Design Centre Stories

Saving Savoir Faire

When Pierre Frey announced that it had acquired textile brand Bernard Thorp, it brought the French design house’s links with the UK even closer. Now, the Pierre Frey showroom at Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour has had a complete redesign, with a dedicated space for Thorp of London (as it has been rebranded) and an additional showroom entrance that puts its collections front and centre. “It’s a little jewellery box, separated from the rest of the showrooms,” says Amandine Dufour, director of Pierre Frey UK.

Founded by Bernard Thorp in 1971, the company quickly established itself as an expert in traditional hand screen-printing. Thorp put together his first collections by acquiring drawings from artists or taking inspiration from antique fabrics found at auction. Florals were augmented by collaborations with great decorators such as David Hicks and John Fowler, then stripes and geometric patterns were added, placing the designs in a resolutely English decorating spirit.

Under the new regime, everything is made to order, with a minimum run of 10 metres. With 30 different grounds including silk, cotton and linen, a 350-strong colour chart and hundreds of patterns, the possibilities are incredible. Everything will be hand-printed in Thorp’s small Norfolk workshop. “It’s an exciting moment – we’re saving savoir faire,” says Dufour about preserving the identity and specialist skills of the brand.

Visit the Design Centre to see this and all of Pierre Frey’s other collections, newly presented in the refreshed space. As well as the Thorp capsule space, discover a new collage-inspired collection by artist Véronique Villaret; and French brand Braquenié’s 200th anniversary collection, a sumptuous survey of the last two centuries with cashmeres, tapestries, embroideries and velvets.

Pierre Frey, First Floor, Design Centre East