When you know that at SEQUANA, even plain fabrics are full of colour, you can understand the artistic love at first sight when Patrick Frey discovers the wool collections with their unique, vibrant and daring harmonies that Mary Shaw, the brand’s creator, has created. By taking up the torch, Pierre Frey supports a unique Irish spinning and weaving process, immerses itself in the designer’s colouring talents, while adding a subtle series of neutral tones, as a tribute to her timeless style.
The history of Donegal wool
Tweed was originally hand-woven by Irish families living in the hills of County Donegal. Before weaving, the virgin wool from the sheep was soaked in home-made infusions of moss and lichen found in the surrounding area. Wool’s blended colours, speckled with small irregular beads, echoed the local vegetation, the surrounding green slopes, covered with heather.
A palette inspired by the Irish landscape
Drawing on this cultural heritage, Irish-born Mary Shaw drew inspiration from this traditional custom to create her own tweed collections and give birth to SEQUANA. Continuing to be inspired by the nature of the Irish countryside, she modernizes the woollen sheet and makes it burst with colours, which she develops with the support of a local spinning mill and weaving workshop with unique know-how. All the flora inspires her: the pink and blue of summer flowers, the orange shades of the ferns in autumn, the red of the holly in winter or the yellow of the gorse in spring.
A uniquely spun wool
The characteristic of Donegal yarn is that it is made up of small dots of bright and contrasting colours, finely and irregularly scattered over the entire surface of the yarn, which itself is often made up of several tones. This mottled effect gives Donegal wool a handmade look that is both rustic and chic.
Spun in the traditional way, the difficulty of Donegal wool lies in the correct proportioning of the colour to obtain a perfect distribution of the age-old speckled effect.
The raw wool is carefully sorted, washed, and dyed. The selected colours are then precisely dosed before being mixed according to an exclusive and carefully orchestrated process. The multicolour wool is stirred and then combed through fine metal teeth (carding). A large roving is then spun by stretching the fibers while adding a twist to form the yarn. The yarn is washed and dried before being woven in a family-run workshop founded over 150 years ago in the Irish town of Donegal on the River Eske.
Designs that combine tradition and modernity
Mary Shaw marries her palette of unexpected, deep, and saturated colours to weave herringbone, checks, stripes, and woollen tartans and reinterpret traditional Irish patterns in a contemporary way. Her credo is to always mix tones, whether they are close, subtlety similar, or opposite, to create bold and unique colour palette.
In taking over SEQUANA, Pierre Frey's design studio has taken Mary Shaw's expertise and subtly added a series of neutral colours to the collection, as a tribute to her timeless and authentic style.