Category Archives: 18th century

Double, Double Toile and Trouble

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In French, the word toile (phonetically “twall”) refers to a simple woven fabric, in fact the word in French means “linen cloth” or “canvas”.  However, in interior design and haute couture, the term toile is mostly used in reference to  “toile de Jouy” – a cloth from Jouy-en-Josas France which originated in the 18th century.  This type of decorating pattern usually consist of a white background, on which a repeated pattern depicting complex scenes, can be found. The scenes are of pastoral farm life, picnics, high society, and any number of classic architecture motifs. The pattern consists of a single color, most often black, dark red, or blue. The fabric was extremely popular in France and Great Britain during the 18th century, and late in America during the Colonial Era.

It’s time for the resurgence of this trend!

James Merrell / The Walkup

Colefax and Fowler does a modern take on toile wallpaper. Bright printed pillows, and a graphic (zigzagged!) patterned throw bring this bedroom into the 21st century. A turquoise, gilded headboard doesn’t hurt either. Photograph by James Merrell via Design Gumbo.

The Walkup

London Toile Brights by Timorous Beasties offers a neon take on English cityscapes. 

Modern Toile Wallpaper

Somehow this match-matchy room, wherein the stuffed animals match the pillows which match the wall, comes off looking extremely cute, french and modern. Image via Le Petit Chou Chou

Balleroy by Manuel Canovas

Pink Toile on Toile via Manuel Canovas, Paris.

Surrender the Pink / The Walkup

A toile, Japanese print screen acts as a headboard. The bed’s dust ruffle and chair bring the nautical, fresh and revitalized Colonial bedroom to the present. Image via Surrender the Pink.

The Walkup

A grown-up office space. I imagine myself closing envelopes with wax seals in this sohpisticated nook. The geode bookends match the Toile pattern perfectly. 

The Walkup / House to Home

Like an aristocrat from days gone by, feel free to cover every surface with bucolic, toile scenes. Add some edge to the space by playing on the contrast of farm-scenes with more modern, colour-blocked upholstery. Midcentury Modern and geometric design elements finish off the eclectic space. Image via House to Home.

The Walkup

In the guest room of his Manhattan townhouse, Architectural Digest decorator Geoffrey Bradfield experimented with a black-and-white toile depicting the city skyline to create a modern take on a traditional design concept. The upholstered headboard was inspired by one in a Dubai hotel. Image via Architectural Digest, September 2005. Photography by Durston Saylor. 

The Walkup

Toile drapes, pops of red, long mirrors and classic bathroom floor tiling allow this bathroom to be a space which I would not mine relaxing in for hours. I particularly love the industrial pipes-meets-marble His and Hers sink station. 

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All Aboard!

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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?

Brocade Arcade

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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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