We’re known for high-style, high-performance carpet. It’s a product we’re exceptionally proud of – but we’re even more proud of the people who make the product possible. It’s their ideas. Their inspiration. Their stories. Their teams. Their process. These are the things that make Bentley truly unique. So let’s go beyond the carpet and talk to the people who make us – and our products – special.
Here is the first of what will be a series of profiles. Each month we’ll ask one of our Bentley employees a couple of probing questions – about their experiences and their perspectives on where the commercial carpet world is going. Say hello to Libby Cook, Bentley’s Director of Product Development Operations, otherwise known as our Trendcaster.
With a textile design education and background, Libby worked for various West Coast interiors and garment fabric companies for a few years before transitioning to the carpet industry in the late 1980s. She’s worked in both commercial and residential mills, gaining knowledge of yarn, design and technical construction. As Libby puts it, “it’s a continual process of learning.”
1.Bentley carpet is where fashion meets the floor. How do you believe the company stays true to this mission? Our product and marketing team members are constantly exposed to various influences, including art and fashion. These influences are then translated into carpet patterns, colors, and all of the supporting collateral including brochures with up-to-date photography and location shoots. With our headquarters in Los Angeles, we’re immersed in West Coast culture; it’s a huge part of our heritage and personality.
2.How/when did you become interested in fashion and its related trends? As a kid I did every craft imaginable that I could wear, or sell to someone else to wear: macramé, weaving, beading, knitting, crocheting, and needlepoint. I sought out whatever I could put my design and color stamp on. I started sewing my own clothes at age 10 so I could make what I envisioned and wound up with a closet full of one of a kind creations. Throughout high school and college, I worked exclusively in fabric stores and have continued to pay attention to the fashion industry ever since. I’ve been happily immersed in fabric and color my entire life!
3.How do you predict trends? It’s not a crystal ball; everything has an effect on everything else. It’s about paying attention to what’s happening in a myriad of influences – current events, politics, media, fashion, art and architecture just to name a few. For instance, this summer at the Rio Olympics, we’ll see winning countries’ colors become more prevalent in fashion, paint colors, or even bedding.
4.How would you describe your style? Where do you get your fashion inspiration from? My personal style is primarily tailored with clean lines and neutral colors, but I love a pop of something unexpected like a bright color or a cool shoe. Editing is key. I subscribe to the idea of less is more. I browse runway show pics several times a year to look at my faves and new designers. Interiors and fashion are inextricably intermingled so I check out a lot of interior design on the web and in magazines, and furniture and lighting as well.
5.How does this interest help in your role as product designer for Bentley? My style and experience allow me to help cultivate the selections the Bentley team makes for final product introductions. I believe I have a great sense for what looks good and what works.
6.What are the two or three trends already influencing – or that you predict soon will – commercial carpet designs? How/why? One influence from fashion is a mix of bright and dull lusters. We use yarn fibers of varying luster to create texture and dimension. Here’s an example of a dress with a sparkly fabric, and Bentley’s Manifesto color Free & Brave with a similar aesthetic. Another way fashion influences us is with color. When we like it enough to wear it, then we want to see it also in other areas of our daily lives. Orange has been around for a few years, but is still very important. A clear light green is also a fun, fresh accent for carpet. These are examples from a new line we’re currently developing. We are also using high-luster yarns in this line, which combines trends.