Husband and wife team, an architect and interior designer, share their passion for exotic travel and unique textiles.
It all started with a wedding proposal. Kathy and Rally Dupps were traveling through Southeast Asia, scouring traditional markets for unique textiles for their own personal collection, when Rally got down on one knee and proposed with a $5 sterling silver band found in Laos.
Upon their return home to the mountains of Aspen, Colorado, wedding plans began to unfold, and the couple searched for a ‘proper’ diamond wedding ring. “It all seemed so superficial, and it just didn’t feel right,” says Kathy. “ We decided to have a very small wedding instead of a grand affair and included our immediate families only. We also skipped the expensive ring in favor of our dream trip to India.”
Asia Dreams: Your trip to India inspired the initial idea for Katherine Rally. Tell us about what happened there.
Kathy: India is the pinnacle of textiles. If you love textiles, it’s heaven. We bought fabric there for my wedding dress and lots of other stuff. Textiles are an easy thing to pack and bring home. We have always had a love for textiles, and we brought back a ton from India to Aspen, although at the time we weren’t sure what we would do with it all.
Rally: I always worked to travel, and our big life question was ‘how can we incorporate travel into our lifestyle?’ Starting Katherine Rally allowed us to start spending a good chunk of time in Asia – at least 3 months every year – and we became obsessed with travel and Asian culture. The people, the easy, friendly lifestyle. The day-to-day exotic feeling and the way we feel safe here.
Asia Dreams: You share your time between one of the world’s most famous ski resorts and a pied-a-tier within walking distance to the Ubud Palace in Bali. What is it about this bohemian lifestyle that keeps the creative juices flowing?
Rally: It’s more of an accumulation of all our experiences than the actual places. Bali is the most creative, dynamic place we’ve ever been. The international component of different people from all over the world excites us and helps to keep fabric designs fresh. Taking the ancient craft of batik, and giving it a modern twist. I never know when a life experience is going to help create a new design. ‘Roman’, for example, was inspired by a visit to the Besakih Temple. A lengthy procession was taking place, so it forced me to just sit and wait. As I watched all of the Balinese go by, something on one of their prayer boxes caught my eye, and I began to doodle in the dust. I went straight home and created the print. Life in Asia is a crossroads of the ancient and modern, a mix that always has been and always will be. It’s all about being present here, no past, no future, just now.
Asia Dreams: How would you describe the style of your fabrics and pillows?
Kathy: Modern, traditional, we’re all about color and bold patterns. We’re a boutique art-based company where everything is made by hand, not by computers. Katherine Rally is soulful. So many hands have touched our fabrics, from us picking it out initially to the guy who actually hand stamps the batik pattern.
Asia Dreams: Katherine Rally has been featured in everything from Elle Décor to Coastal Living. What makes the line so versatile?
Rally: It resonates with people who love to travel. We’re also lucky that we have hit a nerve with top interior designers. It’s amazing what they do with our products. People with talent in that field never cease to surprise us with how they can incorporate our prints and colors into spaces that normally might not seem to fit. They add another layer of creativity, the unexpected
Asia Dreams: What’s happening in the exciting world of Katherine Rally right now?
Kathy: We are trying to go back to classics in general. We recently introduced a classic stripe pattern and it instantly became one of our most popular. Polka dots are next.
Asia Dreams: Tell us about some of your favorite projects featuring Katherine Rally.
Rally: We did a line of children’s upholstered wooden furniture in Sweden that we loved. We did a movie set called ‘The Grandmothers’, starring Naomi Watts, that will be released later this year. They actually built a beach house on the coast of Australia and used our fabrics to create the interiors. Saks Fifth Avenue orders from us twice a year to line a collection of their handbags. There’s a company in New York City that specializes in updating antique furniture. They use our textiles to give the pieces a modern edge
Asia Dreams: Any fun travel plans on the near horizon?
Rally: We’re going back to India for three weeks over Christmas, the first time we’ll be back since that initial trip. We’re bringing our two kids, a bunch of empty duffel bags, and plan to stay in restored palaces. Besides collecting textiles, travel for us is also all about experiencing living historic architecture or living museums. We’ll be in Rajasthan, the heart of Indian textiles. The flag of India actually features a small spinning wheel. Even though we have our own line, it’s still fun to collect other textiles. Rajasthan is a gateway to central Asia so we’ll be knee deep in textiles from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Eastern China, etcetera.
Asia Dreams: What has been a highlight for you since starting Katherine Rally?
Kathy: I knew we were onto a good thing when one of the more famous interior designers in New York, someone I had always idolized, actually started to order fabric from us. That was an exciting day, for sure.