While I was in Paris, I had the amazing opportunity to see the Pierre Frey archives. For those of you who may not know, Pierre Frey was founded in Paris in 1935. Ever since then they have been creating beautifully elegant fabrics, wallpaper, rugs, and even furniture. Pierre Frey is known mostly for their exquisite fabrics which are inspired by people, cultures, and ideas from around the world. Patrick Frey is convinced that textiles bear witness to the period in which they were created and encapsulate a wealth of social, aesthetic and technical information. In 2003 Pierre Frey started an archive of fabrics which date back to the 16th century. They formed this archive not only as a resource for themselves, but also for the general public as well. Lorraine Frey expressed her feelings on the importance of having an archive. “It’s important to make way for a younger generation, but we must never lose the sight of the French Dimension, or the importance of historical traditions and craftsmanship.” The archive includes all of the companies four collections as well as pieces they’ve acquired from private dealers, auction, and antique dealers. Today the collection has over 30,000 designs, fabrics, and carpet samples. Patrick Frey also commented on the archive by saying, “Luxury is about accepting that creativity takes time, respecting history…this heritage includes the company’s extensive archives, a treasure house of inspiration and expertise. While its roots are centuries old, this[textile design] is a timelessly modern art form which draws on ancient and contemporary techniques of the 16th century to the present day.”
I had the opportunity to tour the archives along with a group of Interior Design students from Iowa State(small world). Sophie was our wonderful tour guide for the day. Sophie, who was a former French museum curator, handled the fabrics with the utmost care with white gloved hands. The fabrics are stored in a series of acid free metal drawers where the fabrics are wrapped in conservation paper. Sophie went through the drawers giving us a variety of patterns, colours and motifs to view. As I viewed the variety of fabrics I began to see how the fabrics represent the aesthetic of the time they were created and how in turn that influenced the Interior Design of that time. I left the archive inspired by the people who designed and meticulously created these gorgeous fabrics over the centuries. I took as many photos as I could during the tour, but there were so many it was hard to keep up. If you want to learn more about Pierre Frey Fabrics go to their website http://www.pierrefrey.com/maison, or better yet visit Paris!