If there’s one home decor item I’ll never tire of shopping for, it’s throw pillows—they’re a go-to for any seasonal update, an easy way to add texture and color into a space, and of course, deliver an instant cozy factor to any room. All is true with the Elsie Home x Alison Giese pillow collaboration. With Lauren’s production expertise and Alison’s design talent, their partnership resulted in a collection of six pillows in various colors, patterns and textures that can be mixed and matched. If you ask me, they’re beautiful for any time of year, but especially for an autumnal refresh. We sat down with the pair to glean just how the collection came together.
Tell us a bit about this beautiful collaboration and what it means to you?
Lauren: As a one-woman show, I sometimes miss the creative collaboration process that comes with working with other designers. Alison believed in me from the moment I launched Elsie Home and has supported me every step of the way. Choosing to partner up with her for our very first designer collaboration felt like the perfect choice and the best way to launch this new sector of my business.
Alison: The collaboration with Elsie Home has been an incredible opportunity to see pattern and texture through a fresh lens. Enthusiasm is contagious, and Lauren and I definitely fed off each other’s love of these patterns!
What was the inspiration behind this collection?
Lauren: I wanted to branch out from our standard offering and put out a collection with more earthy tones. I love the East Coast vibe Alison brings to her designs and really wanted her to have creative liberty in selecting the prints for this line.
Alison: I was inspired by the sort of muddy, earthy colors and patterns that often show up in my mood boards, paired with irresistible textures. As a designer, pillows are an important final touch to a space, and I loved having the ability to really think about how I’d mix these patterns in real projects!
Tell us a bit about the collaboration process. What did that look like from the start?
Lauren: Alison and I kicked off this process with a phone call which was meant to be short and ended up lasting over two hours. It turns out we have so much in common and we just couldn’t stop talking! From there we created a shared Pinterest board to trade ideas. I provided some names of textile designers I had used in the past and she shared a few new designers I had yet to work with. After selecting a number of prints, I had a set of swatches sent to both of our houses (we are on opposite sides of the US!). Once we had them in hand, Alison began pairing down two separate collections. We settled on two collections made up of three prints each. Then we were off to production! I handled all of the production since that’s what we do best! It really was an exciting process. I hope to do again in the future with other designers.
Alison: Lauren reached out after seeing some of my mood boards and offered to collaborate on pattern selections for an upcoming collection. We sort of spitballed some favorites then narrowed them down, which was NOT easy! The process was so organic and effortless!
Do you have a favorite piece from the collection?
Lauren: The Sherpa pillows really stand out to me. They are made from Alpaca and Mohair, giving them such a gorgeous texture. My true favorite though is our Susan pillow. Sadly, Alison’s mother unexpectedly passed away in the midst of us collaborating together. Alison chose the print she thought would be her mother’s favorite and named the pillow after her. It’s such a special tribute and something I’m honored to be a part of.
Alison: That’s a really tough one to answer, but I’m obsessing over the texture of the “Sherpa” pillows – they will come in SO handy for a Fall home refresh!
How many products are in this collection? Tell us all the details! Colorways, patterns, materials, etc.
There are six prints total, split into two sets of three prints. We have a blue pairing and a green pairing, both thoughtfully curated. The blue pairing is grounded by a gorgeous floral print designed by Virginia Kraft Textiles. Alison and I are both close with Andrea Whalen, the designer behind Virginia Kraft Textiles, and knew we wanted to include one of her prints in this collection. Also part of this blue pairing is a really unique vintage grain sack fabric which we used to create the Arles pillow. The natural color of the grain sack and it’s woven texture give it a slightly rustic feel.
The third pillow in the blue collection is a sherpa fabric by Zak + Fox. This natural wool, alpaca and mohair blend is full of textural goodness. In the green pairing, we have a small scale leaf print by Walter G which pairs beautifully with the large scale Heather Chadduck floral print in the collection. We grounded this collection with a deep green sherpa, another colorway of the Zak + Fox wool, alpaca, and mohair blend.
Can you share some pillow styling tips for our readers?
The pillows in this collection were designed to go together, making styling super simple. There’s a rule in design suggesting items look best paired in odd numbers. While I generally like to bend the rules, the rule of three really rings true here. Layer your pillows by using different sizes and prints. I like pairing Sherpa in Ivory with Hana and Arles in three different sizes – a 22×22 in the back, 20×20 in the middle, and a 14×20 in the front. You really can’t go wrong with this new collection, so mix and match as you see fit!
Working alongside Alison to create this line was truly an honor. There’s something special about joining forces with another creative to offer up a collection I could never have dreamt on my own. A big thank you Alison Giese for entrusting me with her name on this project!