Anatomy Of A Design: A Closer Look At Iris Apfel’s Maximal Couture Collection For Fabricut

Millie M. Hammond, Design Director for Fabricut/Trend, joins us to discuss the design process in creating Iris Apfel’s Maximal Couture Collection.

Raymond Paul Schneider: When did you first start to develop this new collection?
Millie M. Hammond: Fabricut and Iris started talking about a collaboration in early 2019. We had several phone calls and then met in New York at our studio there in early Fall.

Raymond: What was the overall timeline from conception to achieving the final design?
Millie: The serious work began Fall of 2019 and the collection launched in the Summer of 2021. This was a little longer than usual because we paused the work for about 3 months during the Spring of 2020. We finalized the collection in Dec 2021 but, it took extra long to get the fabrics and trims made and sampled.

Raymond: What was your initial inspiration, and where did the idea(s) come from?
Millie: At our first meeting, both Iris and the Fabricut team brought things that inspired us; from historical textiles, Iris’s wardrobe, fashion magazine pages, to fabrics that felt bold and inspirational. We then decided the collection should be a mix of fashion inspiration and textiles that are updated versions of the historical textiles that Iris loves from her time as the owner and editor of Old World Weavers.

Raymond: Please describe your overall creative and design process.
Millie: We hired an artist to design the prints to Iris’s taste and specifications, we gathered textiles from mills from all over the world and let Iris edit them. Iris’s flair for editing a wardrobe and her passion for textiles made this an easy task. We sent Iris packages of things we thought she would love and she decided. It was a back and forth process by phone and package. Had we not been at the height of the pandemic we would have been meeting in person more.

Raymond: Did you have a specific audience or theme that you had in mind?
Millie: Our audience is the interior designer and we felt this intersected perfectly with Iris’s audience too. We wanted to create a collection that had color and drama. Iris’s instinct for bold pattern and high-end textiles was perfect for attracting the interior designer.

Raymond: Please describe the methods, tools, and materials you used to develop and prototype this design?
Millie: Iris’s method was truly collaborative, she would show us garments and textiles she collected over the years. The Fabricut team would then come back to her with modern-day interpretations and she would edit them to her favorites.

Raymond: Did you utilize a new technique or technology to conceptualize this product?
Millie: We have some very high-end faux furs in the collection that are made in Japan. We have not run any faux fur this luxurious before. In our trimming collection, we have a beautiful tape with metal flower beads that is truly unique to Fabricut.

Raymond: Describe your overall brand DNA and Ethos.
Millie: Iris Apfel is an icon and her flair for fashion and home is unmatched. She is well known for mixing pattern and color in unexpected ways. Fabricut’s collection with Iris strives to create that same excitement.

Click here to see more of our “Anatomy of a Design” series.

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