A fuschia and grey palette
Sensational red and blue
Acid green and taupe
Alessandra Branca sitting on a velvet upholstered banquette
Reinventing the lexicon of historical, classic design fabrics, Alessandra Branca's debut collection for Schumacher takes the iconic damask, toile and chintz to new heights. Exploring the boundaries of vibrant color, dramatic scale and classical techniques, her collection centers around her particular brand of inspired chic. Her affection for daring pattern, as seen in her floral not-your-grandmother's-chintz, bold chinoiserie, and signature red and white thick and thin stripes, are now available for any designer's vision-- the application and interpretation is up to you.
After speaking with Branca, the Chicago/Rome/New York-based interior designer, about the creation of her Schumacher collection, I got the sense this was a labor of love from the start. As in her interiors, no detail is overlooked. The designing process involved copious amounts of research into the history of toiles and damasks, and a creative back and forth to arrive at the final assortment; the fabrics arose from a desire to create what every room needs--a stripe, a damask, a fabulous print. "The most fun part of the process, Branca noted, "is to have an idea in your mind's eye and then see it come to life."
Never one to shy away from color, the Rome-raised designer has become known for using red and it has become a signature in her layered, antique-infused interiors. Channeling her worldly travels (which she shares on her wildly popular Instagram and Pinterest pages), she has one foot rooted in tradition, while the other pushes forward into modern living with comfort and color. When asked about the inspiration behind the designs, she shared, "I wanted to bring joy and quality and create classics with a twist. That is the principle behind everything I do. In a world of taupe, I wanted to put something out there that you can have fun with. It puts a smile on your face. It tips it's hat to the past but takes charge in the present. " These re-worked fabrics with a modern sensibility would be equally at home on an antique Louis XVI bergere or a modern Italian clean minimalist piece. After I wrote this, I spoke to her about it, and she said she just upholstered an Egg Chair in the floral chintz. The decidedly robust color stories are "a play on masculine and feminine colors together, they just feel different, these color pairings."
Photos courtesy of Schumacher
The yin yang of bold prints with strong stripes in a seating area
The collection standout is this oversized toile. The pattern is then embroidered over in a contrasting color. It can be used in fun ways- from cut out pillows, to headboards. "I looked at all the toiles out there," she said, "and created something modern that incorporated wonderful hand-work, doing the outline embroidery adds some kick. "
Continenti, a Linen/Viscose blend in Rouge and Noir
Continenti in rouge and grey
Continenti in Rouge
Dudley Chintz in Rouge with Andrea Velvet Strie in Rouge and Branca Stripe in Rouge
Branca Stripe, of cotton in Rouge
Branca Stripe in Fuschia
Branca Stripe in Noir
Branca Stripe in Prussian Blue
Dudley Chintz in Rouge
Dudley in Prussian Blue
"Four years ago I started to research chintz. I could not find anything I liked. I wanted to create a clear color palette- and reinvent it. It is fresh, like a breath of fresh air."
Coromandel, a Toile Chintz in a Glazed Satteen in Prissian Blue and Rouge. The color combination feels new.
Coromandel in Rouge and Noir
Coromandel in Fuschia and Grey
L'Indienne, a linen print next to Dudley Chintz, Coromandel Chintz and over- embroidered toile, Continenti
L'Indienne, printed on linen, in Rouge and Prussian Blue
L'Indienne in Rouge and Noir
L'Indienne in Fuschia and Grey
Corallina, made of a Linen and Viscose blend, in Rouge
Melograno, a robust printed Linen in Greige and Rouge
A serene corner amped up with red, white and blue
Sophia Diamond, a Linen and Cotton Weave in Rouge
Melograno in Rouge and Blue
A vivid mix of stripes and prints in blue and red, Branca Stripe, Coromandel, Dudley Chintz and Elizabeth Chintz
Elizabeth in Rouge. If you are a fan of psychedelic color, this print is for you
More pattern play, featuring Alexander Tartan, Anna Linen Damask, Strie Silk Velvet and Elizabeth Chintz
Melograno in Rouge
Elizabeth in Rouge and Grey
The acid green is one of my favorite colorways. Unexpected and vivacious, the color is cheeky on a chintz
Acid Green invigorates the adapted classics further. Corallina, Elizabeth and Anna
Elizabeth in Acid Green
Corallina in Acid Green
Anna, a Linen Damask in Acid Green