La Biennale Des Editeurs De La Decoration…2001

DESIGNER  Jean Bouchoux Higgins, Inside Out Interiors, Inc., Vienna, VA

Every two years, the great fabric houses of the world gather to introduce the latest in color and design to the trade and the public.  This five day show is a definite must for designers wishing to get an advance preview of color and textures for the next two years.  Presented at Quai Branly with a magnificent view of the Eiffel Tower, this large exhibit both fascinates and captivates one’s imagination.  The list of exhibitors is endless.  Among those easily recognized are: Boussac, Brunschwig & Fils, Colefax & Fowler, Donghia, JAB, Jaguar, Houles, Jim Thompson, J. Robert Scott, Lelievre, Manuel Canovas, Pierre Frey, Nobilis, Rubelli, shacko Hesslein, De Gournay (wall panels) and Tisserant Art & Style (Christopher Norman).

The colors that I noticed, in particular, were greens, purples, mauves, egg plant, deep apricot, browns, gold, wines and iridescent. The combinations and use of textiles were exceptional.  Many of the exhibitors were showing very large scale prints made possible by changing more traditional prints through today’s computer technology.  This gives a far more contemporary look to a fabric.  Don’t misunderstand, the French will always have their gorgeous silks, etc., but the future for the textile industry in the computer age is about to explode.

An interesting thing happened on this trip.  We (my husband and I) were seated with two Americans in the Exhibit Hall Restaurant during lunch.  It was a delightful experience to meet Rosecrans Baldwin, President and CEO of Bergamo Fabrics along with Lori Weitzner, a designer for Sahco Hesslein fabrics. After we finished eating, we were invited to preview Ms. Weitzner’s designs and the new Rubelli line.  What a luxury to have the designer describe in detail how she gets her inspirations and the interface she has the mills in fabric selections and the combinations of textiles and colors.  Quite a fascinating description.

Ms. Weitzner also designs rugs for a company called Endless Knots.  They are made in Tibet of wood and silk and can be seen at Hollis and Spencer.  Lori Weitzner’s designs are timeless.  This charming young woman has a ton of talent.  Keep an eye on her name.

Grans Baldwin wove us through both the Sahco Hesslein and Rubelli line.  It was very exciting to see the new designs prior to introducing them to the showrooms.  By the way, they will be introduced at J. Lamberth soon.  Be sure to look for what’s hot and in for 2001 and 2002.

In addition to the thrill and chill (brr!) of Paris in January, the exhibit had some exquisite new lighting at Tisserant Art & Style, a Christopher Norman line, which is also J. Lambeth.  We were given a wonderful presentation on the production of one chandelier, describing the labor intensive process involved from design to completion.  Look at their website,

Another item to look for is a wallpaper mural that looks like an entire wall from a Tuscan villa…incredible scenes with a very realistic touch. York Wallcoverings should have this in their books soon.  Of course, the de Gournay panels are breathtaking and were beautifully presented (these are available at Matches at Miley).

While in Paris, we also attended the Paris Furniture Fair at the Porte de Versailles exhibit halls.  I had attended in previous years, so the excitement wasn’t quite what it was the first time but is a huge show introducing some very avant garde designs as well as the more typical furniture styles.  It is an enormous undertaking to do this in one day.  Take at least two days for this event.  We were in the hall featuring mostly French country.  The Grange exhibit was well done and very crowded.  The best part of this show is that even though it is so large, it is all in one location making it easier than High Point.  Just dress warmly. It was very cold.

As well as the two shows we attended, there was another show called “Maison&objet” which was close to Charles de Gaulle Aeroport.  We did not do this show because it was so far out of town but perhaps une autre fois!

Do this once in a lifetime, or if the spirit captures you (as it has me), go just for the experience.  In your free time visit the museums, go to the Village Suisse to browse and look at the gorgeous antiques, take a run around the Place des Vosges or just enjoy the incredible sights and sounds of Paris.  Be sure to have some of the great food and wine while enjoying one of the greatest cities in the world.