Amanda Brooks’s Cotswolds shop, Cutter Brooks, often comes across as quintessentially British: by her own admission, the shop is inspired by England. But look a little closer and you’ll see that, although everything she sells fits perfectly into a countryside bolthole, the objects are sourced from all over the world: think LoveShackFancy dresses, 19th century American quilts, straw accessories from Nathalie Seiller Dejean. This December, she adds another artisan to her well-curated inventory: Vita Kin.
Their collaboration began in Paris, when Brooks sought out the Ukrainian designer during fashion week. Kin is renowned for her traditional Ukrainian embroidery techniques, which Brooks describes as “spectacular.” And, she thought, perfect for table linens. She proposed the idea to Kin, who eventually agreed. That summer, Brooks traveled to Ukraine so they could begin working on their collection.
The original plan was to use a design from the Vita Kin archives. But that all changed during a visit to a Kiev flea market. “We found all these vintage curtains with these amazing red, floral patterns,” Brooks recalled. Struck by their beauty, Kin brought Brooks to the International Museum of Ukrainian Embroidery to learn more about the art form’s history in the Eastern European country. Brooks was fascinated. So when it came time to start envisioning their own signature stitching, Brooks recalls Kin saying: “Why don't we use the fabrics we found in the market as inspiration?”
The result is a wonderfully warm, charming Ukrainian-meets-English-countryside line, complete with placemats, coasters, napkins, blouses, and dresses, all available at Brooks’s store and online. The cheery, cherry-colored motifs wouldn’t look out of place at Mr. and Mrs. Claus’s holiday feast—but the blue and grey accents ensure they’re fit for year-round use. “It works in summer. But if you are in the right atmosphere, it looks really Christmas Day,” says Brooks. And although the folkloric elements are anything but simple (just look at that interwoven flower, vine, and leaf design!) they do transport you back to a simpler time: before 3D printers were embossing a pattern-a-minute and everything was done with care and by hand. It’s that narrative, and that technique, Brooks says, that makes the collaboration so special to her as well. “I love the narrative of how these pieces came to be. It’s so genuine, and the technique is so extraordinary,” she says. "Both of our tastes and styles came just really together."
Originally Appeared on Vogue