From France to the Middle East and beyond, beloved textile designer Alice Sergeant finds her inspiration in the beauty of the world around her. Known for her unique blend of pattern and color and her often exotic motifs with distinctive details, her designs can create a space that feels at once sophisticated and welcoming. Having begun her career as a fashion designer, she brings to her work a deep knowledge of and experience with color, shape and scale. Her ability to mix patterns and colors in a unique and yet seemingly effortless way makes her designs immensely appealing.
Part of what makes the work of Alice Segeant so special is the blend of her skill combined with her unique perspective. “I was raised in the United States, but having an immigrant father and my closest relatives living in France, I grew up being strongly influenced by different cultures. I have always felt a need to connect with my heritage and find beauty and inspiration in Middle Eastern architecture and music.
The France portion comes from traveling and staying with my family in the summertime and immersing myself in all aspects of being where I was – food, design, architecture, and language. Also, my relatives being Lebanese and living in France made the experience different than just visiting France as a tourist. I have always been passionate about fashion and interiors, even from a young age. After my first trip to Paris at age 11 and consecutive trips to visit family overseas, it [design] became one of my main interests.”
This interest in design and style led her to work in fashion, where she honed her eye for color and pattern. “When I worked as a fashion designer I really enjoyed selecting colors and patterns for the collections I would be working on. One of the most interesting parts of my job was selecting the patterns and experimenting with color combinations. About 15 years ago I wanted to start a bedding collection because I loved the pretty mixing of colors and patterns together in one single space. Through time I began decorating for people and using more interiors fabrics and then my interest in bedding changed to upholstery.”
Much of what she learned during her time spent in fashion has been put to great use in her textile work today. “My fashion background impacted my sense of using color. Using different textiles together is like putting an outfit together for me. I like to mix different scales of patterns together that complement each other in shape and style.”
Antiques and vintage finds are an important influence in the design process for her work. “I use a lot of antique textiles as inspiration for my designs. Searching for unusual shapes and patterns gets me very excited! When my patterns become digitized I also love playing with different color combinations on the computer and that is when the pattern really takes on a personality.”
Not only present in her work, vintage pieces have a starring role in her home, which she describes as “eclectic and romantic” with an emphasis on “curvilinear shapes, florals, and lots of detail”. “I have furnished my home with mostly estate sale finds and I always collect things when I travel. Over the years I have ended up with a mix of objects that just seem to work together. I guess that is what makes my style it’s own. It takes time to build the layers in furnishing a home and it takes a really clever designer to create that look for their clients in a short amount of time. My Moroccan rugs and my framed botanicals are pretty special to me. My husband and I selected quite a few rugs in the Marrakesh souks about 16 years ago and I still love them in my home. The botanicals were a collection that I put together and had the frames made locally. The are very impactful together and appear in many of my fabric photos where I like to style my fabrics.”
As an enviable talent at skillfully mixing color and pattern, she offers this advice for those hoping to add color and pattern in the home. “My advice would be to be daring with color and not to try to match everything. Things are much more unique and interesting if you take risks.”
Five Questions with Textile Designer Alice Sergeant
TLV: Favorite place to travel?
AS: England and France for both inspiration and pleasure. I don’t like big cities, so I like to visit small quaint towns with pretty buildings and gardens. I really love to visit historic homes that are open to the public and see how they are decorated inside.
TLV: Dream travel destination?
AS: I’d like to go to Scandinavia – particularly Sweden. I love Gustavian decoration.
TLV: What are the must-have items in your carry on?
AS: English interiors magazines, a sketchpad and pencils.
TLV: Favorite way to pass the time on a flight?
AS: I have a tough time flying. I like to have a cocktail and watch a movie.
TLV: Most memorable keepsake from or piece purchased on a trip?
AS: Photos that I have taken to remember all the details
Click here to shop Alice’s Collection on TLV
Photos Courtesy of Alice Sergeant / Text by Liana Hayles Newton