I was walking through the local park with a friend in our oh-so-upscale little ‘village’ in Florida, when a woman walked toward us. My friend commented to her, “Oh, I like your purse.” She paused a half step and responded “Dior”, before stepping her way on down the walkway.
Now that’s what I call name-dropping, particularly in the face of an innocent compliment and about as boorish as it is ill-mannered. So why am I going on about ‘name-dropping’? Because that is precisely what I intend to do in discussing one of my favorite topics – sumptuous, breathtaking, lovely-to-touch French fabrics.
You simply can’t cover the topic properly without a touch of D. Porthault here and Frey there. There now. Please accept my rather limp apology for this transgression.
Naturally you can discover fine French linens and fabrics in a number of boutiques and high-end department stores in the United States, but I have discovered a very nice, comprehensive on-line store with an impressive offering of table linens, towels, kitchen and bedroom textiles and fabric by the yard (or meter). French-brand.com offers what may be the widest selection of Designer Luxury Bedding anywhere on the Internet. Imagine the wealth of choices – over 45 brands from France and elsewhere and up to 50 designs per brand in silk, pure linen, cotton mixes, Egyptian and Organic Cotton.
Let’s just introduce a small sampling …. Like The Company Olivier Thévenon Sélection, created in 1908 and specializing in upholstery fabrics, coordinating net and jacquards. Moutet is another from the French Basque country with very traditional stripes as well as crisp and colorful contemporary designs. Pierre Frey is synonymous with luxury in home décor and fabulous fabric and wallpaper designs. In the wonderful French tradition, Pierre Frey brings a sumptuous look and feel to any room with a blend of touch, sight and harmony among patterns.
I love to shop at the base of Montmartre in Paris, where textile shops fill the streets from multi-story department stores to barely-large-enough-to-walk-around-in boutiques. It is one of my favorite pastimes. Perhaps, I have now discovered ‘the next best thing’ to shopping there.
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The luscious fabrics of France – they are museums unto themselves, full of color and creativity, artisan skill and symbols of the land. The soul of France is woven into their textiles. The inspirations for color and design are infinite. Lavender and sunflowers. Olives and cicadas. Mimosas and lemons. Ochre soils and deep red clay. Turquoise Mediterranean waters and brilliant Provençal skies. Is it any wonder that the same sights that inspired artists through the ages prompted textile artisans to create such vivid works of art?
At the base of Montmartre in Paris, a treasure chest of French fabrics awaits … sweeping across a broad variety of color, elegance, texture and story-telling motifs. Petite mannequins were silk brocades and Chantilly lace. Upholstery fabrics are as beautiful on the underside, as they are on the front.
In Provence, rich cotton table and home linens burst with color, reflecting the very land from which they come. Souleiado deems itself “The Last Indiennes’ Maker”, replicating some of the original fabric designs from India. At the end of the 16th century, lively cottons with exceptional, lasting dyes began to arrive in Marseille from India. Their popularity rapidly grew, and in a rather long historic evolution, Souleiado became the benchmark for famous fabrics.
Today, the rich heritage of Souleiado Métis tradition offers collections of fashion and home décor – creative expressions and colors of the sun of Provence. In fact, souleiado means “when the sun shines through the clouds after the rain” in Provence.
Perhaps you should consider my custom, and never return home without a sumptuous piece of French fabric!
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Whispers of style and luxury – exactly what comes to mind, when I think of D. Porthault linens. Nearly a century ago, the linens came to life with traditional screen-printing by hand and couture designs inspired by artists. Soft finishes, delicate embroidery and appliqué details define the signature luxury linens.
Fine designs spring each year from the 5,000-plus archival varieties that issue forth on percale linens or towels, porcelain dinnerware and patio tablecloths. Even children’s wear – little robes, baby quilts and delicately-smocked dresses – are a treasured part of the elite D. Porthault offerings.
What makes D. Porthault products so unique, so appealing in luxury shopping? Early in the 20th century, Daniel and Madeleine Porthault launched their luxury house linen business, setting out to produce superb bed linens in traditional whites and off-whites with hand embroidery and elaborate edging. But they went a bold step further by introducing vivid touches of color with an impressionist aura. In the previous traditional white world of linens, they revolutionized the industry of luxury bed dressing.
Through the years, they have continued to satisfy their premium customers from their historic workshops in northern France and artisan frame-printing facility in Normandy. Three key steps are involved in the delivery of their tailor-made products:
Fine materials – long Cotton Fiber, cotton voile, silk, linen, Chinese crepe, sateen, and organzaEmbroidery – by hand or machine with more than 60 shades of thread
Premium orders – responding to special, custom requests for exceptional events … in other words, luxury service.
In Paris, be sure to visit Maison D.Porthault’s Boutique Show Room in the 8th Arrondisement or fine their prestigious products at Printemps in the 9th. And New Yorkers are fortunate to have their very own store on Park Avenue at 58th Street in Manhattan.
We welcome your comments and suggestions.
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