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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!

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Michael Andrews Bespoke

Michael Andrews Bespoke is a custom tailor. The space is incredibly intimate, trendy, and modern. The storefront, hidden in an alleyway on Great Jones Street in Soho, NY, is an appointment-only boutique offering bespoke suits, shirts, tuxedoes, sport coats, pants, overcoats, pocket squares, cufflinks, neckwear and other formalwear. A self proclaimed “recovering corporate attorney,” Michael Andrews donned a suit and tie to a law firm every day for nearly eight years. When he could not find off-the-rack suits cut to his liking, he began having his clothes custom made. After trying over a dozen tailors without finding exactly what he wanted, he decided to open his own tailor shop. All of the fabrics in shop are courtesy of Savile Row ( A shopping street in central London, renown for its high quality men’s tailoring. The term “bespoke” is thought to have originated in Savile Row when cloth for a suit was said to “be spoken for” by individual customers).

In 2006, Michael Andrews Bespoke was launched with the vision of crafting high-end yet approachable menswear with a modern flare.  Since its inception, the storefront has been named “Best of New York” by Time Out New York, New York Magazine, Bloomberg Markets, AM New York and JW Marriott Magazine. My boyfriend has had the distinct pleasure of being fitted for one of Michael’s perfect suits (this takes several visits), and during his visit was hosted at the bar (complete with vintage typewriter) and given hundreds of textile options. My boyfriend and the owner have also stayed late discussing stocks, sports, and every other subject under the sun – the kind of attention that makes shops like this rare in this day and age. This exceptional, design oriented, unique and yet causal space is absolutely outstanding.

The hidden, back-of-the-alley space during christmastime. Courtesy of Robb Report, HERE.

A side street in Soho, achievable only by a hidden gate and doorbell. The sort of forgotten alley that makes a NYC resident feel as if they have finally discovered the secrets of an ancient city. Workers in the space have won Esquire Magazine’s “Best Dressed Real Man in America” (Dan Trepanier, Senior Advisor) and one is a fifth generation master tailors hailing from Monaghan, Ireland (Rory Duffy, Master Tailor). To find out more about the spot’s motley crew, click HERE. Visiting the space feels like taking a time machine to the turn of the century (and sometimes prior) to a space that appreciate patience, craft, and fit. To a time before electricity, when calling cards, gloves, and canes were a la mode.

 Image found HERE. 

The inner sanctum of the holy custom tailor’s floor. The black and white podium tables are offset by the velvet, velour, and corduroy knit suits adorning the ceiling shelves.

Could you ever say no to a man dressed in this suit? Bond, James Bond. The tuxedo first appeared in 1889 while dinner jacket is dated only to 1891. These two options are predated by the tailcoat and smoking jacket. Thanks to the evolution of tailoring, the menswear is now appropriate for both formal and informal locales.

Aside from the french cuffs, the lapels, the hemming, the lining, and all other custom aspects of a piece of clothing – the store itself is a beautiful exploration of masculinity, modernism, and restraint. The details all complement one another perfectly so that the end product feels contemporary yet vintage. New; yet old. This juxtaposition of companies based in old world techniques, married with the styles of new, helps Michael Andrews Bespoke to succeed.  In the end, would you trust a tailor to make you an aesthetically pleasing suit if he did not work in an aesthetically pleasing shop?

“It’s Ok To Be A Square”

The choices, the choices. Which fabric swatch calls to you?

The MAB Studio

[Read more]

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Silver Screen Scenes (3)

The Royal Tenebaums directed by Wes Anderson and co-written by Owen Wilson follows the lives of three gifted siblings who experience great success in youth, and even greater disappointment and failure after their eccentric father leaves them in their adolescent years. An ironic, sardonic, and absurdist sense of humor pervades the film.

The house used in the film is located near Sugar Hill in the Hamilton Heights section of Harlem in Manhattan, New York City. The address is 336 Convent Avenue. If you want to visit, you can take the A, B, C, or D to the 145th Street stop or the 1 to the 145th Street stop. This is a private residence so do not camp out or re-enact scenes. Wes Anderson explains, “Though we never call it New York in the film, I was looking for a certain feeling of living in New York, not the real New York, more a New York of the imagination”. Although the exteriors were largely shot in New York, Wes Anderson intentionally avoided virtually all shots of skyscrapers or other distinctive New York landmarks.

The sense of the formalized, fairy tale city is reflected in the screenplay by the faux-New York neighborhoods, unmarked gypsy cabs and various simulated landmarks: Archer Avenue, Mockingbird Heights, Public Archives, the 375th Street, the Irving Island Ferry, 22nd Avenue Express, and Green line Bus (none of which ACTUALLY exist on the isle of Manhattan). Thank you to Mooviees for Production Notes!

Here is a photo of the house:

“It was apparent that the house was one of the characters in the movie,” notes production designer David Wasco.

The african and tribally inspired room of Margot Tenebabum is filled with mock Baule (Baoule) Masks. The Baule People are from the Ivory Coast of Africa. The mask on the lower left hand side of the above image is a type of Baule mask is known as a Goli mask. It is used in dances during harvest festivals, in processions to honor distinguished visitors, and at the funerals of important figures. The circular face represents the life-giving force of the sun and the horns symbolise the great power of the buffalo. Directly above Margot and to her right is a type of mask known as a Dan mask. These are used for protection and as a conduit for communication in the spirit world. If you want to explore what the other shapes of the masks mean, visit HERE.

ALSO, can we talk about that wallpaper? The pattern dates to 1940’s when Chef Gino Circiello decided to open “Gino’s” – an Italian restaurant at 780 Lexington Avenue in New York and he was looking for a decorating theme for his new eatery. According to The New York Times, “Mr. Circiello was a hunter without the means to pay for an African safari, but he reasoned that he could at least afford zebras on his wallpaper.” The restaurant closed in 2010 but will always be remembered for its contributions to the design world – the Franco Scalamandre wallpaper!

Eric Anderson, the director’s brother and a gifted artist and illustrator, was another important contributor to the film. He painted all of Richie’s artwork, including seventeen portraits of Margot, which hang in the family ballroom.

Craving Margot Tenebaum look-alike illustrations? Go HERE or HERE or HERE or HERE

Native American Chief Paintings are clearly by George Catlin. Buy some posters HERE. Also, I secretly love the idea of decorating with a full-size medical skeleton. Skulls have been really in lately (as paperweights, and as small repetitive prints), but lets take this a step further and do all 206 bones. 

The paintings in Eli’s apartment are by Mexican artist Miguel Calderón. The images were part of the artist’s 1998 exhibit “Aggressively Mediocre/Mentally Challenged/Fantasy Island (circle one)”, though they were not actually painted by him. Calderón took photographs of his friends posed on motorcycles and, after deciding the photographs were not realistic, hired a portrait painter to reproduce them on canvas.I actually have a print in my guest room that has a very similar oeuvre by an artist who also works in the ideals of Hispanic culture and the Chicano movement.  Interesting that each Tenenbaum child seems entrenched in a culture that is not his/her own. 

The board game closet, complete with mouse. 

Vintage magazine, vintage board games, vintage lamps, and delicate teacups. 

Clearly this burnt red ochre is echoed throughout the film – in the stained glass, in clothing, in the lamplight. Also, a vintage damask couch is ALWAYS a wonderful addition. 

HOW DO I LIVE IN A QUIRKY FAMILY MANSION?

Shop by the Numbers: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7a/ 7b / 8 /

P.S. A big thank you to THIS site for all screen captures of the movie.