Whoopi Bedding Ready
James Mammarella -- Furniture Today, July 16, 2007
"As long as it makes you feel good — I'm all for it," enthused Whoopi Goldberg, the irreverent entertainer who also, it turns out, has a flair for home furnishings design.
In concert with the creative team of Colonial Home Textiles, including design director Judy Anderson, Goldberg has produced her first bedding collection — dubbed G Beds — which will be on display during the August New York Home Fashions Market, August 6-10.
When quizzed by Home Textiles Today as to why she decided to test the crowded waters for bed ensembles, the comedienne was not joking when she said, "Everybody and their momma's done jeans and clothing — I'm not a big dresser, but I can sleep with the best of 'em."
Anderson said she was amply impressed when visiting one of Goldberg's homes and taking in the eclectic range of art on the walls and textiles on the beds. One item, in particular, demanded rapt attention: Goldberg's favorite bedspread, one of her own inspiration, a patchwork coverlet hand-stitched from antique kimonos.
Goldberg already had a small collection of kimonos — "I like 1920s things" — when, several years ago, she asked the bedspread expert in a tiny Los Angeles store if she could "make one out of old kimono designs." The woman went her one better, and made a bed cover out of antique original kimonos.
Considering that single bedspread, Anderson probed Goldberg's wider design interests. One thing kept coming up.
"I love dragons — I have dragon tattoos," Goldberg said. "For me the dragon is a protector, and when I'm sleeping I want to feel I'm protected."
Anderson returned from a Shanghai fabric exposition with a dragon dec pillow. Goldberg liked it. Now Goldberg and Colonial Home Textiles are presenting the result, a burnout silk velvet top-of-bed ensemble, Dragon, accessorized with that exact pillow, as well as a dragon-embroidered sheet set.
The Dragon bed is one of three G Beds done in silk burnout velvet; the companions are Paisley and Fans. This top-end collection, to be offered in pieces or in sets, will retail from $430 to $475 for the duvet, bedskirt and two shams.
Two poly/silk dupioni treatments fill out the line: Butterfly, with hand embroidery; and Mums, featuring machine embroidery.
The top-end sheets come in 100% Egyptian cotton. In single-ply 500 thread count, a set of two sheets and pillowcases aims at a $150 to $175 retail; in 800 thread count the price will be $225 to $250.
Rounding out the G Beds collection is Goldberg's EasyCare line, the more casual contemporary part of the collection. There are four looks in 60% cotton/40% polyester, with simpler visual and textural treatments such as framing, hem stitching, and pleating. One color combination is cocoa and sea mist. A whole range of blues will be used, said Anderson: "sea mist, crystal, deep blues — and plenty of white."
EasyCare top-of-bed ensembles will be retailed for "about $160," Anderson said, with the sheet sets to retail at $125 to $150.
In addition to bedding and decorative pillows, coordinated window treatments are being considered.
Regarding distribution, Anderson told HTT that G Beds has been developed for better department stores — Bloomingdale's and up — and unique specialty stores, such as Z Gallerie. The point person is Colonial Home Textiles national sales manager Dan Torchia. Colonial, headed by principal Kevin Wadhwani, is the U.S. division of Hong Kong-based Lachmi's, a 40-year-old company.
Colonial is known particularly for its private label sheet programs, which it has manufactured at one time or another for retailers from Family Dollar to Neiman Marcus. The company is currently set to ship the new, store-branded Envision Studio sheet and bedcover program to ShopKo, having for several years provided that Upper Midwestern general merchandiser a dobby program in 12 colors for sheets and six colors in comforters.
That's quite a different line of business from G Beds. Anderson said that's the point: "We wanted her look — unique and different, high-quality."
Another difference: G Beds will be displayed as unmade beds in the 295 Fifth Avenue showroom of Colonial Home, suite 505, confirmed Anderson. And likely also in advertisements, perhaps even in retail stores. Why? Because the standup comic-turned-designer wants to project the ideal of visual versatility, a bed to suit a lifestyle that offers luxury and comfort, an elegance that feels good — on both formal occasions and informal.
"You don't want to be afraid to bounce on your bed!" said Goldberg.
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