Fabric Crush: Peter Dunham
For years, Peter Dunham has been considered one of the top textile designers in the industry: his fabric patterns are classic, yet always fresh, modern and inspired by Peter's travels around the world. We especially love that so much of Peter's collection is comprised of indoor/outdoor upholstery fabric, making his prints both a luxurious and versatile choice. It's no surprise that Peter has been able to conjure up fabrics in prints and colorways that perfectly complement interiors of all styles - as a world-class interior designer, Peter has been transforming interiors from New York City to Beverly Hills and beyond for decades. Peter is also the owner of one of the most popular destinations in Los Angeles’s La Cienaga Design Quarter - Hollywood at Home. We sat down with Peter to learn all about his textile design process, as well as where he’s drawn inspiration throughout his career. Read on below!
A curation of blue upholstery fabrics by Peter Dunham
What does your design process look like when creating a new fabric print? Is there a starting place when looking for inspiration?
My eye is constantly scanning for patterns that could translate into textiles or wallpapers. Sometimes it’s a vintage document, sometimes something found like the paper lining of a 19th c. box, a 1950s papier-mâché sushi dish. One of my designs came from photo of a sleeve detail from one of Doris Duke’s Shangri-La outfits. Often it’s an old textile I find when vintage shopping for my shop Hollywood at Home. A rug detail can become a wallpaper, a wicker design can become a woven. It might be a detail from a textile in a museum or a ceramic. The fun is taking something and turning it upside down and making something new. We save up our favorites and thrash them out as a team, then edit the best ideas into a cohesive collection.
A curation of indoor/outdoor fabrics by Peter Dunham
Tell us about one of your favorite new fabric designs this year, and what inspired it.
'Emilia' is a new linen we introduced in May. It’s a rose print that is both graphic and romantic. It was based on a scrap of carpet from my parents’ Paris apartment that had been designed by Ernest Boiceau in 1928 for an American silent movie star. I held onto the rug since 1980 without knowing it’s fate and it became a textile with a modern vibe — there is something to be said for being a hoarder in this business.
A curation of our favorite pink fabrics by Peter Dunham, including Peter's personal favorite, 'Kashmir Paisley.'
Looking at your textile archives, what is one of your favorite fabric designs that you’ve made to date?
'Kashmir Paisley' is an early one I keep loving. It was based on a block print I bought on my first trip backpacking in India in my early 20s. Again, one that was hoarded for a couple of decades and has been a best seller since its introduction.
What is your favorite piece of vintage furniture? And if you were to upholster it in your fabric, which would you choose?
The original chair from “How to Marry a Millionaire” that I bought in a Hollywood memorabilia auction. I copied it for Hollywood at Home and recently in an outdoor teak version. I love pairing it with my Fig Leaf for the seat cushion—we have an indoor and outdoor version of that, too.
What is your design motto?
As far as my furniture and textiles/wallpaper collections are concerned, it’s more like a mantra, I ask myself repeatedly: Is this “sexy”?
Love Peter Dunham's modern, global patterns as much as we do? Let us transform a tired upholstered piece with one of his upholstery fabrics!