On September 5, Robert Allen hosted bloggers at its design studio on 42nd Street for a preview and luncheon to celebrate their third collection with Dwell Studio. Christiane Lemieux, the founder and creative director of Dwell Studio was on hand to walk us through the collection.
Lemieux has a degree in art history and says she drew inspiration for the saturated hues in this collection from painter Fernand Leger. Case in point, Landsmeer, pictured here:
"We have a signature animal every season. This time it's the gazelle. Any time we put a creature in a design, it sells really well. People love their animals." An earlier collection she tells us had a snake design that formed a trellis-like pattern. Apparently the Robert Allen folks were on the fence, and now of course they spot the snake pattern everywhere -- in magazines on HGTV. Lemieux jokes "Snake is code for 'trust us'."
The line features graphic florals, classic Dwell geometrics, and references from nature, like Malakos, which is pictured above. There are a variety of scales ranging from small to large. Lemieux says this helps the underlying principle behind Dwell Studio: the deftness with which the patterns can be mixed and matched. And even a geometric like Zebra Geo has movement:
Primary colors like blues and greens evocative of Leger's paintings are tempered by neutrals with an unexpected pop of cinnamon.
Kings Walk (below), a woven with lions was inspired by Scandinavian designs.
Throughout the line, Lemieux says,"We wanted the charm of handmade things without being hokey. There are no strong vectors in the geometric patterns, the result of original artwork that was hand drawn in the Dwell studio."
We love this linen with an overprint, which achieves the same look of a glazed linen at a fraction of the price.
Christiane's putting the finishing touches on her second book, and staying busy with the retail store that opened in SoHo this spring. She never stops designing, and she's already working on the next collection. We're sure there will be at least one creature in store, which gives a whole new meaning to creature comfort. This rich red color story is tempered by grey, for something fresh: