It's All Material: The World of S. Harris Velvet

Jesse Bratter

05 October 2023

Smooth Operator


With its opulence and uber-luxuriousness, velvet adds texture, depth, and dimension to any space.

Wrapped in velvet, a chair becomes an embrace. A pillow becomes a highlight of the day. Drapery becomes a dramatic scene that grounds an interior. 



Velvet is a mainstay of every S. Harris collection: from Benjamin Johnston’s Vacanza and the cinema-inspired Elements by Diane Keaton, to the storied Orejen with the Black Artists + Designers Guild, the Q2 Performance line, and the Naturalist collection. That’s because, to us, velvet offers the best in luxury without having to sacrifice durability. 

“Velvets in general kind of remind of a living metal finish—like a brass or copper that is familiar but has some nuance and unexpectedness in the way it can appear in the light, the dark, after being exposed to the elements, or just by touching and holding it,” said Erin Shakoor, principal of Shakoor Interiors. Erin is a member of Black Artists + Designers Guild and one of the design-team collaborators for the Orejen collection with S. Harris


Shakoor Interiors


“It picks up light in that undulating, somewhat thrilling way that keeps you looking and enjoying the view. For me, it evokes a quiet luxury—my favorite type," Shakoor said. "Like the living brass finish, the patina starts immediately but subtly and just becomes better and different over time, in all the right ways.”

What is velvet?

Vineyard Velvet


Unlike fabrics that are flat woven, velvet is made from warp and weft fibers that are woven together and then cut at different pile heights. This creates dimension and an extravagant tactile experience. 

The fibers in a velvet fabric can be an array of materials—cotton, linen, polyester, viscose, or even silk. The fiber content in the yarns will determine the level of softness and silkiness a velvet offers, as well as the amount of sheen and texture.

Dating back thousands of years to Egypt and China, then introduced to Europe via the Silk Road trade routes, velvet has made its way around the globe and into the hearts and homes of countless lovers of texture and all things plush.    

The wanderlust quality of velvet

The notion that the richly woven beginnings of velvet began in far-flung locales, and were mostly reserved for the elite and even royal wardrobes and decor, continues to resonate today. There's just something regal and transportive about the look and feel of velvet. 

Here's our shortlist of velvet worth traveling for:

The Drake Velvet (1)

photo via The Drake Hotel

The Drake Hotel's new Modern Wing in Chicago, where our Foreign Affair | Amberjack covers the channeled headboard and desk chair in the suites. 


Mayfair Miami_Will Pryce_Studio King

photo by Will Pryce courtesy Mayfair House Hotel & Garden

In Miami there is the enchanting waterside enclave of Coconut Grove, where you will find the iconic Mayfair House Hotel & Garden, recently renovated to include our Floral Kingdom | Fuschia Blue on ottomans and headboards in guest rooms. 



photo by Robert Miller via Wynn Las Vegas

Have a nightcap after seeing a show in Sin City at Delilah at the Wynn Las Vegas. It has a sultry, guilded bar with leopard club chairs lined in our Melrose Mohair | Pond

Velvet for performance (and the environment)

Struttura Velvet

High-traffic commercial and hospitality spaces can vouch for the durability of velvet, especially when it comes to Q2 Performance fabrics through S. Harris. 

Made with sophisticated bleach-cleanable fibers, these textiles are meant to stand up to everyday living and last. 

They’re also crafted using a minimal carbon footprint and to maintain the highest possible standards for air, environment, and climate during production. 

Struttura, from the Vacanza collection, is one of our favorite examples of luxury performance velvet. 

“Struttura velvet is the workhorse of the Vacanza collection,” said Benjamin Johnston, the designer behind the collection with S. Harris. “It has all the benefits of velvet, including the quintessential soft texture and sumptuous appeal, without the downfalls of shading. Since Struttura is textured, it provides the best of both worlds. 

“Even better, Struttura is available in seven hues, making for a lovely mix-and-match or a color-rich singular choice,” Johnston said.

A designer's touch

Brushstroke Velvet (1)

We love seeing how designers use velvets in their projects.

From StudioSIX5’s luxe spa and salon in the Harbor’s Edge River Tower in Norfolk, Virginia, to Johnston’s exuberant Vacanza collection and Shakoor’s use of Maji velvet from Orejen, we continue to be inspired by how the greatest talents in the design community use velvet in their work.

“The luxe look, richness of the berry jewel tones, and modern brushstrokes of the Brushstroke | Purplehaze pattern made this fabric irresistible for this project,” said Melina Robles, Furnishings Design Coordinator, StudioSIX5

“The plush feel of the velvet was a great counterpart to the materiality of the acrylic lounge chairs and finishes in the salon. We envisioned the lounge chairs as a statement piece, and the fabric helped achieve this by adding a punch of color and pattern,” Robles said. 




“Velvets have a luxurious texture that can be appreciated by both the eye and the hand, and, as a result, I don’t believe they will ever go out of style,” said Benjamin Johnston. “Olivetti is the perfect patterned and cut velvet to give an interior some decadent magic.”


Shakoor Interiors

photo by Rayon Richards Photography

“This chair was originally upholstered in Maji | Petal for a make-up vanity in a primary walk-in-closet; however, it turned out that the piece looked good in multiple areas of the house and amazing next to the pink marble fireplace,” said Erin Shakoor. “Knowing that the clients appreciated varying shades of rose and pink, I immediately included this pattern in the Petal color into the overall design scheme, a whole-home renovation.

“It really is my favorite pattern in the Orejen collection,” Skakoor said. “I felt It deserved to be showcased on an important item, like an uncomplicated 'feature' chair, not just another pillow, for which we had used it a few times in the past in other colorways. Maji is an introvert that begs to be seen.” 


Maji Petal

Want to wax poetic with us about all things velvet? We’d love to hear from you—tag us on social to join the conversation. #sharris

Jesse Bratter

Jesse Bratter is an editor, writer and interiors stylist living in South Florida after a quick stint in Manhattan. Formerly an editor for Luxe Interiors + Design, Florida Design and The Miami Herald, Jesse’s contributions include Architectural Digest, Domino, Art Basel Magazine, Hospitality Design, and more. She styles photoshoots for homes and luxury resorts, and co-founded the online lifestyle marketplace In The Pursuit and content destination STORY.

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