It was a night spent sleeping beneath an old-fashioned eiderdown that inspired Chloe Lamb to launch a business making luxury silk versions for the contemporary consumer. “This old, down-filled eiderdown looked so elegant but was also unbelievably snuggly and warm,” she says. “I went to sleep idly wondering why they had dropped out of use and woke up absolutely determined to bring them back.”
And so she has. Counting Lambs launched in August 2012 with a collection of exquisite, handmade silk eiderdowns in six standard bed sizes and three weave patterns (cobble, diamond or fishtail), joined six months later by a bespoke division.
“The silk we use comes from a mill near Lake Como in Italy,” Lamb explains. “I chose it not only for the quality of its fabric but also because it has the best selection of colours I have seen, so it seemed natural to offer customers a colour-matching service.”
Clients who want to co-ordinate an eiderdown with their wallpaper, bed headboard or, in a recent case, custom-dyed valence, simply send in a swatch or shade reference and Lamb will spend a day painstakingly selecting the dozen or so silk threads that match most closely. Once the client is happy, the silk is woven at the Italian mill before being returned to Counting Lamb’s Norfolk headquarters where it is cut, lined with the softest Swiss batiste, piped, embroidered and filled with goose down (sourced from the coldest regions of Europe, since the chillier the climate, the fluffier the down).
Lamb only works with silk from her chosen mill and will not take on patterns, other than the simplest stripes, since she feels that they interfere with the label’s signature embroidered designs. She will, however, happily accommodate requests regarding size and shape. For example, one recent commission from the owner of a large country house had her team creating emperor-sized eiderdowns with curved ends to fit around antique headboards and footboards. Another saw her creating a goose-down blanket for a client who wanted something wider and thinner that could be tucked right under the mattress.
The eiderdowns take around six weeks to make and prices start at £399 for a standard double (bespoke sizes are priced on request) – and the finished pieces are deserving of both the wait and the cost. As Lamb says of her creations: “I like to think that our eiderdowns will be regarded as family heirlooms.”