Visions of Velvet

Visions of Velvet

Catrin Morris
Sep 21, 2010

I have been seeing a lot of velvet these days. This 4,000 year-old fabric used to be reserved for the elite but since the industrial revolution, regular folk can experience the sensual lusciousness that is velvet. In fact, velvet is a very democratic fabric that suits a wide range of moods and styles. It can be super formal and elegant — or funky and retro. It can be the epitome of comfort or the essence of "do not touch" extravagance. A rich hued velvet chair in an otherwise subdued room can inject a sense of humor and mystery. Or, on the other end of the spectrum, an elegant velvet sofa in a voluptious peacock blue can elevate a room to another plane of sophistication.

Maybe velvet's resurgance is somehow a reflection of the economic downturn? Just a few years ago (before the crash) sleek minimalism and restraint was all the rage. In many ways, it still is. But in a fascinating article in the British newspaper The Independent, Emily Jenkinson suggests that our current economic slump is likely to banish pure minimalism in favor of more inviting, forgiving and downright uplifting decor. Jenkinson writes, "…if boom times meant that our interiors were pared down, muted and serious; bust has pushed things the other way." Well, nothing says "maximalism" like velvet, which can brighten even the most dreary of climates — economic or otherwise.

An added bonus is that many modern forms of velvet, especially mohair velvet (hot right now), are surprisingly durable and kid/pet-friendly. Who knew?

1. Image from new shelter magazine Anthology via Casa Sugar.
2. Vintage Gustavian daybed. From
3. Velvet headboard in AMC's Mad Men via makingarrangementsblog..
4. Interior designer Karen Barlow's living room via Design Sponge.
5. Lush gold Jonathan Adler sofa as shown in the blog Citified.
6. Desire to Inspire.
7. Sanctuary.
8. From Jonathan Adler's "Volumes of Velvet" collection as shown on Shelterpop.
9. Continental window bench from Christies. Est. value $700-900.
10. A stunning chair found on Italy's Marie Claire Maison.
11. Clinton sofa from Jayson Home & Garden - $2,895.
12. Pair of French 19th c. Louis XV style bergeres. $2,500 from 1st Dibs.
13. Hutton sofa in blossom from Room & Board. $2,199 for stock fabric (cotton/polyester velvet).
14. Velvet ottoman from Brocade Home - $1,599.
15. Antoinette fainting sofa from Urban Outfitters - $578.

Images: as linked above

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