David & Ann Sutherland and Fortuny's Maury Riad lead the celebration of the new partnership between the design fabric showroom and the 100 year old house of Fortuny. (Photo by Shelby Hodge)
Fortuny textiles continue to be handprinted in a tradition that began a century ago. (Photo by Shelby Hodge)
Maury Riad, who co-owns Fortuny with his brother Mickey, discusses the house's history with Houston interior designers. (Photo by Shelby Hodge)
Caricature artist creates portraits in Fortuny gift books at the Donald Sutherland Showroom in the Decorative Center Houston. (Photo by Shelby Hodge)
Fortuny fabrics and gifts on display in the Donald Sutherland Showroom in the Decorative Center Houston. (Photo by Shelby Hodge)
Catering by Culinaire provided the scrumptious Italian-inspired hors d'oeuvres for the Fortuny/Donald Sutherland party. (Photo by Shelby Hodge)
Fortuny's Philosopher's Stone Collection featuring printed cotton and velvet in rich tones.
Coveted Fortuny fabrics remain hand-painted as they were when Mariano Fortuny launched his design business in 1907.
Inside Fortuny's Venice Showroom (photo by Steve Freihon)
It’s not often that the owner of the revered textile house of Fortuny makes his way to Texas. But the recent marriage between the Italian supernova and David Sutherland, with showrooms in both Houston and Dallas, was a momentous partnership that warranted a celebration and a visit by Maury Riad.
In back to back evenings Riad, who owns Fortuny with his brother Mickey, rubbed elbows with design world elites in Dallas and then in Houston as Ann and David Sutherland hosted evenings of understated elegance in the design center showrooms.
“Sutherland will bring Fortuny back to its original glory,” Maury Riad recently told PaperCity.
During the Decorative Center Houston event, Riad chatted with guests about the company’s plans for more innovative uses for the coveted hand-painted fabrics and invited those who might travel to Venice to visit the lavish Fortuny gardens, which spreads out over four acres surrounding the factory located on the Venetian island of Giudecca.
Taking a moment from visiting with partygoers, David Sutherland recalled the serendipitous nature of the partnership.
“Frankly, I didn’t go after the line,” he tells PaperCity. “I actually was working with the owner on another project and we so enjoyed it that we just kind of looked at each other and said why aren’t we working together in Texas?
“I can’t say that it wasn’t in the back of my mind . . . but nevertheless we found out that we had a real sympathetic relationship and and collaborative relationship. So the idea of representing Fortuny in Texas became a reality and we are really excited.”
Riad was working on a project management software platform for interior designers, one that had nothing to do with fabrics. He approached Sutherland about investing in the program, Fuigo. After discussing it at length, Sutherland jumped in as a participating investor.
“We so enjoyed working together on that project that I said, ‘Why aren’t we together in Texas’ and Riad said, ‘We should be.’ ”
In conclusion, Sutherland says, “We’re just having fun trying to think of ways that we can create products and find ways to use more of this fabulous material. It’s really one of the reasons I got into this industry because it is so artisanal.”
Indeed, Fortuny continues its heritage of handmade fabrics, timeless artistry and design luxury.