Tuesday, February 26, 2013

One Last Thought About Louise de Vilmorin


While researching last week's post on the Paris poems of Louise de Vilmorin, I found the photo, above, of the writer ensconced in her home at Verrières-le-Buisson. According to many of your comments, Vilmorin was known for her sharp tongue and sometimes unkind ways.  While that may be true, it cannot be said that the woman was lacking in style.  Her drawing room, seen above, was quite elegant and lovely and seemingly filled with all kinds of treasures.  (Take a look at her collection of malachite objets, which are displayed together on the skirted table in the foreground.)  According to Christopher Petkanas' 2009 New York Times article on Vilmorin, the writer enlisted the help of designer Henri Samuel to create this most fetching "Salon Bleu".

No doubt that the most striking feature of the room has to be that beautiful blue and white floral fabric.  Still available through Brunschwig & Fils and referred to as Verrieres, the fabric is one of the design world's great prints, striking a feminine note without all the fussiness.  It is also the type of print that encourages a lavish use of it, hence Vilmorin and Samuel's choice of it for curtains, upholstery, and slipcovers in this room. 

It seems that more than a few French designers followed suit, because if you look through French design books from the 1960s, you will sometimes find rooms (usually a bedroom) in which this print plays a starring role.  Some rooms boasted it on walls and ceilings while others were treated to punctuations of this floral print.  And although I don't think that the rooms below are quite as beguiling as the Salon Bleu, I do think they show that Verrieres is one of those fabrics that maintains its sense of propriety, even when used in splashy ways.




15 comments:

  1. Just Verte Style8:01 AM

    The first photo of Ms. de Vilmorin's drawing room is wonderful, and features one of my all time favorite blue and white B&F patterns! Yes, she had exquisite taste in décor.

    I want to recreate this room in my own home. Let's see...yards of fabric, 12 foot tall ceilings, marble mantle, antique paneling, beautiful carpet, fabulous accessories and furniture....check.

    Oh, the yearnings!

    April

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    1. It would be a beautiful room to recreate!

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  2. Many thanks, dear Jennifer, for that fabulous photo of Louise de Vilmorin
    in her Salon Bleu! At this point in time it would seem that her most lasting
    cultural contribution had more to do with interior decoration than with
    poetry or prose. The Salon Bleu is deservedly iconic. (And I quite approve
    of the plain card lampshades, by the way.)

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    Replies
    1. Toby, You are quite right. She had style, that much is true!

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  3. Anonymous10:09 AM

    Jennifer!
    The Salon Blue has been, and still is my all time favorite room!
    But where did you find that photo of her in the room? Love, love it, and have never seen it!
    Will

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    Replies
    1. Will, I found it online. I wish that I knew from which publication it came!

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  4. Love the Salon Blue so happy you found that! xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

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  5. Anonymous2:16 PM

    The Bernier's magazine L'Oeil and Connaissance des Arts, Maison et Jardin and Realtes would all be well worth a scout though to find out more about de Vilmorin.(Realtes is where I first saw the blue room)
    Didn't Nancy Mitford write about her in her letters?

    I'd like to see that fabric printed in reverse, ie blue flowers on a white ground-much less twee and bedroomy, in my opinion...

    Herts

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    1. Herts, That is a wonderful suggestion. I shall go through my old French magazines. And your suggestion of a reverse colorway is most interesting. That would look really smashing!

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  6. Mitchell Owens7:37 PM

    The Vilmorin family (descendants of one of Louise's brothers and cousins of a close friend of mine) still occupy the house at Verrières, and, I hear, the blue salon is relatively intact.

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    1. Mitch, It's nice to hear that they had the good sense to keep such a lovely room relatively the same.

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  7. I love that fabric, and prints with borders are so rare. I bet there was a lot of wastage though, when they made that bedroom with the fabric on the ceiling !

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  8. jennifer, I have never seen that pic before and was bought up on reales ( not that I could read it ) and have
    Been reading about louise forever.....quite a gal!
    anyway such a treat to see that fabulous room, thank you

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  9. My parents bedroom was in this fabric- all of it. chairs, bed, etc. the needlepoint rug matched it - cream background though - reverse of the fabric. when the remodeled, i got the rug and used it in a few homes. once in a temporary place, over a carpet which ruined it. it just fell apart. ugh. makes me sick to think about it!! i know this is later, but i just found it!!!!

    hope all is well!!!
    Joni

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