13 May 2010

The Art of Dressing Windows

Color, fashion, Interior Design, Window Treatments 8 Comments

Deb Barrett showing a custom printed fabric

Each spring, I make a point to attend the International Window Coverings Expo (IWCE) because it is the premier trade show for the Custom Window Treatments industry.  The best and most creative window fashion designers and fabrication artisans come together to learn, to share, to network, and to look for new resources for fabrics, trims, and hardware, both decorative and functional.  If I want to see the latest innovations in fabrics and products used “behind the scenes” in making window treatments more functional, energy efficient, and yes, beautiful, IWCE is where they will be found.  If I want to see the latest advances in “hard” window coverings, including motorization options and how to make sure window treatments are safe for children and pets, IWCE is the place to go.  If I want fabric custom printed, if I want beautiful hand-finished drapery hardware designed to surmount the problems of poorly designed window architecture, if I want to see the latest modern drapery hardware systems, if I want to see anything that’s new in window treatments, I go to IWCE.  To learn anything and everything about the design and fabrication of window treatments, IWCE is the place to go.  And if I want to be awed and inspired by the transformation of flat fabric into beautiful and creative window fashions, IWCE is the ONLY place to go.

Another reason to go is to be with my colleagues.  It is an adrenaline rush to be with other creative artists who want to be the best they can be.  We inspire each other.

The people who fabricate window treatments deserve a better appellation than “workrooms” a term which doesn’t begin to convey the knowledge, skill, problem-solving and math required to fabricate window treatments.  I know how to sew some window treatments and it’s time-consuming and painstaking work, and that’s true even for the “easy” window treatments.

Every year, I make the investment in my education to attend IWCE because creating beautiful window treatments requires a great deal of knowledge, for example in knowing what fabrics play well together, which will drape, which will hold a crisp pleat, etc., etc., but also in ensuring that the treatment will be in correct scale and proportion to the window and to the room.   As a Window Fashions Certified Professional, I am proud to know that I am among the elite window fashion designers and fabrication artisans who strive for excellence and are committed to continuing education.

If you have ever tried to sew clothing for yourself and been disappointed in the results, then you have learned the frustrating lesson that what looks so easy is in fact quite difficult.  And even if you were able to master the technical challenges of altering a pattern to fit your unique proportions and were actually able to sew it with a high degree of technical proficiency, you may still have learned the painful lesson that a perfectly sewn garment does not guarantee that it will flatter your figure.  There is a reason why clothing that has been tailored for you is more flattering than an off the rack garment.  And it’s even more flattering when the garment has been designed and sewn “from scratch” just for your figure, your coloring, your style, etc.  So it is with window treatments.  One can buy window treatments just about anywhere from Walmart to Pottery Barn to higher end retail outlets, but they are still ready-mades, still “off the rack”.  They will look good in certain rooms on certain size and shape windows but they are pretty much one size fits all.  They are almost always too skimpy except for the narrowest of windows.  And not many people have the design expertise to know what style, size, color, fabric, pattern, etc. will look great in their home.  But a Window Fashions Certified Professional designer does.  And that’s why I’m here at IWCE.

Today at IWCE, I spent 6+ hours in a seminar given by the queen of haute couture window dressings, Deb Barrett, who discussed the principals of design and how they relate to designing window treatments, as well as the insider tips needed to design and specify window treatments that will relate to the window and the room and that thrill our customers with what I call the experience of interior beauty (hence the name of my blog).  Deb then shared numerous window treatment samples inspired by the latest designs shown at Maison Objet in Paris and Heimtextil in Frankfurt, as well as by new trims, fabrics, and printing processes.  Our eye cannot help but travel to the window in any room.  It makes sense then to make sure that the natural focal point of any room is treated appropriately, whether its style be modern minimalist or Rococo.

WFCP Advisory Board

The WFCP Advisory Board, of which I am a member, had its board meeting to discuss how we can increase awareness of the value of custom window treatments and the WFCP program.  After a lively discussion we came up with several ideas.  Then we headed over to Azio’s for dinner.

Relaxing at Azio's in Atlanta

Thursday will be another busy day taking seminars on color influences and trends and what distinguishes couture and custom draperies.  Then, after a special business coaching session, I will be wandering the show floor seeing and learning what all our wonderful vendors have for us this year.  It’s been an exciting day and I’m finally wound down enough to sleep.  Tomorrow morning when I head over to the Georgia World Congress Center for my first seminar, I’ll look forward not only to another exciting day, but also this:



8 Responses to “The Art of Dressing Windows”

  1. Tammy@InStitches says:

    I enjoyed reading all of your tweets and I will be there next year for sure !

    • Anne says:

      Thanks, Tammy, I’ll be writing more about my experiences at IWCE this week. And I’m looking forward to meeting you in person next year at IWCE in Tampa! xo Anne

  2. Judy Peters says:

    What a wonderful entry, Ann…and what a great show it was! There is nothing better than meeting industry peers, learning together, talking, laughing, sharing ideas…I could go on and on! I look forward to reading your next entry!
    Judy Peters

    • Anne says:

      Judy, I couldn’t agree more — IWCE 2010 was a great show! I’m still decompressing and absorbing! Hoping to write a blog on it this week. xo Anne

  3. Marie Mouradian says:

    What a GREAT recap of the first few days of the Vision 10 International Window Covering Expo! You are spot on the pulse of this industry. Tampa area windows will be treated with the best designs and latest innovations with all of the knowledge you’ve acquired. You truly are “among the elite window fashion designers and fabrication artisans who strive for excellence and are committed to continuing education”
    I love that description!

    • Anne says:

      Marie, thanks so much! I know we both learned a lot more than we expected to, and that’s a good reason to go to IWCE alone. But getting to meet you and other Facebook & Twitter friends in person was an added bonus that made the show even more fantastic! xo Anne

  4. Tamara Matthews-Stephenson says:

    Anne – you are really fitting lots in this month. This event looks like a great opportunity to both network and learn about the industry. Hope you are having a fabulous time! best, Tamara

    • Anne says:

      Tamara, like you, I don’t think I’ll ever run out of topics to share that intrigue me. You are right, IWCE was a great time to learn and network and it exceeded my already high expectations. I would love for you to come next year. Knowing how you love fabrics and soft furnishings, I think you’d love it! xo Anne

Leave a Reply