As Design Miami/ kicked off and limited edition took over the beach during the first week of December, an exquisite collection of carpets debuted at The Rug Company showroom in the Miami Design District. Conceived by Kate and Laura Mulleavy, two Los Angeles-based designers who founded Rodarte in 2005, these rugs created a stir in me when I saw them. And the interiors in which they were photographed in the images I’m sharing with this post, quite honestly, left me breathless.
I think one of the reasons the visuals feel so fresh is that the ornate detailing of the architectural surroundings was the polar opposite of the modern mash-up swirling around town at the time. The photo shoot capturing the valuable antiques took place in the Chinese Room of the Claydon House in Buckinghamshire, England. When I logged onto the property’s site, I found a delicious surprise: the Verney family, who has owned the Claydon Estate since 1620, is looking to attract more visitors to the bucolic compound. What a lucky occurrence for the non-gentry among us! I thought. You can bet the historic property is at the top of my must-see UK list during a future trip across the pond.
The refreshing feel of these vignettes also stems from the fact the Mulleavy sisters have a highly conceptual approach to fashion and are respected for their ethereal technique with textiles, which they translated to these carpet designs with great dexterity. Their brand is synonymous with unusual takes on high couture and modern femininity as seen through a California-infused lens. Given their first full collection only hit the runway during New York Fashion Week nine years ago, their popularity has constituted a rocket ride to the top.
The T Magazine blog describes the creative process they employ as a manipulation of structure, an exercise that includes hand painting, distressing and sometimes even burning fabrics. The five new carpets for The Rug Company exemplifies their fondness for texture and edgy detailing, which they’ve paired with porcelain, ivy and marble motifs. Some of the styles echo memorable patterns they’ve used in their clothing designs, such as the Cobalt pattern I’ve noted in the last paragraph below.
This rug, with and without a central motif, is one of my favorites in the new collection. Inspired by 1970s Northern California interiors, the Cobalt calls to mind the blue and white porcelain the sisters remember from childhood. The rug is entirely handmade—spun on a loom near Katmandu. Tibetan wool and fine silk are intermingled, the wool renowned for its softness and durability; the silk bringing a delicate luster to the rug’s surface. The hand-knotted carpet costs $224 per square foot.
Given we’re just a little less than four weeks away from the #FW15 #MBFW runway debuts, it will be interesting to see if there are any hints of Rodarte’s carpet motifs in the new collection. There were certainly notes of them in their last (SS15) runway show as is evidenced in the video above, the screenshot below a shoe-in for Cobalt’s textural flair.
Text of Rodarte for The Rug Company © Saxon Henry, all rights reserved. Saxon Henry is an author, poet and journalist based in New York City. Books include Anywhere But Here and Stranded on the Road to Promise. She also produces The Diary of an Improvateur and is a columnist on Architizer.