• Powell Slaughter

Together again -- Universal and Alexander Julian

Designer Alexander Julian teams with Universal for “Postscript” collection at April High Point Market

Alexander JulianAlexander Julian
HIGH POINT – Collaborators on one of furniture’s landmark licensed lines have gotten back together. Fashion designer Alexander Julian and Universal Furniture will debut “Postscript,” a 32-piece collection, at the April 22-26 High Point Furniture Market.

Twenty-three years ago, Julian and Universal teamed up for Home Colours by Alexander Julian, which included several re-iterations over the following 10 years, with additions to the line inspired by patterns and colors Julian incorporated into his own line of apparel.

The ensuing collections brought a fashion sensibility to case goods at accessible price points. The key to those collections, making traditional furniture design and fashion comfortable for consumers, highlights Postscript.

“Our first collection in 1994 broke retail records,” said Universal CEO Jeff Scheffer. “Part of what made it popular was that we transformed a formal look into something livable.”

The new collaboration between Julian and Universal focuses on traditional furniture design with an eye toward comfort.

“It’s traditional without the formality,” Scheffer said.

Based in fashion

Postscript will pay homage to Julian’s fashion roots, with buttons, argyle patterns, tortoiseshell and a variety of performance fabrics and patterns defining both case goods and upholstery designs.

Julian said he was honored to work again with Universal.

“This project maximized the strength of all involved and leveraged the evolution of Universal as a whole-home provider while reflecting on the influence that fashion has in the home,” he said. “We want to be comfortable in what we wear and how we live our lives. Comfort is confidence, and I’m proud of what we’ve been able to create.”

Universal and Julian have discussed the project for a year-and-a-half, said Neil McKenzie, director of marketing at Universal.

“Jeff (Scheffer) and our team have been talking to him that this traditional category is something we have to tackle,” he said.

The details

Wood species for the case goods component of Postscript incorporate birch, maple and walnut including inlays. Five wood finishes and one metal finish are on tap, ranging from gray-browns to off-whites. Hardware will feature metal knobs with tortoiseshell inset on diamond-shaped escutcheons, and ring pulls.

The collection includes three beds: a diamond-tufted sleigh bed accented with metal buttons and upholstered in a flax-color Crypton fabric; a wood panel bed accented in antique silver with a headboard inset with diamond-shape antique brass metal framework; and a signature metal canopy bed in antique silver with upholstered headboard.

Beds will retail from $999 to $1,499, dresser for $1,199.

Two dining table designs, which incorporate an argyle pattern bordered with maple inlay, were inspired by a parquet floor in a Paris restaurant. An 82-inch rectangular table with turned legs and a 54-inch round pedestal table incorporate an argyle pattern bordered with maple inlay. A wood dining chair has diamond fretwork in the back splat, while the upholstered dining chairs have a parson’s shape and feature faux pearl buttons with loops down the back of the chair, and a pleated skirt revealing a contrasting underskirt.

Dining tables will retail at $999, chairs from $299 to $399.

Finishes include the gray/brown Vicuña, British Tan in light khaki, Linen in white linen, Pewter Crest in dark gray linen, Regent Street Silver for antique silver accents, and a bronze-tone metal finish.

In the living room

Postscript’s occasional introductions include two tables.

One is a fully upholstered cocktail with diamond-patterned, antique-silver-finish nail head detailing the top and nail head trim on the apron and legs, upholstered in a gray Crypton fabric.

The other is a petite side, or drink, table that is the collection’s most direct fashion reference. The table top resembles a button – including four holes – using a contrasting wooden inlay. Base and frame are metal.

Postscript upholstery uses Crypton body cloths and down-filled accent pillows. The introduction features two signature sofas.

The first is an 89-inch Charles of London design with an upholstered waterfall skirt. The white body cloth contrasts with a gray linen, hand-pleated border skirt, which splits to reveal contrasting fabric underneath. Four down accent pillows are covered in blue and gray wovens.

The second sofa is an 87-inch wave-back with soft, gray Crypton body cloth, track arms and exposed legs. The undulating top rail and base are accented with a double row of pewter nail heads. Accent pillows feature a wool window-pane plaid and a textured gray and oatmeal-finish fabric.

Sofa styles retail from $1,399 to $2,999 (for leather). Accent chairs range from $799 to $1,299.

Universal’s High Point showroom is located at 101 S. Hamilton St.

Powell SlaughterPowell Slaughter | Senior Editor

I'm Powell Slaughter, senior editor at Furniture/Today. I returned to the publication in January 2015 after nine years of writing about furniture retail strategies and best practices at a monthly magazine focusing on home furnishings retail operations. Prior to that, I spent 10 years with F/T covering wood furniture, the last five of those as case goods editor. While I cover occasional, home entertainment and home office here, a major responsibility is expanding our attention to the logistics side of the industry. I hope my articles will encourage a dialogue with retailers, vendors, third-party logistics specialists and carriers. I’d love to hear your ideas, concerns and suggestions for smoother flow of material and goods.

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