Loungewear designer Stevie Howell adds textile design to her line
For loungewear designer Stevie Howell, adding a home-textile line earlier this year to her eponymous brand didn’t feel like a pivot, although some saw it that way.
“In creating loungewear I was making art into something wearable,” says Howell, 37, a San Francisco native. “Something that you can touch and feel. Now I’m doing the same thing, but in a room. The vehicle has just changed a little bit.”
Howell launched her line in 2013 with a scarf collection. She is now known for her silk robes and pajamas emblazoned with patterns inspired by the natural world. They’re pretty enough to wear outside, like, to brunch, and have graced the pages of Vogue, Glamour and Harper’s Bazaar and the bodies of such celebs such as Sharon Stone.
Howell recently relocated to Southern California, but her influences remain up north. She names early exposure to the work of Sacramento pop art icon Wayne Thiebaud — known for bold renderings of pie and cupcakes — as a key influence. Howell’s painterly, color-saturated motifs — until now, applied only to fluid silk slips and robes — is available in linen by the yard for the home line, and can be used for everything from upholstery to bedding to wall covering.
Howell credits her sister’s move to a new house in Ojai (Ventura County) as setting her on the path to home design. She created the Branch Drip pattern — delicate branches and leaves rendered in trickling black strokes — for her sibling’s new digs.
“She covered her whole bedroom in it,” Howell says. “Her headboard, her curtains, her walls and lampshades. It’s totally immersive; instead of wrapping yourself in a robe, you wrap yourself in a whole room.”
There’s also a Tunisian tile motif based on William Randolph Hearst’s grand San Simeon estate, and a bold black-and-white leaf pattern that pays homage to Frida Kahlo’s Mexico City house. These legacy prints have been emboldened to suit linen, which doesn’t render detail as finely as silk.
“Textiles are a bit like the food scene,” says Howell. “Both began as important parts of survival, but every culture has turned them into very different and incredible art forms.”
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