An American in Italy breathes fresh air into fabrics
By Carole Sloan -- Home Textiles Today, 12/4/2000 12:00:00 AM
NEW YORK -It wound up somewhat differently from the way most designers bring their fabric designs to market.
But that's typical of the way Pamela Ferrari, a fine arts painter in Florence, Italy, works. In her case, the manufactured product for home textiles came together before the decorative fabrics-and that may not be all bad. Both she and Concord Home, which is making and marketing her Giro del Mondo Collection (Around the World), insisted that everything be just right, from the fabric printing to the marketing program.
"Pamela has a very distinct, unique look in design and color palette," said Roger Burnim, vp, Concord Home. "She gives us another dimension."
And unlike so many American fabric companies that hide their designers as anonymous persons, Concord Home is fully promoting the Pamela Ferrari involvement, Burnim said.
The collection, with more than 50 skus and nine patterns, will be launched in January at Showtime in High Point, NC, and at Heimtextil in Frankfurt, Germany.
"Pamela has a European transitional look that appeals to all distribution channels and all age groups. And she adds a dimension that Concord Home is looking to develop beyond our own signature looks," said Burnim.
Fabric designs "should give pleasure," Ferrari said. "If I have a message, it's a whimsical, colorful one. It's a good mood. I hope that a sense of humor and joy of living are evident in my work."
Her inspiration comes from lots of travel to exotic places and constant exposure to museum exhibits. "My suitcase always includes paint brushes, olive oil and rosemary," she said.
Ferrari, an American married to a Florentine for almost 30 years, and living in Italy since 1972, comes from a family dedicated to art and color. Her late father was a sculptor, as are two of her brothers, and her mother's life "has been completely immersed in color." Both elements are strong influences in her work.
The fabric collection and the marketing program include a catalog illustrating the fabrics in a variety of end uses and an environmental descriptive dialogue. The catalog will be distributed to potential customers, and the individual pages will be developed for point-of-sale materials for consumers.
The collection's title acts as an umbrella theme, Ferrari explained. "And depending on color, [it] can be a juvenile or a sophisticated mood choice. I hope to add patterns as a continuous coordination-much like a wardrobe," she said.
The collection that Creative Bath launched at the October market has been a "home run," according to Creative's Rick Lipton, vp, sales & marketing. "And we're taking her work to another level for April market. We'll be mixing master bedroom and bath and using her original fabrics for Concord Home for two master beds and one for tweeners," he added.
Ferrari tiptoed out of her painting mode into products like dinnerware for an Italian company, and was discovered by some retailers like Neiman Marcus, Saks, Horchow and Henri Bendel. She was later directed to American companies including Bloomcraft, where she designed some decorative fabrics, and WestPoint Stevens, where she created bedding patterns.
Creating product was not foreign to Ferrari, who has done collections for Assia of Italy, retailer Whitterd of Chelsea, Texoprint, and Mirabello of Italy.
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