Capturing the beauty of nature, the grandeur of architecture, and the seductively fascinating global culture of humans has inspired wallpaper manufacturers for centuries. Last year I had a chance to attend the Salon Art & Design in New York and was overwhelmed by the extraordinary panoramic panels filling entire rooms. Among the creators were Zuber et Cie and Joseph Dufour et Cie, two visionary French Manufacture de Papier Peints et Tissus (French for: painted wallpaper and fabrics). Zuber continues to produce their historic designs and other companies such as Fromental, Gracie Wallpaper, and de Gourney offer traditional patterns with more contemporary atmospheric designs being offered by Philip Jefferies and Paul Montgomery. Here are a few of my favorites but you will find an amazing number of designs on each of these manufacturer's websites.
If you're an addicted Downton Abbey fan like myself, you are probably attracted not only to the complex and layered characters but also to the elaborate period interiors and the finely detailed fashions. If you feel the same then you're in luck as there is presently a fascinating exhibit traveling to several cities in the United States. This visually stunning exhibit features many of the most extraordinary costumes from the award-winning British series. The presentation combines photographic stills with the costumes and allows viewers a chance to see the careful detailing of each design. I was also struck by the slender physiques of the actors, with a few notable exceptions, that the clothing reveals. As a former fashion designer, I was particularly impressed by the fine beaded and sequined silks worn during the London Social Season. To learn more about the exhibit and to check scheduled cities visit http://dressingdownton.com/Exhibition/
To be a truly great designer you must trust your inner voice.
You must be willing to fall short of your own definition of beauty.
It is in the bold gesture and the confident, even arrogant, assertion
that greatness can occur.
Genius is never meek! Be bold, be assured, be the great designer
you've dreamed of being.
Power red, shocking pink, spa blue, Hermes orange…..the world of design is always looking for the new color that will animate their editorial content and add graphic punch to their covers. Countless articles extol the virtues of the newest “it” color. Manufacturers wager on the next big color trends anticipating the new and the exciting. As intoxicating as these powerful colors are they can not surpass the bold clarity and timeless elegance of black and white. Chanel, more than any other designer, understood the power of this most balanced yet striking of combinations, adopting it has her signature colors. Here are a few of my favorite black and white designs.
It seems poetic that my first blog is on the great French couturier, Coco Chanel. No other designer has inspired me more than Chanel. Her extraordinary vision and taste, her lifelong commitment to her art and career, and her absolute confidence in her innate gift, continues to inspire me, and many other designers, more four decades after her death. Chanel was the first designer name I learned, and it was her style that defined elegance in the upper south society of my youth. In 1989 I had the rare privilege of studying at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute. Included in their stellar collection were numerous examples of Chanel’s artistry and I was able to study these creations, wearing white archival gloves of course, over the course of a year, ultimately writing my major research project on Chanel. In the years since I have continued to study her life and career and have had the opportunity to lecture on her many times. This blog entry is but a tiny nod to the rich and complex topic and I look forward to sharing more on Chanel in future blogs.
Coco Chanel was the most influential designer of the 20th Century. A verbose statement? Perhaps, but how many designers can claim to have fundamentally shifted not only fashion, but the lifestyle of generations of women. Chanel’s radical departure from the conventional fashions of the early decades of the 20th century allowed women to embrace modernity. Sportswear, menswear inspired jersey suits, the “Little Black Dress”, the now iconic Chanel box suit, the 2.55 quilted leather cross body handbag, Chanel No.5, gripoix jewelry, camellias, her design vocabulary is refined, instantly recognizable, and is still coveted globally.