Tissus Français Modernes

a visit with Patrick and Pierre Frey

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“Designers today are discovering that Pierre Frey is not as traditional as they might have thought.  Of course we have Toile du Jouy – but we have so much more.”

-Pierre Frey

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Last week I had the great pleasure of meeting Patrick and Pierre Frey in their company’s New York showroom.  Patrick, the family patriarch, is the second generation President and Creative Director, while his son Pierre (named after his Grandfather who established the firm in 1935) is the head of International Relations.  Matthieu and Vincent Frey – pictured above in the family portrait – are Patrick’s other sons.  They are also company executives.

During my visit Patrick and Pierre shared some of their storied history, and walked me though their collection of fabrics.  I’d like to share some of what I consider to be the standouts.

Annalisa Herringbone Weave

As a tried and true resource in world of tradition fabrics, Pierre Frey is often overlooked by contemporary designers.  That’s unfortunate since the 77-year-old company has many fabrics perfectly suited to the current trend toward eclecticism in interiors.  Annalisa (shown above) is a handsome herringbone weave updated in a multi-colored stripe design.  Alicia is also very interesting for a more riotous color scheme.

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Hudson

Hudson is a Jacquard weave produced on Pierre Frey’s own looms in France.  It’s an updated version of one of the firms classic ticking cloths.  The embroidered horizontal bands create a motif reminiscent of mid-century design.  It comes in 5 colorways.

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Gaya

Digital printing technology, as I’ve reported before, continues to revolutionize the textile industry.  Gaya, a print inspired by Rajasthan costumes, is a perfect example of how exciting digital can be.  While the intricacy of this design could very well be produced in a screen print, the sheer number of color screens would make the design exorbitantly expensive to produce.  Digital printing applies all the colors to the fabric at the same time.  This print is exceptional.

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“Our modern clients work in a clean and simple style, but they realize that too simple can be boring.  They come to us for a touch of the unexpected; maybe a classic tweed with a subtle metallic thread, or a color that you can’t quite name.  Or maybe even to add that one beautiful classic Indienne to their streamlined scheme.  These are the elements that create interest in a modern décor.”

-Patrick Frey

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Thompson

Thompson is perhaps my favorite new fabric from Pierre Frey.  The beautiful glazed linen contrasts perfectly with the alternating bands of ultrasuede which have been surface embroidered.  It’s masculine with a slightly flirty shine.  Check out all 6 colorways.

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Genevieve

We’ve all heard the phrase ‘everything old is new again’, and Genevieve is a great example.  This print was designed by Patrick’s mother in 1938.  She’d been sent by her father (the legendary French designer Renee Prou) to meet a young textile executive named Pierre Frey, who loved her designs as much as he fancied her, and the two were married.  It’s the oldest design in the firms current collection, and for me, looks like it was designed yesterday.  I wondered if there were any women members of the family involved in the business, and was happy to learn that 2 of Patrick’s step-daughters are executives in the firm.

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Tuileries

The trend toward hand-woven textiles is apparent, but minimum yardage requirements and lead times can make them prohibitive.  Tuileries is a basket weave that’s every bit as visually interesting as a hand-woven at a fraction of the cost.  It’s available in 4 colorways.

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Bahamas

Bahamas is a decidedly fresh ottoman stripe which would be perfect on deck chairs, or as curtains in a modern loft bedroom.  One look at my blog logo and it’s easy to see why I’m drawn to the ‘Absinthe’ colorway, but the ocher and lavender of ‘Soleil’ are equally chic.

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Toward the end of our visit, Patrick and Pierre invited me to visit their textile design archive the next time I’m in Paris.  There are more than 30,000 documents, some centuries old, from across the globe.  They’ll not have to ask me twice!  Special thanks to them for meeting with us.

 

http://www.pierrefrey.com/

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6 thoughts on “Tissus Français Modernes”

  1. Thanks for the great blog! You’re right, Pierre Frey is unfortunately not thought of much for contemporary design. Love the family background!

    1. That’s such a great compliment Elyse, I’m incredibly flattered and grateful. Thank you for taking the time to say so!

    1. Thanks Carla. I feel very grateful that I had the opportunity to meet with the Frey’s, and to learn a bit about them. (and as always, thanks for taking the time to read!)

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