Designer Patrick Gallagher gives us a peek into his new collection
Gorgeous colors and European inspiration are woven into an elegant new collection called Patrick Gallagher Tessuti by Patrick Gallagher. From his studio in Rome, Gallagher creates luxurious fabrics and designs for the home in rich, saturated colors.
After growing up in Indiana, you studied at FIT, then worked in Florida, Milan and back in New York City. What brought you to Stonington? In 1988, while living a glamorous photo-stylist life on Park Avenue, I drove up to visit a friend. Just for fun, we went looking at houses. I fell in love with one that was built in 1649. I bought it: It was the craziest thing I’ve ever done. Eventually I got tired of the every-weekend routine, so in 1992 I moved up full time and opened my doors as an interior designer. Now you’re living in Italy? I came to Italy in 2009 on a six-month sabbatical, fell in love with Rome, and decided to stay. I’ve never been happier. You’ve designed interiors, lamps, furniture. What drew you to textiles? My mother sewed her own clothes and curtains, so I grew up surrounded by fabrics. And for a time I worked as head of visual merchandising at Schumacher. You design fabrics that you couldn’t find during the 20 years you were designing interiors. How do your fabrics fill those gaps? I saw a sea of white, beige, cream. Maybe there was a taupe or a blue, but it was a neutral palette. Mine is anything but—rich Roman colors, ochres, terra-cottas, aubergines, greens—and in combinations I couldn’t find, like purple and green or a bit of stone with medium green. How does scale figure in? My entire collection is woven, not printed; there’s the integrity of the loom. It’s almost impossible to find a medium-scale woven. So most of mine are smaller, not all those big 20- to 30-inch repeats.
Why do you value a tactile quality? Because it is one of the five senses. You can look at something and your eyes take it in, and it’s beautiful. But if it’s not equally beautiful to the touch, it loses its value and desirability. I want to sit on a chair, open a curtain and feel that silk in there. How does designing fabric differ from designing furniture? With fabrics it’s two-dimensional, whereas objects require an appreciation of height, width and depth. I have an opportunity to create a two-dimensional fabric that is going to transform into a three-dimensional thing. What are some surprises in your collection? Two of the designs turned out to be reversible. The Savage Damask and Bernardo Paisley weren’t designed that way. But, when they came off the loom and you flipped them, they were the same pattern, but with a satiny, luminescent quality. Now that you’re living in an Italian 16th-century palazzo, what do you miss about Connecticut? I miss the nature: walking in my garden, sitting on a rock by the edge of the brook, catching glimpses of the sea between the houses. And I miss the community: walking down the street with my dog and stopping to talk with my neighbors.