Wajid Ali Shah, the last nawab of Avadh, was a patron of embroidery in Lucknow
The silk collection features our most extravagant examples of quality, design, and artisanship. Inventive, eclectic, and wildly exuberant, the silk embroideries reflect a diversity of influences including Wiener Werkstatte, Toile de Jouy, robes of the Ottomans and Mughal art and architecture.
Aftab Khan, one our master artisans, and an unlikely collaborator of Hoffmann, executed our vision for the collection
Research and sampling on the collection began in the summer of 2019. The first challenge was to source fabric of the desired weight, width, and color. After several failed attempts at identifying a supplier from the nearby silk center of Varanasi (the holy City of Benaras), we finally found a weaver in Bangalore who wove several hundred yards to our specification in the three colors: a rich red, lustrous black and Mughal gold. Next, we edited several ideas down to six or seven.
Then, right around the time we were to go into production, Covid-19 stopped us in our tracks, forcing us to shut down our facilities in Lucknow and quarantine in New York. It seems the world has completely changed more than two years later, and when we re-opened four workshops after the trauma and loss of the pandemic in Jan 2022, it was with a heightened appreciation for our artisans, customers, partners, and the planet.
Josef Hoffmann, a force behind the Weiner Werstatte workshops in Vienna, inspired our silk collection.
However, we had been fans of the work done by Wiener Werkstatte Vienna workshops and admired the philosophy of Josef Hoffmann, who opposed the mass-produced blandness of jewelry, fabric, and furniture and instead promoted handcrafted excellence for the discerning few. Decades later, an unlikely collaborator- our master artisan, Aftab Khan, would execute some of Hofmann’s ideas as embroidery. Vienna and Camille's resulting designs are based on some of WW’s early naturalistic textiles that are closer to art nouveau than their later more geometric work. Other influences include Ottoman robes (Cintamani), Mughal architecture (Mumtaz)- the tomb of Mumtaz Mahal,Toile de Jouy (Toile), and ancient gold leaf prints from India (Roghan).
In February 2022, we completed work on 10 designs. Every single one of them is stamped with the master craftsmanship of Aftab, Haroon, Zeeshan, and Liaqat, our lead artisans, who we believe are the best in the world. The collection is now available to order by the yard.
A rough sketch for Vienna, inspired by an early Wiener Werstatte fabric
Camille, above, fully embroidered by hand.
Vienna, fully embroidered by hand, also based on a Weiner Werkstatte fabric