Fabric houses often carry a certain mystery about themselves. Very few people really KNOW the history to these companies and even fewer have firsthand accounts of what goes on behind the scenes of these textile empires. Today we have a unique opportunity to get that firsthand account from one such impressive fabric house, Carleton V Ltd. Katie Crider, Director of Product Development for Carleton V, has graciously offered to give us a more personal glimpse of this renowned company and showcase its impressive collection of prints and patterns.
Carleton V Ltd. is a textile design firm that specializes in the development of original printed and woven fabrics and wall coverings. The company was started by Carleton Varney in 1973 in order to create bold, unique prints for his projects at Dorothy Draper and Company. Sebastian Varney, Carleton’s son, is the current president of the company. He has created a line that celebrates the history of the brand while keeping it fresh and current. He was greatly inspired by his mother, Suzanne Varney, who acted as the president and creative force behind Carleton V for several years. Suzanne merged the distinctly “Draper-esque” designs with soft, traditional elements to create the brand that we know and maintain today.
As the designer for Carleton V, I work with Sebastian to create two collections each year. Prints are a key part of each collection because they tell a story and make a statement. My mission is to have a collection that reflects the best elements of the line throughout its entire history; this is what makes everything fit together. I developed an eye for what made a color, texture, or design right for Carleton V over my years with the company. I worked as an intern in the New York showroom as a design student at the University of Georgia and returned after graduation. I then went to work for Dorothy Draper and Company and left New York to work on site at the Greenbrier Hotel in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. I spent several months working on the new construction of the Casino Club and several other design projects at the Greenbrier. It was such a special time for me to work in a place where you could see and feel the excitement and vibrancy of Dorothy Draper’s original designs.
After the completion of the project at the Greenbrier, I went back to New York to take on the product development role at Carleton V. It’s a position where my extremely technical side and wild imagination have a place to work together. Our design inspiration comes from so many sources. Whether it comes from travel, nature, or fashion, it’s my job to make a beautiful idea into something tangible. Nailing down a great design that sings “Carleton V” is the easy part, but the next steps of sourcing materials, finding the right mill for production, and maintaining quality makes for the bulk of our work. So much effort goes into each item, which is why we must truly believe in everything that we produce and it must have a place in the history of Carleton V. I get particularly excited when we dust off a beautiful old design and transform it with new colors. It reminds me to keep one foot in the past and the other in the future so that we create designs that are timeless.
Carleton V’s Spring 2013 collection celebrates the beauty and elegance of natural fibers. You will see linen, wool, cotton, alpaca, and horse hair in a variety of woven textures. Overall, the collection is elegant and understated, with daring pops of color. I’m very excited about our new print “Wild Thing”, a large scale tree of life with an edge. It is printed in Italy, using an interesting watercolor-like effect. Another great new item is our Cambridge Quilt, a printed matelassé. The colorways are sweet and soft, inspired by a trip to the mill in Northern England. You can take a look at the entire new collection at http://www.carletonvltd.com/.
Thank you Katie and Carleton V for allowing us to have a “peek” into your world and admire a few of your many beautiful prints! To contact Katie or to read more information about Carleton V Ltd, please see below.
Carleton V Ltd
(All images courtesy of Carlton V)
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