Happy Friday Gang….Design Magnifique caught up with the fabulous Bernie de Le Cuona of the luxurious textile line de Le Cuona.
“Founded by Bernie de Le Cuona in 1992, the company offers the world’s most discerning Interior Designers and Specifiers a superb product backed by unparalleled service. The Linens collection is possibly the largest ‘own-brand’ collection in the world and the exquisite Paisley collection remains in a league of its own. Most of the collection of fabrics and accessories are available ex-stock from the UK and are now also available through a network of carefully shosen distributors across the globe.”
Design Magnifique first met Bernie de Le Cuona in her beautiful showroom at the DDB (Decoration and Design Building) while on BlogtourNYC in March 2012. Surrounded by lavish textiles and accessories, I wanted to learn more about Bernie and her products. We had a lovely conversation……
Please tell me a little bit about yourself, background and what inspired/prompted you to enter the textile industry
1.) I was born and raised in South Africa, which still has a large influence on me and my designs today.
About 20 years ago I moved to Europe; living first in Brussels and then in England where I started this business with little more than a passion for beautiful things – fabric in particular. I wanted to weave with linen fibre because of the multitude of unique cloths it could be made into – I loved the raw and rugged appearance as well as the sheer and elegant, and linen gave me the ability to do either. I quickly learnt that I could also achieve a vintage appearance that was unsurpassed by other fibres. I guess that’s how it all started.
Are your textiles available worldwide via different sources?
2. de Le Cuona is available worldwide via our own showrooms in London, New York and Moscow and by distributors and agents in other countries. We also sell via Barneys (in New York, Chicago, and Beverly Hills), Bergdorf Goodman and Harrods to name a few.
My first introduction to you was through BlogtourNYC and our visit to the DDB building. How long have you been in the DDB building? Has it been successful for you to be in the American Market?
3. We have been in the D&D for just about 2 years now and it is one of the best business decisions I have ever made. The products have been very well received in the US and we have been lucky to have fantastic staff and a market that was interested in what we do.
Describe your frequent clientele in terms of geographical market? Do you see your fabric selling more in America, Europe, etc. Do you know why that may be?
4. The collection works in most countries because there is such diversity of products within the linen, paisley and eclectic fabric ranges. The biggest difference is not the volume of sales but that each country favours particular colours - for example chocolate-brown and ochre sell well in Italy but not in the US, whereas dusty blues and greens are popular in the US but not in Europe.
My favorite cushion is the Versailles No.2., which features gold metal embroidered on stone linen. The details of the cushion are remarkable. How do you go about designing a piece, a cushion for instance?
5. Thank you, the Versailles cushion was inspired by fabrics I saw in an article on the Palace of Versailles. It is embroidered in very fine wire, which is painstaking work and each cushion takes about two weeks to make. It is also embroidered on raw linen, the sort that would have been easily available in the 18th century.
You seem to travel quite a bit. Where are your favorite places to shop for linens? And why?
6. French antique markets are the best places to browse. I think antique linen is my favourite; particularly the stubby French linen that seems to take colour so beautifully.
How versatile are your products in terms of care and application?
7. Most of our linen has been washed over and over in the production so you can wash it at home without any problems. We do two other collections, namely the finely woven paisley and the more glamorous eclectic cloths, which need to be dry cleaned as they are made of specialist materials such as wool, velvet and silk. These three collections combine to allow the decorator the opportunity to create unique and understated luxurious interiors.
If you had the opportunity to furnish one space with your linens, private or public, what space would that be?
8. There are a few I’d love to furnish – either one of the grand old French opera houses, the home of the Bolshoi Ballet in St. Petersburg or a tent on the banks of the Zambezi in Zambia.
Do you anticipate opening addition showrooms in the future?
9. Oh yes! We have just opened in Riga, Latvia and have two more for the first half of the year already in the planning stages.
Tell us about one of your favorite pieces
10. I change my mind every day, but right now it is a very tightly woven linen called Ragamuffin. It is unique, edgy and defying all the odds to be a designers favourite in terms of its colourful design and wash.
**All Images courtesy of de Le Cuona**