If you are headed to Maison Objet, a highlight of your trip will be getting lost searching for Paris Deco Off. If “excuzes-moi” and “merci beaucoup” are all the French you have, you can get there, and anywhere else in Paris…I know from experience.
Spanning Rive Gauche and Rive Droite, on both sides of the Seine, nearly 100 design houses open their doors to professionals and aficionados for the Deco Off event which runs now through January 26th. It was on an evening pilgrimage last year through Saint Germain de Pres that I came upon the pop-up shop of Karin Sajo, it was a textile paradise. This week she revives her pop up at 9 rue de l’Echaudé, launching her Coral Seas inspired collection.
Her temporary showroom was busting at the seams with product and people when we met, so I took her card. As it turned out, I was able to set up a tour and an interview at her flagship store in Montmartre, the day of my visit to the Sacre Coeur Basilica and the fabric district, which were nearby.
Karin snatched up this shop on 3 Rue Charles Nodier several years ago when she saw it open up across from her design studio. She loves this neighborhood’s 100 year history as a fabric marketplace, which today is a design destination. It is apparent upon entering, that these goods are for the high-end client only. I was not surprised to learn that Karin works with famed French designers Jacques Garcia and Jean-Louis Deniot. However, she admits that the lagging economy in Europe has made her collection even more sought after in Asia, the Middle East and especially in Russia where she co-presented a workshop this summer with architect Pascal Gravaud. (watch video)
Karin attributes her unique sensibility in home decor to her experience in luxury fashion, where there is no taboo in mixing styles or techniques. She says she learned a lot from Gianfranco Ferré, who was an expert in using trimmings. But equally important was working with John Galliano. He didn’t naturally take to passementerie, so he had a completely fresh way of using the medium in his collections. In her words, she aspires to keep this “fresh think” with each new collection. Karin has designed jewelry for Jean Paul Gaultier and handbags for Hermes. You can see her couture influences in materials, pattern, color and fabrication. She works in linen, cotton, velvet, viscose, wool and even outdoor yarns.
Karin is adamant that nothing is new in design, it is proportion and the mixing of materials that create novelty. She is inspired by travel and art periods, naming fabric collections Grand Canal, Giverny, Toscane, Jardin Zen, Capri, Napal. Although mostly European factories produce her collection, her materials are globally sourced. She translates the newest technologies found in fashion mills into her embroidery designs, creating 3D effects, contrasting matte and shiny yarns, and colors inspired by gems and precious stones.
My favorite of the passementerie collections uses her gemstone palette with a nod to goldsmithing, incorporating vintage-looking metallic yarns. It is called the Coromandel Collection. She explains that Coromandel is on the coast of southern India, an historic port that attributed to the rise in popularity of Chinese decorative arts, crafted chests, boxes and screens, during the 18th century.
Her fabrics are represented by Christopher Hyland in the US and by showrooms worldwide. When I asked about building her business, she told me that she doesn’t rush anything. “Creativity takes time,” she says, “and I go step by step”. I’ll be watching her beautiful collections evolve every step of the way.
Au revoir and stay inspired!