It takes two to Tango
So the saying goes. And if like me you’ve been lapping up your annual dose of Strictly Come Dancing, you’ll know that when delivered correctly the results are breath-taking. I’ve always fancied having a go (if I ever become famous that is), but I’m pretty sure I’d be more of a Brian Conley than an Ore Oduba.
However, in this case it’s not the hot hot hot Latin dance I’m referring to, but a hot hot hot new collection of fabrics and wallpapers from Linwood. Now, whereas the design houses I often write about, such as the likes of Designers Guild, Osborne & Little and Colefax and Fowler are more or less household names to any interiors fan, the name Linwood may not be so familiar. Established in 1994, Linwood is a family business based in the South of England. I have long admired their ethos. Linwood likes to work with people they know. Many of its fabrics and wallpapers are made entirely in Britain. The rest are made in Europe (Italy, Belgium and Spain) by family-run mills with whom Linwood has long-standing relationships.
In the early days they specialised in middle of the road upholstery fabrics that were of good quality but to be fair would probably never have set the world on fire. Their main clients were upholsterers, rather than interior designers. But boy have they changed tack !!! For some years now Linwood have been producing interesting and often unusual fabrics that really get the creative juices flowing.
Their brand new offering entitled Tango certainly ticks that box – and more !!! Tango is a bold and exciting new collection of prints, weaves, wallpapers and plain velvets. This charming mix of patterns and plains has been cleverly and carefully balanced to create a forward-looking range, whilst still retaining all the luxury and quality we have come to expect from the brand.
An expansion on the ever popular tropical theme, lively botanical and floral designs are juxtaposed beside strong geometric counterparts. All manner of flora and fauna dance across the patterns, from cockatoos and parrots to leopards and storks which seem to be having their very own ‘Rumble In The Jungle’. The colour palette is rich and vibrant featuring tangy oranges and ochres, offset against zesty greens and indigo blues.
The collection comprises 4 books; 3 fabrics and 1 wallpaper. The main book, Tango Prints, contains a range of lively, large scale tropical prints with colourful floral accents. The designs originated from Linwood’s archive and have been reinterpreted for modern audiences. They have been printed onto rich velvets and lighter linens, making them suitable for upholstery, as well as curtains and blinds.
Tango Weaves is largely geometric collection of woven fabrics, offering the perfect foil to the natural flora and fauna imagery seen in the main print collection, in beautifully thought out colourways. I’m reliably informed that the designs are inspired by the pattern formations on wicker baskets and chairs.
The third book, entitled Tango Velvets, is a high-end technical range of luxurious deep pile plain velvets in a myriad of contemporary on-trend colours, perfectly complementing its printed partners. Not to be outdone, Tango Wallpapers is a punchy range, featuring hero deigns from the mainline fabric collections, each re-imagined and scaled to work on walls.
There are some truly gorgeous fabrics in the collection, such as Carnival – a nature-inspired print of loose fern leaves, L. A. Sunset - a stunning contemporary print with an abstract design reminiscent of Hockney’s LA period, and Bamboo Garden Velvet – a delicate printed velvet featuring luscious tropical fern leaves, palms and bamboo. But for me there are 3 stand out designs, each with fabulous evocative names. Jungle Rumble features an exotic scene with all manner of animals from parrots to elusive leopards. Painstakingly hand-drawn and hand-coloured, this impressive print is available on both a fine linen and a cotton velvet, as well as a wallpaper. Jungle Jive is another full-on design, this time featuring fantastical parakeets and cockatoos, along with stylised trees and tropical blossoms, offset against a dramatic background for maximum impact. Rainforest Rabble (perhaps my favourite title) has a truly luxurious feel to it. It is packed with a host of exotic birds of paradise in bright colours juxtaposed against a dark and intense background. Both Jungle Jive and Rainforest Rabble are available as printed velvets, printed linens and wallpapers.
Linwood may not be the most well-known of design houses, but with collections like Tango they will certainly continue to hold their own with the heavyweights.
John Biddell, John Charles Interiors
Live 24 7 magazine editorial - November 2017
All images are courtesy of Linwood Fabric Company Limited.