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Inside a Robert Allen Collection Launch

Naturally, everyone’s talking about naturals! Natural fibers, natural colors, and nature-influenced patterns. These looks are the inspiration for Robert Allen's new “Naturals” textile collection. I was at the launch of this new collection at the D and D building in New York City last week and had the opportunity to speak with some of the executives of the company. “The collection is all about technique…taking delicate embroidery techniques and pairing them with traditional patterns and transitional looks that are all designed to be mixed together in one space,” said Anne Lekow, Director of Fabric Design.
Anne Lekow, Director of Fabric Design
Even a “Naturals” line wouldn’t be Robert Allen without a pop of color. Mineral and other nature inspired color stories featuring whites, ivories and grays are juxtaposed with rich, ethnic streaks of purple, azure, and burgundy. “The color story is critically important,” Operating VP Peter Routsis told me. “We didn’t want to do a ‘Naturals’ collection with just plain linens. We’ve created a toolkit for designers to build incredible environments for their clients.”
Mineral-inspired color stories
This true ikat design is one of the more colorful pieces in the collection
Peter calls his team “trend forecasters.” “My background is with Benjamin Moore, where we had to forecast colors three years in advance. The same process applies here…we want to be able to forecast, and then set the trends.” I was impressed by the collection’s attention to detail, which uses technologies from all over the world including table prints from India, French toiles, documentary prints and block print-inspired designs. I have a soft spot for embroideries, so it’s no surprise that one of my favorites was a specialty embroidery technique using French knots.
Embroidery technique using French knots
Another stand out was what Anne Lekow called a “true Ikat” (see the colorful photo above). Ikats are very popular…and for good reason, in my book…but not everyone knows what an Ikat is. The technique is from India, and the patterns are achieved by printing on the warp before the weaving of the fabric begins. What’s created are the fabulous, usually colorful, and always “cool” patterns we can't seem to get enough of. The Robert Allen “Naturals” Collection is a great way to bring a global experience into your home and some chic into your décor!

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