Tie-Dyed Leather

With its garish explosions of color and inescapable hippie associations, tie-dye is an unlikely candidate for high-style textile design. Yet Maya Romanoff’s new line of tie-dyed leather is unexpectedly elegant. Instead of explosions, there are ripples. The colors are earthy and restrained. Paired with a Louis Quinze-style chair, the leather looks stately, almost regal.

It’s a far cry from the tie-dyed T-shirts Romanoff spotted at Woodstock in 1969—designs that inspired him to experiment with resist-dye techniques for the surface materials company he founded shortly thereafter. With postcollege travels in North Africa and a stint in Paris couture under his belt, Romanoff was looking to meld traditional hands-on artistry with upper-crust fashions. “Maya saw the most basic, crude tie-dyed T-shirt and went in the opposite direction—mining ancient techniques to bring tie-dye to the highest level,” says Laura Romanoff, vice president of the company and Maya’s niece.

“I spent weeks working nonstop,” Romanoff says of his early experimentation with the technique. “I would do things over and over to get a better result and to perfect the effect.” Much of his custom work since has involved leather, but the company released its second line only a few months ago, just as Romanoff’s designs were attracting renewed interest. Disney at Home, a new home-furnishings division of the entertainment corporation, was recently recruiting designs for its “Alice in Wonderland” line—as a result, tie-dyed leather was reborn last October at a Mad Hatter-themed tea party in Bel Air, California. What a long, strange trip indeed.


Premium cowhide hand-colored with organic acid dyes.

The leather is durable and stain-resistant, and the dyes resist fading.

Made to order, the leather can be used for any number of purposes, including upholstery, wall surfaces, throws, wraps, and floor coverings.

Maya Romanoff
1730 West Greenleaf
Chicago, IL 60626

Tel: (773) 465-6909

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