Designers call it the most touchable fabric in the world. Whether made of cotton or silk, crushed or devoré, running your hand along a length of velvet is a sumptuous experience. Why else would the red velvet cake be named after it?
Gucci and Sonia Rykiel showed rich and lustrous velvet dresses and jumpsuits in their fall clothing lines this year. Dolce & Gabbana’s models walked down the runway in leopard print velvet pumps. Alexander Wang stole the show with velvet combat boots. And the trend toward velvet continues into home furnishings. Statement pieces like gorgeous button-tufted sofas and rolled armchairs are dressed in rich charcoal and emerald blue velvet this season. Some even sport necklaces of nailhead trim.
But the love for velvet isn’t new. The Egyptians favored it 4,000 years ago. In medieval times, kings and queens coveted it to make robes and bed coverlets.
Why is it still so desirable today? When we talked with designer, author and TV personality Vern Yip, he told us texture transforms a cold house into a warm home. When velvet’s supple nap drapes over curves and catches the light, it brings a dimensional sort of texture to a piece of furniture and to a room.
Velvet is also ultra-versatile. Clothiers know it plays well with denim, leather, cotton. . . everything. The same applies to decor. Velvet pairs perfectly with faux fur, brass, glass, marble and more.
Scatter a few bright velvet pillows on a neutral linen couch, and you’ve amped up the warmth – both visual and tactile.
So as the temps dip and our minds turn to fall, consider warming things up with a glowing fire in the hearth – and sophisticated, luxurious velvet furniture.
Get inspired by more luxe ways to live on Pinterest.
The ancient Germans called October “Wyn-monat” – the wine month – for the time to stomp the grape harvest. Slavic people dubbed it the yellow month, for its golden leaves.
We call it the best time to be outdoors. Clear, starry nights. The flicker of fire. The cozy weight of a throw. The air … touched with a delicious coolness.
It’s a month of gorgeous contrasts, as nature brilliantly blends hot colors with cool evenings. This is the time of year we think a fire pit is essential … allowing us to extend the season beautifully.
And when it comes to firewood? It’s not necessarily all cut and dried. The differences among woods can be as nuanced as fine wine. Apple wood and other fruit trees emit sweet and fragrant scents as they burn. Juniper and cedar are more pungent. The smell of fir, pine and spruce evoke a fresh-cut Christmas tree. Or if your priority is to maximize warmth, opt for a dense hardwood like maple or oak, which burn hotter and longer.
It’s also a fine season to savor spirits. Autumn brings a shift from white wines to reds, and Frontgate Wine offers hand-selected cases combining top varietals. A hard cider or apple brandy channels the season; New Jersey-based Laird & Co. has been producing barrel-aged apple brandy since the late 1700s.
And don’t let pumpkin-drink season begin and end with a pumpkin spice latte. There are countless craft beers, cocktails and steaming drinks perfect for celebrating the season. Consider a hot cognac punch enriched with a dollop of pumpkin butter.
Courtesy of Food & Wine
10 ounces pumpkin puree
4 Tablespoons light brown sugar
4 Tablespoons granulated sugar
2½ ounces apple juice
1 ounce Amaro
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
24 ounces hot water
12 ounces VS Cognac
3 ounces dry orange Curaçao
1½ ounces St. Elizabeth allspice dram
6 to 8 cinnamon sticks, for garnish
In a food processor, puree the first nine ingredients. Transfer to a large heatproof bowl; stir in 24 ounces hot water and the cognac, curaçao and allspice dram. Ladle into warmed mugs; garnish with cinnamon sticks.
So gather round the flames, savor the moment … and don’t forget to toss a faux fur or outdoor throw over the arms of encircled chairs.
Starry nights and your backyard beckon. Don’t let the outdoors get away just yet.
Find more seasonal inspiration on Pinterest.
Gorgeous, glamorous and timelessly chic. The ancient art of églomisé is back in a big way.
It was over 2,000 years ago when artisans first gilded glass with impossibly thin layers of silver or gold leaf. And we use the same time-honored process today to create beautifully antiqued furniture. It’s a painstaking endeavor, with each piece of glass getting hours of attention … and the results are dazzling. The delicate detail work produces dramatic dressers, vanities and bedside tables, each with the rich character of a well-loved heirloom.
Want to learn more about this old-world art, and discover our stunning revival pieces – crafted by hand and designed in our own studio? Read “Gorgeous, Glamorous Églomisé: Reviving the Ancient Art of Gilding.”
Get inspired by more dazzling pieces on Pinterest.
Here’s a trade secret. One of the easiest and most dramatic ways to transform a room is by adding a showstopping rug.
Faster than a coat of paint, an area rug instantly adds color and texture … and easily can be switched with the seasons. Speaking of, we love the idea of changing the palette and ambience of a room in the fall and spring: from warm and welcoming to cool and crisp … and it’s easily accomplished with just a new rug and pillows.
Today’s rugs do more than pay homage to ages-old Persian designs. They’re becoming fashion statements in their own right. Emboldened by their couture counterparts, weavers are remastering the classic rugs – enlivening them with splashes of adventurous color or creating new patterns that exude transitional sophistication.
New hues and designs make these rugs feel fresh and contemporary. And, in an antidote to our flat-screen world, their sculptural pile brings a sense of texture and real-world warmth. In fact, these days weavers are creating high and low relief patterns that are handwoven into the design, rather than cut in after the fact. Making them highly livable … with artful, organic texture that begs you to walk all over them.
So as cooler weather sets in, it’s time to fill your rooms with personality and pizzazz by adding a fashion-statement rug.
If you need help with measuring, read our Decorating with Rugs: Softness and Style Underfoot article.
Tip: no matter what type of rug you use, place a rug pad underneath to help keep it in place and extend its life.