Article
1 comment

Brocade Arcade

It’s not just for grannies in southern florida anymore! When you hear the term “brocade,” you should no longer thing of gaudy, gauche, flowered couches adorned in plastic covers.

Marchesa Collection – Cassarro Fabrics

Francine Collection – Cassarro Fabrics

Brocade fabric or brocade patterns are known for being “rich” and “opulent” because of how labor intensive and time consuming (and thus expensive) the creation of styles can be.  These decorative shuttle-woven fabrics are usually made using colored silks ($$) and with or without  metallic (often gold and silver) threads. True brocade must be made and largely woven on a Jacquard loom. This allows the textile to take on the look of a complex tapestry or large woven quilt. Although many brocade fabrics look like tapestries and are advertised by fashion magazines, brands, and home decor catalogues as such, an actual brocade piece is hard to come by in this machine age.

Fall 2012 Louis Vuitton

Marni 2012, Balmain 2012, Marchesa 2012 – aka the Brocade Brigade – found here.

Balmain Fall 2012

Deacon’s Autumn/Winter 2012 collection brought Victorian opulence with a modern twist while contrasting androgyny with all things feminine, here.

Dark, deep, secretive and sophisticated. Via.

Brocade is often associated with Italy and the high Renaissance, but the success of the fabric is also a testament to the expansion of the silk road. Cultures in China, India, Persia and the Far East would copy, replicate, or repeat Italian motifs throughout their manufacture. Italy would then “steal” from China, no one is really so sure as to when and how the techniques were created. To this day, in Guatemala, brocade is the most popular technique used to decorate fabric woven by Maya weavers on backstrap looms. Some societies used to only reserve the style for special occasions. However, brocade’s steeply fell out of fashion after the Victorian Era and hardly existed in the 1900’s. Perhaps the textile would make an appearance in a purse here or a brooch there, but overall it was not en vogue. In recent years, such as at in 2005 or Fall 2012 , high-end designers have toyed with brocade fabrics even for everyday wear.

Brocade Damask Turquoise /  Custom Option: Isolate  © DLM Studio

Kirsten Dunst as Marie Antionette falls apart, but looks good doing so. Image found here, original source unknown.

Brocade is most often associated with upholsteries, draperies and evening-wear, but can also be used in unconventional ways. By marrying obscure  and slow weft techniques with an assembly line society, reliant on mass production, a sharp contrast can be drawn.

Via.

DRYDEN VELVET by OSBORNE & LITTLE

Like living inside of a cream colored Faberge egg, here. 

Sea Cliff Home by Niche Interiors

Beauty escorted by apes and monkeys as pages, from Beauty and the Beast, 1896, found in the New York Public Library.

Neon Brocade via Houzz. 

Wes Gordon 2012 ONYX AND GOLD LEOPARD BROCADE
AND BLACK WOOL COCOON DRESS & FLARED LEOPARD-BROCADE PANTS

Florentine Damask and a bit of Brocade upholstery? Via the Royal Design Studio.

East Meets West via DecorPad.

This clutch bag by ASOS Collection has been crafted from a brocade fabric with metallic detailing. The brocade Flatforms, Flats, and Chelsea ankle boots are driving me wild – they are clever and quirky.  Brocade is not just for the rich anymore!

Here’s a bit of a nomenclature lesson. All weaves consist of warp threads which run down the length of fabric and weft threads (also known as woof threads) which pass over and under the warp threads. Damask and brocade are related patterned fabrics in that they both exploit the play of light falling on the weave structure. Damask and brocade are both made on a jacquard loom. Brocade is usually made with richer colors, several threads, and is not reversible – that is, the fabric, when turned over, will create a photo-negative like effect. When in doubt, pull a Scarlett O’Hara curtain dress!

Article
0 comment

An Artist’s Dwelling (5)

I recently visited a show at the Andrew Krep Gallery, in Chelsea, titled, “‘Interiors’: Pierre Bonnard, Marc Camille Chaimowicz, William Copley, Édouard Vuillard”  The show juxtaposed several styles and decades of art history by exploring the evolution of personal space, decorative wallpaper, and intimacy. The press release from the gallery explains, “The show highlights the rich optical and visual layers and patterning consistent in each of the artists’ work, depicting interior spaces full of feeling, psychological depth and a sense of remembrance – a domestic hedonism, or meditations on the nature of time, perception and memory. ” The exhibition included some surrealist details, some impressionist strokes, and a lot of rooms. Often everyday objects in our home accumulate into accidental still lifes – these interior spaces show a psychological snapshot of both an artist and his/her life. Above all, the show allows the viewer to realize it is OK to mix centuries – the 19th century can converse with the year 2012 easily. French windows and ikea furniture can match.

InteriorsPierre Bonnard Marc Camille Chaimowicz, William Copley, Édouard Vuillard, Installation View, Image Courtesy Andrew Kreps Gallery

Pierre Bonnard, The Breakfast Room, 1925, Oil on canvas, 25 3/4 x 42 1/2 in (65.4 x 108 cm) & (wallpaper), Marc Camille Chaimowicz, 2011, Non-woven paper, Image Courtesy Andrew Kreps Gallery

Interiors, Pierre Bonnard Marc Camille Chaimowicz, William Copley, Édouard Vuillard, Installation View, Image Courtesy Andrew Kreps Gallery

In my humble opinion, no artist understand the importance of monotonous interior life quite like Jean-Édouard Vuillard (perhaps also Giorgio Morandi, but we can save his obsessive bottle painting for another post). Vuillard (November 11, 1868 – June 21, 1940) was a French painter and printmaker associated with the artist collective called The Nabis. This avant-garde group was named for the Hebrew word for “prophet”. They believed they could revitalize modern art much like the prophets inspired people from the biblical days. The group did not just work with canvas, they often extolled and designed wall decoration, and also produced posters, prints, book illustration, textiles, and furniture.

Édouard Vuillard, Interieur, 1902, Oil on Cardboard, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Meadows Foundation Incorporated

Édouard Vuillard, Interieur a la Table à Ouvrage, 1893

In his paintings Vuillard depicted mostly interiors, intricate patterns, streets, and gardens.  The patterns of a tablecloth, of a woman’s dress, and of wall coverings intermingled to create a beautifully layered piece. He lived at home with his mother (a dressmaker and Parisian corset maker) and had siblings who visited – most notably his sister. Often my inspiration comes from the outside – wandering streets, stopping into boutiques, and traveling. Yet, Vuillard did not need to leave his home to understand the aesthetics of beauty and to find his animus.

Vuillard was best known for intimate, indoor looks at the private lives of his subjects. These domestic scenes feel “very claustrophobic,” explains the curator of The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., Kimberly Jones. She continues. “You can almost feel the walls closing in in some cases and that’s very much intentional. This is the world behind closed doors, an intimate private world that we live but we don’t get to see. So we become a voyeur.”

Édouard Vuillard. Mother and Sister of the Artist. c. 1893. Oil on canvas. 18 1/4 x 22 1/4″ (46.3 x 56.5 cm). Gift of Mrs. Saidie A. May. © 2005 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris. (Can’t you just smell the mothballs?)

Vuillard’s interiors are often described as richly patterned, dizzying, and highly feminine. We are surrounded by bold fabrics, blurred walls, and quiet Sunday scenes. Vuillard, the artist himself one remarked, “I don’t paint portraits,” he said. “I paint people at home.” His heavily decorated rooms define a person, his stokes create a soothing rhythm for the eye (even though sometimes they are depicting SHARP geometric designs), and his understanding of fashion (both interior and physical) as a psychological delinieation,  is why I believe his interiors are so powerful.

Vuillard’s Room at the Château des Clayes, c. 1932, Distemper on paper, mounted on canvas, 30 5/8 x 39 7/16 in. (77.8 x 100.2 cm), Signed, l.r.: “E. Vuillard”, Gift of Mary and Leigh Block, 1973.337, © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Edouard Vuillard (French, 1868-1940), printed by Auguste Clot (French, 1858-1936), published by Ambroise Vollard (French, 1867-1939), Interior with Pink Wallpaper I, plate five from Landscapes and Interiors, 1899, © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

After reading this blog post you have now become familiar with “Intimism”! Bravo! Yippee! This is a variety of late 19th- and early 20th-century painting which intensely explores domestic interiors as subject matter.

 Clashing patterns = matching patterns.  A richly patterned and layered room ala Vuillard. Found via Better Homes & Gardens, HERE.

Un Bisou Collection Wallpaper. Feminine and delicate. Here, actually used as a neutral “paint” color. Don’t be afraid of pattern and layering! Image found HERE.

Eijffinger wallaper – perfect for your afternoon tea service! Hello pastel table. Image found HERE.

Grand Gala Wallpaper. Although this room is not nearly cluttered enough to be a Vuillard. Image found HERE.

Living with patterns is as easy as finding one common color in all of your fabrics. Here it is a light, almost Robin’s Egg Blue with accented grey tones. Image found HERE.

[Read more]