Day in the Life

Scott Kravet car­ries on his fam­ily’s legacy by scour­ing the globe for de­sign in­spi­ra­tion, then watch­ing it take on a whole new life

Traditional Home - - Contents - WRIT­TEN AND PRO­DUCED BY TORI MELLOTT PHO­TOG­RA­PHY BY LES­LEY UN­RUH

Tour around town with fab­rics icon Scott Kravet.

scott Kravet has been de­scribed as the In­di­ana Jones of the fab­ric world—bounc­ing from con­ti­nent to con­ti­nent, comb­ing the world for rare doc­u­ments and an­tique tex­tiles to for­tify Kravet Inc.’s al­ready im­pres­sive archive. Just like Spiel­berg’s Indy, Scott gets into all sorts of jaw-drop­ping sit­u­a­tions.

He’s pur­chased truck­loads of ex­otic fab­rics—stowed in the at­tic of a six­th­gen­er­a­tion mill in France—from a guy who speaks 16 lan­guages. He’s found him­self in a bunker in Bu­dapest with Cop­tic fab­rics dat­ing from the third cen­tury. He’s re­lent­less in his pas­sion for fab­ric—abroad and at home. He moves lithely among the com­pany’s Kravet, Brun­schwig & Fils, and Lee Jofa brands—and holds the fi­nal say on ev­ery de­sign. In­tense? Yes. And this tex­tile ad­ven­turer is up to the task.

Orig­i­nated by Ju­dith Straeten, Brun­schwig & Fils’ ar­chiv­ist and cu­ra­tor for nearly 30 years, a card cat­a­log sys­tem akin to the Dewey Dec­i­mal Sys­tem doc­u­ments fab­rics. It’s still used to­day.

I RE­MEM­BER SIT­TING ON THE PORCH PICK­ING COL­ORS WHEN I WAS 10. ALL I EVER WANTED TO DO IS WORK WITH MY DAD.”

—Scott Kravet

8 am From the minute we meet up with Scott at Kravet’s head­quar­ters in Beth­page, New York, it’s go-go-go.

Mul­ti­task­ing like a par­ent of quadru­plets, Scott bus­tles around HQ. As we zigzag down long cor­ri­dors that con­nect of­fices, con­fer­ence rooms, and the com­pany cafe­te­ria, Scott tells the story of how in 1918 his great-grand­fa­ther, a tai­lor from Rus­sia, started the fam­ily busi­ness—now cel­e­brat­ing its 100th year. We turn a corner and stop in front of an unas­sum­ing

white door. En­thu­si­as­ti­cally, Scott asks, “OK, are you ready?”

We’ve reached Kravet’s mag­nif­i­cent tex­tile archive, used both to re­pro­duce his­toric mo­tifs and to in­spire new de­signs. We lose track of the hours in­side this tex­tile lover’s ver­sion of a candy shop as Scott en­cour­ages us to open draw­ers and cab­i­nets brim­ming with archival doc­u­ments. He pulls out an­cient tex­tiles and urges us to touch these del­i­cate trea­sures, to ex­pe­ri­ence their rare beauty.

11am We pile in the car, bound for Man­hat­tan. True to Scott style, though, we take an in­trigu­ing de­tour through the Nas­sau County Art Mu­seum, where his mother was a long­time do­cent.

11:30am We hop on I-495 to the city, grab a hot dog on the fly, and fin­ish munch­ing just as we pull up to the Kravet de­sign stu­dio on West 21st Street. It’s time for a tour of the new col­lec­tions. Scott ex­plains the nu­ances of each brand that lives un­der the Kravet um­brella. “Lee Jofa is English in

her­itage and rooted in tra­di­tion, but we also of­fer the Ground­works di­vi­sion, a con­tem­po­rary side fea­tur­ing Kelly Wearstler, Hunt Slonem, and Thomas O’Brien,” he says. “The Lee Jofa aes­thetic is more akin to an Amer­i­can pal­ette. And Brun­schwig— its ar­chives are by far my fa­vorite. They bring a world-class di­men­sion so deep, his­toric, and truly Fran­cophilic.”

In ad­di­tion to the fab­rics, Scott says, the com­pany’s col­lab­o­ra­tors set Kravet apart. “They bring us true orig­i­nal­ity,” he

says. “For ex­am­ple, Barbara Barry watercolors her images while trav­el­ing the world, and in turn, we rein­ter­pret those cre­ations into tex­tiles. That’s unique.”

3:45 pm We buzz uptown to the Lee Jofa and Brun­schwig show­room. Scott pokes his head into the sam­ple room to check on the un­sung heroes of the op­er­a­tion. “If it weren’t for these guys, the de­sign­ers wouldn’t get their sam­ples,” he says.

5 pm Scott has to zip back to Long Is­land to at­tend a fam­ily func­tion, but there’s time for a quick stop at the Kips Bay Dec­o­ra­tor Show­house. He’s taken with Philip Mitchell’s liv­ing room—and points to its plethora of Lee Jofa fab­rics and trims.

There’s time for just one last ques­tion as he whizzes out the door: What keeps this dy­namo so pas­sion­ate about his job, so en­thralled with fine fab­rics? “Ev­ery day I col­lab­o­rate with dif­fer­ent stu­dios and dif­fer­ent per­son­al­i­ties,” he says. “That’s what keeps it ex­cit­ing.” And with a wave, he’s off once again, headed for a new ad­ven­ture.

Scott takes a look at Kravet’s new Green­wich col­lec­tion, left.

Scott chats with Brun­schwig & Fils De­sign Direc­tor Danielle St. Ge­orge about the Brun­schwig & Fils Cevennes col­lec­tion.

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