Above image - Copyright Designers Guild.
At Last !!!
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It seems a very long time since I’ve reviewed a new collection. There are of course several reasons for this - the main one being that about this time last year, as I’m sure we’re all painfully aware, everything ground to a halt. Collection launches were put on hold and, like many other industries, the interior design community had to shut up shop, batten down the hatches, and wait for better times.
Well, I’m immensely glad to report that those times have arrived !!! We are now beginning to see the seeds of new growth sprout into young, tender saplings, which with the right cultivation (i.e. if we all behave ourselves and don’t rush selfishly forward too quickly) will soon become healthy trees. But enough of the botanical analogies.
As regular readers of this missive will know, probably my favourite of the many fabulous design houses is Designers Guild. They never fail to produce innovative, exciting and totally unique collections of fabric and wallpapers. Mind you, their founder and continuing fount of inspiration Tricia Guild OBE has had quite a bit of practice. To celebrate her 50 years in the business, last year The Fashion and Textile Museum in South East London presented the exhibition “Out of the Blue”. Running from 14th February until it had to be untimely cut short, it unravelled Tricia Guild’s unique and creative approach, focusing on her inspiration, her intuitive design methodology, and the techniques, processes and materials used.
The 2021 spring collection, entitled Minakari, certainly doesn’t disappoint. It is a cornucopia, infused with a rich, intricate exoticism that celebrates the decorative arts of India. A simply beautiful collection of decorative fabrics and wallpapers, many of which evoke fond memories of one of Designers Guild’s loveliest collections Kusumam, originally launched in 1993 as part of their Indian Summer offering, but now brought bang up to date.
Lustrous prints, embroideries, silks and velvets, wallpapers and panels, as well as complex cut velvets and epingles, pay homage to ancient artisanal techniques, but are completely reinvented, bringing together a contemporary style with high quality performance. Dazzling colours of cobalt, emerald, ruby and sapphire are tempered with softer, neutral shades of cinnamon, rosewood and dove grey.
The collection comprises 4 books, 3 of which are designed to work together in Tricia’s unique and inimitable style – which I’ve always said looks like you’ve just casually thrown together several different patterns, designs and textures which ought not to work, but are simply stunning (by the way, if you try that with ANY other manufacturer’s products you’ll pretty soon see that not only does it not work, but what a genius Tricia is !!!).
Minakari Decorative Fabrics is the main fabric book, and is a simply beautiful collection of decorative fabrics, including lush digitally printed velvets, linens and robust cottons, as well as crewel work embroideries, pure silks and glamorous jacquards. Designs range from expansive inky renderings of exotic blooms and foliage to stylised and embellished ribbon stripes, along with more graphic shapes. The scale also varies and includes intricate small-scale florals, as well as dramatic designs of dreamy layers of flowers, leaves and Indian motifs, reminiscent of minakari jewellery and miniature paintings.
Minakari Wallpaper is the accompanying papers collection, and is an extraordinary group of wallpapers using a variety of printing techniques and styles to offer true versatility and breadth. From statement large scale panels of kaleidoscopic flowers to gently distressed damask motifs and smaller scale, highly complex floral studies, dynamic flocked papers (yes, I did say flocked !!!) and softly textured contemporary surface prints – the collection has something for everyone. All printed on non-woven grounds, the colour palette ranges from soft, easy to use shades to more dramatic richly coloured, jewel tones.
The third book of the trilogy is Monserrate, which is a collection of luxurious and highly complex contemporary velvet upholstery weaves. It comprises three graphic inspired designs, woven with different innovative techniques in a wide range of colours from elegant neutrals to dazzling brights. As you would expect, it works brilliantly with not only the Minakari books, but as a stand alone offering for sophisticated upholstery and blinds.
And talking of stand alone collections, the fourth book under the Minakari heading is an absolutely gorgeous and bang on trend book of exciting and dynamic reinventions of plush faux sheepskins, bouclé’s and soft woolly textures called Moselle Lana. This collection adds a contemporary point of interest and detail to any interior. Named after heritage breeds of sheep, the fabrics are coloured in soft earthy shades of ivory, ecru, blush and dove grey making them easy to use in any scheme.
As always, no matter how eloquently (some say !!!) I wax lyrical about these, or indeed any fabrics and papers you simply can’t beat seeing and feeling them in the flesh. Hopefully this is something we’re about to be able to enjoy again when we are allowed to re-open our showroom.
So, as the only fully accredited Designers Guild partner in the greater Birmingham area with all the fabulous brands under their umbrella, why not call us at John Charles Interiors to make an appointment to pop into our Hagley Road Edgbaston showroom and see (and touch !!!) for yourself.
John Biddell, John Charles Interiors
Live 24 7 magazine editorial - APRIL 2021