Once upon a spring weekend, Dar Al-Funoon’s artistic milieu underwent a kitschy phenomenon. Lifestyle and homewares brand ecru premiered its first collection, accompanied by a stunning capsule clothing collection for the brand from Noon by Nur entitled “when life gives you lemons”. The setting couldn’t have been more fitting, as ecru styled Dar Al-Funoon effortlessly; transforming the space into a lesson on how to enjoy life’s simple luxuries, whether you’re inside your home or you’re on the go, allowing vibrant colors of block printed table cloths, linens and silk to lift your mood, or to simply connect to the esoteric works of fine handicrafts. Indeed, ecru flawlessly presented its first collection at Dar Al Funoon, yet the brand’s inimitable charms will surely find a place in your home in a manner no less perfect.
Nur Kaoukji and Noor Al-Sabah, childhood best friends, always liked the same things, this creative duo loved playing ‘house’ as kids and continued playing the role of hostesses to many events throughout their twenties, knowing all too well that one day they’d create a lifestyle brand that echoed with their love for simple elegance, home designs and fashions that are both beautiful and functional. They might have been geographically parted, as Noor Al-Sabah went on to pursue her passion for style, and is currently a stellar fashion director at Al-Othman, while Nur Kaoukji moved to India to work with jewelry and fashion design. Nur’s move to the mystical city of Jaipur introduced her to a world of hand-made design; she instantly fell in love with the works of local masons, carpenters, and cobblers, metal and wood work artisans. With Nur’s complete fascination by artisan crafts, and Noor’s amazing flair for fashion and retail savvy, the ecru ladies knew that they had to make their vision come true.
After spending a year developing the idea of ecru, Nur and Noor conceived that they would launch a lifestyle and homewares brand that combined artisan techniques with classically modern designs, deriving the brand’s name from linen in its purest and initial form. Ecru, after all, is the base of all things, and all of their designs. Every aspect of the brand is dedicated towards enriching your lifestyle with designs that are both beautiful and functional, from clothing, a complete living range, bathroom accessories, a darling ‘little ones’ line for children, to patio accessories and stationary items including decorative garlands made from recycled paper.
When producing such a stellar product range, both Nur and Noor insisted on instilling the handmade process in every facet of development. None of the printed patterns are digital. Instead, you’ll notice block printing and silkscreen printing techniques on various materials, papers and stationary, and even their packaging. Once Nur began working with textile development, she would meet with talented craftsmen who would develop their designs on wood carvings, then stamp the gorgeous prints on various linens that would make for chic table wares, fabrics, pareos for the beach, clothing, rugs, pillows, and much more. The outdoor area at Dar Al-Funoon was an enchanting example, delicately adorned with carpets, throws and pillows. The carpets’ prints are named after various cities such as Constantinople, New York, and Tokyo. Every print at ecru has its special story and inspiration, from arabesque symbols, the local palm tree, to a whimsical crab; these are all but some of what Nur and Noor envisioned for this brand.
Meeting such talented artisans along opened up doors for ecru, allowing Nur and Noor to even develop graphical arabesque wood and glass carved accessories for the home. Ecru’s product ranges were produced in Bombay, Jaipur, and Kerala, where the brand’s founders worked closely with suppliers to develop the collection.
In creating this simplistically refined notion of elegance through ecru, Nur and Noor wish to travel the world to explore other handicraft techniques. Expect this designer duo to deliver yet another astounding collection of artisan homewares and lifestyle goodies. From India, their next inspiration is unpredictable; you might find them in Mexico, strolling through the ancient souks of Cairo and Morocco’s bazaars, or even appreciating beautiful embroidery in a traditional market in Madeira.
ecru will soon launch its online shopping portal at http://www.ecruonline.com. Images for Nur and Noor are courtesy of Saud Al-Khateib.