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."