Style Court

Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes 2006-2016

9.12.2007

Inspired By Zarafa


[Kelly Wearstler's take on the animal print.]



Well-read decorator Charlotte Moss has always said that true style comes from having an active mind. (Back in May I mentioned her extraordinary library of books related to cultural history.) And we know fashion informs her work: Moss told House & Garden that icons including Grace Kelly, Babe Paley and Josephine Baker "inspire me so much, in a way I can't explain."

But, in one instance, it was a legendary female giraffe that sparked the designer's imagination.

For Brunschwig & Fils, Moss created the toile, "Zarafa," based on the life of a phenomenal giraffe. As a baby on the African savannah, Zarafa was captured and later presented as a gift from Mohammed Ali, the Ottoman Viceroy of Egypt (1804-48), to France’s King Charles X. In the 1820s, Zarafa traveled down the Nile to Alexandria, then on to Marseille, and was eventually walked 550 miles north to Paris. She lived for two decades as a Parisian celebrity.


[The Moss toile for Brunschwig & Fils.]


[1930s Italian pottery giraffe from Ed Hardy.]


[The owner of Atlanta-based Providence found this 1970s piece at Scott Antique Market.]

See also Girl Meets Glamour's great related post.

11 comments:

Brilliant Asylum said...

What an interesting story--and something to think about with giraffes and giraffe prints suddenly appearing everywhere.

robyn said...

Oh my word, makes me feel a little sorry for the giraffe, beautiful photos & story though...

Style Court said...

Robyn, I know! I felt sad too. It's quite a story.

The Peak of Chic said...

I think this is the best story! And who couldn't be inspired by it? Are giraffes not truly amazing creatures?!

Anonymous said...

The book looks lovely but I am even more smitten with the toile. I simply adore Charlotte Moss and have been trying to arrange for a business trip to come up in NYC so I can go to the townhouse.

Isnt it amazing how animal prints are always in -- just in different ways. One year ocelot, another shagreen, zebra, and now giraffe.

Style Court said...

Anon,

Hope you make it to the Townhouse, and yes, so true about animal prints :)

katiedid said...

I have been seeing alot of giraffe around lately too! Wonderful post and I especially like Kelly's fabirc.!

Suzy said...

What a great story, I haven't seen the Charlotte Moss toile, but I'll be keeping my eyes open for it now!

beachbungalow8 said...

i feel so sad for that giraffe :( but i see the love for their beautiful coats as inspiration, a way to glorify this lovely creature.

girl meets glamour said...

What a great post on my new fav. print Courtney! Such an amazing collection here and thanks for linking my post :)

~Kate

Claire said...

Although i love "Caps for Sale", "Giraffes Can't Dance" would have been a better choice. Gerald is so cute and the illustrations are beautiful...as is the message!
-- Claire Paquin, Clean Design Partners