Last weekend, while eating an ice cream and savouring a mouthful of its creamy deliciousness, its velvety texture segued somehow into contemplating velvet – the fabric – and its amazing versatility. Mention velvet to anyone and it immediately conjures up images of a lush, sensuous fabric, its irresistible tactile quality which you just have to reach out and stroke. Does anyone not like velvet? Is it even a possibility?
Today, velvet is everywhere it seems, being the current hottest fashion trend – strutted down the catwalks showcasing designer collections but widely available amongst mainstream brands on every high street. Just the other day I was entranced by a pineapple pair of velvet shoes…. but then I spied a midnight blue velvet clutch and was torn – which to choose? perhaps spoil myself and get both? But that would be very extravagant, wouldn’t it? So I pondered and salivated…. but then, that’s exactly the siren song of velvet; it tempts and beckons and you succumb!
Velvet is timeless as it has been around since the Middle Ages but did you know that the word velvet actually refers to the weave and not the content of the material. A distinctive soft pile fabric that we are all familiar with, it is hardly surprising that it was once the symbol of wealth and power favoured by kings and queens as it was woven from silk and therefore only affordable to royalty. Famously, King Richard II of England stated in his will, that on his death, his body should be draped in velvet. Aren’t we lucky then, that this sumptuous fabric is so affordable today as we can acquire it in more cost-effective varieties made from cotton, linen, mohair and wool. So, putting fashion aside, let’s look at its endless applications in interiors.
Used in home furnishings and upholstery, cotton velvet – known as velveteen, is the strongest and most durable. Adding a velvet sofa will make your living room appear special no matter how simple it is. The ageless quality of velvet adds a natural depth and warmth and an innate elegance as seen in the two sitting rooms below. In both cases, the fabric in solid blocks of colour speaks for itself.
But such is the versatility of velvet, that it is right at home even in contemporary interiors as evidenced in this saffron coloured velvet couch where it delivers a definite pop factor as does this printed tropical velvet by Christian Lacroix.
And let us not forget how the simple addition of a strategically positioned velvet cushion can provide the finishing touch on seating or when dressing a bed…
To my mind, the sensuousness of velvet has a definite place in the bedroom, so I just love this image of amethyst velvet covering the walls and draping the windows of a master bedroom and note that it doesn’t even make it onto the bed! Due to the specific choice of colour, the space is not only visually sensuous, but simultaneously warm, inviting and restful. It’s tempting me to get myself there with all possible speed, shut the door, kick my shoes off and lose myself in its warm embrace. Oh my!….
The chameleon-like quality of velvet offers us a vast palette of colour choices in addition to a mouth-watering array of pattern in the way of figured, cut, crushed and devore (or burnout). The latter many of us are familiar with as we may have a blouse or a scarf in devore but it can prove a very deliberate choice in curtaining which makes a statement while being simultaneously decorative.
Finally, can one overdose on velvet? I think not! Who wouldn’t adore a sumptuous leopard printed velvet on a gorgeous statement chair, or an emerald jeweled option on an arm-chair I ask! Mmm, well, I know without a flicker of doubt that my Mother would….
Well, I have feasted on velvet and all its many charms, but if you can’t bear the thought of using it in your home, then opt for scrapping the fabric and indulge instead in some simply delicious and much coveted red velvet cake. You see, there is some truth in the fact that velvet is to be found everywhere!