KAJAAL, Cashmere King
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KAJAAL, Cashmere King
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The world of fashion and design stylishly collide in Paris-based cashmere home interiors brand Kajaal’s luxury home couture collection.

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Christian Wilmes
 

Carving out a niche for premium knitted cashmere blankets, throws and cushions, the label in the five years since it launched has become a favourite among interior designers drawn to its unique colours, ultra modern graphics and gloriously soft cashmere — the perfect combo for adding visual accents and a chic cocooning vibe to spaces, be it for a home, private jet or yacht. Take, for instance, this season’s Dorian ribbed cashmere throw, which with its invigorating spectrum of white, aqua, lagoon and horizon-blue strips evokes holidays at the beach house.

Kajaal’s complex designs, which are manufactured by an elite network of Italian knitters and spinners from the apparel industry, boast impeccable constructions and finishes similar to those used on luxury garments. Styles span revisited classics - like cable-knits, herringbones and basketweaves - and graphic colour-blocked designs in sophisticated palettes ranging from timeless naturals to vivid hues. Lighter weights are used for summer, such as the line’s fine-gauge cotton-cashmere blanket in heather-effect pale denim that has a fresher touch yet still boasts 20 percent cashmere.

David Monefeldt, the label’s founder, comes from a fashion background having worked on the commercial teams of a number of luxury brands - including Bottega Veneta, Yves Saint Laurent and Gucci - for 20 years. Across his career, he compiled a precious black book of first class supplier contacts from the garment industry with a view to one day harnessing their know-how for designs for the home, focusing on top quality Italian cashmere as the main ingredient. “You have cashmere and you have cashmere. 

 

Today the market has been drowned by cashmere, so if I was going to do cashmere, it had to be the best,” says the designer who launched Kajaal upon returning from a two-year mission in India overseeing Gucci’s retail development. It was in India that Monefeldt was introduced to a Persian lady named Kajaal, which in Persian means “seeing through the darkness.” Drawn to the name’s balance of strength and softness and sense of mystery, he chose it for his brand as a reflection of its unique offering and international perspective.

Echoing fashion’s rhythms, a new colour story is released each season. Monefeldt, who grew up in France, Denmark and England, likes to build stories around colours and materials, using a “Scandinavian approach to things,” focused on minimalism, comfort and design. “I have more of a Nordic influence than a Latin one and at the same time I like the luxurious touch that you can find in certain French brands,” he says.

The designs offer different visual effects depending on the way they are folded, playing on positive/negative patterns, say, combining different stitches across one piece or plains with graphics. Monefeldt, a gifted colourist, likes to coordinate different elements of the line, pairing for instance a cushion honed from two triangles of coloured suede with a colour-blocked striped throw in the same palette. “I like it when everything goes together but is not completely matched,” says Monefeldt, who is strongly influenced by Scandinavian design from the 50s and 60s. “I’m always inspired by graphics, be it from architecture, old stone floors, or whatever. I’m not so much into florals!” When asked for care tips for his cashmere throws, Monefeldt explained that even a very good cashmere will bobble in the beginning, because the hair is so rich that the extra hair “just falls off,” though it soon stabilizes. “Throws need to be dry cleaned in order to keep their shape, I’d say once a year, except if you have a baby around, or a dog, or stains,” says Monefeldt. “What I do with mine is just put them out in the garden in the fresh air.”

Though cashmere remains Kajaal’s main act, other noble materials, such as orylag, suede and leather, have been added to the line, sometimes combining materials, with fabulous long leather fringes edging some of the cashmere throws. The lozenge is Kajaal’s graphic signature, worked on everything from cushions to the latest addition to the label’s growing lifestyle universe: a scented candle line, once again made using the best suppliers, with natural French wax and frosted Italian glass containers decorated with a lozenge pattern that glows when the candles burn. The scents are inspired by luxe materials. Pure Cashmere has more of a cocooning, wintry mood with notes of amber and tonka bean adding an oriental touch. Cuir Eternel is a bit more urban and masculine, with accents of leather and patchouli, while Rêve de Soie is for the summer, with a Mediterranean vibe carried by hints of orange blossom, coriander and honey.
Distributed by a tight selection of high-end retailers, Esensual Living has signed a worldwide online exclusive with Kajaal.

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David Monefeldt
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