From chintz to chinoiserie

While the return of Bassett McNab may pull at childhood chintz memories, it’s now paving the way for the next generation of memorable classics.

Perhaps it’s because we’re spending more time at home, but we’re definitely in a moment in which people are feathering their nests with more rather than less. And that’s good news for the return of Bassett McNab.

Best-known for the elegant florals, evocative chinoiserie and delicate toiles that adorned many homes in the 20th century, the brand has been relaunched this season under the new ownership of Stout Textiles after a 20-year hiatus from collection introductions.

The 2019 acquisition and subsequent relaunch combine two Philadelphia family brands that are rich in textile history. (Charles Stout was one of four partners in the 1908 firm of Bassett McNab & Co. Today, the third and fourth generations of his family are actively involved in Stout Textiles.)

Led by creative director and industry veteran Anne Hahn-Waddell, the Bassett McNab Fall Collection consists of seven distinct patterns, each offered in three to six colorways with 25 supporting woven fabrics.

“Sifting through the archive images was like paging through an old, dusty high school yearbook,” Hahn-Waddell says. “I remember so many of the patterns — some with dated color combinations so outrageous I had to smile. The archives definitely had a unique Bassett McNab voice that, with some editing, I knew would be relevant. Honoring the original brand voice while updating the new patterns resulted in a fresh, classically modern American style, following in the legacy of design greats like Elsie de Wolfe, David Hicks and Dorothy Draper, who all pioneered a brighter, lighter and more streamlined style still celebrated today.”

The new Bassett McNab collection is marked by reimagined chinoiserie, traditional ikats (tie-dyed patterned textiles), subtle textures, garden florals and classic trellis fretwork. Their palette embraces shades of watery blue and teal, desert corals with soft pinks, woodland neutrals and a few saturated grays and navies. The designs, a company spokeswoman says, marry approachability with style and sophistication.

“The mission at Bassett McNab is to empower designers to create timeless interiors by offering fabrics of an uncompromising quality,” says John Greenawalt, vice president of Operations. “While Covid pushed back our original relaunch timeline, we’re now launching the first collection exactly one year after the acquisition. It feels quite serendipitous.”

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