There are advantages and disadvantages to going to Maison & Objet in January. Among the disadvantages are silent fountains, leafless trees and gray skies, which is not the case when the show opens in September each year. But attending the show in the fall means missing out on Paris Déco Off, which only takes place in January. This show brings the left bank to life with its fabric lanterns jauntily strung across the narrow streets that wind their way through the Latin Quarter.
This past January, I had great fun in hopping from one fabric house to another with Tamara Matthews-Stephenson, creator of Nest by Tamara and co-founder of Root Cellar Designs. We identified a thread running through the new upholstery introductions (pun intended!), which Tamara explains: “Along the rue Bonaparte, we visited several small ateliers that were jam-packed with the latest offerings that included a menswear fashion trend appearing in home textiles. This was the case during the Dedar and Hermès presentations as well.”
The latter took place in a pop-up showroom at 22 rue Visconti where Raffaele and Caterina Fabrizio (shown above), the dynamic brother and sister team of designers for Dedar, presented their new introductions. The new Hermès collection followed, and both had references to menswear sprinkled throughout the new patterns. Raffaele and Caterina had made it a point to travel to the textile-rich Como region, delving into the historical archives of illustrious tie manufacturers to glean ideas for some of their designs.
These included natural colors with sheen; geometry and abstraction were at play. They romanced attendees with bouclé, viscose and double-faced chenille among others. “We wanted to evoke the sensation of the dusty archives,” Caterina said as she tossed luxuriant patterns in drenching colors onto the display stands. My senses were as awash in haberdasher heaven as Tamara’s were when she leaned over and said, “They are channeling bespoke men’s suiting; look at the rich plaids and the patterns we’ve seen on men's neckties!”
This continued with the new fabric and wallpaper introductions by Hermès. Herringbone and jacquard were followed by woven fabrics embroidered with saddle stitch to call to mind the gaming table. Primary colors contrasted graphite backgrounds. The designers were keen to keep the new introductions playful, the horses that were originally designed for their silk menswear collections front-and-center on many of the fabrics and wallpapers. At Style/Library, President and CEO Paul Colley took me through the new releases. One of my favorite debuting collections was “The Muse,” designed by Peter Gomez for Zoffany. It included the Hennings pattern, shown below in the palest colorway. This pattern was inspired by a vintage waistcoat Peter had seen.
This profusion of menswear didn’t stop when Déco Off segued to Maison & Objet where I caught up with one of my favorite booksellers, Potterton Books. On one of the main tables that Claire and Simon had set up was a 19th-century book on Alsatian materials, which included page after page of pattern samples that could have been debuting now as you can see from the page I photographed below. That’s what’s interesting about trends to me: so many of them actually represent timeless designs given how many turns they have taken in the “what’s new” category!
[I featured the color trends unveiled by Dedar in a previous report if you want to take a look.]