The Great Outdoors - The Comptoirs Collection

April 2012

Original content from Elle Decor

The Great Outdoors - Alexandra Champalimaud calls her new outdoor fabric collection for Holland & Sherry "as beautiful but as simple as possible."  Check out the fabrics and the creative ways they were used at the launch party.

Interior designer Alexandra Champalimaud is well-known for the distinguished homes and hotels she's designed over the last 30 years-including a former Prime Minister's office, as well as iconic hotels The Carlyle and The Hotel Bel-Air. So while the Portugal native's latest project, an outdoor fabric line for Holland & Sherry, is every bit as glamorous as her interiors, they come with an ease and functionality one doesn't always associate with such sophistication.

"I love the outdoors-and I like everything that entices me outside," says Champalimaud. She seeks to entice others with The Comptoirs Collection, pairing worldly, sophisticated designs with easy-to-clean, sun-fast material. "My goal was to make something extraordinarily beautiful that you can apply absolutely anywhere," she explains, suggesting different fabrics for the garden, the boat (with a trim, of course), and as upholstery for a sun-drenched window seat. "Because of the scale, they can also be used as curtains or for throw pillows," she adds.

The fabrics draw from Champalimaud's own travels-Goa, the most intricate of the designs is meant to evoke the feeling of a journey, with dhow-inspired boats, architecture that draws from Chinese porcelain, and charming peacocks ("It's the only way I like peacocks. Embroidered," she says.) What's more, the next round of fabrics, available this winter, pulls specific motifs from Goa-the overblown fruit trees, the moody gunspoke puffing away, the tumultuous waves-and lets them shine on their own. All in all, it makes for a collection that's easy to coordinate and fun to mix and match.

The Comptoirs Collection was introduced to the design community at a festive summer party at theElizabeth Street Garden, just outside the Holland & Sherry Bespoke store. Not only did the fabrics translate into lovely pillows and seat cushions, as expected, but they made for elegant suits on the mannequins manning the door. And guests wishing to bring back some of the magic were delighted to find swatches twisted into flowers or dangling from trees with a "Take Me Home" tag. Click through the slideshow to see some of the creative ways the fabrics were used-and draw inspiration for yourself, should you plan to take any of these exotic fabrics home.