Schumacher & Co. is one of the world’s best decorating emporiums of luxurious fabrics and fabulous wall treatments, as well as sophisticated rugs and carpets, trim and furniture to finish off any project. Known for their classic designs, unparalleled quality and commitment to delivering top notch products, the company today isn’t resting on its laurels, but continues to maintain a tradition of developing exquisite and interesting new patterns that reflect the changing times in which their clients live.
Founded in New York City in 1889 by French-born Frederic Schumacher, the company started largely as importers of fine European fabrics which made them an early favorite with a New York society obsessed with replicating styles and fashions from London and Paris. The firm quickly grew in reputation and their fabrics continued to gain renown especially after they were given the commission to outfit the original Waldorf-Astoria Hotel on Fifth Avenue at the site now occupied by the Empire State Building, and then in 1902 to design fabrics for President Teddy Roosevelt’s revamp of the White House (and reissued for Jackie Kennedy’s renovations in the 1960s).
It was in 1912 when the second generation – under Frederic’s nephew Pierre Pozier – brought in the era’s top artists to create exclusive designs for the firm. This began a trend that continues today with their collections. Pozier also saw the firm firmly embrace the 20th century and its parade of variant styles when the firm became the first designers to bring the Art Deco Style to America. Their bold modern patterns appeared in the most fashionable department stores and were seen by millions of avid theatre goers worldwide when their fabrics were used by Hollywood set designers to create elegant and stylish backdrops for the movies including Gone With the Wind.
As patterns and styles changed over the years, Schumacher continued as a top resource for America’s nascent interior design industry. Dorothy Draper, famous for her bold use of color and pattern in her projects such as the celebrated Greenbriar Hotel, created many patterns for Schumacher that became instant classics. Viennese designer Josef Frank, photographer Cecil Beaton, architect Frank Lloyd Wright, and fashionista Elsa Schiaparelli all designed for the house in the late 1940s and 1950s.
Schumacher today is a source for any chic design project. If you are redecorating with an eye to the past you can easily find a range of patterns drawn from their historic collections. If you are decorating for today’s living, you can also find an assortment of truly sophisticated fabrics and wallcoverings like the ones I’ve selected here today.
Richard Rabel is a New York Interior Designer and Principal at Richard Rabel Interiors+ Art Ltd., a studio offering residential design, decorating and art advising.
image credits: Schumacher