[Please click to enlarge. Chair images via Anthropologie; Livre noir 1, page 1, design no. 6, gouache and ink on paper, private collection (book image) is from Color Moves: Art and Fashion by Sonia Delaunay.]
When I first saw Anthropologie's Louis XV-inspired Grafton chair in the store's April catalogue, I thought it was upholstered with a print. Since I'm reading Color Moves: Art and Fashion by Sonia Delaunay (and consequently doing multiple posts on Delaunay's textiles!), Anthro's choice of pattern reminded me of a design in the artist's livres noirs (black books) from the 1920s. In these linen-bound books, Delaunay kept detailed records of her original designs, the colors used, the date of printing and so on. The open livre noir, above, shows a circa 1924 zigzag with colors alternated strategically to create a sense of movement.
But Anthro actually used a patchwork denim. Although Delaunay experimented with patchwork, too, I'm guessing the Grafton chair's upholstery might be linked to patched indigo folk textiles from the East or classic American blue jeans. Either way, the use of patchwork as upholstery is also a little reminiscent of Sister Parish. It's not often I make a connection between Sister and Anthro's furniture (not sure I ever have). Still, the late decorator did love to use informal fabrics on refined chairs and she commissioned the Freedom Quilting Bee in Alabama to create a patchwork fabric for upholstery. More on that here.
Don't miss the Cooper-Hewitt's Delaunay microsite. Related programs for tweens, teens and kids can be found here. While I personally am very enthusiastic about the museum exhibition in NYC and the recent revamp of one of Anthropologie's Atlanta stores, I receive no compensation for Anthro product mentions or coverage of the exhibition.