British shoe designer Paul Andrew debuted his Spring 2016 collection in New York City last September during Mercedes Benz Fashion Week against an effusive backdrop of Sanderson/Zoffany and Griffin & Wong fabric and wallpaper. It was a case of east meets west in the most fashionable sense of the phrase.
Paul Andrew East to West
I wanted to swing by the event but my schedule got the best of me so as we approach another week of #NYFW madness, only a month away now, I thought I’d create a little shoe envy for readers of Productrazzi. I know: you can hate me now!
The collection was inspired by a trip Paul took to Hong Kong during which he was awed by the city he characterized through its contradictions and tensions—simultaneously modern and traditional; ornate and streamlined; or, as globetrotters have long declared, the quintessential point where East and West meet.
For this fashion week presentation he chose to showcase this juxtaposition by presenting his collection against both traditional British (Sanderson) and hand-painted Chinese (Griffin & Wong) patterns.
Creating Drama with Wallpaper and Fabric
The Sanderson/Zoffany contribution to the backdrop was the Sweet Bay fabric in Ebony/Ivory. Depicting a magnolia tree in full bloom, luxuriant blossoms flourish on gently undulating stems, the fabric printed to capture the rich watercolor tonality of botanical paintings. It is available in four classic color combinations on softly glazed cotton, one of which is the ebony/ivory pairing above.
Hand-painted luxury wallpapers by Chinese manufacturer Griffin & Wong were also tapped to contribute to the backdrop. The image above illustrates the shoes Andrew designed juxtaposed against the Tara Magnolia wallpaper, the colors and designs modeled after a stylish 60s-to-70s Hong Kong aesthetic inspired by Wong Kar-Wai’s award-winning film In The Mood for Love.
Andrew studied Chinese textiles, prints and the decorative arts to serve as inspiration for his shoe designs, which makes their vibrant color palette and rich textures in silk jacquards and embroideries sonorous against the Griffin & Wong Chinoiserie pattern. The hand-painted floral panels faced the walls of the Sanderson/Zoffany fabric, the shoes between sitting pretty with either canvas as a backdrop.
Backstories for Sanderson and Griffin & Wong
Founded by Arthur Sanderson in 1860, the eponymous brand is internationally renowned. Its quintessentially English fabrics and wallpapers, bed linens, paint and tableware collections exude classic designs while the products themselves reflect the company’s innovative approach to exceptional quality and value. Sanderson still supplies fabrics, paint and wallcoverings to HM Queen Elizabeth II and her British Royal Palaces, a relationship that was granted by a Royal Warrant in 1923.
Founded in 2007 by descendants of the original Suchow Silk-Workers Craftsman Guild (established during the eighteenth century), Griffin & Wong employs artisans who hand-paint each silk panel to produce bespoke works of art for the home. Advocating a centuries-old craft, the company’s papers are a favorite when television and film producers are looking for a vibrant backdrop of Chinoiserie.
Where to Buy Zoffany and Sanderson Wallpapers
Years ago, I wrote an article for Linda Lee, who was editing Florida Inside Out magazine at the time, about how we design devotees in the US have a tougher time sourcing wallpaper than our counterparts in the UK, as we live within a “to the trade” society in which coverings are usually sold only to design professionals. This came to mind as I was looking around to see where Zoffany products are available online. The UK-based WallpaperDirect™ has a nice selection of their wallcoverings, a few of my favorites from the offerings being Katarina, Fresco Secco, Renaissance Damask and Cochin. Fortunately, the online retailer ships beyond the borders of the UK, but the lead times are much longer and all customers outside of Great Britain must pay UK customs clearance formalities.
Sanderson products are also available on the site, and I’m particularly fond of the Tuileries wallpaper with its delicate birds that evoke a whispery hint of Chinoiserie. The Willow Tree pattern is also quite fun, as are a number of their throw pillows. I spotted the Themis cushion, the Simi cushion and the Tally Ho cushion—all of which will add nice pops of color to an interior. The latter also brings with it that perfect hint of Edwardian charm we can’t seem to get enough of as we indulge in the final season of Downton Abbey!
The Sail Away cushion (above) has me dreaming of summer trips to the coastline—the touch of beach cottage chic perfect for pale interiors.
Text of East Meets West Via Paul Andrew © design blogger Saxon Henry, all rights reserved. Saxon Henry is an author, poet and journalist based in New York City. Books include Anywhere But Here, Stranded on the Road to Promise and Four Florida Moderns. She also maintains The Diary of an Improvateur as a platform for her literary travel and design adventuring. Saxon will be leading a workshop at the Design Bloggers Conference in March titled “How to Make Your Writing Sing.”