Let’s talk about Velvet


A recurring refrain from clients in our showroom is how much they would love to use velvet but do not dare. Running their hands over the designs we have there covered in the most sumptuous velvets, we can feel the longing and the hesitation - Sticky fingers and muddy paws spell ruin and the waste of hefty investment.

Do not despair, we cry.  All the major fabric houses are now producing the most wonderful easy care fabrics suitable for dining chairs and bar stools even in kitchens – and that includes velvets.  Designing for the hectic demands of modern life and everyday family living, the easy care velvets allow marks or stains to be removed easily with using any detergents.

Historically, velvet has always been associated with royalty and the very rich and the original manufacturing technique was so complicated that you needed the equivalent of the crown jewels to be able to afford it.  From ancient Egyptian civilisation, along the silk routes to and from China its apogee was in the Renaissance as witnessed through all the glorious depictions in the art of the time particularly in Italy – indeed the word velvet comes from the Latin Villus meaning shaggy. As velvet production simplified and its use expanded, its glamorous appeal reached out to the fashion and interiors industries.

The richness of feel, luminous sheen, and the depth of colour that velvet offers makes it hugely versatile – from the recent popularity of blush pinks through strong oranges and greens to the ubiquitous grey tones, its hues make it perfect for upholstery in every home.

Woven from any type of yarn, originally silk and today also cotton ,linen, wool and synthetic fibres often in combination , velvet can last for decades if properly looked after – a hoover and a damp cloth is all you need.  Any marks or bruising on the longer tufted velvets can give it a patina which only looks better and better with age.

Romo’s Atil, Andrew Martin’s Villandry or Houdini and Linwood’s Omega are all examples of these wonderful velvets – go and explore.