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.
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.
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!