Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Halloween ambiance

Heaven indigo resist fabric from Storie della passione 
Genoa, Italy 17th century

Devaux-Bachelard tree design 1889 

Cape woven from  authentic spider silk 2011
by Simon Peers and Nicholas Godley

close up
...in honor of Nature's weavers

Sleeve with spider motif thought to come from burial dress of a Castilian princess
late 14th, early 15th century.

image ebay
Chauve souris et Pavots design by Verneuil 

image ebay

Fabric print design from Edmond Tapissier

Friday, October 25, 2013

Halloween glamour old and new

photo Christie's

Hélène Rochas 1946 bat mask at the la Nuit du Pré-Catelan.

image Mme Figaro

Roberto Cavalli owl coat

image Bohemian Chic

Feline scarf Charlotte Sparre

photo Vogue collection Musée Galliéra, Paris

Schiaparelli gloves, Griffes,  complete with gold 'nail art' 1936

Lanvin snake print dress

Valentino dress made of silk and genuine strips of serpent skin 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Jean-Paul Gaultier: moods for Maison

all photos from Lelièvre
I always think of the style Jean-Paul Gaultier as a gust of good humor playing at the masterful cuts and seams of his Couture collections. The designer never fails to give a brisk shake to the wrinkles of propriety by using a mischievous print or by converting what is rock, kitsch, and everyday into high fashion. Yet he never stints on rigor and traditional craft. By teaming up with the design department at Lelièvre,  his inventive joie de vivre has recently found its way into the home.

But there's another side to that effervescence, as you can see. I've selected 5 new fabrics from Jean-Paul Gaultier's most recent collection, Le Défilé, and what comes across is a romantic mood even with the state of the art technology that is evident behind these designs.

The relaxed linen digital print above called Vagabond set the tone for me with its flowing composition and roaming, soft focus photographic scene. (The boldest items of the collection, I'll leave you to see on the at the end of this post.)

Lace is a constant in Gaultier's world and this clever Jacquard stand-in, with all its delicate appearance, is actually resistant enough to be used as upholstery.

A small graphic motif with clean lines and iridescent weft.

Large scale irregular dot design with a dynamic painterly spirit on an innovative and resistant 
new cotton material that imitates suede -

in deep,warm colorways.

Sweetly nostalgic with humor creeping in -
there's the ubiquitous striped Gaultier marinère on the putti and romantic figures here. What seems to be a classic arrangement of medallions is in fact a woven compostion of six different scenes which can be isolated and cut out to use creatively in an original decor.

And now, you can follow up on the boldest, most colorful side of the collection at the 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Light as air

photo Lelièvre 

Kenzo isn't alone to have its textile head in the clouds lately. A glance outside was always good for inspiration and now this cloth makes the perfect reverie for a
window with or without a view. 
Lelièvre has designed Cirrus, a wide width textured sheer in grey... 


or blue. 

photo Atelier de Soierie
In Lyon, the Atelier de Soierie proposes cumulus and stratus scarves inspired by two artists. 

photo Atelier de Soierie

and  Boudin

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Vincent Darré Print Collection for Frey

photo © Claire Israël
I like a surreal touch here and there, it keeps us on our toes, so the universe of Vincent Darré has always tickled my fancy. He recently gave his particular stamp to the smallest room in the 17th century hôtel particulier, L’Enclos des Bernardins where this year's AD magazine France interior decorating event took place. Darré was one of 15 other leading decorators and architects who worked within the theme of Metamorphosis. 

The narrow room was no limitation for the designer's fancy. In fact, he chose its strange dimensions with its towering ceiling and broad windows for the surrealistic dream place of a "Little Prince," as the Darré christened the bedroom. In collaboration with the celebrated upholstery firm, Jean-Paul Phelippeau, no less than 6 prints from the collection Vincent Darré for Pierre Frey deck the walls and cover the the furnishings here. A trip to the 40s in the Frey archives assured Vincent Darré a meeting with kindred spirits of the era in the designers Monsieur Fontaine and Janine Janet, Irène Rohr....

photo Pierre Frey

The design for the curtains in the picture comes from Irène Rohr's Le Soleil a moustaches, 1944.

photo St Tyl
On the bed,  Rêve d’analyste  and covering the toys Songe zoologique - both are original designs by 
Vincent Darré

photo St Tyl

On the walls, Darré's  Nuit d’architecte 

photo St Tyl
Le Zoo design by Janine Janet

Tassels and trim are from Declerq Passementiers.

photo St Tyl

 Au lasso design by M. Fontaine

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Prelle's Folies

photo St Tyl

Concurrent with the exhibit Folie Textile at the Palais de Compiegne and right on the Place des Victoires  in Paris, The Manufacture Prelle presents a shimmering, multicolored tribute to Second Empire textiles entitled La soie dans tous ses états: Second Empire
It's the occasion to come nose to nose with some of the finest silks of the period as well as some contemporary costume and decorative arts - furniture, crystal and silver.

photo St Tyl
 The archival fabrics here as in the exhibit at Compiègne attest to the quality of an abundant semi-industrialized production that upheld the savoir-faire of master craftsmen in this prosperous period. Not wishing to break with the traditional references and values of the ancien régime, it was the pleasure of the new privileged class to furnish their homes with the finest of silks. Never before had the world had such a   vast selection of different period styles and exotic influences ready for the choosing. Some favored examples above - Chinoiserie, Rococo and the ever present naturalistic flowers.

At this period of time, an école de fleurs opened at the Fine Arts School of Lyon to perfect the skills of textile designers in the ever growing domain of flowers. The painter Joseph Guichard who was a professor at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts also created designs for the manufacture. His style is marked by flamboyant over-sized flowers and eccentric colors.

photo St Tyl
On the right, a Renaissance-inspired velvet panel designed by Lemire in 1858. Pierre Manguins used it in  1865 for his sumptuous decoration of the hotel particulier of the celebrated courtisane, la Marquise de Paiva on the Champs-Elysées. The decorator apparently touched up Lemire's arabesques because the production records note 'modifications by Mr Manguin'.

On the mirror is a brocard which also dates from 1858 that was qualified in the register as 'Louis XIII'. This  mid-19th century concoction makes up an imaginary bestiary with influences from the Asian, Mexican and European 'bizarre' style. It is aptly named, Fantasia. 

photo St Tyl
The red satin in the center is a portière designed by Arthur Martin. 
Its technique and composition form the basis for the splendid entrance hall curtains created by Prelle and recently installed at the Opéra Comique of Paris. 

photo St Tyl
In 1890, decorator Jules Allard chose these two fabrics for Mr and Mrs William K. Vanderbilt at Marble House, Newport. He used the chiseled velvet to the left to decorate the dining room and the lampas termed 'Henri II'  for Mrs Vanderbilt's bedroom. Both were designed by Roux in 1867.

photo St Tyl

La soie dans tous ses états: Second Empire

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Comtesse de Castiglione: Fire and Froth

Pierre-Louise Pierson

Paris of the Second Empire was a brilliant cosmopolitan capital of fashion and pleasure. If Virginia Oldoini had not been requested to leave Italy for the city of light  by her cousin the Count of Cavour, the beguiling 17 year old, freshly wed  to the Count of Castiglioni, may just have found her way there on her own, lured by the court's splendor and a wider scope of action. Cavour, minister to Victor Emmanuel of Savoy, King of Piedmont, sent her to Paris in 1856 to plead the cause of Italian unity to Napoleon III specifying that she should use any means she liked to be convincing.

The queen of hearts gown

By all reports, the Comtesse of Castiglione did use the means she liked best, bestowing the favors of her person, her very favorite person, upon the Emperor - which did nothing to make her best-liked by the court or other aristocratic circles she went round in. She wasn't disliked for political or amorous intriguing, that was a bit of worry, not dislike - but it was her haughtiness and that utter certitude that she was 'the most beautiful creature of her century' that inflamed hearts and left others cold. Yes, most beautiful. Someone had said it and she felt it, so she did something about it. She took herself to the photographer Pierre-Louise Pierson where she posed in her most elaborate gowns. In vast expanses of of taffeta, satin and chiffon, she recorded her proud beauty as her greatest work of art. 

The hermit of Passy

La vengeance

She provided the various costumes and props, styling and interpreting all the women she felt within herself,  a sort of Cindy Sherman, right at the beginnings of photography. She conceived and styled the pictures and gave indications for retouching. She maintained this habit even when it cost her all her personal fortune, even when her beauty had left her. She entitled the above photograph, Vengeance, and sent it to the estranged Count when he threatened to take away their son due to news of her scandalous behavior.

anonymous: view of the bedroom Comtesse de Castiglione
source Tribune de l'art

With such pictures in mind,  I was just a bit surprised at the exhibition Folie Textile, when I came upon two paintings representing La Castiglione's bedroom at 10 rue de Castiglione, Paris. (The name is a coincidence that could have only heightened her megalomania, but the street was named for a Napoleonic victory.) The first floor apartment was said to be vast and furnished with elegance.

André Castelot in Napoleon III  describes everything there as
"emmousseliné de rose, jusqu'aux cadres et jusqu'aux pendules embobelinées et enrubannées
covered in pink chiffon, from the frames and on to the clocks all wound up and be-ribboned."

Even in the tout textile world of the Second Empire, this interior was quite a statement.The extravagant countess must have chosen this décor de coquette in a more tender moment. There's more froth than fire here.

over-painted photograph by Pierson
source Wikicommons

And behold, a painted photograph commemorates the Countess in her lair.
The curtains have been given a more elaborate drape.

Comtesse de Castiglione
The countess waited upon by her son Georgio 
photo source: frederic clapier
The countess and her son amid glorious quantities of fabric.
The dress here seems to be the same one as in the first picture to judge from the meandering sequins.

in later years
source Met Museum
Je suis moi et m'en contente, ne voulant rien être par les autres et pour les autres. Et, pourtant, je vaux certainement mieux que telles et telles. Seulement, je reconnais que je ne parais pas bonne, à cause de mon caractère franc, fier et libre qui me fais être en tout et pour tout carrée et dure. De sorte qu'on me déteste, m’est ça m'est égal. Je ne tiens pas même à plaire. *

I am satisfied with myself and do not want to exist through others and for others, yet, I am certainly worth more than so and so. But I will admit that I do not seem good because of a frank, proud and free character which make me into someone who is in every way unbending and hard. 
So I am hated,  it is all the same to me. 
I do not even want to please.

*quote and other information from Claude Dufresne La Comtesse de Castiglione
see also here and here