Before shibori came along, our understanding of dyeing fabric was limited to brightly colored sunburst T-shirts, hand-dipped at birthday parties and summer camps. Then the design world began embracing the ancient method of pressing, twisting, and coloring textiles with indigo (it’s been around since the 8th century in Japan) and the resulting gossamer-like patterns were suddenly everywhere—on headboards, dinner napkins, wall art, the list goes on.
While shibori-dyed cushions and throws are still staples in California-cool homes, pattern aficionados are beginning to look beyond the airy, bohemian style. We asked four in-the-know designers to take a stab at predicting the next big print, and, unsurprisingly, their suggestions will look good on any pillow.
Christina Bryant, founder of luxury home decor brand St. Frank, known for sourcing fabrics and objects from around the world, continues to find inspiration in Africa. Her “new neutral,” Kuba cloth, originates in the Congo and is typically handwoven using strands from raffia palm leaves. “I love the earthy tones. It has a modern element that feels more elevated and a bit masculine,” she says. Bryant has translated the pattern’s large winding lines onto lumbar pillows, pouches, and even wallpaper for her bedroom. But that doesn’t mean she’s over shibori fabric (she casually propped a giant surfboard covered in the stuff against a wall in her living room).
Rebecca Atwood started experimenting with this marbling technique in the traditional way: on paper. Using India ink and water, the textile designer and author of the newly launched book Living With Color created dreamy, hypotonic swirls that she eventually applied to cotton duvets and pillow covers. “The irregularity and painterly quality of shibori have always really resonated with people,” shares Atwood. “I see this in suminagashi too. There’s something coastal and bohemian about this look.”
Caitlin Murray, principal at Black Lacquer Design, wants the next wave of prints to be both exotic and fit for every day. “I’m gravitating toward a lot of fabulous geometrics with a softer, more organic feel,” says Murray. Kelly Wearstler’s District fabric, a heavy linen with strong nods to Cubism, is at the top of her favorites list, along with Clarence House’s Aimee print (as seen on artist Angela Chrusciaki Blehm’s Memphis-style ottoman).
Designer Heather Taylor, the owner of Heather Tayor Home, is excited to channel Amanda Brooks’s boutique in the Cotswolds, a shop filled with quilted textiles and 19th-century antiques, by mixing gingham and stripes. Beyond the tablescape, Taylor suggests going maximalist and matching a checkered duvet to the window treatments. “Add in some beautiful florals and it will feel straight out of the English countryside,” she says.
Shibori isn’t gone for good, but we have to admit, these ideas are to dye for.