Beautiful embroidered fabrics known as Suzanis have been appearing all over great interiors and design blogs for quite some time now. Their bold patterns make a big statement in the design of a room while bringing a comfortable feel to any interior. As a suzani lover myself, I wanted to shed a little light onto this popular textile.
The name Suzani comes from the Persian word for “needle,” which is fitting given the way Suzanis are made. These beautiful textiles are carefully embroidered and are typically made with cotton and/or silk. Suzanis have been referenced as far back as the 15th century and most likely originated in what is now known as Uzbekistan. Suzanis were typically given to a groom on his wedding day and were made by his future bride as part of her dowry and to highlight her skills.
Above photo, Kristen Hutchins Design
Sun and moon disks, stylized flowers such as tulips, carnations, and irises as well as leaves and vines, pomegranates, and occasionally fish or birds are common design motifs found on Suzanis. These patterns have become so popular that the traditionally embroidered design is now being printed on many home accessories.
Two great designers who often use the power of Suzanis in their designs are Martyn Lawrence Bullard and Nathan Turner. Antique suzanis can frequently be found in the interiors of these two successful and talented designers, leaving us to ooh and awe over the interiors they create.
When creating his own fabric line, Martyn Lawrence Bullard incorporated a lot of what we all love about suzanis and other ethnic fabrics into his designs giving us the perfect balance between traditional and modern aesthetic. Designers Joe Lucas and Parrish Chilcoat of Lucas Studio Inc. used Martyn's Sultan's Suzanni in one of their striking interiors seen to the right.
If you want to try to incorporate some ethnic flair into your interiors, try starting with a few pillows from Fabricadabra. These amazing pillows (some shown below) are made with real vintage suzani textiles so each one is unique. If you are feeling more bold, shop for a full piece of suzani so that you can display it on the wall or use it for upholstery like the pros. Try places like Fabricadabra or 1st dibs for full pieces or furniture already upholstered with a suzani.