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Proud Pratesi rides into textiles show

Andrea Lillo -- Home Textiles Today, May 5, 2003

At first glance it looked like booth #1717 was misplaced — perhaps at the wrong show, even — with the huge, black structure a stark contrast to the frills and fabrics of the surrounding booths.

But there was no mistake, and neither were the lack of dressed display beds or piles of product. This was Pratesi, after all, which has been doing things its way for the more than 100 years it has been producing fine Italian linens.

"We're mindful of who we are," said Colette Jaffe, director. "You don't have a name or reputation until you've earned it."

Pratesi was a newcomer to the New York Home Textiles Show, where it sought new accounts, especially with retailers that are not located in the nine cities where it has stores. And buyers were able to see the actual product in person at the show — albeit hidden behind sleek black cabinets.

Pratesi also debuted a new bed and bath program that allows retailers — with an opening order of $15,000 — to sell one of two of Pratesi's classic embroidered designs, 3 Lines and Chain, which premiered in 1927 and 1936, respectively.

Its product line is very labor intensive. A basic jacquard pillow sham with no embroidery takes 640 steps and eight hours to produce, she said. The lines on an embroidered product are hand guided, and a worker is required to spend five years doing the 3 Lines embroidery before he or she can graduate to the Chain production line.

And regarding the unusual booth? "It's about imagination," Jaffe said. "We give you the product, and you do what you want with it. You be creative."

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