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Publication Date: 2015-05-29

Inspiration

In Full Bloom

Gillian Newberry's company, Bennison Fabrics, creates patterns that endure and remain fresh. MILIEU proves that they transform whatever they cover.

Geoffrey Bennison, the late British decorator and antiques dealer, was busy restoring an antique armchair he had purchased at a sale in England. He was assessing the worn joints and fragile structure, deciding which pieces needed to be replaced or repaired, painted or stripped. While removing some rather ordinary fabric that had been placed over the chair at a point in its history, he uncovered something layers below, akin to the process of an archaeologist: a lovely rose-motif pattern, infused with subtle sprays of daffodils. He dated the material to around 1840.

“Geoffrey collected troves of antique textiles — silks, linens, damasks — that he found attached to old chairs or sofas,” explains Gillian Newberry, co-owner of the London-based Bennison Fabrics, which also maintains a sizable presence and showroom in New York in the Fine Arts Building. “This pattern he found, which we simply call Roses, with this particular color wave referred to as Shocking Pink on Oyster, is fabulously versatile. It’s the quintessential Bennison fabric because of its classic floral motif and its sheer beauty. It just works wherever it’s used — for curtaining, upholstery, in a drawing room, bedroom, library. When I heard that MILIEU was using it to make a woman’s skirt and to cover an antique Louis XVI settee, I could imagine it very clearly! The pattern would be perfect for both.”

To read the complete story, or to see all photos, subscribe to MILIEU's print or digital editions, available by clicking here.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY MEGAN THOMPSON LOVOI AND PETER VITALE

WRITTEN BY DAVID MASELLO

This story appeared in the Summer 2015 issue of MILIEU.

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