An Irish fabric brand goes worldwide

Luxury French house Pierre Frey has acquired the rights to Sequana’s tweeds and linens

In a first for an Irish fabrics brand, the world-renowned luxury French house Pierre Frey has acquired the rights to the Sequana Fabric Collection from its founder, Paris based Mary Shaw, in a deal that will see worldwide distribution of its Irish tweeds and leaf pattern linens.

At a presentation last month in the Automobile Club in Paris, Patrick Frey, grandson of the founder, said that he had fallen under the spell of Shaw’s materials “with their unique, vibrant and daring colour harmonies”.

Co Down born Shaw, a longtime resident of the French capital, launched Sequana (the Latin name for the Seine) in 1997 at a time when interior style was predominantly minimal, with a lot of chrome, black leather, green plants and white walls.

“I wanted to display something completely different, to do colour and texture – a completely new concept and it hit a nerve,” she recalls. Since then she has forged a reputation for her daring, deep saturated colour harmonies in tones reflecting the Irish landscape and renewing traditional herringbone and patterned tweeds in scale and colour.


“I prefer to focus on the notion of atmosphere rather than decoration,” she says.

Shaw’s signature style is working all shades of green together, putting several shades of blue together for enrichment, mixing velvet with tweed and combining shades of red with pink and orange.

She has been working with Magee in Donegal for nearly 30 years and in 2010 received the Decouvert prize at Maison et Objects Fair in Paris for the originality and quality of her work.

Sequana fabrics can be found in five-star luxury hotels in London, New York and Paris, and a book about her work called Deco A L’Ecole de Mary Shaw was published in 2015.

A longtime client of Shaw’s, Nathalie Gillier, founder of BazarChic which is an interiors company now owned by Galeries Lafayette, engineered a meeting between Shaw and the Frey family last year. “Patrick understood the essence of Sequana immediately and seemed to be smitten,” says Shaw.

Founded in 1935, Pierre Frey is a family run business, well known for its eclectic and extensive archive of fabrics both heritage and modern based around colour. It has dominated the world of interior design since its foundation.

Mary Shaw will retain the right to the name of Sequana and the other aspects of her brand such as furniture, glassware and tableware. In the meantime, she is involved as a consultant to an “wonderful and exciting” project in Vaucluse, Provence.,