On the Lookout
I continue to go by small boutique windows looking for some sort of grand summer gesture similar to Mitzi & Romano's parasols of 2008 (North Highland Avenue in Atlanta). But these aren't carefree times for retailers and perhaps it's more important to clearly display the merchandise front and center. (BTW: Mitzi & Romano is a good source if you are looking for something like Amanda's A Common Thread dress.)
If you are interested in a scholarly look at Asian parasols, I think copies of Rain and Snow: The Umbrella in Japanese Art are still available.
Inspiration always emerges eventually. Recently I stumbled upon another striking display: a palette composed of beads, so to speak. This photograph appears in Selvedge, issue 29, as part of a piece about Augusto Panini's book, Middle Eastern and Venetian Glass Beads: Eighth to Twentieth Centuries.
According to Selvedge, Panini is a serious bead collector with a passion for the glass variety crafted in the Near East and Venice. Numerous examples turn up in African markets, and he is fascinated by the stories behind each non-perishable bead. His research has continued for roughly 30 years.
Since this post is shaping up to have a global feel, I'll share Cecil Beaton's 1940s photograph taken in Calcutta and later published in his book, An Indian Album. Maybe a few designers will be inspired by the pattern of the glass inlay.
And here's a bit of East-meets-West with South-meets-North; Charleston-based Soiree by Tara Guérard recently opened a new studio in New York. Above, photographer Liz Banfield captures a bit of the office in which an Asian chest is juxtaposed with a French-style chair. Visit Soiree's Bon Bon blog, or Liz's blog, for more.
Be sure to see the whole Soiree studio over at Belle Decor. Haskell reports that every single element came from ebay, Ikea, or a flea market. Now everyone will want those green chairs.