Tuesday, June 28, 2022
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de Le Cuona – Everlasting Type

I lately adopted a thread of curiosity from shirtmaker Emma Willis, to the slow-woven material of her dressing robes, to the corporate that produces them, de Le Cuona.

It was a reasonably speculative journey. I had no concept whether or not something I found on the different finish could be helpful, and the results of such pursuits usually aren’t. However then I don’t write about these. 

On this case, clearly, it was. 

In de Le Cuona I found an interiors firm that has loads in frequent with the clothes we cowl: pure fibres, best high quality, handmade manufacturing and a refined, elegant aesthetic. In a world that’s usually fashion-led and practically all the time mass-produced, de Le Cuona interiors are fairly uncommon. 

Certainly, most of the materials had me questioning whether or not they could possibly be made into tailoring, or different menswear. However extra on that later. 

First I need to clarify what Bernie de Le Cuona does: once I began writing the occasional article on interiors earlier this 12 months – first Navajo weaving after which tribal rugs – I mentioned I believed readers would love them as a result of they already recognize the pleasure of nice materials. De Le Cuona is the perfect instance of that thus far. 

When you’ve seen the hand-woven paisleys that Emma Willis makes use of for her dressing robes, you’ll perceive how distinct they’re from the tailoring supplies often used for robes. 

However assuming most individuals haven’t, I’ll try to describe them. 

The fabric is sort of open and free, with particular person threads noticeable within the areas between the motifs. It’s detailed, with wonderful traces describing the leaf-like paisley, the buildings, and different parts of the design. And though some variations look fairly uniform, there are sometimes as much as 14 refined colors. 

The fineness is clear in case you examine one of many Indian paisleys comparable to Victoria, with the Scottish variations Bernie additionally provides, comparable to Contessa. The latter continues to be pretty, however lots of these particulars are misplaced. 

“The fineness comes from the weaving being finished so slowly,” Bernie explains. “Even with the extra trendy looms they use now, solely about three metres will be made a day.”

The paisley additionally has an fascinating mixture of lightness and heat, attributable to being 70% wool and 30% cotton. “The wool by itself was just a little too heat and just a little too tough. We added the cotton to make it softer and instantly snug.”

Bernie has been promoting the paisley for greater than 20 years, having initially found the makers whereas travelling in India. For a very long time she needed to supply every little thing for the manufacturing, together with explicit fibres and dyes. 

At the moment the operation is extra established. She discovered new looms that weren’t fairly so temperamental, however might produce the identical fineness, and an worker in Mumbai manages the manufacturing regionally. 

The materials are principally purchased by prospects by the metre, for curtains. They might be a bit too open for tailoring, and laborious to work successfully with an iron. However they work very effectively for dressing robes. 

(And certainly, for wall coverings – one of many Emma Willis altering rooms in London is roofed flooring to ceiling in a single paisley design.)

If paisley led me to de Le Cuona, a lot of the additional dialogue was about linen. 

Linen is Bernie’s specialty, and accounts for round 80% of gross sales. A fast take a look at the linen web page of the web site will illustrate fairly what number of variations there are, however the vary is dominated by impartial, earthy colors – textured, printed, even typically painted, however all the time refined. 

When Bernie and I met at her showroom in Belgravia, she had simply returned from a visit to the US. It is a massive marketplace for her, with two showrooms in New York and 12 representatives across the nation. 

“In some elements of the US although, Simon, they only don’t perceive these colors,” she says, pointing at a spread of earthy linens and silks. “Every little thing needs to be brighter and bolder. I desire extra pure tones, notably in the meanwhile – like your swimsuit in actual fact.” (My double-breasted twine swimsuit from Anderson & Sheppard.)

The picture above provides sense of this aesthetic: massive herringbone curtains, delicately patterned sheets, slubby throws and rugs. 

A number of of the linen materials struck me as notably good, in all probability as a result of I might see echoes of them in tailoring.

These included Primitive Linen (above), which is designed to resemble outdated French mattress linen, and Classic Canvas, which is stiffer however has an identical slubby texture. A model of the latter is even out there that’s painted white on one facet after which stone washed, to take away the paint from the raised areas. It was pretty – although maybe not the most secure with babies round. 

One other high quality that appealed was Artist Canvas, which is lighter than the opposite two and is available in nice washed colors, like Terracotta. And at last Origami, a light-weight linen with a crisp, papery texture. 

In fact, tasteful inside design doesn’t often imply adorning your property with the materials you wish to put on as clothes. It requires completely different concerns, in addition to an consciousness of merely mixing in with the couch. 

However these explicit linens did make me take into consideration whether or not they (or variations of them) would work as a bespoke jacket. My subsequent cease can be an outdated buddy from an Italian mill, to see what he thinks of them. 

I believed the identical with the velvets, which had been the final space Bernie and I checked out collectively. 

So far as I’m conscious, no tailoring service provider nonetheless provides silk velvet. There may be one producer I do know, however they don’t promote by the minimize size. Every little thing is cotton. 

I really like cotton velvet, and have an exquisite jacket from Cifonelli that makes use of it. However I understandably took discover when Bernie confirmed each silk and cotton/cashmere velvet. 

The cashmere model turned out to be far too heavy for tailoring. Which is a pity as a result of the colors – two murky greens and equally darkish purple – had been good. The silk velvet is probably going, too, to be too delicate for a jacket. However once more I’ll ask round simply in case. 

Within the meantime, if I ever resolve to make use of velvet upholstery, that is the place I might come. I’ve additionally obtained my eye on two linen materials for curtains – those we took from our outdated flat have all the time been just a little too brief anyway. And whereas ready for that I’ve been searching the equipment, such because the cushions and throws. 

When you’re ready, it’s price visiting the Belgravia showroom (under) in particular person, simply because the materials are all so tactile. 

I additionally haven’t had area right here to cowl the standard factors of de Le Cuona, such because the long-staple Belgian linen, and it’s price having somebody stroll you thru that. 

It’s, after all, an ideal space of London typically for interiors; a long-time favorite of mine, Robert Kime, is simply not far away. When you go to each, sit down for a espresso in between at Hagen, maybe browse a couple of specialist classic outlets, it’s a really nice morning . 




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