Friday, December 23, 2016
Wednesday, December 21, 2016
Before we break for the holidays, I want to bring you tidings of a new fabric, trimmings, and wallcovering collection that is full of good cheer. Designed by artist Dana Gibson for Stroheim, the collection's prints are reminiscent of those charming patterns of yesteryear, but thanks to perky colors and a sometimes robust scale, the designs feel both of-the-moment and timeless, too.
Below are a few of my picks from the collection, but you should visit the Stroheim website to see the entire collection. (The trimmings are especially fetching.)
Monday, December 19, 2016
And now, my last book review blog post for 2016. There were so many excellent books released this past fall, including Cecil Beaton at Home: An Interior Life by Andrew Ginger. To be honest, I have difficulty reading Beaton's diaries, as they contain too much vitriol for my taste. But my ambivalence towards Beaton doesn't mean that I don't find the man and his many homes intriguing. Finally, thanks to Ginger, we have a book that gathers the many photos and illustrations of Ashcombe and Reddish House, Beaton's country houses, as well his various London flats. If, like me, you seek inspiration and guidance from interiors of the past, then you will find Cecil Beaton at Home immensely engrossing.
Speaking of prominent tastemakers of the twentieth century, Baron Fred de Cabrol, the late aristocratic French decorator, remains much admired today. A figure who, along with his wife, Daisy, was present at most of last century's most acclaimed balls and gatherings, Baron de Cabrol counted the likes of Duff and Diana Cooper, Charles de Beistegui, and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor as friends. Such a glittering social life deserved documentation, but not in prosaic fashion. Baron de Cabrol's scrapbooks, with their charming blend of photographic cut-outs and illustrated backgrounds, present a highly-colorful and delightful record of a social milieu that has all but died out. It's no wonder, then, that author Thierry Coudert has devoted his latest book, Beautiful People of the Café Society: Scrapbooks by the Baron de Cabrol, to the Baron's handiwork. Just as he did with his previous book, Café Society: Socialites, Patrons, and Artists 1920-1960, Coudert provides the reader with a dazzling account of twentieth-century European café society.
I've long been a fan of the work of London-based designers, Paolo Moschino and Philip Vergeylen. So when I caught wind that the pair's first monograph, Signature Spaces: The Well-Traveled Interiors of Paolo Moschino and Philip Vergeylen, was due to be published this fall, I quickly added the book to my wish-list. As I suspected it would be, Signature Spaces is one of my favorite designer monographs of the year. Moschino and Vergeylen's work is always visually-engaging, an all-together pleasing mix of luxurious fabrics, refined finishes, antique furnishings, and modern accents. Their work, lavishly photographed for this book, provides much to look at, but what I found equally as engaging were the photos of people, places, and things that inspire the partners, including Babe Paley, Eugenia Errazuriz, and Belgian Loafers. No wonder I admire these two.
Truth be told, I have not finished reading Empire Style: The Hôtel de Beauharnais in Paris, but based on what I have read so far, I am certain that the book's authors, Jörg Ebeling and Ulrich Leben, have written the definitive work on this Empire-style gem. Built in the eighteenth-century and later, in 1813, purchased by Josephine Bonaparte for her son, Eugene de Beauharnais, this magnificent palace, which today serves as the Germany embassy in Paris, remains one of the great examples of the Empire Style of decor. The book's sumptuous photographs are sights to behold, but the real draw here is the authors' extensive research into the history, the inhabitants, and the style that have earned this monument an important place in both French and design history.
(All photos © Francis Hammond, from Empire Style: The Hôtel de Beauharnais in Paris by Jörg Ebeling and Ulrich Leben (Flammarion, 2016).)
And finally, for a book that is both light-hearted and fun, I recommend Ladurée Savoir Vivre: The Art of Fine Living. This bijou-sized book is a guide to living well and living elegantly. Did it teach me anything new? Not really, because at my age, I'm familiar with the details of fine living. But what the book did do was remind me that when life is hectic, it's important not to overlook life's little luxuries. And with the book's snappy illustrations and detail photographs, you'll certainly have a good time reading it. This book would make a great gift for teenage girls and young women who are just starting to make their way in the world.
Monday, December 12, 2016
No doubt the name "Zuber" conjures up images of rooms graciously- and often plentifully- papered in exquisite scenic wallcoverings. One of the world's most storied wallpaper makers, Zuber is known for such hand-blocked papers as L'Hindoustan, L'Eldorado, and Les Vues d'Amerique du Nord, which Jacqueline Kennedy notably had installed in the Diplomatic Reception Room at the White House. But did you know that Zuber offers more than scenic papers?
If you need an inducement to hand-write your notes, then perhaps Zuber stationery might tempt you into penning your correspondence. Speaking of temptation, Zuber also purveys silk scarves, whose miniature scenes will add a dash of the exotic to your wardrobe. Zuber even sells embroidered pillows, whose designs might echo the firm's scenic papers but, thanks to their subtle colors and embroidery, won't compete with them. Did I mention that all of these accessories are made in France?
Any of the above would make impressive Christmas presents, because who wouldn't want to open a package from Zuber on Christmas morning. For more information or to place orders, you should contact the Zuber showroom (4 W. 19th St., New York, NY) at (212) 486-9226 or email inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that quantities are limited, and the pricing below does not include shipping or taxes.