Valdese Fetes Designer Mancini

Carole Sloan, December 4, 2006

With more than 100 patterns, all domestically produced in Valdese, N.C., the Wesley Mancini by Valdese Weavers brand decorative fabrics collection was launched here last week.

The collection will be shown in its own show space during Showtime in High Point, N.C. this week.

The alliance between multi-award-winning Mancini, who had a decades-long relationship with the Home Fabrics division of Joan Fabrics, "was a point-in-time opportunity for us to collaborate," said Mike Shelton, president and ceo of Valdese. "We are very much in a growth mode, and Wesley's availability gave us an opportunity to create a new brand, a unique, incredible opportunity.

"This is creating a new brand," Shelton emphasized.

And from a product perspective, "There is really no overlap between the Mancini and Valdese lines," said Laura Levinson, senior vp, product development and marketing. "Wesley tends to be a bit more formal. And there's a wide difference in lifestyle, merchandising and color. Customers can easily buy from both. There's a definite differentiation between the two color palettes."

For Mancini, this new collection "is more eclectic than I've been before. I tried to cover transitional and traditional in more of a lifestyle approach versus a specific design look. And the collection flows through color which is how we're showing it. There are 10 new warp colors — fresh and happy."

Among the new colors, Mancini pointed to "Bimini, a grassy green; pink champagne, a historic rose that hasn't been used in some time; and Amalfi, a light spa blue." Brown, Mancini said, "is used as a going-with color, rather than a feature color."

Mancini remarked, "I'm known for traditional patterns and large signature designs — this collection has a lot of texture and more plains than I'm known for."

Describing some of the key differences, Shelton pointed to the different yarns used in each program "and the way he creates fabric is unique to him — it's a signature. I've been very intrigued with how he approaches design." Added Levinson, "He plans designs for jacquard weaving upfront, while Valdese interprets designs from many sources."

The new collection is priced from $6.95 to $22.

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