Article
0 comment

All Aboard!

More magical than station 9 3/4’s, luxury trains are vehicles designed specifically to offer sumptuous, opulent and elegant train rides. The idea of train travel was novel in the 19th century; trains had only been used as a means of transporting goods, such as coal. Without sleeping and dining cars, long distance traveling used to be a distressing and tiring experience. However, in 1867, “Hotel Cars” were introduced. Pioneer was the first railway carriage to introduce dining cars and sleeping cars in train leading to more comfort during travelling especially a long distance journey.

Vogue UK December 2005, Model: Rie Rasmussen, Photographer: Norbert Schroeder, Stylist: Charlotte Stockdale via Capture the Castle.
The Orient Express was the first luxury train in Europe. It embarked on its maiden journey on June 5, 1883 from Paris Gare de l’Est across Europe. Today the Orient Express not only provides luxury train travel across Europe but several destinations around the globe. Today’s Orient Express is a formal, black tie, white gloved affair. Although, passengers must wash up in basins and shared bathrooms….what was once the height of luxury now seems…less than.

Observation room of the Abraham Lincoln Pullman car Photograph owned and provided by Curtis Andrews.

The Classic and Edwardian trains travel with four beautiful pre-1940 dining cars on Rovos Rail in South Africa, via.

Part steampunk finery, part 19th century pedestrian yet, filled with the spoils of Victorian and Edwardian aristocracy. Louis Vuitton’s recent Fall 2012 show and ad campaign hearkens back to the heyday of train travel. Trains changed the way societies view their countries, traveling swiftly past sweeping landscapes, trains also allowed the idea of a “country home” or a vacation home to become a reality. Prior to trains, most societies had never meanders further than 100 miles from one’s home-base.  Through the 1800’s, tributaries of train tracks, like veins began to overtake Europe, lessening the divide between major cities. By 1845, 2441 miles of railway were open and 30 million passengers were being carried. The railways, offering as they did new opportunities for travel and commerce, and breaking down social barriers in the process, were immediately popular.

Ad photography for the Louis Vuitton Fall 2012 Ad Campaign by Steven Meisel via The Empress of Dress. Who doesn’t immediately think of haute couture, vintage travel when ones sees an LV trunk?

Via.

Eva Marie looks dapper in this editorial clearly inspired by Hitchcock’s suspenseful classic “North By Northwest”.  Photographed by Gabor Jurina and styled by Susie Sheffman for Fashion magazine Oct 2010. Via.

THE QUEEN OF SCOTS PULLMAN leaves GLASGOW (Queen Street) at 10:05am and EDINBURGH (Waverley) at 11:15am weekdays for KING’S CROSS, LONDON. Through connexion for the Continent via Victoria. Ad found here.

London Transport Museum has rescued a limited number of original 1960s luggage racks from decommissioned Metropolitan Line trains, found here.

Have you ever wanted to live inside the retro-futuristic world of a Jules Verne novel? Do you prefer submarine portholes to skyline views? Then say hello to your dream home, only for a cool $1.75 million, here. 

1950 ad for the Union Pacific railroad

Tracks made of stone and iron carried wagons from mines and quarries under horse power. The invention of the steam engine changed things dramatically. The Age of Steam, as it is dubbed! During the reign of Queen Victoria Britain emerged as the most powerful trading nation in the world, provoking a social and economic revolution whose effects are still being felt today. Since the latter part of the eighteenth century the process of industrialisation had built a firm foundation for nineteenth century growth and expansion. At the heart of this was the successful development and application of steam technology.

Between 1809 and 1839 exports grew from £25.4 to £76 million, almost a decade later the data was at £124.5 million, with the major export markets being Europe, India and Asia and, increasingly, the United States. Trains made the rich richer and created a middle class throughout Europe. Travel reading, in the form of popular serial publications, and mystery novels, also increased.

Orient Express editorial, photography by Benoit Perevelli for Madame Figaro.

Maharajas’ Express: A Luxury Train in India, via.

Photographed by Arthur Elgort for Vogue UK in August of 2009, model Anja Rubik. 

Railroad lamp with changeable lens, red or white. Hand held light signal of the SNCF, Société Nationale des Chemins de fer Français (French National Railways). The red knob turns for positioning of the red filter, the on/off button is on the top. From the 1950s or 1960s found on ETSY. 

March 30th 1868 The Pullman Palace Car Company introduced the first railroad dining car.

What is your preferred method of transport; locomotive, planes, automobiles, hot air balloon, scooter?

Article
2 comments

Versailles (or how I came to love French opulence)

I will let the lavish, decadent landscapes speak for themselves. Welcome to the luxury of being an 18th century royal (minus the beheadings of course). 18th-century French art was dominated by the Rococo and neoclassical movements; the palaces, illustration and fashion of the rich often featured creamy, pastel-like colors, asymmetrical designs, curves and gold (e.g. gilded, leaf). Whether a bourgeoisie, a pauper, or a courtesan, we can appreciate the meticulous and ostentatious beauty displayed by these ornate vignettes. Step into the fantastic and melodramatic influences!

Chanel 2004 Spring Runway. Via.

Welcome to my dilapidated yet stately Cinderella fantasy replete with a rustic French tables cape. Image found here.

 A French living room from the home of decorator and garden designer Jean-Loup Daraux, author of “By the Light of the Sea”. The luxurious volume En Passant par la Demeure (By the Light of the Sea) is a vivid photographic tour of the noted French interior designer Jean-Loup Daraux’s country home. Located in the south of France, in the Camargue region, the house is a stunning showcase of French country interior design. Image from House Beautiful.

The Petit Trianon is a small château located on the grounds of the Palace of Versailles in Versailles, France. Image by Flickr user Romeika, here.

I would demand breakfast in bed…Image found via.

Oversized French Portrait Canvas – This uniquely beautiful oversized portrait of Manon Balletti (who was once engaged to Casanova) would make a wonderful statement piece in any room. The original painting hangs in the National Gallery. For purchase, click here.

Emily Blunt, in Dior Haute Couture, photographed in Le Raincy, outside Paris. Bracelet by Mikimoto. Styled by Jessica Diehl. Image found in Vanity Fair, here.

Image found here.

Kendall Wilkinson’s Seacliff Southern home photographed by Matthew Millman. Via.

Cara Delevingne for Chanel Resort 2013. Via.

Seriously frivolous is how Lagerfeld described his Chanel Resort 2013, shown on the crunchy gravel at the Chateau de Versailles in France.

Cara Delevingne for Chanel Resort 2013. Via.

A scan from Marie-Antoinette and the Last Garden at Versailles, page 101. To escape the formalities and royal obligations of Louis XVI’s court, Marie-Antoinette created a private realm of pleasure for herself at the Petit Trianon and Hameau, where she planted the first Anglo-Chinese garden; created a trysting grotto; a working farm; and revolutionized architecture and gardening trends for the century to come. Marie-Antoinette’s entire private domain and its story are told in beautiful photographic detail by François Halard for the first time since its recent restoration and accompanied by well-researched texts by garden expert Christian Duvernois.

Crisp and saturated bathroom designed by Paul Raeside.

French furniture, antiques, and porcelain. Via. 

Versailles Historical Costuming via Concour de Style, here.

This photo was taken on October 4, 2010 inYvelines, Ile-de-France, FR by Flickr user Pearled.

There is not a misplaced napkin, flower, or fork in this Paul Raeside tablescape. Via. 

Screencaps from Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antionette, a retelling of France’s iconic but ill-fated queen, Marie Antoinette. From her betrothal and marriage to Louis XVI at 15 to her reign as queen at 19 and to the end of her reign as queen and ultimately the fall of Versailles.

 

Article
1 comment

East Meets West

Let’s talk chinoiserie. It is a French term, meaning “Chinese-esque”, and refers to a recurring aesthetic and design theme created by European artisans since the seventeenth century, which reflect Chinese influences. Chinese decorateive arts are heavily based in lacquer, asymmetry, ceramics, and fanciful vignettes. The earliest beginnings of Europe’s obsession with the “orient” began in the arts of the nations with active East India Companies (stock and trade in in cotton, silk, indigo dye, salt, saltpetre, tea and opium) – Holland, England, and Portugal. Western designers were inspired to imitate the technical precision of Chinese ceramics  – particularly in Holland, in the Dutch town of Delft wherein in artisans heavily copied the white-and-blue tea services of the Ming dynasty. Hence the term – Delftware. It is said by Daniel Franklin Wright, in his thesis Chinoiserie in the novels of Robert Hans van Gulik, that this design aesthetic (a creation of “Chinese” goods by European artisans) was less interested in closely emulating Chinese styles than in creating fashionable exotica for the domestic market.

Images from Top Left Clockwise: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9

Edward Said, the famed sociologist, in his seminal book Orientalism, actually gives Chinoiserie a negative connotation wherein the fashion became a usurping of false Eastern ideals. European artisans were merely copying the visual style without understanding its spiritual or religious meaning and importance. In this way, the West was colonizing and patronizing the East.  Indeed, he postulates that the design first became popular in the 17th and 18th centuries in Europe because the West was viewed as a “fantasy”, “fiction” and place for the “other”. European artists often cosmetically stole forms from China and skewed the perspective using Western and Classical painting techniques – Chinese painting did not adhere to the laws of exact representation and perspective. Western artists used imaginary scenes to essentially create interior design that offered mental escapism. Indeed, I do not see Chinoiserie as either “negative” or “positive”, I believe it represents an homage to the beauty of certain eastern aesthetics. Modern day decor using these Eastern influences combines straight lines, bright neons, and nontraditional minimalist decor with the ornate details of Chinoiserie. I see this style as a beautiful combination of two worlds, coexisting together.

A bamboo chair painted a glossy cornflower blue, and a whimsically patterned wallpaper – in Delftware blue! Image found HERE.

Chinoiserie bedding meets ultra modern, neon, diagonal rugs. The gilded frame brings several eras and styles together! Image found HERE.

Dragons, Pagoda Lamp, Red Glossy Mirror! Image found HERE.

From the Domino Magazine Files, circa May, 2007. Cheery wallpaper (France meets China, look closely), 1st edition iPod, white wall clock decal.  Image found HERE.

Seaside Cottage meets China. Image found HERE.

Anthropologie’s Whisting Thorn Wallpaper.

Delftware Stencils found via The Royal Design Studio.

Baroque pastels meet Chinoiserie details. Image found HERE.

[Read more]