Style Court

Eight Years of Textiles, History, Art, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes

8.27.2008

Fabric Obsession

One thing I've missed since the demise of House & Garden is the monthly "Fabric Obsession" piece with Carolina Irving. The images were were always lush and the text informative. For those of you who are also passionate about textiles, I offer a very mini fabric fix.

Shown here are joyful Kaitag embroideries from the remote mountainous region of Daghestan. The textile that appeared on the cover of Hali magazine, Summer 2007, is silk on cotton, 18th-century, and the crisp abstract forms are thought to represent a dragon and simurgh in combat; it's possible that one of the creatures is actually a peacock. (Stylized dragons are a common motif in Daghestan embroideries.)



These examples belong to noted Italian collector Giuseppe Moreschini. For textile connoisseurs, it is the rarity (only about five to six hundred are believed to be around today) of the embroideries combined with the mysterious imagery and vibrant hues that make them so alluring. According to Hali, Kaitag textiles were only discovered by those outside the region in the early 1990s.
At the moment I can't identify the fabric used on Steven Sclaroff's vintage Louis-XV-style chair, but the print reminds me of Paule Marrot. French-born Marrot is a key name in 20th-century textile design who redefined furnishing fabrics in her native country. Best known for her flattened out, upbeat florals that are a bit similar to the work of Fauve painter, Raoul Dufy, she became popular in the U.S. after World War II.

Billy Baldwin had a penchant for bright, painterly flowers on clean cotton, so he was a big Marrot fan. And her fabrics made their way into Jackie O's home.

Above are pages from Irving's 2005 H & G story about Marrot. In 1997 The Museum of Printed Textiles held a retrospective of Marrot's work.

22 comments:

lindsey said...

I really love the first fabric and I miss H&G too.

{ Lindsey }
www.coveiter.com

Style Court said...

Lindsey, something like the first (not a museum piece) would look so good on a foot stool :)

Mrs. Blandings said...

Courtney - I was just lamenting the black hole of design writing and how much I miss Browning's editorial page. Now I realize I am missing fabric obsession, too. This was a welcome replacement!

Style Court said...

Oh good, thanks Patricia. For many of us you are a replacement for Browning.

Pigtown-Design said...

I love the juxtaposition of the old chairs and the bright new-style fabrics.

And I agree with your assessment of Mrs. Blandings! She's got a great voice.

Style Court said...

Meg -- there's just something about the 20th century fabrics on the 18th century chairs!

Ms. Wis. said...

Thank you so much for this post. I have file after file of textile images and indeed I saved the same pages you posted. My background is in textiles and I am a mini collector so that was a column I loved.

And I also miss Browning's edits. She had the courage to deal with topics that were actually at odds with what the magazine was covering in a given issue. As a gardener HG raised the bar on that subject as well.

I've been commenting on your posts (and others) as Ms. Wis. but am joining the fray with my own blog:
http://eachlittleworld.typepad.com/each_little_world/

Hope you will stop by.

Style Court said...

Hi Ms. Wis -- thanks for letting me know about your blog and that you have a background in textiles. Good to know.

Be the change..... said...

I adore that chair and anything by Marrot!! I miss H&G :-(

Kristen Holt, Allied Member ASID said...

I really miss that magazine...on the other hand great fabrics - one of my favorite things to shop for my projects.

Style Court said...

Sounds like everyone misses H & G! Glad the fabrics are a hit.

Smitty said...

Thank you for the fabric fix. These ones in particular are just so bright and happy...how could one not smile when sitting in a chair or the like bedecked in a Paule Marrot print? Do you know, did someone reissue some of the Marrot designs?

Style Court said...

Hi Smitty -- I agree!

Yes, Brunschwig & Fils did reissue some of the patterns. There are other related links on the Marrot website.

Mrs. Blandings said...

Courtney - I was working a bit yesterday and did not see the exact fabric pictured, but Romo has several that are very similar.

Lucy said...

Hayden-Harnett has done some accessories in Marrot prints.
http://haydenharnett.com/?action=paule_marrot

Style Court said...

thanks lucy!

balsamfir said...

Those Kaitag's are new to me and very exciting visually. No one has ever invented anything new in the modern era I think. Even when people thought they were, they weren't. Unless you think Matisse knew what these were when making cut outs?

Style Court said...

Balsamfir -- interesting observation! I see Matisse too.

Jennifer Ramos said...

I'm LOVING how the wood was painted in white!!

Jen Ramos
'100% Recycled DESIGNER Cards & More'
www.madebygirl.com
madebygirl.blogspot.com

My Notting Hill said...

Speaking of House & Garden - have you heard what Dominique Browing is up to? Just re-read parts of Around the House and In the Garden and it started me wondering.

Style Court said...

notting hill -- good question :)

Anna Spiro said...

From one fabric obsessed person to another - GREAT POST! Just what I needed!
x
Anna