Fringes, tassels and ruching - fashion has fallen in love with trimmings. They were paraded lavishly on the spring/summer catwalks, and trumpeting the trend for interiors is next week’s Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair at Battersea Park.
Exhibitors there will show a veritable panoply of vintage passementerie - that’s the posh word for trimmings in the interior design lexicon.
Passementerie comes from the French for a maker of ornate work, and traditionally it took apprentices - called passementiers - seven years to become a master. They made tassels, fringes, cords, rosettes, pompoms and more by hand. At the fair, decorators will snap up boxes of vintage trimmings, along with one-off lampshades and trimmed upholstery.
Pimlico art dealer Charles Plante is fashioning a Regency room setting, inspired by drawings and paintings of interiors. “Passementerie was once the mark of elite interiors,” he says. “It dripped off wall hangings, adorned beds and hung over doors. Arch exponents were the decorators for Napoleon and the Prince Regent - the Green Drawing Room at Windsor Palace is a supreme example.”
Today, trimmings are no longer the sole property of the elite - the major fabric houses sell them in spades. Brands to watch are Osborne & Little, Colefax and Fowler, Zoffany and Designers Guild.
Samuel & Sons hail from New York, with a chic modern style. At Nada Designs, products are individually made using the finest yarns of Egyptian cotton and silk.
London duo Robbie Spina and Joe Zito, of boutique brand Spina Design, create fringing, tassels and tiebacks that add a contemporary edge to traditional trimmings, using crystal and precious stones, rivets, feathers, exotic woods, suede, dip dye and more.
Wendy Cushing sparked a trimming revival when she set up shop in 1984. She is the go-to restoration expert for prestigious bodies such as the National Trust, and she designs for many exclusive furnishing brands. “Trimmings are like jewellery,” she says. “But don’t be timid. Trimmings can make a plain cloth look fabulous.”
Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair, Battersea Park, from April 21-26; www.decorativefair.com (020 7616 9327).