Showcasing a stylish and sophisticated aesthetic achieved through a unique weaving process, bouclé is a heavy textile that holds a rich and intricate history. A staple of midcentury modern design, bouclé fabrics continue to bring cozy texture to upholstered furniture and accents in contemporary interiors. The fashionable fabrics feature a curly, knotted finish for an intriguing visual texture and supremely soft feel. The information that follows explores a brief overview of bouclé fabrics.
Origins and Overview
With European roots, bouclé is derived from the French word boucler, which means “to curl.” The term can refer to both a novelty yarn—comprised of a series of various sized looped fibers—as well as a textured fabric woven with bouclé yarn. While traditionally made from wool, bouclé fabrics can also be crafted from other materials such as polyester, linen, cotton, or silk.
Architect Florence Knoll and designer Eero Saarinen popularized the fabric in the United States during the 1940s. The debut of Saarinen’s Womb Chair upholstered in Knoll’s bouclé textile allowed the fabric to rise to prominence across an array of midcentury furniture designs. The nubby textile was later featured prominently in couture fashion designs by Coco Chanel and others throughout the 1950s. With a recent resurgence in popularity, bouclé fabrics are commonly used across contemporary interior design applications.
Composition and Characteristics
The bouclé weave involves a multistep process using two or more yarns. One of the yarns is twisted tight to stabilize for strength and durability and the remaining yarns are loosely laid to create the looped, irregular texture. Made from multiple components, bouclés can offer a multicolored, heathered look achieved through introducing a variety of colors during the production process.
With twisted wool fibers that are incredibly durable and versatile, bouclé is ideal for adding softness to sofas, chairs, window treatments, accent pillows, rugs, and more. Bouclé fabrics boast a unique range of benefits and inherent properties that account for its recent rise in popularity.