Guess who has entered the home furnishings area? It’s Prince Charles. The man who certainly knows great luxury has unveiled a line of luxury goods and aims to take on the Tiffanys, Wedgwoods and Waterfords of the world.
Called Traditional Arts, the collection consists of china, crystal and silver designed by graduates of the Prince’s School of Traditional Arts in East London and other young designers. The products went on sale in Britain and the Middle East in January 2008 and are set to debut in American stores later this year. Their colorful and delicate designs—featuring lotuses, suns and moons, swirling arabesques and tiny geometric patterns—are inspired by 11th- century Islamic manuscripts, miniature Mughal paintings and motifs from Egyptian myths.
Each design has a raison d’être, an approach that embodies the philosophy of the school, which is dedicated to reviving and preserving arts and crafts traditions. Traditional Arts made the decision to produce the items at small companies—including Caverswall China, Staffordshire Crystal and Grant Macdonald—throughout Europe. Traditional Arts also takes custom orders, unlike most major brands.
It should be mentioned that HRH Prince of Wales is not new to selling luxury goods. In 1992, he launched a line of comestibles called Duchy Originals. The line features organic food and soaps, and generates $100 million in annual sales. The profits from both Duchy Originals, and Traditional Arts will be sent directly to the Prince’s Charities Foundation, the umbrella organization that includes the arts school, one of just a few in the West that teaches subjects such as stained-glass-window making, gilding, lettering and Islamic calligraphy. This autumn the brand will move beyond the tabletop and begin offering cuff links, neckties and carpets. Also planned are leather journals made of the hides of deer that roamed the Balmoral estate, the royals’ summer residence in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.
Offerings from the Traditional Arts line include the Sun & Moon teapot and round boxes featuring Mughal elephants.