Design Inspiration: The Story Behind our Scarves

girl pulling hair up and smiling while wearing red silk scarf with hummingbirds

“When I wear a silk scarf I never feel so definitely like a woman, a beautiful woman.”

Audrey Hepburn

My mother definitely took an unconventional approach to her interior decor. She paid no attention to the rules of what made an object or painting “high or low” and gleefully blurred design boundaries. She blended fine paintings with her children’s or grandchildren’s artwork, and a pinecone or pottery shard would be given equal prominence next to a bit of fine china. She draped textiles over her furniture, regardless of size, origin, or vintage. It could be a small child’s purse found in a flea market in Oaxaca or a gorgeous tasseled silk wrap from Milan. She tossed bits of fabric around the house the way a gardener sows wildflower seed.  Sometimes these textiles disguised a threadbare spot, a dog accident, or a red wine stain, but most of the time their purpose was a simple celebration of needlepoint, warp and weft, color and contrast.

My mother passed her love of textiles onto me, and decades later I added textile design to my fine art studio practice.  My mother, Jessica Catto, was a Houston native who raised her family around the world but held fast onto some aspects of her inner—and outer—Texan. She had a trace of her Texan accent but never said y’all. She was outspoken, loved the Texas Hill Country, made a mean tamale pot pie, and, like many southern women, knew the power of a good accessory, like a turquoise cuff or a good scarf. She loved clothes but wasn’t a slave to trends or designers. She knew a good scarf was an excellent fashion staple that delivered an instant shot of color and added miles to a simple wardrobe.

woman wearing yellow silk scarf

“A scarf has to be the most beautiful thing ever invented to wear! It’s a winding, a continuity, an infinity! I love things that are endless, I hate them to stop. It’s like order and disorder: I rather love disorder and things that move, it’s a state where one gets more things done!”

Sonia Rykiel

pink yarrow in a lush green background

Lilac yarrow in a shady spot in the Mojo Gardens offers textile color inspiration.

When I turned to design, scarves made a good starting point. I am a painter, so I’m used to working with rectangles—and from that standpoint, scarves and wraps offered me a comfortable initial format. We created a scarf that would be the first thing you’d pack for a trip and the final flourish you’d put on before stepping out. These are scarves that celebrate the garden, the feminine, the flash of color that makes you stop and look again. We wove something else into our scarves: a commitment to the planet. When you buy one of our scarves, you plant a mangrove on Chira Island off the coast of Costa Rica through our partnership with Conservation International. Why mangroves? Read more here.

close up of woman wearing blue and green silk scarf with circles and squares

“Money doesn’t buy elegance. You can take an inexpensive sheath, add a pretty scarf, gray shoes, and a wonderful bag, and it will always be elegant.”

Carolina Herrera

Each of these designs is a celebration of my mother’s influence and design sensibility — something I once took for granted and am now finally paying forward—and that I’m grateful to have inherited.

 

Fabric 411

These scarves are printed in Italy on the highest quality silk charmeuse for long-lasting color vibrancy and luminosity. We decided to print double-sided, with alterations in scale, design, and color to increase each scarves’ versatility. They are finished in the United States with a hand-rolled, hand-sewn hem. We finish it off by packaging them in a custom-designed, sustainable box with a magnetic closure. You can shop our scarves here.