This past week I encountered a video produced by Traditional Home entitled: “Sh** Interior Designers Say” and it, dear readers, is simply sublime. Now, for those of you without the savoir-faire required to operate the internet, I’ve taken the liberty of imbedding the video here on The Ruggist for your enjoyment. Tell me you love it!
For those of us who have worked within the design community for many, many, many years; everything is this video rings true. Designers are a crazy bunch and we – as those who would supply them – are just as crazy (in our own special rug way) by association. Rug dealers, like designers, say some crazy sh**. “What do I have to do to get you into a rug today?” was a favourite half-moking used car salesmanesque statement Peter DeMarco used to tell me anytime I called to check stock. At least he didn’t ask me if I could use a 10×14 when I asked for an 8×10. Something many, more oldschool rug dealers, might have done. Besides… It is never gonna fit. Alas, we cannot argue against the savoir-vivre of our industry because at the root of it, it is who we are. Crazy rug dealers (and designers) possess a simple desire to sell things. Oh sure, many will argue that rug/design snobs just want to make pretty things, but if no-one is buying them…… Oy! You get my point
Designers (and their evil chequebook wielding clients) are also renown for shopping around. Sometimes it is for the best deal and sometimes it is to have your favourite rug dealer supply you a rug you saw in another place, and sometimes is it both of those things. It is this quest to find a rug seen elsewhere that segues us to a recent interaction I had with my fellow ruggie and friend Adam Corson.
For those of you who don’t know, Adam Corson has had the distinct pleasure of being exposed to great rugs from a very young age. He cut his teeth, as is said, selling George Jevremovic’s Euphrates and Fine Rubia rugs, the James Opie era Zollanvari rugs, and Izi Yumurtaci’s Nouveau Antique (Which in Mr. Corson’s opinion were the best Afghani rugs before Pacific Collection and Ariana came out) rugs during the early 2000’s. It is with this exposure to classical rug design that has in everyway shaped his opinion and take on rug design. To be succinct: Mr. Corson is not a fan of modern design. Now “How is it?” you are going to ask that The Ruggist – a self professed carpet modernist – came to be friends with someone who finds modern carpet design, to say politely: banal. In his own words, and I quote: “I can appreciate some modern rugs but tend to find them rather boring and bland and don’t really perceive the value and art in them.” The reason, I do think, is that it comes to honesty – both in construction/design and affairs, but also a true mutual appreciation for authenticity. Without dwelling, we both have a great appreciation for rugs, even if our tastes differ vastly. But back to the rug quest.
Mr. Corson recently emailed me requesting my assistance in identifying a modern rug, because, well as previously mentioned he thinks them all to be the same. So, here is the email conversation. Please note, extraneous information may have been edited out.
Corson: Michael, Hope all is well. I need a contemporary set of eyes to help me figure out who produced the attached rug. I have a designer that is shopping and need to figure out if I can get it or not.
This is the image of the rug attached to the email.
Christie: Adam. Hi! Can I quote the movie “The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert” and say “Someone with no arms or right foot from the looks of things.”? I honestly do not recognize it but given other clues in the photo, Loloi rugs or their father company Feizy. My gut feeling says Feizy is a good start given they are prone for grandiose and ostentatious looking designs and rugs appealing to the aspirational set. My other thought might be Kalaty, but I am less sure about that….Regardless I don’t think it is made by anyone whom I regularly pay attention to. Might be time to take Atlanta in again and get out of my rarified air. Sorry I didn’t have the right answer off the top of my head. That would have made me look good. DAMNIT!
Corson: Thanks for the attempt and the quote had me rofl’ing. Disregard Loloi but it looks like some kind of Tibetan and apparently would have to be woven and backordered until May-ish, according to the designer. She said ballpark price was $7000 for a 10×14. I totally agree with the mundane and ostentatious assessment. I can’t fault you in not being knowledgeable in such rugs so no worries about not having an answer.
Christie: I try. Well I must keep working, I am writing a piece on copyright for the next issue of COVER that is due Monday. Cheers, MC, “Now more controversial than ever.”
Corson: You don’t just look good, you’re beautiful. (Willem Dafoe quote from “To Live and Die in LA.”) You nailed it on the first try and it is a Feizy “ostentatious and obnoxious” rug. Officially impressed, #dudeknowshisshit
Christie: Sweet!! I will now never attempt such things again to keep my batting average at 1.000. I used to sell Feizy back in my early days in the business so there was just something about it. Hope you’re well.
So there you have it. I’ve impressed someone with my seemingly vast modern rug knowledge, and through a lucky, if not educated guess, I was able to help a friend out. But I’ve not come here today to be arrogant and self promote my freshly acclaimed rug genius, but rather to discuss (You’re thinking “oh my god, there’s more?”) how it is that I was able to make such an educated guess.
Truthfully there really was something about that rug that spoke to me and made me think “Feizy”. But what was it? Was it the style? The visual texture? The general feel if you will, of the design? It does look like something aspirational customers would buy, it does look, in my own words, “grandiose and ostentatious”. It, in every way, shape and form speaks to me and says: Feizy. It is a rug, à la façon, Feizy. Just as a rug from – returning to my rarified air – Woven Legends looks likes a rug from Woven Legends, or a rug from Reuber Henning looks like a rug from Reuber Henning, so to are there rugs from an endless list of other venerable rug and carpet companies who possess the singular style that allows the observer to say: “That looks like a rug from [BLANK]”. It is the establishment of these original and differentiated design aesthetics that allow the truly great rug designers/companies/brands to persist and thrive. But what happens when someone decides to at best mimic, and at worst duplicate the notable style of another? Well ladies and gentleman, that is a very long winded discussion best left for another day.
This autumn – at the urging of a very good friend who had recently been knocked off – I began work on what will be a series of articles discussing the issue of Copyright in the rug industry. While conducting interviews for said piece(s) I came to have a lovely discussion, and by the time it had ended found myself, as mentioned in my email exchange with Mr. Corson, penning (along with several other contributors) a piece on Copyright for the magazine COVER. It should be arriving shortly.
Starting with the next post, and then for several thereafter, The Ruggist will feature articles that pickup and expand on what I’ve said in COVER and will discuss (at tedious length) the issue of copyright and the theft of designs in the rug industry. Brace yourselves, the ride is about to get bumpy.
I appreciate your readership. Thank you and goodbye.