Taste Makers: The Italian Edition

Jan Showers Designer Bed with ombre animal print accents at Peacock Alley Design Studio in Dallas

During the month of September, our stores are celebrating la dolce vita at our first ever Villa Italia Pop Up shop. We interviewed world renowned interior designer, Jan Showers, known for her glamorous approach to design, as well as Peacock Alley founder, Mary Ella Gabler. Learn more about their love of Italian design in our Taste Makers series.

 Dallas-based designer Jan Showers Dallas-based designer Jan Showers

About Jan Showers: Dallas-based designer Jan Showers came to her signature style from diverse and unexpected inspirations, including movies and novels, contemporary and vintage fashion, art, architecture, fine antiques, and vintage pieces.   Jan’s furniture and lighting collection—first created almost 20 years ago—is available at showrooms throughout the US. Her magazine credits place her in the highest echelon of designers. They include Architectural Digest, Elle Décor, Veranda, where she appeared in their “Best of the Best” issue, House Beautiful, InStyle, InStyle Home, Traditional Home, British Home and Garden, Harper’s Bazaar, and Luxe, which included her on their “Gold List”.

Q: You work with mills in Italy to create your signature lamps and lighting. What do you love most about working with Italian artisans?

JS: They are able to produce the most amazing wonderful textiles and glass, and they are truly artists.

Modern glass room accents including a lamp, drinking glass, and decanter

Q: What Italian design elements can make a room feel classically Italian?

JS: I particularly like to use Murano glass accessories, mirrors and lamps. I don't know what my look is to make a room look Italian, although I do like the "undecorated" European manner of putting a room together.

Q: What are some Italian experiences that have inspired a design moment in your work?

JS: Just spending time in Venice and on Lake Como is incredibly inspiring to me — the Italians love the most fabulous colors and are very creative. When I visit the factories in Murano, I always find some piece or technique that may open up to an entire new world or collection. Bedding detail of Celso, a limited edition luxury Italian yarn-dyed jacquard only at Peacock Alley accompanied by Angelina in Pearl.

Q: What staples to do you try to include when designing bedrooms?

JS: Of course, the most important thing is that the bedding be uber comfortable-what good does it do to have a gorgeous room and a bed that is not? I love to use soothing and comforting colors for walls and the bed linens.

Q: What Italian city do you most love to visit?

JS: Venice Luxury bedding items including Celso shams, Virtuoso Sheets and Angelina Pearl shams

Q: What are your best tips for refreshing your bed linens?

JS: Laundering them in a special wash that keeps them clean but is not harsh. Also, I love freshly and carefully ironed sheets.

Peacock Alley founder, Mary Ella Gabler

About Mary Ella Gabler:  Long before "start up" became everyday parlance, Peacock Alley founder Mary Ella Gabler was on her way to establishing the luxury linen market in the US. Peacock Alley makes and sells bedding and bath linens that are simple, beautiful, and impeccably crafted. In 2013, she released her autobiography, which chronicles her rise to prominence from shattering the glass ceiling in the male-dominated halls of Wall Street to establishing the luxury linen market in the US. And thanks to her business savvy and trademark sophistication, she has also become a sought-after speaker. True to form, Gabler weaves one interesting story after another.

Q: What do you love most about working with Italian mills for Peacock Alley bedding?

MG: We've worked with our mills in Italy for such a long time and they are similar to Peacock Alley, in that they are small family-run businesses. The Italians tend to make a more specialized product and, like we do, take extreme pride in their craftsmanship.

Florence, Italy, surrounding landscape

Q: Is there something about bedding design that you believe Italians do better than anyone?

MG: Italians are masters of the finishing or what we call the "confectioning" of our products; the fine tuned details of what it takes to assemble a product.

Q: What Italian city do you most love to visit?

MG: That's hard for me to say - I'm torn between Milan and Torino. Milan for the fashion and the culture. It is simply a fabulous city! Torino probably because of how I feel when I am there. We have such long-standing relationships with mills in the surrounding towns and so I especially love my visits there.

Fine Italian yarn-dyed jacquard, Biagio, in Linen - by Peacock Alley

Q: What is your favorite Italian yard-dyed jacquard that has been in the Peacock Alley line? What makes it so special?

MG: Biagio in Linen without a doubt. I am drawn to its clean lines and versatility - it can be mixed with so many hues of color and different patterns. It never disappoints!

Mary Ella Gabler's and Jan Shower's books are available to purchase at the following links: Uncommon Thread & Glamorous Rooms. Visit the Peacock Alley Design Studio to see this look and more during our Villa Italia event launching Thursday September, 15th-Saturday September 24th. at 1403 Slocum Street, Dallas Texas.

Uncommon Thread: Autobiography, Peacock Alley founder, Mary Ella Gabler

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