Monday, April 27, 2015

Designer Rugs: Beyond A Wow Factor!

The worlds of interior design and fashion design often intersect since the approach to designing a room and designing a clothing collection includes similar elements of consideration like scale, color, texture, shape, material, repetition, contrast, symmetry/asymmetry, and the same attention to detail.

And one of the easiest ways to make a statement in a room is to start with the floor. A rug can form the basis for a spectacular space the way an excellent pair of shoes or exquisite dress can lay a foundation for other elements.

The Rug Company has commissioned some of the biggest names in fashion to create bespoke rugs. The following designers have infused their own sensibilities, and in some cases, signature patterns and shapes into luxurious rugs.

Take a look at the late Alexander McQueen's offerings, created just before his untimely death in 2010. One of the most successful designers of all time (he invented the Armadillo shoe, made popular by Lady Gaga, and the Met in New York City registered his 2011 retrospective exhibit "Savage Beauty" as one of its most attended shows in its history, seen by over 650,000 people), McQueen's sensibility was dark, provocative, and although his collections were sumptuous as well as wearable, they were also highly cerebral. Here, two elements that cropped up again and again for McQueen are transferred into his Feather and Military Brocade rugs.

Designing since 1970, Diane von F├╝rstenberg invented the iconic wrap dress and made fashion history. She still designs and sells her products in over 70 countries and 45 free-standing shops worldwide. Below we can see her Bishop's Cape and Python rugs. I especially like the Python and think it adds a vital element to the room view. Design elements are most successful in trios and look how the python plays with the grasscloth on the walls and the texture of the small console. If the rug were missing, something else would need to provide that extra splash and interest, and to balance out the textures in the room.

Jonathan Saunders, a Scottish fashion designer known for his prints has created colorful, intricate designs in his Herringbone and Nouveau rugs. I always look forward to his men's collection every season since it is usually a marvelous explosion of florals, stripes, and colors.

The venerable English menswear designer Sir Paul Smith (knighted by HRH Queen Elizabeth II in 2000) blends a classic English approach with a sense of (also classic) English eccentricity. His Oriental Birds and Stripes rugs speak to this marriage of design sensibilities.

Sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy founded their fashion brand Rodarte in 2005 and rose quickly to the top. Known for their glamorous, romantic women's collections, the Ivy Trellis (particularly lovely in a dining room) and Marble rugs below are evocative of fairy tales and castles.

I adore Dame Vivienne Westwood (she received her damehood in 1992 from HRH Queen Elizabeth II). I have some shirts and a few pairs of Westwood shoes that are among my most prized possessions (I bought my Pirate boots at her original boutique, World's End in Chelsea). She has created wildly imaginative and supremely unique collections for men and women since the early 70s when she and her then-partner Malcolm McLaren invented a little thing called Punk Rock that changed the course of civilization (no exaggeration). Westwood has always been staunchly patriotic, not to a government, but to the essence of Great Britian itself and has used the Union Jack and Scottish tartans extensively in her work. The Union Jack rug below is a gorgeous rug, made to look like a tattered but still glorious symbol of the Empire. And her Squiggles pattern is absolutely iconic, first appearing in her Pirates Collection in 1981 (my Pirate boots are brown with a black Squiggle design). Here, we see a double layer of the Squiggle in blue--it also comes in a red and brown colorway.

The Rug Company has a large selection of fabulous rugs by outrageously talented interior and graphic designers: take a look!

Happy designing!

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