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Ace of Shades offers bespoke Victorian style lampshades you didn’t know you needed – The Zoe Report | Casual Expat

At the top of a Brooklyn brownstone there is a small pink room. And in this space, there’s a rainbow of fabric nestled in a tower of shelves, a closet covered in fringes, a wall covered in colorful threads, and a series of metal structures. Together they become bespoke Victorian style lampshades designed by Ivy Karlsgodt for her company Ace of Shades.

Karlsgodt moved to New York in 2018 as a costume designer, helping at a costume shop designing clothing for Broadway, film and television. But when everything shut down at the start of the pandemic, like so many do, she had plenty of time on her hands. Sitting at home, she became more aware of her surroundings and began to understand her personal style as expressed in home decor. It wasn’t as minimalist as she thought; Instead, she turned her gaze to maximalism and vintage finds, and soon began craving a Victorian-style lamp, one of those intricate fabric textures glittered with fringes and embroidery.

The only problem was that such treasures often come at a high price – so Karlsgodt decided to use her skills as a designer to make them herself. “It’s a similar process to making hats,” she says, a process she was familiar with from her costume work. As we chat she sits on a metal stool adorned with a fluffy white cushion, a tiger print rug at her feet. Her platinum blonde hair is secured with pearl clasps, and she has a tattoo of an 18th-century lady on one arm and a 16th-century French emblem on the other. An ace of spades symbol punctures her right wrist; She thought it would be fun to use a pun as the name of her company.

Although there weren’t many resources for lampshade design, Karlsgodt found DVDs of Victorian lampshade artist Mary Maxwell and made a few practice pieces of his own. For her bedroom, she crafted a small tulip lamp accented entirely by hand with pleated black chiffon, red velvet, and black fringes, and recorded the process in a video she posted on TikTok. Maybe it would be a new hobby or a small part-time job? She hadn’t expected the answer she received. “They just kind of showed up right away,” she says. This video posted in December 2020 now has over 61,000 likes. She has up to 374.3k followers on the platform and 172k on Instagram; Some videos on TikTok have up to 2.8 million views.

And that’s no wonder. With their glittering fringes and fabrics, flowers and embroidery, Karlsgodt’s elegant, intricate lampshades are a feast for the eyes, all too dazzled by cat videos and car karaoke. Seeing them come together in time lapse is kind of magic and people took notice. She started getting DMs about lampshade orders and started making them while still working in costume design, but the combination of two full-time jobs was draining. Karlsgodt has been working full-time on Ace of Shades since summer 2022. It even had to close orders: with its current customers it is booked until January 2023 – as it takes between five and 27 hours for a single lamp – and will open again for orders after that. (You can sign up for their newsletter to keep up to date if you’re interested.)

When ordering, Karlsgodt customers can choose from a catalog of lampshade options and share their color and style ideas. “Sometimes they have really specific ideas about the types of textiles they like,” she says, explaining common requests like pleated chiffon, velvet, burnt velvet, or appliqués. “Or can we get some flower pictures in there? can you put a bird on it Sometimes they just say, ‘I don’t know, I like blue,’” she laughs. From there she develops a design – on her iPad she can stick photos of textiles onto the lamp design – and sends the mock to the client, followed by a back-and-forth collaborative dialogue until the final design is approved. Karlsgodt has also started making camp lamps and one-of-a-kind creations that they can sell on their online shop when a custom order isn’t possible – they’re all sold out at the moment, but they’re making more and more.

Working on Ace of Shades allows Karlsgodt to be involved in both the production and the design of the object, using exquisite, luxurious fabrics. Typically, she says, in costume design you work either in production or design, or you make garments like leotards that need to be durable enough to withstand multiple quick changes behind the scenes each week. “This job allows me to use all the beautiful things that I always wished for,” she says. “It was very exciting to be able to use these more delicate and vintage textiles and embellishments and things that I don’t normally get to use in costumes.”

Karlsgodt lampshades are a perfect match for style’s return to maximalism in a world increasingly affected by the pandemic. Along with that fiery Valentino pink, a proliferation of platform shoes, a revival of nostalgia, and a revival of art deco opulence, it seems like many people are looking to ditch their sweatpants and fleece blankets, both literally and metaphorically. Why bother with beige when you can have blue? Why settle for polyester when you could have pleated chiffon? If there’s ever a moment when we’re stuck at home again, why not make it as fabulous as it can be? Karlsgodt’s Ace of Shades also asks this question and gives a beautiful and luxurious answer.

Updated: September 19, 2022 — 5:38 pm

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