One might as well face the inevitable onset of winter with romantic notions and artistic flair. Thus, my imagination was drawn to velvet with its augmented experience for touch and luster. This ancient plush weave may invoke the Renaissance and the hippie era, but it has never been out of production. Velvet, for dressing one’s rooms, one’s self, and one’s dearest, is today’s theme.
The interest began for me this season with a dress fabric called velvet burnout. On a background of chiffon, there are shapes woven in velvet with a pattern printed on top. It makes up into useful evening shirts and afternoon dresses.
The interior design equivalent is called cut velvet. The background cloth is a plain-weave cotton and the raised pattern appears in multiple colours. This traditional cloth, well-loved by interior designers, changes in style along with the trends.
The quintessential luxury classic interior design velvet is a tiger or leopard pattern, still very costly, made of silk thread woven as a velvet ‘pile’ on a cotton background cloth. Yves St. Laurent and his muse Lou Lou de la Falaise set the style. It was upheld by Valentino and Versace in their residences and fashions.
My black top of leopard-patterned burnout-velvet has never had a good bottom to pair with it. I was searching for a holiday party pant online, late at night when I was just not ready for lights-out, and Paige of Los Angeles was the standout.
These days a person doesn’t want to be too foo-foo so velvet jeans seemed right. Given velvet’s relationship to 70’s style, the flared bottom throwback is a logical shape and feels right.
While a black top over a black bottom might be recommended for shorter figures, I kept looking back at the pink velvet jeans. Black with pink is a Chanel favourite. Pink is a hot fashion colour for interiors and runways, plus according to Goethe’s Colour Theory, it’s the colour of joy.
For decades, my clients have requested solid-coloured velvet pillows for custom coordinating. Twenty one by twenty two inches wide is my current favourite size. We often pull colour out of the painting for sofa pillows, and the headboard, wallpaper or drapes for the bed. I’ve made many bedroom drapes in cotton velveteen too. The most subtle colours are the most expensive as a rule, economy mills not daring to wander from the basics, so prices can vary from easy peasy to investment.
Winter requires slippers for padding about the house, and I found myself also late-night shopping for slippers. Picturing velvet for after bath winter toes was another of the ideas that eventually led to the realization that velvet per se is important. These amazing leather soled slippers for men and women are at Not Just Pajamas. It was the act of looking at the slippers on this site that drew me to pajamas, as can happen!
Pajamas in silk velvet! So wonderful! Now we are discussing lounging, which has gained new favour this year. I found wonderful silk velvet lounging pajamas and this velvet robe, ideal for over silk satin pa-jams. Let’s digress for a moment to note that silk is so much dreamier for sleeping than cotton or polyester fabrics. Classic silk pajamas with contrast-piping outlining the collar and pocket, make a wonderful gift for the luxury loving man.
Lounging at home involves a throw. My favourite panther throw, backed with silk, had to go into a client project since the velvet was discontinued and a more suitable fabric couldn’t be found. As I search for its replacement I’m drawn to the softer drape of velvet in silk and rayon yarns. Rayon is the most fluid but the most difficult to sew, because when the two plush surfaces are pressed together it slides out of alignment in every direction before you can put in a stitch.
I have just created two velvet queen beds for a client, one in lavender-grey and one in silvery-white. The rooms around them aren’t complete, so they can’t be shown yet.
Dear Diva and Divo, may you have many joyful, cozy, velvety, silky, luxurious indoor winter hours.
A long standing member of the American Society of Interior Designers, Lois Macaulay holds a 1st place award for residential design 2018, 2nd place for 2017 and 2 presidential citations for contributions to the profession from ASID. “I love creating beautiful settings for extraordinary women--and men,” she says. The strong fashion/design connection in these posts owes its source to her first career as a fashion designer, coordinator and national fashion magazine editor.