Style Court

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


Inspired By...

[19th-century Chinese fan case, 2"x 11". $175. Available through Marla Mallett.]

[Miao Embroidery, Huaxi, Guiyang. Guizhou, China. Silk cross-stitch on cotton. Available through Marla Mallett.]

[One of a pair of rank badges, Fourth Civil Rank, Wild Goose, China. 1870-1890. Available through Marla Mallett.]

[19th-century silk embroidery, China. Available through Marla Mallett.]

[Pair of Chinese sleeve bands circa 1880. Available through Marla Mallett.]

It all started with a repeat viewing of Cameron Crowe's Almost Famous. In one of the climactic scenes, Kate Hudson's character, "Penny Lane," wears what appears to be a brilliant blue silk mini-dress embellished with Chinese-inspired embroidery. (She also has on some rockin' lace-up embroidered boots but I couldn't get a clear image of them.) This part of the movie takes place in 1973, however, I don't know if the dress is vintage or the work of a 21st-century designer. Regardless, seeing the dress again put me in the mood to explore the authentic old Chinese textiles over at Atlanta-based Marla Mallett. I tried to focus on embroidered pieces and a range of blues.

[Screen grabs from Cameron Crowe's 2000 picture, Almost Famous, and a vintage chinoiserie tin from High Street Market.]

On the budget-friendly side, High Street Market has a vintage English tin that is nearly the identical shade of blue as Penny Lane's dress. And just like the mini-dress, the tin is decorated with medallion-like Asian-inspired vignettes in red and apple-green. (The tea tin is $28.)

Shanghai opens at San Francisco's Asian Art Museum on February 12, 2010. The show will feature rugs, furniture, paintings and revolutionary posters, all helping to tell the city's history. Shown above is a detail from a deco period poster that was chosen for the exhibition's catalogue cover. Visit the museum's blog to learn more.


Terry said...

Almost Famous is a terrific, good-hearted movie. I remember the characters...and the blue dress.

Style Court said...

It's one of my all-time faves!

Karena said...

Beautiful images, I love this embroidery. I am realizing there are so many good movies I have not seen!!

The Peak of Chic said...

I can see why you were inspired! I want that 19th c. silk embroidery!

Unknown said...

I like the way the blues "peek" through the different images that you selected.

Mrs. Blandings said...

Oh, those sleeve bands! They could really jazz up a ho-hum jacket.

Laura said...

That blue dress is one of the things I remember most clearly about that movie...that and the "ice" scene. I was totally taken with Shanghai when I visited, I'm a bit sad to be missing that exhibition!

P.Gaye Tapp at Little Augury said...

Yes inspired by the Maria Mallett's textile site, have been ambling through her pieces and I could live there. Thanks for Yet another resource, I hope your little black book is infinitum.