Design & Decoration S01 ep9: Patrick Frey, Pierre Frey Interiors, [Paris]
Interview with Pierre Frey
You know, very often I have a friend, I meet for business and he wants to invite me for dinner, " Come and see what I did with your fabric. You will love it". And you have to say, "Oh my God, it's so nice". And sometimes it is terrible.
KM: What is Pierre Frey?
Specifically it is furnishing fabrics, wallpapers and accessories for the house.
It is a family business, my father started in 1935 and my family was from a
decorator background. My mother was in the business, my grandfather was in
the business because he was the decorator of the Normandy ships and I
wanted to go to America. He said, O.K. go to America and go and work with
my friend Colonel Brunchswig who is the owner of Brunchswig and Fils.
After 8 months my father called me to the office, same man, now Patrick all
this is O.K. but now I need new ideas. Do you have an idea for fabric and the
following morning when I arrived he said O.K. do you have something, I said
yes I put the stipe like this and he said O.K. we are going to do it. I said what
do you mean we are going to do it, yes we are going to do all of them, I said
Dad I don't know if it is going to work, he said neither do I. But the only way we
are going to know if it is going to sell is to try.
You know the way of fashion and the way of home interiors are totally
different. In fashion you wear what you wear today for a day a half a day max,
when you have your curtains in your room, in your bedroom, you have them for
a minimum of 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 years. The way of thinking, the way of creating
things are not the same. If you want to have a crazy orange shirt for one day
you do it because you want to have fun, or even black, but you are certainly
not going to have black curtains, because oh my God it is impossible to live in
it. It gets too.... except the part that it is fabrics and then you have width and
weave, except that it is not the same business.
KM: How the hell do you get your ideas then?
I never know what I am going to do the next season, I never know what I am
going to do, I do what I want, what I love at a certain moment. Sometimes
these ideas come while I am in bed, I get up and I take notes, because I am
afraid that I will have forgotten the following morning - I need to do this. I
always say that I am a little bit like a filter. I love to have two or three people
who work with me generate the ideas, but I also have a lot of freelance and
when I say freelance it can be you, they don't have to be from the business,
they can be a painter. I met a few months ago a girl that I love what she was
doing and I asked her have you done a fabric, no never. Would you like to do a
fabric, why not come we are going to work together because I love what you
are doing. We work together, I tell them what I want explain and they say oh
no, I don't like that and they don't do it. Or they have fun doing it and they work
with me and I try to build something.
You know when I was a kid, I was raised by my mother, my parents were
divorced, and my mother as a decorator at that time, and she wanted me....
she said you have to look and to see, a lot of people look but very few people
see. What I want you to learn is to see proportion.
We have one with cups called Minton, this one I did really for my own
pleasure, it was a print with cups on line, something really simple, influenced
by the Minton archives, the Minton porcelain, and I just did that one day
because I loved the design, but I really did it for me because to sell cups you
sell cups only in kitchens, and at the price that I am selling fabrics it has to be
It has been the number one seller worldwide for 10 years. Tell me why? Tell
me how? Copied everywhere - you never know. That is why I love this
business. You do something for your own pleasure you don't ask anyone, not
your customers, not the public, not your employees nobody. You do what you
want. You listen to what they say but in the end you are the one to make the
KM: Of course as soon as you do something you are going to be criticised.
Never listen to anyone. If you begin to listen… and that was one of the very
first lessons my father taught me the first day I arrived everybody is going to
critique what you are doing - you don't listen, please don't listen.
In my business, what I am doing is always an unfinished product. I
manufacture the fabric of your shirt - the shirt is a finished product but the
fabric of your shirt is a non finished product and my fabrics are the same - the
finished products are the curtain, the sofa, the bedspread, cushions, the
plates, everything you want but the piece of fabric I am creating is something
unfinished and when you show that to people, they say you think it is going to
be nice in my house, I am not sure, don't you think I am going to be bored with
that? Red, red is a difficult colour, and you hear that all the time, it is a difficult
move for people because it is like a second step.
KM: They can't imagine what you are seeing
They can't. If you are an architect you arrive and take out your plans and you
say I am going to put this sofa here, people are very scared but when you buy
a Vuitton bag or lamp you give your credit card, and in one second it is done,
and when you buy a shirt or tie, immediately you look in the mirror and that is
nice and you take it. It is not all the same way of thinking and we say in my
business that between the time to make your decision to make your room and
the time you are going to do it effectively is between 6 and 18 months. It is
very personal, you have to live with it, you are going to have friends over, and
the house, and I think it is more like that in America than it is in Europe for the
moment, the house reflects your personality. I always say that if you go to
California they all have the same jeans, or the same gap trousers, the all have
the same fruit of the loom or gap t-shirt, they all look alike, they can be rich or
poor, they look alike, but if look at their house, one is 200 miles away from L.A.
in a bloody little suburb and the other one is going to be in Palm Springs in a
wonderfully huge house - the personality is in the car and in the house.
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Patrick Frey, Pierre Frey Interiors, Paris