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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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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.