A true designer can find inspiration anywhere and for just about anything. Even within the tucks and folds of the papal robes and accessories from the Sistine Chapel sacristy.
In the summer of 2018, interior designer Colleen Waguespack—fresh off a magazine event in Manhattan—found herself alone, roaming the corridors of the Metropolitan Museum of Art while exploring its “Heavenly Bodies” exhibit. The show was a unique juxtaposition of fashion and the traditions of the Catholic Church and featured items never before seen outside the Vatican. But Colleen’s design eye wasn’t fashion-focused that day. It homed in on a simple sash tied around the waist of a priest-like robe and saw interior design possibilities. She envisioned the perfect adornment to a product created by her décor company Fig & Dove.
“I’ve never really been a bow person,” says Colleen, who notes that her interior style is simple and streamlined. “So when I saw the sash, I knew that it would work well with our brand and the boxwood wreaths we were already creating.”
Within weeks, the Fig & Dove team launched its Wreath Sash using designer fabrics previously selected for the company’s Christmas stockings. The concept was easy enough: monogram the stylish sash and tie it in a simple knot on a boxwood wreath to decorate the front door. Soon the small, local sales turned into a large-scale production, and the sashes sold out. The holidays came and went, and clients wanted to keep their boxwood wreaths on display with more wreath-sash options for year-round decor.
Fig & Dove delivered.
Today, the company offers its Wreath Sash for all occasions, including a child’s first communion, wedding day décor, school pride nationwide, and every national holiday. Alisson Allen, wife of New Orleans Saints head coach Dennis Allen, ordered 24 custom wreath sashes and wreaths for the Saints’ coaches’ doors. Now the wreath sash trend has spawned national knockoffs created in everything from burlap to painter’s drop cloth. And the story of how it all started gets lost in the mass production. “We came up with the name. Now the ‘wreath sash’ is a common term,” says Colleen.
But she doesn’t regret finding inspiration on that trip to New York, and she’s glad that she was open enough to consider door décor in a room full of Vatican vestments. “When you are building a business, you really have to put yourself out there. You can’t come up with the next great thing sitting at home.”