Can fabric be an art form? The debut collection by Saison International certainly suggests so. While the great 20th-century artists did occasionally put their names to textile designs, this new brand gives things an altogether more contemporary spin. It not only offers artist-designed fabrics by the metre, but also ‘ready-made’ items – cushions, quilts and table linen– so you can create a coordinated look in your home.
Saison International is the brainchild of British duo Eleanor Wright and Sam Watson, artists and curators who live between Antwerp and London. Their new venture, which launched in April 2021, presents a novel way to fuse art and décor, with hand-picked talents producing limited-edition designs.
Wright and Watson were inspired by the history of textiles as a means of artistic expression, as embodied by the Arts & Crafts movement, the Bauhaus, and Finnish design houses Artek and Marimekko. ‘From Anni Albers’ pioneering woven works to Henry Moore’s virtually unknown printed fabrics, textiles have long enabled artists to bring their work in touch with everyday life,’ argues Wright. ‘We want our designs to spark people’s imaginations. There’s something very democratic about buying a few metres of fabric to take home and make what you want.’
The debut collection features three prints: German painter Sophie von Hellermann’s romantic ‘Swim Together’ illustration; ‘Kaleidoscope’, a modern monochrome botanical by British artist Paul Morrison; and ‘Reflection’, a colourful geometric by German artist Lothar Götz. Each creative was chosen for ‘a quality in their work that translates well to fabric’.
Crafted using watercolour, collage and pencil, the designs have been realised in textile form by a British artisan screen-printer. The intention is to embrace slow production methods, with the brand releasing only one or two new designs each year.
Ethical, locally sourced materials are important, too – everything is made using either pure cotton or Flanders linen from one of the region’s oldest mills. The fabrics are suitable for upholstery, soft furnishings and dressmaking, so you can let your creativity run wild. From £95 per metre, saison.international
This article first appeared in ELLE Decoration April 2021
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