Fabrics, Walls & Floors
Gayle Warwick
Beautifully crafted linens, made to last

As a child Gayle Warwick often spent Thanksgiving and Christmas at her grandmother’s house, where dinner would be served on beautiful hand-embroidered tablecloths. But it wasn’t until years later on a visit to Vietnam in 1995 that she really began to understand the level of craftsmanship involved in creating such special pieces. ‘The embroidery I saw on my first trips to Vietnam was exquisite and detailed, and time consuming to make. Hours and hours were spent hand embroidering with single threads. But the designs were often copies and the fabrics not of good quality. It was then that I thought of combining original design with fine fabrics that would last,’ recalls Gayle. The idea for her eponymous linen business was born.

 

‘To develop our very first collection of bed and table linen we started each idea with a pencil drawing; this has remained an essential part of our process,’ says Gayle of the first range, which took three years of research and planning. ‘We explore the nuances of line, form, tone and colour ensuring that every design has a strong basis in draftsmanship and an eye for detail.’ Drawings are translated onto fabric by a team of hand embroiderers with a level of skill that is very rare in this world of mass production. ‘The embroidery is literally done by hand – a single needle, a single thread and a very skilled hand.’

 

We marry original designs and time consuming craftsmanship with fabrics that are either sustainable, like organic cotton, or beautiful linens

First, she tried unsuccessfully to source high-quality organic cotton for the bed linen and then decided to weave her own. ‘I was a bit naïve in wanting to begin my first collection with organic cotton 22 years ago. I didn’t realise what it was going to take,’ continues Gayle. ‘It certainly wasn’t a commercial decision, more a labour of love.’ She teamed up with spinners and weavers in Switzerland who used a unique construction to produce a very crisp percale and smooth, soft sateen. That exclusive weave, which is still made today, quickly became her signature. The company also weaves a bespoke range of colours in Italian linen and is investigating other new sustainable fibres such as nettle and hemp to add to the collection.

 

Over time, the under-the-radar brand has expanded its range to encompass so much more than textiles for bedding and dining, with hand-embroidered cushion covers, organic towels and handwoven cashmere throws sold alongside napkins, handmade leather place mats, duvet covers and sheets. Gayle now has a global network of skilled artisans and craftsmen: embroiderers in Vietnam, block printers in India and weavers in Italy, Thailand and Belgium. ‘We partner with weavers all over the world to develop sustainable fabrics like organic cotton or yarn dyed linen in custom colours or hand woven cashmere. Our goal is to make products that are unique to us and our clients,’ she says.

 

A growing part of the business is working with clients and interior designers (such as Nicky Haslam, Francis Sultana and Todhunter Earle) to create bespoke designs. From an individual monogram for hand towels to a large custom tablecloth and personalised bed linen for houses, yachts and private planes, the company is able to offer a hands-on approach that allows clients to create something unique. ‘At every stage in our development we maintain a respect for the integrity of the process, the craftsmanship and the time it takes to create a luxury product made to last,’ Gayle concludes.

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