Column: “It’s all about Inspiration, Creation, Design and Style”

The well-known 'Yves Klein blue', with dancing figures on a white background (Image: Pierre Frey)

On my way to Paris, I asked myself what new decoration textiles I would discover in the newly released collections of the éditeurs. Each year in January those éditeurs exhibit their new decoration textiles in small retail spaces in Saint-Germain-des-Prés on the Rive Gauche.

I will start with the established names. These are the trendsetters, innovators and daredevils who are usually one step ahead and one step up. After that, I will look at the ‘followers’, by which, of course, I mean the éditeurs who follow the trend.

Unfortunately, my overall impression was that little progress was shown. People were playing it safe, which I can understand in these uncertain times. What did stand out was a spectacle of colour. I saw all the colours of the rainbow, multi-colours are ubiquitous. It was a sea of exuberant primary colours, coexisting wildly and contrastingly. I also noticed this phenomenon in the softer pastel colours.

‘See-through’ curtains

What caught my eye were the many ‘see-through’ curtains. Usually these are treated rather poorly in the textile world, even if they are sophisticated gems designed with the utmost care. At Christian Fischbacher I found some beautiful specimens.

Pollack and Camengo, on the other hand, use the etching technique. In this etching technique, the design emerges by etching away part of the yarn. Heavier looks I saw at The Sign, complemented by a beautiful cross-weaving technique at Clarence House.

The ethnic look swirls through every showroom. It is design inspired by sometimes primitive design or resembling drawings made in some exotic country. The colours consist of typical earth tones, a range of brown, black, taupe, terracotta, warm beige, grey-blue, dirty ochre, olive and linen colour. Here and there, we find some colourful outliers, as in the wall collection by Jannelli & Volpi and Elitis. They use full, direct and primary colours.

At éditeur Pierre Frey, I saw the well-known ‘Yves Klein blue’ in dancing figures on a white background. ‘IKB’ (International Klein Blue) is an extremely matt substance, even when applied to a canvas. There is absolutely no reflection or gloss.

Soft feeling in overdrive

I still remember the image of a young man during the Salone del Mobile in Milan. With his hand he desperately strokes a very long-pile velvet used as a wall covering. Is this a new trend? I think so, because in Paris, high to very high-pile velvet is a newcomer! It is slowly becoming the new trend, a soft feel in overdrive. It is a statement and a step towards a new kind of wallcovering.

Soft and soundproof textiles like velvet or chenille on the wall are becoming a discovery. It changes colour tone according to the lighting and to where you stand. Actually, this is the next step and an answer to the full bouclette look that has been widespread for a few years now. You can currently buy the ‘Bouclette look armchair’ already at Ikea and even at Weba, which I think speaks volumes.

Panoramic panels

Panoramic panels are quietly becoming a trend as well. Using 3D panels, you get the impression that your living room is being moved and overlooking a jungle or a beautiful city. The result is a very spatial effect, which we can see in the beautiful approaches by Arte among others. Furthermore, a striking number of birds and other animals also pop up in the new collections.

Very beautiful and surprisingly new was the design I saw at Nobilis. In the showroom window on Rue Bonaparte, a small seat drew my attention. Silent bunnies, jacquard woven in tapestry style,… It’s a beautiful idea and moves away from that wild jungle we’ve been in for years.

Constructivism and abstraction is woven into just about all the new sample books. The movement, which originated in Russia, predates World War I and inspired designers to develop contemporary ideas. The more lyrical and less austere design à la Picasso and Bracque reign in the printed fabrics. Casamance and Nobilis are the trendsetters. By the way, Nobilis is not only a trendsetter in this area: with this éditeur, the entire collection is sophisticated and well-considered, with a striving for honesty in display.

Other editors tend to follow the mainstream and get their hands on everything. This is why so many collections are so similar. People sometimes lose their individuality, their own style fades away. There are also the diehards, who sometimes neglect their own style and address a specific audience that is gradually dying out.

Elevating weaving to art

Allow me to give high praise to some designers who manage to elevate weaving to an art. We sometimes give too little thought to how our designers apply weaving techniques to realize their ideas. These weaving techniques caught my eye while browsing the

sample books.

The more I saw, the more I became aware that here and there gems are seeing the light of day. I noticed new ideas in terms of bindings and the use of beautiful fantasy yarns. There is playing with light and dark in one and the same plane, using various binding techniques. There is also shading out and letting colour overflow into another plane.

People sometimes give too little thought to the designers and creators who can bring a design to life with sometimes new techniques and who use the art of weaving. Designers are artists who paint with yarns and binding techniques, just as masters in painting work with paints and brushes.

Beautiful plain fabrics

Of course, I also saw sober and beautiful plain fabrics. These were beautiful and warm woven products, mostly with bouclette and chenille as wefts, brought out to their best by appropriate binding techniques. The fewer fancy yarns present in the fabric, the more special bindings come into their own. Here again is ‘Weaving Art’, the insight to give certain ordinary and normal yarns a platform they deserve.

Here and there I discovered genuine weaving artworks. I’m picking out one that I found at éditeur Pierre Frey. It concerns a colourful design, small woven squares into which the weft is woven. Once outside the square, the weft floats loose from the canvas and is then cut after a certain point. This seems like a technique we should think about more thoroughly.

“It’s all about Inspiration, Creation, Design and Style”.