As the weather cools and the holiday season nears, I leave my beloved linens behind and gravitate towards more lush materials. Since so much of a fabric’s allure relates to touch, sumptuous velvet is always a favorite. It is an elegant yet understated way to add seasonal texture and this year in particular, it's having a moment in everything from furniture to fashion.
Categorized as a ‘woven tufted fabric in which the cut threads are evenly distributed with a short pile’, velvet is coveted for its distinctive softness. It's luxe ‘hand’ or feel and rich depth of color make it a classic for elevated design. Originally made from pure silk threads, it was once the choice fabric for nobility due to its high cost and luxurious feel. But these days most velvet is made from both synthetic and natural fibers making it extremely accessible and adaptable.
Historically, there are varying opinions regarding the origin of velvet but it is most often suggested that it originated in Egypt and China with remnants of the fabric dating back to 2000 BC. The textile was later traded along the Silk Road ending up in medieval Europe.
During the Renaissance, new loom technology lowered the cost of production and Florence, Italy became the dominant velvet production center.
Fast forward to today, the key to keeping velvet from looking too heavy or traditional is to pair it with contrasting materials. Think a linen sofa with a velvet throw pillow or a velvet armchair with a silk cushion. Or a velvet dress paired with a chunky boucle jacket. The more textural the look the better. Like with any other fabric, juxtapose modern metallic finishes to give it a truly fresh feel.
In decorating, I love incorporating velvet in all rooms as it adds a touch of warmth and sophistication to any design scheme. Even just a hint of velvet adds great textural interest.
One of the simplest ways to bring it in is with a few accent pieces like cushions or an ottoman or even an elegant throw to drape at the bottom of a bed.
Lately, the material has moved from larger pieces to smaller accessories like lampshades and picture frames making it easy to update your interior.
Velvet in unexpected colors also bring about a contemporary elegance and this season we are seeing more velvets in lighter neutral tones. Soft shades of grays and blues and the palest of pinks are rising in popularity.
In fashion, velvet is everywhere from blazers and dresses to bags and hair accessories. It was a prominent trend on the runway at the Parisian couture shows in July indicating a return to ‘timeless luxury.’
From a vintage clad armchair to the prettiest bow napkin rings, here are some of my current favorites to get the velvet look:
4. Velvet Trim
5. Vintage Lamp
10. Bow Napkin Rings
11. Loafer Slippers