Kuldea Co-Founder, Deirdre Mc Gettrick, is a home style aficionado. Here she looks at the traditional French craft of passementerie style which is experiencing a renaissance in home interior design.
Kuldea is here to tell you that the trim is back. On your sofa, your cushions and even your lighting and mirrors, we are loving the latest highly intricate decorative look, inspired by the traditional French craft of ‘passementerie’.
Forget plain, stark minimalism – tassels, braids, fringing and edgings are a strong feature in interior design at the moment, bringing a distinctively maximalist approach to home décor.
Influenced by the craft of ‘passementerie’, the French word for ‘decorative trimmings’, this trend can be simple, elegant, and discreet or, at the other end, dripping with levels of over-opulence that wouldn’t look out of place in the Palace of Versailles!
Traditionally handmade and reputed for excellence, this detailed art required a huge degree of workmanship, with a single item taking months, or even years, to make.
However, as the essence of passementerie has become more mainstream again, we are seeing contemporary elements being applied to both boutique and high-street interior furnishing and product lines.
Whether you love a crisp, modern look, but still want a bit of texture and decorative interest, or you want to emulate the full richness of 18th century Parisian lavishness, here’s how to bring a flavour of passementerie perfection into your home…
Passementerie’s heritage lies in decorative trimmings and edgings, and introducing this style into your home relies on applying an intricate, trimmed finish to a whole range of soft furnishings and furniture. Taking a ‘more is more’ approach is undoubtedly key when embracing the passementerie trend; why have a plain cushion when you can edge it with tassels, braids, gold or silver cord, bullion, fringing, pom-poms, piping or a ruffle edge?!
When everything can have a trimmed finish, passementerie provides huge opportunity to elevate design, add personality and create a highly unique and standout look to your home – you can also get creative and do much of the customising very easily yourself.
Traditionally, passementerie utilises fabrics such as satins, silks, brocades, laces and velvets; the new wave of design still nods to the traditional forms and methods of construction, but incorporates new and innovative materials such as linen, cotton, wool, jute, and embellishments including beads, glass, mirror, semi-precious materials, jewels, metallic threads, rope and even perspex!
The combination of textiles used to achieve a passementerie-inspired look should be sumptuous and deep with a prevalence of quilting, cushioning, tufting, texture and tactility to evoke a highly styled, deliberate ‘fussiness’. Or, you can team unusual fabrics such as fluffy faux fur with contrasting cut fringe, just to make things look a little bit more quirky.
Everything is a potential candidate for trimmings when applying the passementerie look; it’s about making otherwise standard furniture look unique by utilising unexpected edging, and adorning them with rich, tactual embellishments.
You can edge mirrors, picture frames, chair legs, handles, even banisters with tassels, hand-knotted rope or fringing. Plain or contemporary furniture with a plumed fringe, or a seat pad with an intricate braided border, can exhibit that little extra ‘zhuzh’ needed to set them apart from the mainstream. Even adding a small touch like a beautiful individual tassel to a door handle or curtain hook, instantly injects a distinctively French accent into your room.
Patterns and colour
Current passementerie interiors pay respect to the traditional look, while simultaneously bringing in lots of bold pattern and a smattering of vibrant colour for an explosion of decorative flair. Think geometric patterns such as hexagons and chain-links, cool graphic prints and contemporary art, teamed with a really sumptuous approach to soft furnishings that includes traditional edgings, trimmings, buttons and rosettes for texture.
This profusion of colour and style is a highly contemporary incarnation of authentic passementerie chic, and is aligned with the exact same trend in fashion jewellery at the moment, which focuses on simple outfits dressed up with tasseled earrings and pom-pom adorned bags.