Pierre Frey Paris Flashball, Julien Colombier

Boasting eight decades of creativity, innovation and excellence, the house of Pierre Frey is exhibiting its “Tissus Inspirés” until 12 June 2016 at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. A recognition that delights Pierre Frey, the founder’s grandson and Masters of Linen ambassador. Interview.


Pierre Frey
Pierre Frey ambassadeur Masters of Linen

Inspired fabrics: in the Frey archives

“This exhibition is a real accolade, a project on which we’ve been working for a year-and-a-half. It’s very exciting, and our grandfather, the founder of the house, would have been very proud! Pierre Frey is a small company, one recognized by the public, of course, but it remains 100% a family business, headed by three sons and a father. We will be able to tell our story, talk about our sources of inspiration. My oldest memory of linen, which gave me a taste for this material, is called “Collobrières”. Created in 1956, this Frey fabric features among the bestsellers. Available in 90 colours, it’s a linen-blend, and this somewhat raw linen aspect has long been a part of my life: it’s covered the walls of the family country house and I still use it in my own home, my father, too. It has a timeless aesthetic and has proved to be incredibly resistant. When my grandmother changed her wall covering she admitted to me that it had been there for forty years. I had fun seeking out a sample of the same reference: the colour was exactly the same! Today it’s still in the top 3 of our bestsellers, a major presence in a catalogue of 7000 references. And the two other bestsellers also contain linen! [Shabby and Porto Fino]. The house of Frey was somewhat avant-garde in its use of linen. In 1956, my grandfather developed it with a renowned supplier that was very sought-after as an innovator in blending fibres.”

Roots and origins

“Our clients ask about the provenance of the fabric, and therefore the fibre. Many of these fabrics come from France, mostly from our mill in the north; the flax growing just a few kilometres away. This Made in Europe flax, certified by the Masters of Linen label, provides a real guarantee of quality, a strong value added marketing tool. These days that’s key. Being an ambassador for this highly dynamic European industry is a real honour for me. Our links with the CELC were already strong, notably thanks to the linen lanterns during Paris Déco Off, which offered us some great visibility. Therefore, with my new role, I will be speaking about linen with greater expertise, undertaking trips with our clients during the time the flax is in flower, in France and Belgium, that will culminate in our factory. The international press will also be an adventure. You have to bear in mind that we’re talking about the only 100% European fibre: its important to keep our country, its culture and economy vital and productive. Today, silk comes from Thailand, cotton from India, wool from Ireland or New Zealand. Linen is also better for the environment and a peerless expression of quality. In addition to being a magnificent fibre, its natural attributes prove to be excellent assets.”

Pierre Frey Paris « Waffle » 2016

Linen according to Pierre Frey

“For me, the linen style runs from “rustic chic” to “timeless elegance”: from my curtains to my sofa, from my wall coverings to my cushions, via my computer and travel bags, I’m surrounded by linen everywhere every day! I wear linen suits, and I particularly like blends. Is it wrinkled? No, it’s living, that’s what makes it chic. It’s long lasting, and that “lived-in” aspect is exactly what we wanted with our “Shabby” fabric.Linen is essential in decorating. Because one keeps the same interior for ten years, this timeless fibre is a natural no-brainer. There is no fashion treadmill in fabric for decoration.

Linen is universal. I lived in the US between 2007 and 2012; three of our New York customers understood linen. Now everyone’s asking for linen, precisely for its intrinsic chic. Even in the Middle East, where there is the cult of gilt and glitter, we’re seeing a developing desire. There is positive feedback from customers:a material that’s resistant, soft to the touch, easy to look after. Decorators are putting linen everywhere, forthe way it looks and its advantages, and new clients that get a taste of it are coming back for more, too.”

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