The New Guard: Rachel Doriss

Pollack's New Design Director

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Last week I was invited to a luncheon at POLLACK’s design headquarters, to meet Rachel Doriss, the firms new Creative Director, and to see her first collection since being promoted to that position in the wake of Mark Pollack stepping down in the Spring of 2012.
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‘The New Guard’ has been, up till today, a column that profiles young interior designers whose work we admire.  After seeing the new collection from Pollack titled ‘We Love Color’, design editor Carl Lana and I decided to expand the concept of this bi-monthly post to include textile, furniture, and lighting designers.

One of the highlights of my visit was learning how ‘Etched Floral’ (an intricate machine embroidery in the collection) is manufactured, by watching a fascinating video Rachel shot on her recent visit to India.  She graciously shared it with me to embed in this post.

Mark Pollack established his eponymous firm in 1988, after spending 11 years as Associate Design Director for Jack Lenor Larsen.  His firm became known for combining clean, sophisticated color with modern, meticulous patterns and textures.  During his 24 year tenure he created hundreds upon hundreds of patterns inspired by his love of craft, fine art, and collecting.  He also collaborated with The Alpha Workshops in creating alphaPOLLACK, a collection of textiles with a portion of the proceeds going toward supporting people living with HIV/AIDS.
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In 2000 Doriss, who studied both printed and woven textiles at the Rhode Island School of Design, joined the POLLACK Studio as a designer, and later became Vice President of Design, serving as Mark Pollack’s second in command in 2007.  She succeeded Mark in the spring of 2012 when she was promoted to Design Director.
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dottie and do si do high res‘Dottie’ and ‘Do Si Do’ from the new ‘We Love Color’ collection
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In this her first collection of fabrics for POLLACK titled ‘We Love Color’, Doriss embraces the legacy she has inherited, and takes a bold step toward saturated hues.  I asked her to tell me about the collection., here’s what she had to say;
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“We’re well known as experts at designing beautiful neutral colored fabrics.  We love neutrals and the challenge of creating new, nuanced neutral colorways, but we also LOVE color.  This collection makes a statement about color, and how colors can shift with pattern, surface, and texture.  If it wasn’t clear before, ‘We Love Color’ makes it very clear.

For me, fabrics dictate how they want to be colored, so you will see different ‘color personalities’ appear in each of the new designs.”

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There are a total of 20 textiles in the collection: 6 drapery weights and 14 suitable for upholstery.  One of my favorites is ‘Dottie’, a decidedly contemporary matelassé with a kinetic optical illusion quality produced on the loom.  It comes in 6 colorways, seen above with ‘Do Si Do’, a classic coordinating woven also available in 6 colors.
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PollackEventDoriss showing me the collection at the Design Studio
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Among the other standouts in the collection are ‘Flaxen Lace’, a contemporary lace with a macrame sensibility woven in linen and cotton (which comes in both bleached and natural colorways), ‘Beveled Plush’, a horizontal striped cut pile, and ‘Belle de Jour’, an open embroidery produced in Villers-Outreaux, France, that mimics ‘Dottie’s scale and motif – lending a cohesive quality to the collection.
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Etched Floral high res‘Etched Floral’
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The last fabric I’d like to draw your attention to from the new collection is ‘Etched Floral’, which comes in 5 colorways.  I found this fabric appealing for the subtle contrast of light and dark, sheen and matte, and high and low.  I asked Doriss to explain how it’s produced.
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“The Dupione silk base cloth is stretched on a frame that is one width wide (approximately 54 inches) by 15 meters (nearly 50 feet).  The overhead computerized embroidery needles remain stationary while the stretched fabric frame moves rapidly underneath to create the design.”

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This short video clip illustrates the process (it should be noted that the fabric being produced is not a POLLACK design);

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It’s clear to me from this collection that POLLACK continues to be at the vanguard of innovative textiles, and that Rachel Doriss is very well positioned to extend the firm’s legacy.  I was shown several of the designs in development, and promised an invitation to see the next collection.  You can be assured I’ll be reporting back here on the blog.

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http://www.pollackassociates.com/

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