Style Court

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


Now and Then

 [Ralph Lauren embroidered bag from the Denim & Supply line.]

For spring, Ralph has taken that English classic we love to see hanging around beds, crewelwork (see an old example at Montacute House, here), and re-imagined it as a slouchy bag. Of course, wool embroidery on cotton/linen was used for bags centuries ago -- check out this 18th-century work bag in the V & A's collection -- but Ralph's 2012 interpretation caught my eye because he balanced the feminine floral with a rugged leather strap. Also, I noticed his palette of fresh greens and blues.

[Liberty & Co. Furnishing fabric, printed cotton, 1906-9 from V & A Pattern: Liberty.]

The cool colors reminded me of a printed cotton I spied the other day in V & A Pattern: Liberty.

The V & A points out that England's first major craze for crewelwork hangings occurred during the late 17th and early 18th centuries, with textile designs largely based on imported Indian embroideries. Fast-forward to the Downton Abbey era (sorry, I couldn't resist another reference), and the look returns; some families own, or acquire, original bed curtains while others buy newly available printed linens inspired by the antiques.

Click here to see a chintz-bedecked 18th-century four-poster, and here for more on Liberty archivist Anna Buruma's upcoming book.


the designers muse said...

Love the patter....gonna have to get the book.

Emile de Bruijn said...

Yes it is fascinating how things such as crewelwork get picked up again and again, and how each reimagining and refashioning becomes part of its history. I seem to remember crewelwork being quite popular in the 1980s, too, but this is an entirely subjective and no doubt unreliable bit of information :) But then 'the eighties' seem to be a current fashion trend as well, so perhaps Ralph Lauren's picking it up is somehow related to that...?

design elements said...

beautiful pattern! happy new week

Style Court said...

DM -- I think you'll enjoy it and find it useful!

Style Court said...

Emile --

Yes, definitely 1980s too. Ralph has always channeled the English thing but they're saying this year is the Perfect Storm for all things Brit-related :)

Style Court said...

DE --

Have a great start to your week, too!