Wednesday, 19 March 2014

London Design Week Part 3 - Talks at Pierre Frey and Upholstery Talk at Lelievre

This is the final installment about the talks I attended last week.
I went to a talk at Pierre Frey where they also screened a little movie about the fact that most fabrics are Made in France. click for link 

For those who many not be familiar, Pierre Frey is a family run textile and wallpaper Paris based firm now being partly managed by the third generation of the Frey family.  

I of course walked in as the head of the company was in the middle of doing a video take in a chair upholstered in one of the fabrics from their latest collection.

The second thing that caught my eye were these curtains.
I admired the seamstress who did the work to really showcase the fabric and stitching.

They also had champagne flowing and the prettiest canapes.
They were one of the friendliest showrooms that had a ready smile and was welcoming to everyone.

This is the some of the team - I will be honest and say I forgot the names of the two people on the left as I don't have a journo notebook.  But the person on the right is Patrick Frey the present head of the company. Pierre Frey, same namesake as his grandfather is the person second to right.

Mr Frey introduced us the movie and afterwards did what he is an expert at.  He showed us the new collection.
But he showed us the fabrics in a way that I thought was genius.
Any carpet or fabric seller should take notes.
In fact, he was so good that I dare say that I would suggest someone who doesn't or can't afford to use an interior decorator to just go to Pierre Frey.

This was the first magnificent piece.
This is the seed as I like to refer to it.
Now please bear with me and I will try to convey what it was like to see the collection so I shall edit in a way that you somehow get the same effect.

He introduced different colored fabrics in different materials.
Silks, velvets, cottons, linens etc.
But there was always a link.
There was a color story for each room.
He pitched the central fabric as a bed throw or chair.
The pink silks as curtains, the stripes as cushions etc.
Any design student would have learned so much from this and 
he made it look so easy.

He would also scrunch the fabric and fluff it up to show the fall or lightness of a fabric.  He said it was important to actually really let it breathe and handle it.

He has used another central embroidered fabric as a central link.
Then another central fabric with new added accent colors and silks.
He did say that there was a definite split of color choice between warmer and colder climate.
His own father would always double check fabrics in Paris light and also take the fabrics to their home in Cannes to see how it works.
But he showed that even in choosing neutrals like gray - one must try and use gradients and different shades along with different textures. Quilted, silks, velvets will add a subtle texture that won't make a monochrome boring.  
He then showed us a similar fabric texture palette but in a more colorful scale.
While they come out with new collections they do have a tradition of classic fabrics but in modern colors so he suggested you could start from many seeds but just a central color is a great start.

I wouldn't have been convinced by this fabric but as seen on the chair in the beginning of the post - it looks better when upholstered.

There was a special print from an exhibition he saw in Paris.
The painter wasn't interested in getting into doing a collection so Mr Frey bought a painting and then transferred it into a special print.
 There was a fabric that I was so taken by that I forgot to take a picture.  In fact, I was not the only one who gasped.

Pierre Frey who is the director of communication was very cordial and after the show saw that I was taking photos and then he kindly offered to send images of the ones I didn't get.
Some of my favorites that I didn't get a proper photo of was one above - the orange dotted on in the center.

He then introduced some of the wallpapers.
Here are some of my favorites.  There are too many though...

In an ideal world, if I had a linen cupboard I would have adored this there. 
L'Armoire de Marguerite
I know most companies have their own interpretation of palm trees and this is theirs.
This is just stunning.
This is a little niche but there is definitely a market for this and I know that if I could I would use this on a ceiling or my own study if I had one...
On my wish list - "Venus"
I loved the drawings of palaces and their respective garden drawings! I don't know if I would have enough rooms for all the papers I liked but perfect for the loo.
For me personally, I knew that Pierre Frey was one of the best design and decor houses but I didn't expect to fall in love with their children decor range.  Decor ranges for children range from sickly to almost condescending.  Not their new Confetti range.
For better pictures please click on link above.

I was quite taken by this - it is raw and I don't think that many would dare be this experimental but I loved it.

Ouistitis & Co 
 I love toile - and these monkeys made many of the audience squeal with delight which luckily drowned out my own.
I don't find this only for children and I could quite happily use it for my own bedroom.
 This was another take on toile - I love the sketch element of the drawing.
Once again - it would lend itself to an adult room as well.

One of the images that stayed with me longer after plus forgive me repeating this but I don't find this print below reserved for kids.
This is one of the few prints that is part of the capsule collection by the artist Vincent Darre.
These are reissues from the 1940's and 50's that were in the Pierre Frey archives.

Once again, I learned so much from the talk and please remember that you can watch the movie shown on their website which I linked to on top of the post.

The last talk I will quickly cover is the upholstery talk at Lelievre.
One of the upholsters gave a lot of information.
Truth be told, a lot of it was way above my pay grade.
I had no idea what they were going on about half the time.
So please remember I am just the messenger and sharing.
Nothing else!

Hog hair is the best and lasts four times longer than horse hair.
Horse hair flattens in 18 months to 2 years.

The ideal arm ratio height is 25cm bum to elbow.
It should be 112cm at the back.

Get a spring edge cushion for your sofa.

Ideal feather content should be 50 to 70%
If you have allergies then use a 500 mica brown barrier cloth made by Dupont.
Best way is foam core, feathers, down wrap.
Webbing can be elasticated as long as it is duke webbing.
( I told you...)

I hope I was able to share with you what I had learned from the talks.  I can not stress enough that if there is an event like this near you that is meant for trade - ignore that part and just attend!


  1. You did a wonderful job recounting your experience with Pierre. The people fabric is beautiful.

    1. Thanks BB - I adore it too but have no where to put it!

  2. Replies
    1. Pierre Frey has reconfirmed its powerhouse status for sure x

  3. So interesting that he would present a room with a story and the texture of the fabrics in this way, all layered up and ready to go, you're right it's like instant decorator!
    I LOVE the wallpapers, love them. Your picks are excellent.
    So interesting you must love going to these talks but thank you so much for sharing them with us.

    1. He is sooo good and could sell ice to eskimos. I have never seen anything so suave and so persuasive!

  4. You are so lucky that you live close to these events and can attend!! Great way to learn and see what is possible. Not so easy here in the outback.

    1. I am trying to make the most of living in London because I ain't here for the weather Mary!

  5. Aaaacccckkkk! I LOVE this post! Really! Gorgeous.

  6. Omg this was my FAV post of the series! Wow wow wow! Mr Frey's eye for colour/pattern and introducing the theme to sell various different fabrics was just amazing. I could absolutely picture the room with the cushions, curtain, throw and chairs....stunning! These pros really show how it's done! The fabrics were so beautiful. Loved the wallpaper as well - so unique. My favourite fabric was the chair you showed us at the start - so bright, such a statement piece. The Venus wallpaper took my heart....WOW! Thank you so much for sharing this! I think in 3 posts I have developed an interest in interior design! Just need to buy a house now so I can decorate!

    1. What was so clever is that with most showrooms there is so much but an average retail customer would have no clue where to start but he guided people like me and showed that they already had semi matching fabrics and that alone was genius! If you live near a showroom then please have a browse it is one store that you could design a beautiful house without an interior decorator.

      I will be pasting that Venus wallpaper in my head all the time Anne!!! So glad you found it interesting because I know this is pretty hard core :)

  7. Oh the fun you have had, every time I go to find a new fabric, it's either Pierre Frey or Canovas, I can't see past those two brands. If only I lived near the civilised world.

    1. You are so right - those two are the go to places and hit every spot across the board! You must come here more often Tabs!

  8. Excellent job!!! Love love love this post

    1. Thanks Angela! Glad you enjoyed the fabrics as much as I do :)

  9. So interesting!!! Thank you so much sharing. I adore Pierre Frey. The last time I was in Paris (several years ago now!), we stayed in the 6th arr. and I happened to walk by their show room in St. Germain. I spotted a fabric in the window that was gorgeous...and 100 euros per metre! I seriously considered buying it, just to make a cushion out of it... It's out of my budget for sure, but one can always dream!

    1. It can be quite expensive but their stuff lasts and lasts!! They have archives to prove it. But it is special and like buying something that is quality and you can hand down to the next generation. I am dreaming as I write!

  10. Venus is spectacular. I am such a sucker for gorgeous fabric.

    1. I adore it too - I didn't know I was such a fabric fiend...

  11. Weirdly I don't like the prints so much, but I love the chair you showed =)

    1. I think it's bc you are quite the modern young girl! Hehe unlike fogiie like moi...:)

  12. Love that he did the match-matchy presentation... that is how decorators do things- you start with a 'hero' fabric, and then spin out a scheme from that. But I would say that you should never buy the entire fabric for a room from the one source - the colours match too perfectly. It's always better to have things mixed in that are from different sources so that the colours are a bit off. Not too much, just a touch. It makes things come alive in the room. Otherwise it can feel like a well decorated show home, or hotel room. That new armoire fabric is genius! I love their ming cups ones, and the one with the copper pots and jelly moulds on it. They do great prints.
    Upholstery talk sounds very interesting.I don't know a huge amount about upholstery, except to do a feather wrap on foam cushions! Never all feather, as you spend your life fluffing your sofa cushions. That said, some people like doing that....
    I'll come next year! Sounds so good! xx

    1. You bring a great point about not too matcha bc I do feel like I am in a hotel room otherwise but it takes skill to do the one off kilter thing so then you need either skill or a decorator!! :) but what I didn't mention is that it was for an hour and I didn't really get the full picture bc my mind was not quick enough and the fabrics just kept coming out like he was a carpet seller on double espresso...the upholstery was sooo over my head...I just took notes as you can see. Please please book your tickets!! Xx

  13. OK, it's official. In love with the Freys! Have seen their store in Place de Furstenberg (sp?) but previously have spent more time in the nearby Canovas shop which is bigger and seems more like a showroom than a boutique. Actually bought some Canovas fabric (though if you're not in the trade or buying huge yardage you have to visit another shop nearby to ask them to get it for you). This year will definitely spend more time in the Frey boutique. Love so many of the fabulous designs you've shown. V interesting point Heidi makes about not buying all from the same designer though.
    So interesting in the 4th pic to note the body language synch between father and son. Cheers, Pammie xx

    1. Pierre Frey used to be decorator only but I think they relaxed that so I will now consider them whereas I didnt' before. But apparently they have the most amazing archives and I would love to visit next time I am in Paris. I adore Canovas as well. Only thing is you have to book but honestly they were so nice and yes I also noticed the body language mirroring :) Yes Heidi brings a great point but she is a pro hehe and so if you have no idea what is going they would have been a safe bet all around xx

  14. Oh, this is a fantastic post... I love all those fabrics, and the Freys seem so interesting, passionate... I will certainly google them and have a look at their videos!


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