Designer Rebecca Vizard makes a trip to Houston at least a once a year. "I have to get my city fix," she says. It helps that Houston is just a few hours from her home base, Louisiana's rural Locustland Plantation, just minutes from where Vizard grew up. The city was also one of the first to embrace Vizard's precious pillows, made painstaking from one-of-a-kind textiles, some of them centuries old, which are catalogued in Vizard's coffee table tome, Once Upon a Pillow, published in late 2015 (and almost immediately sold out).
Vizard is spending a long weekend in Houston, showing her local fans several of her projects. On Thursday and Friday she'll be at Watkins Culver—the second store in the country to carry her line—signing copies of her books and selling as many of her coveted pillows as she can load into her car, followed by a special appearance Friday and Saturday at à bientôt, where she'll share the stage with Maria Pucci of Gramercy Atelier, with whom she has collaborated on a line of gorgeously tailored jackets made from Vizard's beloved Fortuny fabrics.
Vizard's lifelong connection to Fortuny defies logic—she's not sure how she was able to identify the classic Venetian textiles as a child, but she could—and her passion for vintage fabrics only grew when she spent her formative years exploring timeless New Orleans estates.
"I do have this thing about the past—I love having my hands on stitches that people touched, and to think the European ones were usually done by nuns or women in convents or even by monks or guilds that did things for the royal families. So you're sitting there thinking, if this was made in France in the 18th century, it was around the time of the revolution. It's just amazing to think about that."
Vizard says she became a decorator by accident, working first on her own home and then helping her friends, and making her pillows grew out of the frustration of the time, effort and expense required to getting her hands on custom pillows. As it turns out, the canvas for expression that pillows offered is a perfect complement to her passion and personality.
"I'm kind of a dysfunctional perfectionist. That's why I'm much better at making pillows than designing rooms. I always thought the room could be better. A pillow only has so many things to obsess over," she says.
Twenty years into her successful pillow business—she notes that several of her works have made their way into River Oaks homes—she found a new way to display and appreciate Fortuny fabrics. For her son's rehearsal dinner, she commissioned Pucci to make her a jacket from her own vintage textile—and the result was more amazing than anything she could have envisioned.
"When it came it had details I would never have even thought of," she says.
After getting raves from her friends, she decided a bigger collaboration was in order. The result, Venezia Bespoke Jackets of Fortuny, are one-of-a-kind, handmade garments that can be ordered with or without Vizard's vintage trims, starting at $2,950.
"With Fortuny fabric, you usually see it still, like a curtain or a pillow. When you wear it and its moving, it's kinetic. The light hits it in different directions, it's just spectacular," says Vizard.
Meet Rebecca Vizard and check out her works at a book signing and trunk show at Watkins Culver on Nov. 17-18. She'll also be hosting a book signing and a Venezie Bespoke Jackets of Fortuny trunk show with Gramercy Atelier at á bientôt on Nov. 18-19 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with a cocktail party on Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m.