I not too long ago adopted a thread of curiosity from shirtmaker Emma Willis, to the slow-woven cloth of her dressing robes, to the corporate that produces them, de Le Cuona.
It was a reasonably speculative journey. I had no concept whether or not something I found on the different finish could be helpful, and the results of such pursuits usually aren’t. However then I don’t write about these.
On this case, clearly, it was.
In de Le Cuona I found an interiors firm that has rather a lot in frequent with the clothes we cowl: pure fibres, best high quality, handmade manufacturing and a refined, elegant aesthetic. In a world that’s usually fashion-led and almost at all times mass-produced, de Le Cuona interiors are fairly uncommon.
Certainly, most of the materials had me questioning whether or not they might be made into tailoring, or different menswear. However extra on that later.
First I wish to clarify what Bernie de Le Cuona does: once I began writing the occasional article on interiors earlier this 12 months – first Navajo weaving after which tribal rugs – I mentioned I assumed readers would love them as a result of they already admire the pleasure of nice materials. De Le Cuona is the perfect instance of that thus far.
If you happen to’ve seen the hand-woven paisleys that Emma Willis makes use of for her dressing robes, you’ll perceive how distinct they’re from the tailoring supplies normally used for robes.
However assuming most individuals haven’t, I’ll attempt to describe them.
The fabric is kind of open and unfastened, with particular person threads noticeable within the areas between the motifs. It’s detailed, with positive traces describing the leaf-like paisley, the buildings, and different parts of the design. And though some variations look fairly uniform, there are sometimes as much as 14 refined colors.
The fineness is clear if you happen to evaluate one of many Indian paisleys equivalent to Victoria, with the Scottish variations Bernie additionally provides, equivalent to Contessa. The latter remains to be beautiful, however a lot of these particulars are misplaced.
“The fineness comes from the weaving being achieved so slowly,” Bernie explains. “Even with the extra fashionable looms they use now, solely about three metres might be made a day.”
The paisley additionally has an attention-grabbing mixture of lightness and heat, because of being 70% wool and 30% cotton. “The wool by itself was just a little too heat and just a little too tough. We added the cotton to make it softer and instantly comfy.”
Bernie has been promoting the paisley for greater than 20 years, having initially found the makers whereas travelling in India. For a very long time she needed to supply the whole lot for the manufacturing, together with specific fibres and dyes.
As we speak the operation is extra established. She discovered new looms that weren’t fairly so temperamental, however might produce the identical fineness, and an worker in Mumbai manages the manufacturing regionally.
The materials are principally purchased by clients by the metre, for curtains. They’d be a bit too open for tailoring, and arduous to work successfully with an iron. However they work very properly for dressing robes.
(And certainly, for wall coverings – one of many Emma Willis altering rooms in London is roofed ground to ceiling in a single paisley design.)
If paisley led me to de Le Cuona, many of the additional dialogue was about linen.
Linen is Bernie’s specialty, and accounts for round 80% of gross sales. A fast have a look at the linen web page of the web site will illustrate fairly what number of variations there are, however the vary is dominated by impartial, earthy colors – textured, printed, even generally painted, however at all times refined.
When Bernie and I met at her showroom in Belgravia, she had simply returned from a visit to the US. It is a large marketplace for her, with two showrooms in New York and 12 representatives across the nation.
“In some components of the US although, Simon, they simply don’t perceive these colors,” she says, pointing at a variety of earthy linens and silks. “All the things needs to be brighter and bolder. I want extra pure tones, significantly in the intervening time – like your go well with in reality.” (My double-breasted twine go well with from Anderson & Sheppard.)
The picture above offers an excellent sense of this aesthetic: massive herringbone curtains, delicately patterned sheets, slubby throws and rugs.
A number of of the linen materials struck me as significantly good, most likely as a result of I might see echoes of them in tailoring.
These included Primitive Linen (above), which is designed to resemble outdated French mattress linen, and Classic Canvas, which is stiffer however has an identical slubby texture. A model of the latter is even obtainable that’s painted white on one facet after which stone washed, to take away the paint from the raised areas. It was beautiful – although maybe not the most secure with young children round.
One other high quality that appealed was Artist Canvas, which is lighter than the opposite two and is available in nice washed colors, like Terracotta. And at last Origami, a light-weight linen with a crisp, papery texture.
In fact, tasteful inside design doesn’t normally imply adorning your private home with the materials you prefer to put on as clothes. It requires completely different concerns, in addition to an consciousness of merely mixing in with the couch.
However these specific linens did make me take into consideration whether or not they (or variations of them) would work as a bespoke jacket. My subsequent cease can be an outdated buddy from an Italian mill, to see what he thinks of them.
I assumed the identical with the velvets, which had been the final space Bernie and I checked out collectively.
So far as I’m conscious, no tailoring service provider nonetheless provides silk velvet. There’s one producer I do know, however they don’t promote by the reduce size. All the things is cotton.
I like cotton velvet, and have an exquisite jacket from Cifonelli that makes use of it. However I understandably took discover when Bernie confirmed each silk and cotton/cashmere velvet.
The cashmere model turned out to be far too heavy for tailoring. Which is a pity as a result of the colors – two murky greens and equally darkish purple – had been excellent. The silk velvet is probably going, too, to be too delicate for a jacket. However once more I’ll ask round simply in case.
Within the meantime, if I ever determine to make use of velvet upholstery, that is the place I might come. I’ve additionally obtained my eye on two linen materials for curtains – those we took from our outdated flat have at all times been just a little too quick anyway. And whereas ready for that I’ve been searching the equipment, such because the cushions and throws.
If you happen to’re in a position, it’s price visiting the Belgravia showroom (under) in individual, simply because the materials are all so tactile.
I additionally haven’t had house right here to cowl the standard factors of de Le Cuona, such because the long-staple Belgian linen, and it’s price having somebody stroll you thru that.
It’s, in fact, an amazing space of London generally for interiors; a long-time favorite of mine, Robert Kime, is simply not far away. If you happen to go to each, sit down for a espresso in between at Hagen, maybe browse just a few specialist classic retailers, it’s a really nice morning .