Zak+Fox: A Deeper Look at the Decorative Arts

New York-based Zak+Fox presents its new collection with a handsomely moody new Park Avenue showroom and more designs than ever.

At some point, you’ve likely found yourself at a museum or gallery, confronted with a painting, or a sculpture, that made you think about the hands that made it—made you wonder what the artist meant by it all, what they were feeling as they made that piece of art. And yet similar reflection is rarely afforded to the decorative arts, the functional pieces that bring life and texture to our interiors. But a new collection by New York’s Zak+Fox, its largest to date, might have you think twice.

The textile brand released a new ‘Harvest’ collection just in time for Paris Déco Off just months ago, but don’t expect simple new takes on stripes and florals; the collection arrives with a deeper backstory tinged with a bit of soul searching by Zak Profera, its founder and creative director.

“It’s a wildly colorful collection that sort of came out of a personal place of loss and mourning for me–which is strange to associate with a fabric collection,” admits Profera. “It was a deeply personal thing that I felt like I worked through, and I had a lot to say and express.”

In the midst of several life events, it was the loss of Shinji, his beloved Shiba Inu (inspiration for the latter part of Zak+Fox’s name) that fueled much of the collection’s sentiment. It wasn’t exactly Profera’s intention to imbue designs with his emotional process–he wasn’t even totally aware he was even doing it, didn’t understand how that related to what he was making. But the background has a way of working themselves into the main picture.




“When I look back, I’m like oh, I was holding onto these memories of my life, which resulted in this collection,” says Profera. “Things I lost, things that are intimate for me, are very present in it.”

It would be easy to get drawn into the darkness; pain is naturally gripping. But Profera insists loss is not the whole story here. There is lightness to the collection, vibrancy is many of the colors, and movement in the very idea that Harvest represents change. Appreciating the end of a journey and the start of a new one, otherwise known as a full cycle? That’s life.

You can easily spot this in the textile aptly named “When he passed away, we raced out this beautiful tapestry that we had kind of been working on that didn’t have a direction,” says Profera. “It was very clear that he needed to be a part of it, and so we put that in the collection in his honor.”

Memories are strong in other textiles, too. Hotaru, inspired by an old Kimono stencil but rendered with an almost romantic French feel, stirs with fireflies spreading their wings over patterned wisps of grass. “I have a house near Hudson, and my favorite thing on the planet is watching the fireflies,” says Profera of this sentimental piece. “That one feels close to home.”





Naturally, the collection has an abundance of textiles that more closely hint to the harvest itself, like Kakashi, a vibrant and lightly shaggy linen that reads like freshly cut straw. Or there’s Nohara, with hand-printed patterns of golden hay alongside earthy inks that nod to riches of soil and new growth, not to forget Kabocha, a colorful and twisting motif picked for one not-so-obvious reason (squash, according to the studio, announces the harvest season’s end).

Fittingly, the collection arrives as Zak+Fox embraces a new beginning. Weeks ago, the studio moved its showroom to a new, larger location his team designed from the ground up. Artisan textiles and wallpapers fill a series of rooms stacked with oak cases and velvet-lined drawers throughout an achingly handsome showroom and office on Park Avenue, which Profera likens to “It’s somewhere between [dark] academia and a private detective agency,” says Zak. “There’s a film noir feeling, and we wanted people to feel invited but curious, and embrace the sense of mystery and discovery when you get here.”

The new space is ripe for discovery, with Zak+Fox’s own patterns and materials across the walls–not to mention 6,000-square-feet of floors covered in custom rugs, an all-new product category for Zak+Fox that took three years to launch. “It’s really this phenomenal thing,” adds Zak of the new rugs. “I can’t believe we’re able to make something so extravagant and big and beautiful–all by hand.”

And it’s that human touch–mixed with a bit of whimsy–that tends to set much of Zak+Fox’s work apart. Textiles, wallpapers, and rugs that a bit dig deeper, pulling at the occasional heartstring, and never falling flat.