The success of Holly Hunt—both the designer and her eponymous empire of textile and furnishings showrooms—is based on instinct. The Chicago-based Hunt trusts her own tastes, reflected in her signature lines of elegant, low-key furniture and fabrics. She also trusts her judgment about the wants of the buying public, and this savvy sensibility has allowed her to cultivate and market the work of a range of contemporary talents, from minimalists like Christian Liaigre to eccentrics like Christian Astuguevieille. Hunt is a design world impresario — a prominent arbiter for stylish modern interiors and known foremost for fabrics, furniture designs and light fixtures. Modern sophistication, attention to detail, and a desire to cultivate talented contemporary designers are at the crux of the company’s success.
Born in central Texas to schoolteacher parents, Hunt was a creative girl who made her own clothes and bickered with her mother about decor. After graduating from Texas Tech, Hunt worked as department-store buyer and costume jewelry designer before marrying and helping her husband build a multimillion dollar transport company. Her hobby was decorating their homes. After the two divorced, Hunt purchased a showroom in the Chicago Merchandise Mart in 1983. Within 10 years, she was winning applause for her understated designs, her lavish showroom parties and her eye for rising design stars. Liaigre was her first discovery. Correctly surmising that his pared down furniture in dark wood would play well in the United States in the aftermath of the go-go ’80s, Hunt began marketing the French designer’s work in 1994.
Over the subsequent years Hunt has added a half-dozen showrooms and, following her own style barometer, has taken on other fresh talents, including glassmaker Alison Berger, French designer Christophe Pillet and couturier Ralph Rucci, making a foray into home design.
One constant over that time have been the aesthetics of Hunt’s own designs. Her fabrics — the first choice of many dealers when re-upholstering vintage seating — are understated, mixing muted colors and updates of classic patterns. Her furniture is simple and refined. As you will see on these pages, the name Holly Hunt represents a sense of timelessness and sophistication.