MORE THAN A SNEAK PEAK: THE JOHN ROBSHAW FURNITURE COLLECTION FOR CISCO IS HERE

by Marisa Marcantonio

A few months back I provided a little preview of John Robshaw's new upholstery line for Cisco Brothers when I saw it at the Gift Show. The entire collection was on view at High Point, and I wanted to show them in their best light, thus, waited until I could get beautiful shots to share. Robshaw, the King of Prints, has made his indelible mark on the fabric industry with his modern Indian-made  block print designs. His collection of prints and wovens for Duralee brought his fresh designs to a new audience and in his new book, he tells the story of his design journey though  his travels and various influences. 

Wanderlust ways have him in a constant state of motion, ever-inspired by the global cultures and crafts he comes across in India, Asia and even further afield. With all this global infusion it was a surprise to find that his furniture collection is noticeably less adorned and elaborate than one might expect. Devoid of inlay, with Moorish cut outs and motifs few and far between. the assortment is instead,  clean, exacting and classically inspired. The pieces hint at exoticism, but do not shout.  Four special-edition block-printed fabrics exclusive to the collection will bring his look to an entirely new consumer who will be able to integrate it into many types of rooms, both modern and trad. There is also the option of COM (supplying your own fabrics). The foundation for the collaboration between Cisco Pinedo and John Robshaw had been laid years ago, as the long time friends teamed up . The sustainable  eco aspect of the furniture,  designed to "incorporate a far flung romantic perspective on design learned from loitering around tea-rooms in Damascus and mirrored ball rooms in Jaipur palaces" were important to Robshaw.

Cypress Queen Bed with wooden columns

My hands down favorite, the Bengal Chair with vintage lines that makes me think Yves Saint Laurent in Marrakesh.

Benares Chair

 Deccan Chair

Luxor Settee

Modave Sofa

Lucknow Daybed

Diggi Ottoman

Almad Screen

Kishur Screen

SLEEPING BEAUTIES: STYLISH BEDDING GETS COLORFUL FOR SPRING

by Marisa Marcantonio

Crisp, pressed bedding is one of those things that I just adore. I have loved printed and patterned bedding from my first "big" bed all done up in Marimekko circa 1977. Beautiful bedding is a little luxury I enjoy more and more, especially as the array of prints and patterns get more sophisticated and exciting. This spring, companies are turning the color dial up a notch, so expect textile-influenced prints in bright coral, fresh turquoise, deep indigo, the perfect shade of lavender and more fresh tones that will look great in the sunny days ahead.

 John Robshaw's new collections included a lot of blue. Nazar, the bed above, features bold large scale feather-like diamond-pattern motifs in a wonderful shade of teal against a white ground. It is so lively and fun, but it looks even better mixed with a variety of layered patterns.

 The Pipal pattern showcases the impact of indigo and white with a continuous quatrefoil flower pattern. Block printed in India, his prints go away sometimes after their season, so get them while you can.

Mixing patterns fearlessly is one of the things Robshaw does best. This bed combines blues and browns with pops of pattern and geometric impact. The circular patterned Puffer pillow in front is sure to do well, it's such fun. If you love the headboard, either upholstered or in wood that's available too, through his website.

Mixing pink and yellow, a mandala pattern in the JR Collection's Nikolo pattern works with the zig zag hot pink and white Patmos quilt at the foot of the bed.

The ever-popular Lulu DK debuted her latest design for Matouk at the gift show.  A naturalized sprig of green and blue leaves, the loose watercolor quality is really unique and rarely seen in bedding. It has a wonderful free hand to it, and is reminiscent of a plant you might see growing wildly in the South of France. Captured on a white quilted ground, the print has a charming softness.

The entire ensemble feels very Provencal.

Matouk also showcased Lulu's Lyford pattern in a new spring green. Lulu's collections are always unexpected, fun and just what you never knew you needed, but all of a sudden, you have to have that print in your life. Her work just creates that need. The white tiny flower print looks like fireworks exploding while the new duvet and shams have an all-over pin dot sprayed pattern that becomes neutral next to a bold pattern.

Solid bedding with bright contrast trim also caught my eye at Matouk. They do great quilting, and these new white pique Boudoir shams are just the thing to calm a busy patterned bed, they add a dose of calm.

Sferra, the classic Italian bedding house also introduced fresh spring colors, which they haven't done for some time. Their new graphic patterns (finally!) are really in tune with what is happening in upholstery fabric prints. Chain links and interlocking graphic geos set this collection on an exciting new path. The dressy navy and white Andover link above is ideal for a seaside retreat or a crisp city bed.

Smaller curvy lines form a wonderful geo Andover mixes beautifully with coordinating solid shams with wide color-banded borders. The coral color is divine and I see this bed really taking off in warmer climes this spring.

Photo courtesy of Peacock Alley

Even Peacock Alley turned over a new leaf, showing classic old-school preppy flanges with brightly colored teal and coral borders with embroidered round monograms in the center. By mixing it with Eloise, a small ditsy impressionistic print, the ensemble takes on a younger feeling.

I found a company at the gift show, Stamattina, that  I was totally charmed by. Their blush pink and palest blue printed bedding had a sweetness and lightness to it that it stopped me in my tracks. Stamattina means "a fresh new day" in Italian. And every day is waking up to these sweet patterns that are printed in Italy, but finished in the US. Chiara is the tiny geometric pattern and it is mixed with Lucia, a large scale watercolor-effect damask on a white ground.

The Lucia and Chiara in the palest blue from Stammatina.

Photos courtesy of Julia B.

Custom embroidery and bright wavy borders on Paris, Julia B's traditional-with-a-twist pattern can be done in 23 linen colors. I know how many of you love orange, and this pattern reinforces that for sure. If you missed her at The New York Gift Show this year, she showed at Maison Objet.

 Adding variety to a scallop edge, Julia B.'s Calais has such charm with it's triple edge flange and embroidered dot detail. Add a custom monogram in a wide array of styles, and create something totally custom to your color scheme.

Photo courtesy of Serena and Lily

On the other side of the spectrum, bold sophisticated embroidery decorates the flange of Serena and Lily's new Savoy Link bedding in a rich purple. Since inspiration can strike anywhere, it is no surprise that the border motif came from a banister design the creative director spotted on her travels.  Shams tipped in matching purple tie the solid sheets together, making it a nice choice for the minimalist that appreciates a touch of color along with a dash of visual interest.

MEET JOHN ROBSHAW TODAY AT BLOOMINGDALES 59th ST

by Marisa Marcantonio

If you happen to be in Midtown East this evening from 6-8pm, swing by Bloomingdale's to meet Indian textile guru John Robshaw, where he will be sharing his fall collection of blockprint bedding and pillows from the JR and main collection. It is worth a visit, since John can help you mix and match patterns to your heart's delight.  If you can't make it, you can always pop in to shop the assortment in it's new home on the 7th floor or shop it online at Bloomingdales.

THE PRINCE OF BLOCK PRINTS: JOHN ROBSHAW FOR DURALEE

by Marisa Marcantonio

An early adopter of exotic exploration that traveled world learning the tricks of the global style trade years ago, John Robshaw has helped define the global/exotic design category. His sophisticated, brightly colored block-prints celebrate the handmade with a fresh twist. Working with centuries - old block printing and dying techniques, Robshaw applies his design eye to create something new and exciting by mixing artisanal technique, pattern, scale and bold color. From frolicking elephants to flowering vines, his designs take the best elements of exoticism and Indian design. With a fine arts degree from Pratt, the search for indigo dyes took him to Asia many years ago, igniting a lifelong passion for the artistic sensibility and sense of tradition that existed there. Influenced by the culture, people and process, his sarongs, bedding, fabrics and pillows make a distinct statement. A new partnership with Duralee fabrics makes his pattern play available to a wider audience. The collection includes energetic prints, some embroidery and rich wovens that mix and layer together. A wide range of colors, from umber to khaki, charcoal to moss green, madder to coral and indigo to turquoise make the collection ever-varied. You will feel as though your passport has been stamped numerous times once you see this collection, but you don't have to venture far to channel it's global sensibility.