From Europe, With Love

From Europe, With Love

In fashion, it’s not uncommon for styles to gain a foothold in Europe and make their way stateside after a period of time.

With that thought in mind, Designers Today asked a number of European rug producers to take the pulse of what’s trending across the Atlantic and what it means for the future of American styles.

The European experts said that they wouldn’t say American styles are “behind” their European counterparts — just that each wants what it wants.

“I don’t think there’s a big gap between the two markets,” said Luigi Priante, an Italian designer who specializes in leather upholstery and rugs. “The diff erence comes from the fact that the interiors in Europe have a more contemporary style than in the USA, and so the rugs.”

From the Gramercy Collection from Louis de Poortere.

From the Gramercy Collection from Louis de Poortere.

Luc Perquy, head of development for Belgian rug producer Louis de Poortere, said that as a general rule, trends are “picked up more quickly in the city than in the country” and that the network of cities is denser in Europe.

“Style, in the more exclusive and highly branded part of the market, tends to be global and is advertised worldwide with just some diff erent accents here and there,” Perquy said. “Traditions are somewhat stronger in the States, and it takes a long time for a new style to penetrate the Midwest countryside. Internet access is changing that, of course, a bit like the big catalogs used to do.”

Martin Graebener, owner of German rug producer Talis (which produces rugs for leather upholstery resource W. Schillig), echoed Perquy’s sentiments, noting that style in America tends to stay a bit more grounded while Europe isn’t afraid of experimenting.

“The American style is still more in classic designs, as there are so called red rugs from Persian tradition,” Graebener said. “Europe is mostly done in future styles. That’s the trend here, and all markets worldwide are looking to the European style.”

Perquy said one reason Europe is viewed as an arbiter of style is because throughout its history, it has adopted styles from other cultures, bringing a sense of worldliness to its overall design aesthetic. “Because the Europeans have been exploring the whole world since the 15th century and even before, we have developed a culture able to absorb foreign infl uences like a sponge,” Perquy said. “We’ve been exposed to all those infl uences and I hope it still gives us an edge, notwithstanding the explosive creativity in other parts of the world.”

Featuring a hand-woven central panel with a full-grain and suede border with overstitched details, piping and tassels, the Yoruba rug from Priante brings the Italian leather producer’s sensibilities to the floor.

Featuring a hand-woven central panel with a full-grain and suede border with overstitched details, piping and tassels, the Yoruba rug from Priante brings the Italian leather producer’s sensibilities to the floor.

The ability to blend elements from diff erent, and often diff ering, cultures has helped shape European worldviews and design perspectives. “Creativity has always been a point of strength for fashion and design manufacturers in Europe, and especially in Italy,” said Priante.

However, there is not a singular European “look,” according to Perquy.

“Just as in the U.S. you have different trends and styles, the same applies tenfold for the European market,” Perquy said. “Danish mainstream taste is not the same as say, Southern French. Even French and Italian will differ.”

When asked what styles they expect to see migrating to the U.S. from across the pond, the designers’ responses varied.

“I expect fewer graphic designs, more micro-textures and contemporary colors refreshing the interiors’ style,” said Priante.

“What would you say if I mentioned the Seventies revisited?” asked Perquy.

Graebener offered a nod to the runway.

“We see the colors from women’s fashion and from the spirit of female attractions,” he said.

Thomas Lester covers rugs, top-of-bed and a variety of other topics for Designers Today. In addition, he covers these subjects for several of Progressive Business Media’s properties, including Furniture/Today, Home Accents Today and Kids Today. He’s been a professional journalist since 2000, covering everything from local and major collegiate sports to local government, schools, crime and courts.


When he’s not working, Lester enjoys spending time with his wife and son, running, reading, watching football and baseball and playing music. He’s a decent enough bass guitarist and he’s starting to get the hang of the six string.