MILAN – There are only a few high-end velvet manufacturers left in the world, and now two of the storied firms that supply the fabric to marquee fashion brands are joining forces in a capsule collection blending their expertise.
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The Italian Redaelli 1893 has linked with Lyon, France-based Bouton Renaud on a limited-edition lineup of velvets showcasing the versatility and artistry of the fabric.
The results are three-dimensional textiles embedding Bouton Renaud’s handicraft and Redaelli 1893’s mix of heritage and innovative techniques provided by its 19th-century looms and continued investment in new technologies.
Named “Les Années Folles,” the collection comprises textiles spun by the French firm, whose specialty lies in viscose and silk velvets, oftentimes jacquard. These were then handed over to Redaelli 1893, which contributed with its signature finishing techniques, including textile corrosion and 3D printing, as well as imprimè, to develop chevron patterns, floral motifs inspired by Paul Poiret, Art Deco graphics and animalier prints.
“We tried to put together our know-how, to link our respective uniqueness, creating something completely new in the velvet universe,” said Pierluigi Fusco Girard, chief executive officer of Marzotto Lab, the division of Marzotto Group that includes Redaelli 1893.
In addition to being a commercial bet, the linkup speaks volumes about both companies’ commitment to safeguarding high-end velvet production. “We joined forces to give a new take on velvet and push the category [forward] in the fashion business,” Fusco Girard said.
“We decided to be confident in one another and not have a preconceived plan. For me the result is perfect. What we obtained is a new thing with a new touch, new aspect, and new appeal,” echoed Jean-François Renaud, president of Velours de Lyon, parent of Bouton Renaud.
He characterized the partnership as particularly timely as the category has enjoyed momentum throughout 2022.
The collection has been almost eight months in the making and comes to life two years after the entrepreneurs first discussed a potential linkup.
Incidentally, the companies’ paths had already crossed twice, in the mid-19th century via JB Martin, a Lyon-based group that specializes in lightweight velvet and chiffon production and a close collaborator of both, and again in the ’90s when Redaelli 1893’s founder Alfredo Redaelli helped Bouton Renaud press on at a time when velvet production in the French textile hub was being dismantled and machines destroyed.
Expecting the collection to cater to top luxury players, the two companies are not mapping out a massive distribution plan, but rather selecting key clients of both textile specialists to whom the collection will be presented in mid-December. “We can count 10 companies in the world that are expected to be buying these products,” said Simone Pini, general manager at Redaelli 1893.