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A Day in the Designer Showrooms

January 21, 2010

Paris, Thursday

A promising start before the opening of Maison & Objet tomorrow. 

As it turned out, the auxiliary show Paris Deco Off was open today, allowing visitors to take in those high-end decorator showrooms, most of them dedicated to textiles I referred to yesterday.

A festive atmosphere prevailed, and heavy foot traffic in the trade-concentrated neighborhoods bodes well for attendance of M&O and designer and retailer interest in new designs. A few directions are already evident:

Linen rules supreme as a background cloth for wovens and prints – its surface embellishments often in marked contrast to this humble and all-natural material used in the raw against velvet appliqués and lavish embroideries offset by the dull-faced linen,

Large scale designs predominate for florals as at Canovas, Lelieve, Nobilis, and Sahco.

Sahco – always an  innovator and among the most exciting fabric resources – is showing a mysterious solid in glowing jewel tones with such high sheen that it seems woven of metal.

Always delivering on drama and one-of-a kind textiles, Sahco gets your attention right at the entrance with a stunning black and gold mosaic woven, followed by flirtatious plisse pleated designs and a showstopper that uses loosely attached and random placed gimco petals against a transparent background that seems bathed in a silver moonlight

Metallics, I might add, have lost none of their luster or decorative appeal and cover the whole spectrum of silver, gold, copper and bronze – usually adding formality but sometimes taking on a surprising effect as in a raised alligator pattern at Arte or used to enhance a far humbler material, felt. Raised design is a particular strength of this company, which presents a dimensional damask wall covering that’s actually molded to high profile.

Lelieve strikes a contemporary note with designs by both Missoni and Kenzo reaching out beyond what’s generally expected of high-end houses and making bright color a top priority in textiles by the yard and accessory items, such as bold pillows.

Pierre Frey, always a bright star in the home textile firmament, continues with its well known renditions of, in one case, a collection of French cups, an ethereal design of glass shapes rendered so transparent that they seem to float against a taupe background, and Chinese ginger jars in an 86-inch repeat and 55 inches across, in both blue-and-white on gray ground and in sans de boeuf against a mushroom color. A surprise is a large scale and brooding print of palm trees, rendered black and stormy against an ominous gray sky and a small group of wall coverings in Indienne designs which are printed, of all places, in Hoboken, N.J. There is nothing brooding about the Pierre Frey accessory windows in St. Germain des Pres, however, splashed as they are in "anti-recession" bright lipstick pink.

The rose color is echoed across the street on rue Jacob at Blanc d’Ivoire, always an inspiring retailer, in toned done rose and mauve, a continuation of last season.

For the most authentic French designs, many of which originally produced for the Chateaux de Versailles, Tassinari & Chatel can’t be beat. It’ll cost you but no one can touch them for quality.

Signing off ’til the Big Day tomorrow.