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New York, Show Recap

Rug Buyers Turn Out to Shop the Latest Hand-Knotted Rugs at COVER Connect

Dealers attending COVER Connect, the first high-end trade show for hand-knotted area rugs in New York in two years, were excited to see the latest rugs on display at the boutique event. 

Lisa Vincenti
buyers shopping rugs at the Cover Connect 2021 in New York
Rug dealers were thrilled to attend first boutique hand-knotted area rug event in two years at COVER Connect.

NEW YORK -- The opening day of COVER Connect, a boutique rug show hosted in the Altman Building in Manhattan, was teaming with dealers shopping the latest high-end hand-knotted rug designs.

In fact for many buyers, this has been their first in-person event in two years, and the timing of the three-day show, which closed on Monday, Sept. 27, was welcomed by attendees. COVER Connect filled a major hole in the high-end trade show calendar left by the absence of the annual Rug Show New York, typically hosted in late summer, early fall, following the death of Ramin Mobayen, founder and Rug Show organizer in January 2020.  In addition, buyers surveyed by RugNews.com were looking for new trending product to refresh their galleries and showrooms, and were glad to be able to do so at a live event.

"I always used to attend the Rug Show this time of year and hadn't been in two years --and I needed product," said Beth Assaf, owner of New Orleans-area Rug Chic, which specializes in hand-knotted rugs. "I really just want to go to rug shows that are rug shows and this is great."

RugNews.com bumped into Assaf browsing Tamarian's booth, a manufacturer she has not worked with before. "I really like the more transitional and contemporary designs at Tamarian. But we sell everything at Rug Chic, we sell a lot of Oushaks and a lot of Afghan products. Pretty much a lot of what's here at the show now, so it was a good show for us to be at."

Beth Assaf, owner of Rug Chic, meets the Tamarian team at the inaugural COVER Connect show.

Brian Robins, co-owner of Portland's Kush Rugs, a source for edgy or unexpected custom designs and fashion-forward rugs, welcomed the return of a boutique rug show geared toward the high-end. "It is great that shows are coming back, they add a lot of information and being up to date is important for us. We need to see new ideas and what's happening in the market. We are known for our quirky style. We do a lot of custom and modern work, but we also sell a lot of simple textures in grays and blues."

Brian Robins, co-owner of Portland's Kush Rugs, takes a break at the French Accents Rugs booth.

Mike Bailey, with rug and flooring showroom Addison/Dicus & Bailey, in Tampa, Florida, who says business has been flourishing, was on the hunt for new product for clients. "Over the past few years everything has been that deconstructed abstract look but today traditional designs, which have been around for hundreds of years, are attracting more people. People like them and are getting drawn back in to them. The Oushak and Turkish designs, being more open, can work in a more contemporary setting and that is why they are popular again. Rug manufacturers like French Accents aren't reinventing the wheel in terms of design but they are recoloring them so they work with current fabrics."

The opening day of COVER Connect was busy with high-end rug dealers on the hunt for new product.


Anadol's new Turkish Angora Ushaks, made of Angora wool in Turkish villages, sold fast at the 2021 COVER Connect show.

Anadol, founded in 1984 and based in Atlanta, brought stacks of its new Turkish Angora Ushak collection to Cover CONNECT. Many of which sold at the show -- one buyer bought a stack of creamy grounds with cool blues and grays. Anadol manufactures genuine reproductions of Angora Ushaks at its factories in Ushak, where rugs are woven with Angora Wool purchased from native herdsmen and woven in local villages.


Battalossi's new Akira, detail above, toys with the Japanese-Scandinavian fusion of Japandi but gives it a mid-century twist.

Italian label Battalossi showcased Akira at COVER Connect, a design informed by Japanese textiles and country Swedish and French styles but with a mid-century twist. This hand-crafted rug is made in Pakistan of a blend of soumak, kilim and pile textures.


L.A.-based Caravan Rugs showcased its abstract styled Hess collection of hand-knotted designs. Shown Pappie.

Most of L.A.-based Caravan Rugs' sales over the past year have been online and the company's program line is what most retailers have been purchasing. However, the company welcomed the specialist fair in New York. On show at Caravan's booth were both modern and transitional rugs, including its abstract Hesse collection, crafted of wool and silk or bamboo silk.


Roz Rustigian, owner of the Rhode Island-based Rustigian Rugs, shops COVER Connect and stops by the Creative
Matters booth. Shown, Origin

Carol Sebert, co-owner of the Toronto studio Creative Matters, noted,"I was really glad about this show and the size. Business has been great, we have been in the industry for 35 years so we have a lot of longstanding clients. And there is a real loyalty, a lot of clients where there for us. Residential picked up a bit -- and we do a lot of hotels, the hospitality rebound has been slower but has really taken off. But throughout the pandemic we were able to keep all of our staff and we wanted to keep our mills busy, so that is part of the reason behind these new collections."

The latest rugs that Creative Matters rolled out at the show include the high-low geometrics designs Origin and Hemma, made in India, and abstract hand-knot design (Ambient) crafted in Nepal.

In the foreground, Toronto's Creative Matters introduces Hemma, a high-texture, multi-dimensional geometric, crafted in India.


French Accents Rugs showcased a number of classic motifs, but recolored them and opened pattern placement for
modern tastes. Shown, Khotan KH195B

New York City showroom French Accent Rugs showcased 90 new rugs for buyers at the first COVER Connect boutique rug show, said Danny Shifiian, owner. Among the highlights are its wool Khotan collection of recolored iconic designs and its Modern Nepalese Bespoke assortment, which offers a range of bold modern geometric designs hand-knotted of wool and silk.

Danny Shafiian, owner French Accents Rugs, shows Mike Bailey and Drew Dicus of Addison/Dicus & Bailey the 
latest designs.


Knots Rugs focused on its Artist Collaboration rugs and highlighted its Nepalese hand-knot At the End Of The Day,
which reinterprets the work of contemporary English artist George Morton-Clark.

U.K.-based Knots Rugs displayed several designs from its Artist Collaboration series, including a new collection with American painter Brian Coleman. It also showcased its striking rendition of a painting by English artist George Morton-Clark titled At the End of the Day, which is handmade of 50 percent Tibetan wool and 50 percent Chinese silk in Nepal.

Industry veteran Sanjay Purohit manned the Knots Rugs booth -- as the U.K. team, due to COVID travel restrictions,
was unable to attend.


Hand-woven rug gallery Lapchi offered plenty of neutral contemporary designs for shoppers.

Chicago rug design studio Lapchi injected plenty of new textures, yarn types and colors into its 2021 debuts at the COVER Connect rug show. So while the past seven years have been dominated by blue and gray palettes, and prior to that beige and brown, clients are willing to go with more colorful rugs, so the company reworked some of its most popular designs in fresh colorations, including reds, purples, oranges and more. Lapchi also debuts Channels, hand-made in Nepal. The two color rug made of wool, silk and sari silk, which includes greens, fuchsia and cyan, lending the rug a variegated  feel. 

Lapchi debuted its Channels rug, made in Nepal of wools, sari silk and real silk, and which has a companion piece,
Stepp, crafted with a single color yarn in a "solid" field design.


The Scarab buying team (from left, Brady Anthony, Tara Klaers, center right, and Larry Stone) meets with New
Moon's Erika Kurtz. Shown, Laseda

New Moon Rugs, a producer of Nepalese hand-crafted rugs, stressed its large variety of styles at the COVER Connect event. Among the highlights were Laseda, a 100-knot painterly design made of Tibetan wool and Chinese silk; the ombre-like Fade design, also a 100-knot quality rug, hand-knotted in blend of Tibetan wool, Chinese silk and natural nettle fibers; and the charming botanical Lark Meadow design from the Flora collection. Lark Meadow,  is the most detailed and intricate rug that New Moon produces and is comprised of 176 different color combinations. It is made of a blend of Tibetan wool, Chinese silk and natural nettle fibers.


Rug & Kilim's Josh Nazmiyal gives Marco Rebollar Garcia, left, and Jessica Young, Tapis Decor, Minneapolis,
a tour of the latest looks, including a high-low texture Scandinavian and Deco influenced design.

"We now have more than 100 patterns and in seven different qualities and textures in our Scandinavian collections, which are really a testament to our commitment and devotion to the type," said Josh Nazmiyal, founder of NY rug showroom Rug & Kilim. "We introduced two new ones, adding to our Outdoor, Hemp and Linen lines, so it’s continuously expanding with new yarns, new dyes, new scales, new feels. We’ve been embellishing it with some Deco patterns too."


Samad's fine hand-knotted Deco collection, in the foreground, gives the style a modern makeover.

New Jersey-based Samad, offered a range of styles for rug shoppers, including its bold Deco collection of fine hand-knotted rugs made in India of 100 percent. hand-carded wool. In addition, Samad has rolled out several new decorative, yet affordable hand-knotted collections Catalina and Cascade. The company also expands its Caspian and highly popular Nordic collections brand-new designs.


Sumaq Alpaca introduced a new textural design to its lime of sumptuous alpaca area rugs.

Canadian Sumaq Alpaca, a manufacturer of Peruvian crafted Alpaca wool rugs said it was glad to be back in New York for a rug event. "NYC shows have always been our most successful as we have a huge U.S. client base," said Collis Verdicchio, co-founder of the Vancouver company. "We have been trying to develop more visually interesting rugs and since our rugs sell based on feel, it is great to be in-person again."

Sumaq Alpaca luxurious rugs are handmade by local artisans and the business promotes ethical manufacturing practices at every step of its production process. It debuts new designs crafted with yarns of different textures to add depths to its clean designs.


Tamarian's tribal geometric from the Ghazni collection will be formally introduced in High Point. 

Affirming its commitment to all natural fibers, Tamarian introduced its Ghazni [check spelling] collection knotted of pure wool at Cover Connect. Ned Baker said “The market likes a lot of color in a rug to pull from – we’re all about creating solutions so we designed the Ghazni line with many colors in the designs to pull from and play with." The line is made in India and previewed at COVER Connect prior to its High Point Market debut next month.

Rug merchants review some of Tamarian's modern geometric designs, such as Portugal TK in Salmon River, crafted
of a twisted knot in of 80 percent wool and 20 percent silk.

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