This French tex­tile house’s ar­chive has trea­sures dat­ing back 500 years and it’s still creat­ing clas­sics

ELLE Decoration (UK) - - Decorating -

A fam­ily-run firm since its in­cep­tion in 1935, French fab­ric and wall­pa­per brand Pierre Frey is a unique mix of her­itage and in­no­va­tion. Its com­mit­ment to pre­serv­ing the spirit of the past is un­wa­ver­ing, but it also seeks out new tal­ent from the very best design schools to add a fresh el­e­ment to its sea­sonal col­lec­tions. This com­bi­na­tion of in­flu­ences is ev­i­dent in the new ‘Ara­pa­hos’ range, which is in­spired by Na­tive Amer­i­can crafts. Geo­met­ric prints based on tra­di­tional blan­kets and em­broi­deries, such as the brightly coloured ‘Co­chiti’ li­nen can­vas, are teamed with metal­lic tex­tures and plain wools in spicy colours to cre­ate a modern, eclec­tic feel. But there are also other ideas in the mix: the ‘La Smala’, for in­stance, which de­picts Na­tive Amer­i­cans in head­dress, and the ‘Na­mata’ fab­ric and ‘Mis­souri’ wall­pa­per, which draw on the East­ern ikats and clas­si­cal stripes in the firm’s ex­ten­sive ar­chive.

This ar­chive was cre­ated in 2003 and con­sists both of the brand’s own trea­sures and those of the four his­toric man­u­fac­tur­ers it has ac­quired over the years. No­table among the lat­ter is Braque­nié, cre­ated in 1824 and bought by Pierre Frey in 1991. It was re­garded as the finest French in­te­rior design house of the 19th cen­tury, sup­ply­ing sump­tu­ous fab­rics and hand-woven rugs to Euro­pean roy­alty, wealthy col­lec­tors such as the Roth­schilds, and many cul­tural fig­ures, in­clud­ing com­poser Frédéric Chopin. Among its con­tri­bu­tions to the ar­chive are an­tique paint­ings, sam­ples of lux­u­ri­ous Aubus­son and Savon­nerie car­pets and cen­turies-old tex­tiles.

Pierre Frey’s most re­cent ac­qui­si­tion is Le Manach, a tex­tile com­pany founded in the French city of Tours in 1829. Its ar­chive con­tains doc­u­ments dat­ing all the way back to the Re­nais­sance. Plans for the brand’s re­vival in­volve re­pro­duc­ing its de­signs in modern colours, us­ing ar­ti­san meth­ods. Ac­cord­ingly, the ‘Her­itage’ wall­pa­per col­lec­tion con­sists of 14 hand-screen-printed pat­terns rep­re­sent­ing a range of an­tique styles. ‘Les Lions’ recre­ates an 18th-cen­tury neo­clas­si­cal mo­tif, while the colour­ful ‘ Taraz’ cel­e­brates Le Manach’s im­pres­sive range of ikats. Other pat­terns are sur­pris­ingly con­tem­po­rary – such as ‘Floride’, a di­ag­o­nal stripe with soft feath­ered edges. Like ev­ery­thing Pierre Frey does, it com­bines the best of old and new. pier­refrey.com Clock­wise from top ‘Co­chiti’ li­nen can­vas, £427.20 per me­tre; ‘Alabama’ cot­ton, £160.80 per me­tre; ‘Taraz’ wall­pa­per by Le Manach, £422.40 per five-me­tre roll, all Pierre Frey ( pier­refrey.com)

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