Blog

Velvet Revolution - velvets to enhance every interior I Part 1

Characterised by its luxurious pile, velvet is a wonder in any interior environment, especially when it’s durable, fire-retardant, and extremely soft. 

The rich and extensive history of velvet is equally interesting. It’s difficult to determine when velvet was first created but could be as early as 2000 BC in Ancient Egypt as piled textiles have been discovered at archaeological sites. In text, it was first recorded in the years 691-743 AD in Arabic literature in the courts of Damascus, Syria. It was believed to be referred by the name ‘kutuf’ and presented in carpets and robes worn among members of the court. Via the silk road, velvet is believed to have arrived in Europe near the year 1311 AD and recorded as being used in possessions owned by Pope Clement V. It then quickly evolved as being regarded as a luxury fabric. 

During early 14th century, the Italian city of Lucca began producing high volumes of silk velvets which were exported via merchants throughout Europe. Other cities such as Venice, Florence and Milan also drove production. This led to countries such as France and Spain to entice Italian weavers to relocate and develop trade there.  It’s popularity in the market increased and its status further secured by royalty, the nobility, and wealthy who draped rich velvets throughout grand buildings. From this moment in history, velvet then became a worldly commodity, being greatly admired by many foreign empires. Thanks to ease of production from the Industrial Revolution, velvet, that was once reserved for the wealthy, has become an attainable fabric for everyone.          

Due to modern manufacturing methods, velvet is today readily available for residential and commercial interior applications. Providing softness and warmth be it in a drapery, upholstery or other soft furnishings, velvet is easily distinguishable. The unique textural versatility of velvet creates abounds of effects, for example, the pile may be left erect or it may be laid in one direction to give it a strong lustre. 

Here at Zepel, we offer a large range of velvet fabrics for curtain and upholstery applications that boast strong durability and high-performance qualities. We also offer from our luxury international brands, Casamance and Christian Fishbacher, an exquisite variety of velvets from the classic and demure, to the extravagantly unique and bold. Before we highlight our top choices from each collection, lets stroll through the basics to inspire you with the fundamental qualities of velvets. 

What characterises velvet?

Velvet is an opulently plush fabric characterised by its soft, downy surface formed by thousands of short cut yarns. The under-side is a flat, plain weave. Made from a variety of fibres ranging from natural compositions such as silk and cotton, through to complex synthetic blends, its lustre is still achieved due to velvets’ definitive characteristic of boasting a short yet highly dense pile.

Velvet is made by weaving two pieces of fabric at once on special looms. The pieces share the same pile yarns, and as the loom weaves and rotates, a small blade travels back and forth between the two fabrics cutting the yarns. This cutting motion creates soft tufts of yarns (or the pile), and finally two separate pieces of fabric. During this process a distinctive pile direction is established also known as the ‘nap’, meaning that it will feel smooth in one direction and textured in another. 

Generally, velvet used for drapery applications is manufactured with the pile facing up as aesthetically, this achieves a richer and more intense colour. Functionally, any pile disturbance will disappear quickly as the pile relaxes. When using velvet for upholstery, it is most common to use the pile in a downwards orientation to give the furniture a smooth and consistent appearance.

Our selection: the classics and ‘new’ to our collections

Zepel | Lux Velvet  

The ever-popular Lux Velvet is a signature design in the Zepel range. This highly durable velvet is woven in England with 100% Australian Cotton. It’s incredibly luxurious to touch with a natural aesthetic, has a soft matte and dense textured pile, and is available in an extensive range of 43 classic and trend colours. A reliable favourite, and the perfect velvet to add a classic sense of atmosphere and casual elegance due to its low-sheen pile. 

Lux Velvet in Blue, Aqua, Duckegg and Honey, (left to right)

Lux Velvet in Blue, Aqua, Duckegg and Honey, (left to right)

Warlock 

The opulent and luxurious Warlock impresses with is robust composition and affordability. This elegant polyester velvet is incredibly versatile, and suitable for drapery, upholstery, and accessories. Presented in a vast range of classic and vibrant shades, this design will add that accent of colour and luxury to signature pieces. A durable design that creates a bold and high-quality formal statement.

Warlock in Putty (drapery), Quartz (couch) and Powder (ottoman)

Warlock in Putty (drapery), Quartz (couch) and Powder (ottoman)

Mont Blanc

For the Vintage lovers! The ‘new’ Mont Blanc, a viscose, cotton velvet, imbues a sense of luxury which is sure to impress even the harshest of critics. Rich in both texture and hue, this sleek and super smooth design, although highly durable is designed to patina over time, enhancing the surface texture of this glossy, low pile velvet. Mont Blanc is highly decorative and creates a play on light and texture in any bespoke interior scheme looking for that distinct point of difference.

Mont Blanc in Denim and Blossom 

Mont Blanc in Denim and Blossom 

Picasso 

This ‘new’, luxurious cut velvet jacquard, aptly named Picasso, evokes the iconic Cubism art style. Fragmented and abstract, this vibrant design is not only the perfect maximalist feature pattern for upscale interior projects but also appeals greatly to Art Deco and Mid-Century Modern design concepts. The Picasso design allows for absolute freedom of colour expression in your interior and is available in three highly versatile and decorative colourways. Use Picasso’s ‘wow’ factor to create your own interior design masterpiece!

Picasso in Amarillo, and Mont Blanc in Taupe, Copper and Imperial

Picasso in Amarillo, and Mont Blanc in Taupe, Copper and Imperial

Casamance | Lido

With a visually distinct marbling effect, Lido entices with its unique textural surface. This crushed velvet has a viscose, polyester composition and is suitable for upholstery, drapery, and accessories. The crushed patina across the surface of velvets is created by either the pile being heat pressed in multiple directions, or by mechanically twisting the fabric while wet. This flattens intermittent sections of the fabric giving it depth and varying intensities of colour and texture. A decorative velvet from one of our luxury brands that will complement those avant-garde pieces.    

Lido in Beige and Gris 

Lido in Beige and Gris 

Mascaret

Creating an undulating, horizontal texture is a unique velvet, Mascaret, by Casamance. In French, the fabric name references the tidal phenomenon that occurs in some rivers where waves run upwards against the direction of the water current, creating a smooth undular bore. The fabric surface of Mascaret mimics the ‘undular’ forms of the water through the rhythmic folds of this pleated velvet pattern. This design is suitable for upholstery and available in 6 rich shades.

Mascaret in Noir de Lune 

Mascaret in Noir de Lune 

Kokedera

This graphic, abstract velvet is constructed on a textured base with viscose and polyester yarns, giving the surface glimmers of matte and glossy effects. Kokedera recreates the highly admired, soft, luscious moss that covers the ground of Japanese gardens. In particular, it commemorates Kyoto’s ‘Temple of Moss’, a garden composed of over 100 varieties of moss in various shapes of dark, bright, and muted tones. This arrangement of various shapes of soft, piled moss is embodied in this complex, cut velvet design.  

Kokedera in Roux

Kokedera in Roux

Sarabande

Sarabande is a dynamic fabric that is defined by its richness of colour, and oscillating chevron pattern that creates movement and rhythm across the surface. This geometric, viscose cut velvet is constructed with lushly piled parallelograms that hold the rich colour, and alternating short piled parallelograms that are monochromatic tones. Inspired by a dance that was popular and banned for some time for being too vivacious during the Baroque period, Sarabande, pays homage to this history by creating an animated and striking design. 

Sarabande in Caraibe/Praline 

Sarabande in Caraibe/Praline 

Christian Fischbacher | Ammirato

Ammirato is a classic and highly durable velvet that has been created for use in high traffic or public spaces. This flame-retardant pile has a polyester composition and thread that displays a shimmer similar to silk. The finishing treatment in this design has stabilised the fibres which gives the surface of the cloth a uniform appearance. The result is a robust flame-retardant and washable velvet. Christian Fischbacher successfully demonstrates in Ammirato how a velvet can be woven with high durability without sacrificing beauty. This design creates a prestigious atmosphere with its supple tactility and would complement luxury, and relaxed urban interiors. 

Ammirato in 14513.312

Ammirato in 14513.312

Ventura

Ventura embodies a refined, contemporary aesthetic suited to expansive, concrete lofts, and settings with an industrial feel. This lavish velvet will add softness to these spaces. The fabric is a combination of fine Merino wool and premium Tencel fibres woven onto a cotton base fabric. The fabric embodies a classic appearance while using modern materials. The properties of the Merino wool boast considerable springiness and creates a matte, relaxed finish. The other fibre, Tencel, is a sustainable yet durable fibre and produced via a patented technique developed in Austria. Its opulent, soft structure intensifies colours more than other cellulose fibres. Ventura is seen as a modern equivalent to mohair and is woven in two layers held together by the velvet pile.

Ventura in 14546.621

Ventura in 14546.621

Visconte II

This comforting cotton velvet has a beautifully soft handle and rich pile that is suitable for heavy upholstery and commercial applications. Visconte II is available in a diverse selection of 40 colours ranging from sophisticated and natural tones, modern nuances in darker shades, as well as vivacious and strikingly bold hues.

Visconte in 14002.209 and 14002.205

Visconte in 14002.209 and 14002.205

Vogue

This stunning, classic velvet has a highly dense, soft textured pile. Vogue’s composition is 100% Mohair which has inherent characteristics of adding a natural lustre and sheen to the fabric surface. The yarn also creates a luxurious, soft handle with the hidden benefits of being durable, heat and crease resistant, and naturally elastic. Vogue will create luxurious comfort in formal settings and effortlessly exudes high end elegance.     

Vogue in 13833.301

Vogue in 13833.301

Part 2 of this series will be published shortly and explores the incredible benefits and properties of high-performance velvets across our brands that are targeted to hospitality and commercial industries. 

No matter what happens, 2021 is set to be a fascinating year as we see changes in our home and working lives and, rejuvenating our homes to suit the current mood.

Across the world many of us have embraced elements of the popular tradition of ‘Wabi Sabi’ by incorporating the Japanese aesthetic for rustic minimalism into our lives through fashion, art and interiors to create a more stress-free environment.

It’s a common thread throughout the interiors world – one of turning our homes into a haven like retreat – somewhere to relax in a calming space, that is attractive to many of us after the ups and downs of 2020.