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With a fresh new year, we’ve began a brand new monthly blog format! This is a Newsletter that we are actually mailing into the physical world. However, for those of you who are more tech-friendly here is our e-version. It’s chock-full of our latest news to keep you on your toes for the next best thing. Enjoy!
A BRIEF HISTORY
We all spend a lot more time looking down than we realize. It has nothing to do with our mood, it’s just a good idea to see where your feet are from time to time. And that is why what’s on the floor is so important, we need something uplifting! This is why we have always wanted to make floor coverings and that opportunity finally came up three years ago when we began creating a line for Capel Rugs.
Capel is a 100-year-old family owned rug company based in North Carolina that manufactures rugs in their own factory as well as various countries overseas. Their commitment to a family-run, American-made product was top priority to us, and now with their experience and expertise they have been able to guide the design team at KOBS to create standout collections each year since 2011. The line has even been recognized as a winner of the Best New Carpet Award in Atlanta this past spring.
Like most of Kevin’s designs, the rugs are based on natural patterns that have been tweaked with a modern sensibility. Taking our aesthetic into a new format such as rugs requires a lot of modifications in a new process. Kevin’s artwork maintains its painterly feel while appealing to a new market. These provide a great platform for our beloved silk velvet home accessories.
Capel is famous for their traditional braided technique, which we have adored since before partnering with them. This is something we would love to work further on, creating a modern version of such a masterpiece. It’s a challenge that we’re willing to tackle!
Don’t forget to stop by at Capel’s showroom in High Point Market 18-23rd!
A NEW VELVET EXPERIMENT
One of our newest collections is our “Glazed” cotton velvet that we’ve been developing for the past year here in the studio. We wanted to introduce something that has a more casual feel while still maintaining the integrity of our signature hand-painted technique.
The orders counted and the verdict is in, we’re back today to give you a taste of our most popular colors and patterns this season. We showed you the process of setting up our booth, and now we’re going to give you a glimpse of our most sought-after products.
This season we introduced three new colors: Gunmetal, Cobalt Black, and Desert Rose. Each of these colors have (as always) been hand mixed and conceived right here in our studio with trends in mind. We’ll definitely be busy the next few months painting a lot of these deep blues!
This season we’ve also introduced some new metallic velvets that are printed onto a long-haired velvet giving them an embossed look. Not only are these metallic, but we’ve come up with a whole new range of colors specifically for this new line!
We’ve developed a new tufted style of our mohair pillows that have been well received thus far. These go well with our silk velvet decorative pillows and add depth with a more matte texture.
Be on the lookout for our next post about the making of our new cotton velvet line!
A VERY VELVET STORY
It’s been a crazy few weeks here at KOBS! We even had to make clones of Kevin to cope (see above image). We’re just settling into our orders from NYNOW as we begin our busiest season, and we wanted to share a bit of the behind the scenes with you. When it comes to trade shows, we pack up about 200 of our prettiest plush pillows and put them on display for buyers and designers alike.
This year we introduced a lot of new products including three new colorways, new metallic designs, and new cotton velvet designs as well as our new scarves. We were thrilled to have our best show to date! Here’s a bit of our process from start to finish:
As you can see, there is a lot that goes into making our velvets look good. We hope that you enjoy seeing them as much as we enjoy showing them! Stay tuned for our best sellers coming to you next week.
OUR ABC HOME BOUTIQUE
Our ABC Boutique is one of our most coveted spaces. We like to treat this space like a velvet oasis, and recently we’ve given our shop a bit of a makeover. When the elevator doors open onto the third floor, you will be hynotized by our radiating velvets. Our salesperson, Sue, exudes the eclectic and energetic nature of our work to a T. It’s always a fun surprise to see what colors and patterns she combines to adorn our beds.
As a former architect, Kevin is constantly thinking of new ideas to improve spatial relationships, continuously influencing his surroundings. Kevin worked closely with his carpenter friend in upstate NY to create a honeycomb-inspired design to display our products in the boutique.
Come see for yourself and indulge in all of your velvet fantasies!
A VERY VELVET WONDERLAND
We are very happy that both velvet and scarves are back in fashion! Twenty-two years ago, we started as scarf makers because it was the simplest thing to make out of fabric besides napkins. Now that we are fully engaged in our bedding and pillow business, we like to go back to the scarves so we can play with a different set of colors. We can be bolder, use more luscious colors, and wilder combinations. We are glad to see deep rich velvets in use by designers such as John Rocha, Donna Karan, and Josie Natori.
We’ve noticed big fur on trend this year while at the same time we have recently found the deepest pile velvet available. It is so lush it’s nearly faux fur and just in time for what is on the runway! Since we dye each piece of fabric in our studio we can capture color depth and variation like no one else. Put one of these scarves on and feel the cozy comfort in the most luxurious style.
Along with these new deeper piled velvets, we’ve added colors to our shibori line. This technique continues to be utilized in home furnishings as well as fashion. Shibori can look natural and organic while still forming a repetitive and structural pattern. In keeping with the watercolor print trend from designers such as Galliano and in-trend colors, we’ve added a gray color called Sterling. However, we couldn’t resist taking on some more challenging colors as well (see below). Our new Patina colorway takes color to a new level!
We’ve transformed some of our more popular patterns into scarves. The Vines pattern is a large-scale bold pattern with layered colors that makes the velvet feel like a magical forest. Op Art is our take on the optical art of the 1960’s that creates the illusions using geometric shapes. Our Leopard print, a timeless pattern is updated in luxe velvet.
NEW LINEN BEDDING LINE
Last week here at KOBS we were busy prepping some photos of our new product, and we wanted to share some behind the scenes photos to debut our new linen bedding line!
If velvet represents richness, depth, and timelessness, then linen stands for airy, lighthearted ease. Both fabrics have origins in Medieval Europe and have been refined and perfected in many ways. As different as they are, they were coveted from the very beginning and usually used in combination with one another – linen blouse with a velvet jacket or linen bed dressing with a velvet coverlet. We wondered: can they be combined in a modern way to create a luxurious yet casual bed? Take a look and tell us what you think!
Our linens are as beautiful as our velvets, but they each have a different appeal. If the velvet is like a deep forest, then the linen is like a sunny meadow. These are the makings of a beautiful landscape and this is the way we conceive our bedding ensembles. This new linen bedding is hand painted with soft colors that ombre from head to foot and has a more casual feel. The euro shams, a more textural linen, are painted in mottled colors to coordinate with both the linen and the velvet.
One of our favorite velvets to pair with this collection for this winter is our Quilted Patchwork blanket measuring in at 95 x 95″. These are a mosaic of patterns and colors that combine to make a luxe bohemian-inspired look. Each patchwork is unique in that it is made from our many remnants that would ordinarily go to waste. This allows us to give new life to leftover fragments that weren’t large enough to create a pillow.
Jane Gershon Weitzman, the inimitable woman behind much of the success of Stuart Weitzman Shoes, has been a fan of Kevin O’Brien Studio, and a friend of Kevin’s for many years. Building their company since the ’80s she and Stuart have sold their business and now Jane has even better things to do, she raises money for any number of good causes through a book about shoes she has created. Now that we at Kevin O’Brien Studio are finally on our feet in our new headquarters (a totally rebuilt movie theater from the thirties), we are able to invite people to our manufacturing and design facility. So it became clear that Jane and Kevin had to do something together, that something was an event to support the work of the AIDS Fund.
For many years, Kevin O’Brien Studio lived up to the description “scrappy upstart” and did our business from a historic, but creaky and ancient loft in Philadelphia’s Old City district, but all things, even companies, must grow up. After an unseemly long adolescence, we have burst upon the scene (in our own minds at least) and opened our beautiful new space to our guests. On a recent May evening, Jane gave her funny and heartwarming address about her new book, Art&Sole. The book would seem to just be about shoes, but the stories that Jane told were about a lifetime of using her company to create opportunities for all sorts of New Yorkers who needed a bit of a helping hand, be it in the LGBT community, inner city schools, or breast and ovarian cancer. There wasn’t a dry eye in the crowd as Jane recited stories about how she was able to help so many people simply by thinking differently about how to use her position at a very successful company.
Afterwards, Jane answered lots of questions and signed books while the Aids Fund volunteers served up food and drinks. Meanwhile, Kevin and Angela (the KOBS manager) gave tours of our facilities. Then the raffle winners were read out and people went home with goodies from El Dorado Rum, Bernie Robbins, Bitars Restaurant, Starbucks, Trinity Framing, Merritt Gallery, Philadelphia Theatre Company, In Liquid, A Girl Named Katie, Shane’s Candies, Candy Coated, Blush Salon, South Philly Accupunture, Farm & Fisherman Tavern & Market, Nickolette Phillips Design & Tailoring, Eat-a-Pita,
More Then Just Ice Cream and artists such as Nikolay Milushev (YOMI t.g.m.b.) and Tim McFarlane.
Serious money was raised and serious fun was had.
Two young and earnest artists met one day 25 years ago at a life drawing class. One admired the other’s curves (in his drawings) and the other commented on the subtle shading of the other’s. They became friends and most improbably, one went into the restaurant business and the other into the textile business. Even more improbably they both flourished in their life choices. Still friends, Kevin O’Brien of Kevin O’Brien Studio and David Salama (along with his partner Jim Caiolla) collaborated on some of the decor for the new Tavern on the Green. David and Jim, two guys from Philly, are the new owners of the fabled restaurant in Central Park, which is not improbable at all when you see what they can do with food as well as interior design. They just opened this past month and Kevin and his wife, Myoshin Thurman O’Brien, were invited to the grand gala that opened the doors for the first time in years. Amidst all the glitz and glam you can see Kevin’s velvet curtains hanging around the place.
A very good idea is to go there yourself and see how this venerable symbol of NYC has been updated to reflect the city – it’s history, its vibrant present, and optimism for it’s future. It’s all there, in the ancient woodwork, now lit by beautiful expanses of modern glass, the old stone and brick, now cleaner than when it was new, but with the soft beauty of age, and the ancient barn beams quietly presiding overhead, as they have done since sheep slept here and later when generations of past New Yorkers celebrated life here, and as they will do in the future as the new New York invents itself. Oh, and the food’s great too!
Above you can see the painting of the fabric for the curtains. From top to bottom, you can see Max and Kevin stretching the blank fabric, the fabric being painted on one side, and the final side being painted. Once the fabric is painted, it is taken down to be steamed and rinsed. Next stop, cutting and sewing!