Another death knell, this time in the world of interior design…

I have been saying for years that the luxurious manner of the interior design business’s days were numbered. The advent of so many do it yourself televisions shows, the internet, and the big box stores have been the killers. Everyone thinks they know how to do what we do. The only real interior design client is a scintilla of a per cent of the current population – a person who really want the difference between good and the best.

One of the grande dames of high end textiles since time immemorial has been Scalamandre. In addition to just about every “important” residence and public building on earth, the Oval Office is decorated with the wares of the luxurious purveyor of fine French fabric, trimmings, and textiles. I have worked with the showroom at the Pacific Design Center for twelve years, and with the Houston showroom’s representative when I was in New Orleans.

I adore what we in the trade refer to as “shopping trips”, where we select the textiles and accoutrements that will become our designs. One walks in, picks up the white pencil and request pad, and goes through the huge wing samples of the fabrics, writing down the numbers of each style to sample in my library, imagining those pieces installed in some beautiful way in my client’s homes. It’s always been a very civilized practice, this “shopping” that we do. It usually involves having a piece or two of candy and delighting in the new designs that the purveyor has released, sitting in a comfortable and fabulously upholstered chair, sipping coffee or tea while waiting for the sample librarian to pull the facsimiles of the large pieces, to place the spoils of the hunt in one of the beautifully silkscreened shopping bag, of which I now wish I had kept.

I wonder what can be predicted by this email I received this morning:

“Dear Valued Scalamandre Customer,

Due to unresolved differences relating to ongoing lease negotiations with a “common” landlord at four showroom properties nationwide, the ScalamandrĂ© showroom at the PDC building has been temporarily closed.

The ScalamandrĂ© Los Angeles sales staff and customer service department are still available to service your design needs whether you are requesting memos or placing orders. Please note, memo sample requests will now be sent directly from our warehouse facility located in New York.”

This is as bad as Karl Lagerfeld designing for HM – we must wait and see – I now am DYING to run over to Scalamandre at the PDC and start selecting more fabric for my library. I don’t know what will come next…



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