When Architecture Meets Fashion

We're thrilled to be a participating brand partner in Megan Berry's inaugural micro pop-up shop in St. Louis, Missouri. The open air kiosk designed by Berry is a 6 x 6 x 8 foot birchwood and black plexiglass boutique and was constructed onsite at Maryland Plaza in the Central West End of the ctiy. The store is open for business this weekend and features FOUNT, Rooey Knots, NUUFORM, and Parekh Bugbee - all brands that Berry curated as "handmade, sustainable, and timeless." 

 

 

Berry, who recently earned her Masters in Architecture from Washington University in St. Louis, founded the concept for Vala Collection, a traveling micro boutique exclusively showcasing online fashion brands. "Our custom micro boutique is an opportunity to showcase samples of artisan garments enabling customers to touch and feel the authenticity of the crafted clothing and accessories prior to purchasing,"  she said.  "Our trained associates then guide customers through our mobile purchasing system for items to be mailed to them, an identical process to purchasing online."  

 

After this weekend's success, she's taking Vala Collection on the road. What a concept! Good luck Megan!

 

Above images by Nicki Dwyer

Tête-à-tête with Vladimir Kagan

 

Some relationships are meant to be.  Widely celebrated designer Vladimir Kagan is a true beacon of inspiration for “creatives” the world over. Avant-garde furniture designer and master of striking contemporary interiors, Mr. Kagan’s career and body of work is nothing short of astounding.

 

 

 

It was a Saturday morning in Manhattan, over 10 years ago, when I had the good fortune to first meet Mr. Kagan. At the time, I was working as a second assistant to a top line fashion photographer in the city and we had just finished an editorial shoot with Erykah Badu. I was returning props we had rented and borrowed for the photo shoot, one of which was an exquisitely crafted little piece of furniture made by Vladimir Kagan.

 

When I entered Mr. Kagan’s flat on Park Avenue, I was completely bowled over by his artifacts, exquisite collection of personal work and aesthetic. We got to talking about some of the gorgeous Indian tapestries and cushions in the foyer of his lovely home and it led to a discussion of my father’s fabrics and life-long work in print design. At the time, I was supplying some of his products to a store called Pastec in Soho.  A couple of weeks later, I returned to Mr. Kagan’s home to show him some of our hand-printed scarf and shawl creations – twill, tussar, and jacquard silks, wools and pashminas. This marked the beginning of a lasting friendship, one which included his lovely and talented wife, the late Erica Wilson. A couple of years later I had the rewarding experience of showing both of them around my home city of Mumbai, India.

 

 

In one's lifetime, it is quite possible to be blessed with a few precious moments spent in the company of a truly remarkable and inspiring person.  I can surely say that Mr. Kagan is one of those individuals in my life. Sophisticated, talented, and all-around kind and loving gentleman.  At 87, he works with the same passion as he did at the dawn of his career. I had the great opportunity to catch up with him recently on a visit back to New York, and we picked up where we left off in his Park Avenue home.

- Payal Parekh Bugbee

 

Parekh Bugbee:  As one of the foremost pioneers of modern furniture design, your work is widely recognized and celebrated around the world. What has been some of the inspiration behind your designs and concepts over the years?

 

Kagan:  I have always looked to nature for my inspiration. Trees, mountains, water…natural forms are my inspiration.

 

PB:  Who was the first client to take interest, commission or purchase your work?  Could you describe your first break?

 

Kagan:  Marilyn Monroe was certainly one of my first, but I have had major art collectors, musicians, industrialists and heads of corporations.

 

PB:  In our current online age, many people are under the impression that it's much easier to build a reputation and grow a brand virtually overnight.  You have experience and have earned a following from a much different era. Over the years, how have you gone about connecting with clients, keeping them engaged with your work? What are some of the challenges you have faced along the way?

 

Kagan:  Honesty, sincerity, open mindedness, being responsive to clients changing needs. Never be dogmatic.

 

PB:  There's a saying about talent and success that seems to apply to people working in almost every industry, art or craft:"Quality” always percolates to the top. Surely discipline and hard work must factor into the equation as well.  With more than six decades devoted to your profession, what are your views on this?

 

Kagan:  If you persevere you have a better chance to floating to the top. But it is always a combination of hard work and good luck.

 

PB:  On the subject of handcrafted versus machine manufactured products - whether it be furniture or textiles - what are your thoughts on the 'Made by Hand' form of craftsmanship? Will this art soon be extinct?

 

Kagan:  It must never die…it is the humanization, the hands-on touch, that makes life worthwhile. I detest modern technology. I hate my computer and my iPhone. But we must embrace them to live in a competitive world.

 

PB:  Could you describe one of your most prized hand made possessions?

 

Kagan:  All of the furniture in my apartment!

 

PB:  What place in the world are you most drawn to?

 

Kagan:  Switzerland – The Alps. They give me peace though they can be very scary at times.

 

PB:  Having visited Mumbai, you're familiar with my father's designs - his textiles and prints. Could you give a brief testimonial about our work and what you find special about it?

 

Kagan:  Your father is a genius because he captures the spirit of India but translates it into a usable contemporary media that is marketable to sophisticated clients around the world.

 

   All photographs © www.vladimirkagan.com

Summer Collection in the Making

Mina Long Summer Crush Cotton Dress

 

Most garments have a story behind them. Have you ever reached for your favorite article of clothing and wondered about its origins? Even further, who conceived of it and the steps that went into making it?  We had the frequent traveler in mind when developing the concept of what would eventually become The Mongolian Summer collection. As avid world travelers, we’re often commuting long distances with a passport and roller board - so the idea of “easy to wear” clothing appealed to us.  Sustainable, low maintenance garments that could be readily pulled from the suitcase without fuss or the slightest need for ironing. Comfort forward blouses and dresses for women that were casual and easy going – yet at the same time a little bit dressy. Something perfect for a walk on the beach, a stroll through an ancient and mysterious temple, or just a night out in search of amazing street food. Simple garments that could definitely hold their own, yet offer the opportunity to accessorize for a versatile look.

 

Jiya Summer Slip Dress Block Printed

 

Once we had our complete storyline - a cache of sketches, stapled fabric samples and all of the requisite cuts and measurements - we headed over the big pond to India to get the project fully on the rails.  Pre-existing printed material and monochromatic crush cotton fabrics were sourced for the preliminary selection of designs, while the rest of the garments required that we work up our own silk screens and develop customized prints. After rolling out meter-upon-meter of printed cotton, we headed over to our partner factory where the process of concept-to-form continued.  

 

 

There is perhaps nobody more skilled in the role of reconstructing body shape and subtle curvature into fabric than a chief tailor, or Masterji. Their principal role in the fabrication of well-crafted artisanal clothing is crucial. It is a true art to be able to interpret drawings and craft them into perfectly sized paper patterns. That was the first major step in the creation - cutting the dress and blouse designs.

 

 

Second, the precision of measurements for selected garments and making sure to get the cuts just right. This stage was particularly arduous and totally necessary for us to nail accurately before moving forward.  Specifically the crush cotton double-layered lining Mina dresses, where a perfect length coupled with flow and looseness were needed. The next step was arguably the most exciting: the making of a sample. After days spent in the pattern making room while sipping endless cups of chai with your Masterji, this is a truly exciting moment.

 

 

Finally, the meticulous inspection of each sample to ensure proper threading, precise edging and labeling. This is the phase in garment making that invariably leads to lengthy discussion on nuance and detail specific to each piece. Getting all of it down in a notebook is a must.  It's imperative to have the most patience at the finishing stages, where quality control meets finesse and final tweaks are made before signing off on the full clothing line.

 

Stay tuned here for the next behind-the-scenes post highlighting our Fall 2015 collection!

 

All photos by Parekh Bugbee

Tidal Tropical Scarf :: Great Father's Day Look!

Handwoven Summer Scarf

Parekh Bugbee Pop-Up Store

Photos by Parekh Bugbee

Inspired Thought!

Ready for the Weather

Simply no better time than now for the crepe silk Samaya stole. The latest lovely addition to the Parekh Bugbee Winter Collection, the Samaya stole provides just the featherweight warmth needed for that brisk dog walk in the park...or whimsical romp through Autumn leaves!  Screen printed and finished with hand-rolled edges.

 

New Beginnings. Welcome to Parekh Bugbee!

 

Welcome to the world of Parekh Bugbee. This moment in time marks our maiden e-voyage and we're thrilled you're here to celebrate with us!  From humble roots our wearable textile venture traveled with us to trunk shows, boutique stores, art galleries and pop-up shops in a trusty vintage Mercedes-Benz.  And now, our online ascension!  Think of it as our opportunity to stretch the wings a bit.  A chance to toss our own brand of color to the wind.

We invite you to stay connected with us as we forge this intrepid realm of all-things-brick-and-mortar-less.

Please take some time to enjoy and peruse our product catalogue. And be sure to bookmark us at ParekhBugbee.com for frequent visits, as new and exciting collections of exquisite products will be popping up at a regular clip. 

Pure silks, cottons and wools. The finest blends. Screen printed fabrics adorned with innovative twists on the traditional. In a few words: poignant evergreen beauty. All of it sits at the fore, but there's a bit more to the story...

In the day of the technology boom where computer-driven digital design and mass manufacturing flood the market, we offer and celebrate the human touch.  Authentic limited edition hand-crafted textiles uniquely conceived and printed with skill, care and grace.  

KNPRINTS, our Mumbai-based family owned company for the last 45 years, is world renowned for its manufacturing and design chops.  As the third generation here at Parekh Bugbee, we are honored to further the tradition by featuring elegant collections of scarves, stoles, shawls and pocket squares produced exclusively by KNPRINTS for Parekh Bugbee. 

We never go very far without a camera (sometimes two or three!) so you'll definitely see a lot of visual inspirations crop up in our Lookbooks and new Collections sections.  We're also eager to illuminate the meticulous craftsmanship that undergirds traditional silk screen printing and the fascinating back end of the manufacturing of our products.  Our video page will serve as an ongoing window behind the scenes into this fascinating process and will also be a base camp for lots of other "moving pictures."