Elaborate upholstery is sometimes inspired by fashion.
Like great couture, producing a professional and artistically recovered chair – one with standout or unique treatments – requires skill and experience. The devil, of course, is in the details and getting them all right can make the difference between a stellar piece and a hot mess. While chairs upholstered with a fashion attitude are by their nature trendy, a wide range of special upholstered effects are possible. Straight forward leather would lack the flair of Hancock and Moore’s Artist Chair [top] which combines a button tufted leather back and seat with a color-matched animal print leather (nothing faux, please!) on the back and sides. Decorative brass nail heads adorn and emphasize the concept and the combination of materials. I may be the only one who thinks this looks like an inside out handbag, but I do.
An exposed frame on the back of a French chair is the opportunity to do an 18th century look by using two different but related patterns. The great Albert Hadley did just that for a client who asked to preserve the vintage fabric on the back and replace only the front and arms.
A bespoke 1930s chair is gloriously reimagined in sky blue tartan wool, with welting and a pleated detail including a brace of buckles on the back. Nobody should put this baby in the corner.
Included in Aiveen Daly’s line of custom Stiletto chairs (named for those tapered black legs) is the McQueen, a plaid beauty with tricky bias draping and small buttons on the front — a likely nod to the late English couturier famed for his tailoring.
A more girly Stiletto, dubbed the Spank, is velvet-upholstered boudoir number with a black satin ribbon detailing the corset motif in back.
The cameo back of a French side chair designed by Amanda Nesbit has the near whimsy of a happy face. Are boiled wool fabric and big covered buttons are a fashionista’s take on a Jackie O coat?