TRAVELOGUE: Michelle Nussbaumer's signature collection for Clarence House

The celebrated designer's new signature fabric & trim collection is a globally-inspired embodiment of her wanderlust spirit.


photography courtesy of Ceylon et Cie and Clarence House

Michelle Nussbaumer, whose signature collection for Clarence House debuted this Spring, rocks my world. Maybe that's because it's so demonstrative of the wonderful world itself.


Nussbaumer's debut fabric and trim collection for the illustrious textile brand Clarence House reads like a travel journal, which is no surprise considering the many places she's been. Clearly, her wanderlust had a profound influence on this deeply personal collection. Saturated pigments found in Morocco's bazaars, 17th century tapestries procured along the English countryside, bold striping sighted on the tents of India, ancient Mayan patterns unearthed in Guatemala - these are but a few of the elements you'll find when you preview it momentarily. "My collection is widely inspired by indigenous cultures and places discovered well off the beaten path," says Nussbaumer, owner and lead designer of Ceylon et Cie, an interior design studio and boutique shop based in Dallas and beloved by many... not just in the city itself but also in cities across the globe.


Nussbaumer's work as seen through the storefront window of Galerie Couteron, Paris


Michelle sits pretty in a setting of her own design - a picture-perfect layering of patterns and textures.



So here's the thing about Michelle: You know when you have a design idea that's really daring but then you think... "nah," and don't go through with it? Yeah, well that's not her. She always "goes there," and the result is dazzling. The impresario and her team "set the stage for life" with interiors as colorful as a Kandinsky painting and as soulful as an Aretha album. Not surprisingly, her name consistently appears wherever the world's leading designers are ranked.

Nussbaumer's courageous use of color is observed in her personal style as well as her interior designs.


Now for those unfamiliar with Clarence House, let me bring you up to speed because I happen to have some personal insight here. One of my many jobs in the design industry, prior to finding my niche as an editor, was working as a customer service associate at a bougey showroom that carried the top fabric brands. I'm talking the creme de la creme. Every vendor we repped was spectacular, but Clarence House was a standout - so ridiculously luxurious and amazing that it mandated a whole separate training.


Back in the day, buying two yards to make a throw pillow put a dent in my grocery budget, but for fabrics that scrumptious, I'd gladly substitute Ramen Noodle Soup for Wagyu steak. #priorities ... my point being that any interior designer who's invited to design a private collection for Clarence House can't be just anyone.


Michelle Nussbaumer will be the first to disclose that her secret is her wanderlust spirit, which manifests through her interiors... richly infused with cultural inspirations gleaned from extensive globetrotting.


If your own passport has way fewer stamps than hers does, I invite you on a global journey through Michelle's worldly textile and trim collection.


On a trip to Guatemala, Michelle fell so madly in love with KUKULKAN - a graphic pattern bearing the figure of the Mayan feathered serpent god - that not only did she include it in her collection, she also had it hand-painted on a wall of the hacienda she owns in Buena Fe, Mexico. (colorway shown: Nero)


This CASITA NILEITA tape trim boasts bold, swirling embroidery characteristic of a pattern commonly seen the ancient tilework of San Miguel de Allende, a mountain city in Mexico. (colorway shown: Nero)


FEZ EMBROIDERY - a rich fabric featuring a Moroccan-inspired pattern representative of traditional Fez stitchwork (colorway shown: Chartreuse)


MOROCCAN - a decorative flat trim that conjures the motif of Berber women's nomadic costumes that are a significant part of North African fashion culture. (colorway shown: Chartreuse)


CARTEGENA - The cornerstone of the collection, this statement fabric - distinguished by parrots perched on beautiful posy bouquets - was created in the image of Michelle's own archival French hand-blocked print, which dates back to the turn of the 20th century. (colorway shown: Nero)


PAVO REAL - The delicate needlework that stunningly depicts flora and fauna on this tape trim was inspired by 1940s Mexican embroidery. (colorway shown: Passion)


Nussbaumer frequently uses ikats in her interior design projects, so this collection wouldn't be complete without one. COSMICO IKAT was inspired by an Uzbek coat she found in Istanbul. (colorway shown: Aegean)


ZANZI is a distinctive trim Nussbaumer created to encourage layering, a technique she regularly employs in her work. The design was inspired by the narrow handmade straw brooms of Zanzibar, which were held together using colorful scraps torn from old clothing. (colorway shown: Serape)


DUNROBIN TAPESTRY - This floral-patterned, dense cut velvet is reminiscent of a 17th century tapestry the designer purchased in London, which presently hangs in her Dallas home. (colorway shown: Malachite)


HELECHO - The fern forests of Switzerland, where Nussbaumer owns a chalet, were her muse for the pattern of this elegant trim. (colorway shown: "Fern")


JOSEPH'S COAT - an ode to the bold striping on Indian tents that Michelle admired while visiting the country (colorway shown: Pinata)


The Boho-esque BOTEH is Nussbaumer's modern take on the traditional Persian paisley print of the same name (colorway shown: Paprika)


The design of this versatile fabric, CHIAPAS, was based on an old serape shawl that caught Michelle's eye while in Mexico. (colorway shown: Cumin)


PALMERA (the Spanish word for "palm tree") is a tropical fringe that calls to mind the thatched roof palapas of Mexico.


Charmingly bucolic, this GRAINSACK woven tape was created by Nussbaumer as a nod to the grain sacks historically used by farmers. (colorway shown: Linen)


CRAZY QUILT is a magical textile she designed in the image of one of her most prized articles: a 1980s Milanese memento quilt that's among her private collection. (colorway shown: Document)


Whether you use any the above to upholster an entire sectional, fabricate some accent pillows, or simply trim the leading edge on a pair of custom sidepanels, the Michelle Nussbaumer and Clarence House collab is sure to bring a world of difference to your design.


For inquiries, pricing and purchasing, visit: clarencehouse.com



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