As any of you who’ve been to High Point can attest: Market is a whirlwind of showroom introductions, receptions, lectures and panel discussions. Sleep? You can do that when you get home.
During the Fall Market last week, I had the opportunity to sit down with many designers to talk about their new collections—and their own personal inspirations. First up is Kendall Wilkinson, a San Francisco designer who’s just come out with her second fabric collection for Fabricut. The collection—with three books titled Cityscape (neutrals), Coastline (watery blues and greens) and Jardiniere (Parisian-inspired jewel tones)—comprises interior upholstery and drapery following her debut line of outdoor fabrics.
Here she is, in her own words:
I’m a huge fan of photography, whether it’s me and my iPhone or professionally done work. And I travel a lot. I’m lucky enough to work in Mexico, I go to Paris a lot, and I do a lot of work in the mountain ranges.
Being from California, I get to see a lot of geographical places, but most of the work I do, you see a body of water, even if it’s a big pond in Montana, and I wanted all the colors to be complemented by water. In the Bay Area, the water’s actually kind of green and blue; in Cabo, it’s super blue.
I wanted the weight to be really heavy and I also wanted it to be a nice hand. … The whole idea was this price point is a really obtainable price point. They’re $25 to $60 a yard—and as a high end interior designer I usually do $200-a-yard fabrics at least for my clients. I thought, ‘My god, are they going to be able to achieve the look and feel I want at that lower price point?’ and I think they knocked it out of the park. We worked for two years to really get to that point.
A lot of my work also is based in fashion, so you can wear a Banana Republic top but you put on a pair of Gucci shoes or vice versa. I love design that way, like these are Gap pants and I have my Valentino shoes.
I want to be approachable and reachable to everyone, and not just to people with a ton of money. However, everyone has a budget, no matter how much money they have, so we’ll take those wow fabrics for certain areas and then we’ll complement it with something that has a lower price point, but I feel like this line still holds that luxury feeling to it.
On Standing Out with Neutrals:
It’s hard—there’s tons of neutrals, so for me, the texture’s really important. [In her outdoor collection] we had Brushstroke, like a water color brushing through it, and Bengel—my take on the skin of a Bengal tiger. We did two or three colors, but we didn’t do it in neutral. This time, we took those two patterns and made them into neutrals, plus a woodblock pattern, so there’s a little bit of ethnicity to it without it being so over the top that you couldn’t do it in the city.
The trim has a lot to do with fashion, so you’re always complementing. All of my trims—the tapes are really wide. That’s so you can actually use them as part of the design of a sofa, for instance, like a big tape on the skirt or on the edge of the cushion, or on a Roman shade where you take a very simple fabric—a lot of people like the simplicity of the simple fabrics—and then you put these great tapes on them and it’s just like having a fabulous necklace or scarf.
Fondest memories from growing up:
My mother was an interior designer, and the house that we lived in was beautiful. She always had these really beautiful match holders—they were crystal and silver, and then she had the crystal ashtrays with the silver around them, and I use them as coasters now. I was able to collect them. They would always go with us.
I’ll end with a lovely picture of Kendall with our own hometown designer, Barry Dixon, who stopped into the Fabricut showroom after our interview. Barry’s also designed several fabric and wallpaper lines for Vervain, a division of Fabricut. They are great friends—no surprise there!