The bi-annual trip to the “Showtime” Fabric show in the heartland of America’s furniture and textile industry is always the highlight for me as a furniture maker and designer. This year was especially upbeat with lots of captivating introductions. It’s finally beginning to feel like the recession is over.
Even though it may seem like a dream to be surrounded by so many fabrics, it’s really very hard work. Thirty minute appointments are made with every mill or supplier in their respective showrooms. Here’s Jim from Regal fabrics having fun showing some of Regal’s newest fabrics.
Some mills drape their newest samples in colorful displays that just beg to be fondled.
Other companies show their fabrics in the traditional manner on large upholstered saw horses and flip through all the color ways. Here’s Mike from Covington Fabrics gleefully showing me all their newest tartan plaids!
One of the most opulent showrooms is always American Silk Mills with yards of luxurious woven silks all made in the USA. I had the opportunity to meet one of the designers, Cynthia Douthit and American Silk Mills CEO, Robin Slough. It’s wonderful to see there are women at the top of companies in the predominantly male textile industry.
I felt famous for 15 seconds when Tray Petty of Moore & Giles Leather recognized me as “Ami’s mother” and stopped to post a picture of me on Facebook. Moore & Giles is one of America’s premier leather suppliers and my son’s business, Wingtip in San Francisco, sells the finest quality leather goods from Moore & Giles. They recently did a “Movers-Makers” story about Wingtip and Ami, of which I am a very proud mama! Read the article here. There is a high demand for leather recently and I requested samples so we will be able to offer leather at Chameleon!
A new showroom for me was the wovens at Se7en. The American mill recently merged with Keystone Mills and the two combined have probably the most exciting showroom displays.
Ray McKinnon designs the showrooms for both companies with unmitigated flair for elegance without pretentiousness.
The outstanding Buffalo Black & white Plaid is woven on the bias and gives a dramatic effect as displayed on an upholstered wall.
It’s always a special treat to view fabrics with the textile designers themselves. Allison Hooker of Se7en was so much fun as I mentioned matching fabrics to our Chameleon Style Bridge Colors. She pulled out her large Tupperware box filled to the brim with raveled swatches. I had to snap a picture of her rummaging, yet knowing exactly where each snippet was located. For any of you who have seen “The Cave” at Chameleon you will know how important each little sample is!
This year our Chameleon Fine Furniture displayed in the PK Lifestyles showroom was particularly beautiful. My picture does not do it justice. The metallic laced fabrics on the Mackenzie and Raymond chairs were printed in soft neutrals with shades of grey and charcoal, and were interspersed with gilded leaves in shades of bronze and golds.
The Kravet Showroom is always elegantly attired. I couldn’t help but order on the spot the delightful Medallion-Moroccan-Mediterranean print featured on the side chair. This print (Patrina) goes with our Chameleon Style® Bridge Colors, Mouse and Pumpkin, and I know will be a Chameleon favorite!
The Robert Allen showroom was beautiful as always. The navy and white print is upholstered on the wall, lending dramatic texture and color to the room.
If Apple were a fabric store this is how their showroom would look. LTM fabrics really showed off their new displays with clean, organized and clearly accessible displays. It was fun to go through the fabric samples arranged carefully on clean white tables.
I saved for what I consider the best for last…The Keystone Mills showrooms. Again, Ray McKinnon is an incredibly innovative designer. The cute chairs in the lobby tout oversized brass zippers as a decorative touch to the upholstered chairs.
Called “Ray’s Room” by the staff at Keystone this truly was the ultimate fabric retreat with soft, muted pinks and mauves accented with naturals and whites (for which Keystone is famous).
The room refreshed my spirit (I have to mention that it IS hard work going from showroom to showroom and having to make decisions on the fly…but I digress). Ray’s Room was accessorized down to the tiniest details including the great whitewashed tree stump table.
The beautiful linen curtains flowed gracefully. I noticed the slightly gathered ruffled edge was actually a separate panel about 12 inches wide on the leading edge. What a great idea…another way to have a changeable curtain panel.