories can create any occasion into something magical.
What are your goals for Fabulous Fusion, and do you aim to inspire yacht crew elsewhere to get creative within their workspace?
The dreams and goals for Fabulous Fusion are to be an Event Stylist within the Event and Wedding Industry. I would also like to own a school where I can host workshops for aspiring creatives and stewardesses.
The current goal for Fabulous Fusion is to host workshops and create manuals to share my knowledge and experiences to stewardesses that are looking to expand their creative mind within the industry but also to step out the ‘’Yachting Box.’’ This will include Table Etiquette, Flower Arrangements, Decorations, Table Styling, Budgeting, Recycling, being Environmentally Conscious within your working ethic.
Do you have any Interior projects in the pipeline that you’re looking forward to?
This winter in Europe, I plan to put together an online workshop for like-minded stewardesses to share my knowledge and skills with them.
I will show them how I design my flowers, how I recycle petals and props, how I dry my own flowers and foliage. I want to go through a little of everything for themes and settings! But most of all, how I make the time for my passion.
What is your favourite set-up/interior job to date and why?
Bohemian Location Wedding in South Africa.
From organising the event, planning the catering/vendors/service, designing the bridal Boquete, doing the bridal makeup and setting up the entire venue.
It was an event that poured nature and simplicity.
Do you have any tips for yachties/inspiring yacht crew on where to start if they want to go into interior designing?
All my knowledge and experience has come from teaching myself and exploring my own creative flare. Making mistakes and learning from them. Every person has their own personal touch, it is about discovering what your unique taste is and exploring your options.
I use Pinterest and Instagram as my 2 main platforms to follow aspiring creatives like myself to gain inspiration. Watching YouTube tutorials is like going to a workshop, only you doing it online. Social Media can be your primary source of education, as it is a platform where you can build and follow like-minded people to learn from.
As a ‘yachty’ we don’t always have the time to go to workshops or do a course.
You either make the time or you work with the resources you have and explore your own creative mind.
It is always daunting initially, but the more you play and follow your inspirations online, the more you will find your confidence.
Lastly, are you able to give us your 5 top tricks for creating spaces on a budget and re-cycling accessories?
- Dry your own Flowers – Rose Petals, Ferns, Eucalyptus, etc.
- Recycle Beer Bottles, Wine bottles, Spirit Bottles – they can look stunning on a table as flower vases, or candle holders. One can even paint them, using Bicarb to create texture.
- Use Dried Flowers for your table settings if your budget is not available for fresh flowers
- Repaint or cover your old vases with ribbon/rope/glitter. Re-invent the resources you have onboard.
- Turn Down gifts, you can make homemade body scrubs, essential oils, room fragrance all with natural resources.
For inspiration from Shannon and to view her latest creations, follow her on Instagram @thefabulousfusion.