Thursday, December 06, 2007

Time to Revisit Laura Ashley?

Laura Ashley has not been on my radar for many years. In fact, the last time I really gave any serious thought to the line was back in childhood when I wore those long printed dresses (yes, we cringe now, but they were very cute "back then"). I also remember having some sweet Laura Ashley lamps in my childhood bedroom. Fast forward to a few years ago when a designer friend had some pillows made for me in a seriously chic solid black chintz- I was shocked to hear that the fabric was Laura Ashley. After the shock wore off though, I didn't give the line a second thought.

Well, perhaps we should take a fresh look at Laura Ashley. Yes, the line is still quite heavy on florals, but they have so many other prints that could work well in more sophisticated interiors. In fact, many of them look a bit like Robert Kime prints. The thing about Laura Ashley prints is that they're quiet- they don't scream for attention. But after years of having bold prints in the headlines, perhaps it's time for something a little more subtle. And really, what is more subtle than a Laura Ashley print?

(Laura Ashley fabric available through Kravet)

"Escot" in Lapis

"Tilbury" in Quartz

"Briston" in Mulberry

"Jezabelle" in Crimson

"Galley Bay" in Chambray

"Raj Paisley" in Colonial

Image at top: "Spice Island" in Coral


  1. Anonymous9:24 AM

    The first bedlinens I ever purchased for myself, at age 21, were from Laura Ashley: white splashed with giant yellow roses. And I loved them, even the ruffled pillow shams. Am surprised by the new fabrics and delighted too. Love Galley Bay in chambray and Briston in mulberry. Perhaps I should head over to my nearest LA asap!

  2. Yes, these are great! Tilbury is my favorite.

  3. We had a Laura Ashley store where I lived in the UK. They had wonderful, chic clothes and great home goods.

  4. I really like Tilbury, but I'm also drawn to Spice Island.

  5. Gosh, I have not thought about Laura Ashley in years. I too loved their dresses (Pappagallo was another fave). Both were big for rush dresses in the 80s!

    The Tilbury is great...I love it!!

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane!!

  6. Anonymous12:01 PM

    I love the Galley Bay and the Briston. Laura Ashley also has fabulous wallpapers too, you know. And great sales, now that I come to think of it.

  7. Have you seen Sir Bernard Ashley's Elanbach ?
    Great collection of printed cottons with a bespoke service.

  8. Beauty- No, I haven't, but I will be checking them out. Thanks for the info!

  9. Peak you forgot to mention the MOST important thing about LA: CHEAP!!! omg - these are some of the cheapest fabrics around, great to use when you have a small budget. You picked some great ones!


  10. Wow - I think these are GREAT looking fabrics!I am looking for something not too expensive for chair slipcovers - I plan to look further at these - who would of thought.......sweet Laura Ashley!

  11. Anonymous6:25 AM

    Perhaps a better term is 'affordable' or 'inexpensive.'

    Cheap implies poor craftmanship.

    Not all readers of this blog are wealthy. in fact, some of us come pretty close to being church mice.

    It's my experience that rich people love a good bargain, too. (After,all how do you think they got rich?)

    Now here's something to think about: If we didn't know these fabrics were Laura Ashley how would we feel about them?

  12. This is unrelated, but... my big living room has a red brick wall and a wood ceiling. What color should I paint the walls? I want something dramatic and I don’t like anything red. What do you suggest?

  13. Thank heavens for affordable fabric! Not many people can go Scalamandre or Rubelli (for example) all the way. I think this is the modern approach to design: mix the high and the low (although I don't consider L. Ashley low!)but, mix them well! The nice thing about the prints featured here is that they're rather anonymous but have loads of charm. :)

  14. I forgot to mention that I believe I have read that Charlotte Moss and Susan Gutfreund both use Calico Corners from time to time!

  15. Saline Co.- I remember one time seeing an old photo of a Dorothy Draper room in which she painted the interior brick walls a charcoal gray (I think-will need to confirm this)- they looked smashing. If this is too dark, though, perhaps a lighter color could look fresh (pale blue perhaps?).

  16. I haven't seen LA in years! I used to wear those dresses and so, much to my chagrin, earned the title "Prairie Girl" in junior highschool. I wasn't trying to look like Mary and Laura Ingalls, it was just th style back in the 80's and early 90's. So after years of deep therapy combatting a "Little House" complex, I have gotten over the persecution wearing her clothes brought on me and these fabrics could entice me to revisit LA.

  17. Anne- Yes, exactly, that was the style back then!

  18. Anonymous1:37 AM

    An antique dealer near me has a wonderful little space in a mall with a brick wall painted in an indefinable light shade of dove gray-blue. It must be a historical color because it's really hard to pin down. This a space that doesn't get natural light and it just glows with this color. It looks great with Hollywood regency stuff, 19th century antiques and gilt accents.

  19. These fabrics remind me of the end papers on the inside covers of old books. Very tailored and a nice graphic departure for Laura Ashley. (Maybe they should market these under a diff. name, because you are correct that Laura Ashley is almost synonymous with big floral print.) Thanks for sharing~