The memories we make when immersed in a culture different from our own have a profound impact on our lives. Whether it be just a few miles away or ten thousand, travel introduces us to different worldviews and new perspectives on art, community, and natural surroundings, which in turn shape some of our most powerful memories. The transformative experiences I have had through travel inspired me to create Banniere.
Banniere is a unique silk scarf brand whose products are designed by local artists in cities around the world. Every piece is uniquely crafted to represent the culture and lifestyle of each artist’s beloved city. Fueled by the values of travel, collaboration, and quality, I work closely with individual artists to produce one-of-a-kind designs that embody the heart of each destination. Designs range from artists’ representations of iconic landmarks, to abstract depictions of what various cities represent to them. Every artist tells a unique story via a different medium, which we then transform onto silk.
To me, quality is key. I work closely with a boutique production company to create products that are 100% silk and hand rolled in England. Reflective of our company’s core value of collaboration, I am passionate about promoting each artist with whom I work. Tucked into every Banniere package is a personalized card telling the story of every artist, their connection to the city, and his or her inspiration behind the design. One of the greatest rewards of creating this brand has been discovering vibrant communities of entrepreneurs, artists, and like-minded individuals and bringing them together. Banniere continues to search the globe for new artists.
For the first design, I decided to look toward my own beautiful hometown of Palm Beach for inspiration. I collaborated with local artist Cara Mimun on a design inspired by the intimate feel of the extravagant Via’s mixed with the beach atmosphere that is Palm Beach. Artist Mimun points out, “The first thing one sees upon entering the Island are the rows of palm trees leading straight to the beach—that is when you know you’re home.” Palm Beach continues to serve as my home base in between travels.
The charming town of Charleston, South Carolina, where I lived and attended college, has also remained close to my heart. The Charleston scarf design was painted by fellow College of Charleston art alumni Kate Waddell who owns a gallery space downtown. Charleston is filled with historic streets and southern hospitality, old southern families, and a vibrant community of young people. The design itself comes directly from memories of walking from the great restaurants on King Street alongside the colonial homes, with their wide side porches, down to the Battery. There is a certain je ne sais quoi about Charleston that resounds with a deep soul and quite frankly, there is no place like it.
Not too far away, the Middleburg scarf design was painted by Lydia Marie Elizabeth, a native of Virginia. Lydia was able to capture the notable Middleburg Christmas Hunt Parade with a magical snow scene surrounded by hunting scenes. Middleburg holds special meaning in my family—as it was not only the hometown of my mother’s side of the family for generations, but my father’s mother also owned a horse farm there. Many holidays were spent riding and gazing at the endless rolling hills.
Next stop, Paris, a city that enjoys some of the world’s most beautiful and elegant historical architecture. For this design, I teamed up with Pauline de Roussy de Sales, who grew up not far from the Luxembourg Gardens. Pauline and I instantly connected over our love of walking through the Parisian gardens while watching spring and summer picnics give way to falling leaves. Together we focused on the design for Paris in the Spring scarf using vibrant colors and visions of people enjoying a bit of welcomed sun while finding some tranquility from the city sounds. This illustration depicts the gardens as they might appear in a daydream—a bright and cheerful place tucked away in romantic Paris, with the sweet smell of roses and freshly clipped hedges.
A short plane ride over to Italy finds one of the most memorable Italian seaside towns, Porto Ercole. I grew up spending many summers visiting family and friends at their villas in the surrounding hills of this magical town. I teamed up with long time family friend Desideria “Daisy” Corsini on a design depicting the magical classic Porto Vecchio in watercolor. Just around the port lies the timeless Il Pellicano Hotel, where the scarf was first sold. My fondest summer recollections include cave diving with my cousins followed by Aperol Spritzes, card games at the Pellicano, and Spaghetti alle Vongole in the port. There are no better memories for both Daisy and me than boating alongside Monte Argentario and long swims in the salty sea.
Banniere is also passionate about reintroducing the classic silk scarf to a new generation as wearable art. We hope to spread excitement by sharing the many ways to wear a scarf. Shown on the website are illustrated tutorials depicting the various ways to sport a scarf, including: how to tie as a top in warm weather, how to fasten into a vibrant headband, or how to enliven a simple purse or belt by fashioning a scarf into a snappy accessory.
While Banniere is only just entering its third year, it has produced a strong collection of designs—additional destinations include New York City, London, Istanbul, Cascais, Nashville, Boca Grande, Wellington, Newport, San Francisco, Nantucket, and Boston. There are a number of exciting plans in the works, including collaborations with artists who will bring their artistic narratives to print in Rome, Savannah, Chicago, and San Diego. The stories told through these designs are meant to evoke an emotional reaction to all those who encounter them, and it is these emotional connections that I hope to share with the world.