Velvet ensembles by Marc Jacobs, Ralph Lauren and Maki Oh from the spring and fall 2019 runway shows in New York. (Images via Vogue.com)
Velvet— a textile synonymous with luxury, quality and class—is having a moment. It’s everywhere—from the New York Fashion Week runways last month to swanky restaurants and hotel lobbies to the floors of every furniture store in existence.
We knew it was coming when Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop debuted collaboration with CB2 last year. The collection’s center-of-attention piece is its slinky pink cotton-velvet Curvo sofa.
Velvet rules at the Monsieur Bleu in Paris by French architect Joseph Dirand. (Image: Yellowtrace)
Why velvet now: As luxury interior designers, we’re always ahead of the curve when it comes to the best new offerings in high-end design. But this trend is a no-brainer. In our increasingly high-tech world—where everything we use and touch is hard-edged and super-sleek— soft, cushy velvet is a touchy-feely remedy that gives us comfort, just like a warm, fuzzy security blanket. Even Curbed called out the trend in a big way last month with a longform post titled “The rise of velvet in the age of attainable luxury.”
Sofas from Ochre, known for its furnishings that exemplify discreet glamor, are more alluring than ever upholstered in plush velvet. (Images: Ochre.net)
But here’s our informed prediction: We think velvet has become a mainstream option and will stay here. Rather than an attainable luxury, it’s now a cost-effective standard. That’s because every type of velvet, not just the ultra-plush versions woven out of silk or mohair, is a realistic option for anyone (though truthfully, you get what you pay for; more economical versions of the textile are not as opulent, long-lasting and dazzling as high-end options). The fact that velvet isn’t a fabric but rather a weave, and advances in fabric technology, have made this transition to mainstream possible.
Velvet is made in myriad fabrications using different fibers, patterns and finishes. (Image: VelvetMatters)
All about velvet: This begs a short explanation of the term and the different textiles it’s spawned. Velvet refers to the structure of the fabric, not the fiber, as this excellent post on startupfashion.com explains. It’s woven with raised loops or tufts that cover its surface, and different fibers and techniques are used to make different types of velvet (for example, silk, cotton or mohair all yield different very different types of velvet textiles, while twisting the fabric when it’s wet to distort the pile produces a crushed effect and applying pressure results in a panne patten). And velour is knit, not woven, which makes it an entirely different fabric.
Today’s high-performance all-weather velvets are so swanky you won’t believe they’re indoor-outdoor fabric. This sofa-swing that lives outdoors upholstered in Perennials velvet proves the point. (Image: Atlanta Homes Magazine)
High-performance and indoor-outdoor velvets: Of course, the industrial revolution mechanized weaving, making it easier to produce velvet. But since it was often made using fine silk or mohair yarns, velvet has managed to retain its association with luxury—and its fragility. Until recently, velvet wasn’t stain-proof, often stiff (especially when made of mohair) and delicate. Today, the performance fabric movement has spawned workhorse velvets that not only resist mildew, mold and inclement weather but also are elegant, sophisticated, longwearing and shockingly attractive. Our favorite cases in point are the sumptuous, all-weather, high-performance velvets from Lee Jofa, Holly Hunt and Schumacher, which are as sumptuous as the velvets in their regular lines.
Mix types of velvets for opulence and drama. (Image: S.R. Gambrel)
How to bring it into your home: Regardless of its fabrication or finish, velvet’s best attributes—it’s soft, plush texture and rich color saturation—makes it a star. It adds immediate opulence and glamor wherever it’s used. Since velvet is here to stay, our advice is to always go for the gold—namely the best quality version possible to fulfill your needs. Below, see our ideas about where to incorporate velvet in your home.
1. Sofas: There are endless options of this luxe textile that are sumptuous yet resilient. (Images: Jessica Lagrange Interiors)
2. Chairs: Low-pile options are ideal for streamlined, sharply tailored seating. (Images: Jessica Lagrange Interiors)
3. Headboards: Velvet on a headboard not only adds opulence to the room, it offers a surface that can temper sound. (Images: Elle Décor)
4. Window treatments: Besides raising the glamor quotient in a room, velvet window treatments can temper sound, light and frigid temperatures. Left: Susana Vento velvet for Kvadrat; right: velvet from de Le Cuona. (Images: Bloglovin’ and de Le Cuona)
5. Bedding: Anke Dreschel velvet cushions, throws and quilts make it easy to experiment with the textile in your bedroom (and more!). (Image: John Derian)
01 Apr 2019