Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Surpise Delight

 My sister suggested that we check out Ankasa Home while we were in New York after she saw them on The Martha Stewart Show. As we slopped through the rain and cobble stone streets of Soho I was about to give up looking for it when we turned a corner and saw the tiny sign. We shook off our umbrellas and entered the store coming face to face with this wall of exquisite pillows that are all embroidered, beaded or blocked by hand. Yeah, yeah, many companies make the same claim but the quality was impeccable. There is no skimping here and you pay for it - an average size pillow ran about $300-$400.
 All the work is done in their factories in India and only by men. Interesting no?
 The duo behind Ankasa are "the go to" embroiderers in the fashion industry. They decided to open a housewares shop and have two location in NYC and sell some items online.
 This was one of those stores that you go into that has beautiful things but that might leave you a little intimidated. That was until the sales people started talking to us and telling us about the company and the story behind each piece in the store. Like the rosarch ink blot art hanging on the wall, that is actually all sequins and it took over 300 hours to bead.
 Linen table runners and bedspreads embroidered with sterling silver thread.
 So bad ass.
 These just look like a collection of framed art, right? After walking past them a couple of times thinking it was interesting collection of frames in a gallery style wall the sales person urged us to take a closer look. Each of these framed pieces is a piece of embroidered fabric that was created as a swatch to show the fashion couture houses during buying presentations. If the fashion houses/designers decide to purchase the fabric just based on this small swatch then Ankasa places the order with their workers in India to produce the fabric for the one of kind couture pieces. At most their is probably 10 yards of fabric made. Ankasa Home pulled the swatches out of their archives and had them framed in one of kind frames found in antique stores and flea markets. Each cutting was used by a major designer in one of their couture collections like Oscar de la Renta, Chanel, Carolina Herrara, etc. They were selling for $300 -$600. Recognize any?
 This would have been a cool idea on its own but hearing the background story made it so much better.

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