Ex-Minimalist Currently Seeking Chinoiserie For Long Term Relationship

Ex-Minimalist Currently Seeking Chinoiserie For Long Term Relationship

A few months ago, while wandering around Paris in search of authentic French fashion, I stumbled across a shop whose display was so beautiful, I just had to stop and stare. Interestingly, it wasn't clothing in the window, but wallpaper. 

de Gournay on Rue des Saints-Pères, which beckoned me in with its exquisite, perfectly-tinged wallpaper and sumptuous velvet sofas. 

de Gournay on Rue des Saints-Pères, which beckoned me in with its exquisite, perfectly-tinged wallpaper and sumptuous velvet sofas. 

de Gournay excels at creating whimsical chinoiserie prints. For some context: 

"Throughout the nineteenth century, the arts of China and Japan were an inexhaustible source for design ideas. Chinoiserie, a pseudo-Chinese decorative style popularized by Europeans in the 1730s, reappeared during the Regency and continued into the nineteenth century." 

- via The Met

An artisan hand-painting a de Gournay panel

An artisan hand-painting a de Gournay panel

I've been tracing the moments in the past few months that have brought about my recent transition from a minimalist to a pattern-loving, color-seeking, not yet maximalist, but one with a clear visual preference for more-is-more at the moment. I think I've located the origin of my new-found appreciation for color in this Vogue Korea editorial image featuring a pink silk kimono which you are probably tired of seeing and which I am still in hot pursuit of. 

Hong Jang Hyun for Vogue Korea, August 2016

Hong Jang Hyun for Vogue Korea, August 2016

As for my new-found love of patterns? I think it was activated at the very moment I stood in front of the window at de Gournay. Because ever since, I've been so compelled by the rich dimension and opportunity for stylistic expression that a print can add to an outfit or a home. Plain and simple, it's just more fun to play with style when a print is involved. 

Portraying the shift visually, I went from:

Photo: Helenio Barbetta

Photo: Helenio Barbetta

to:

Photo: de Gournay

Photo: de Gournay

And from:

The Row SS 2016

The Row SS 2016

to:

Gucci SS 2017 Men's Collection

Gucci SS 2017 Men's Collection

My initial reaction was to meet this shift with some caution. Was this the real thing? Just a fling? At first (i.e. a few weeks ago) it seemed a little harder to tell. Now I can say, I think this is here to stay for a while. First up on my list of things to acquire: a lovely silk printed chinoiserie-inspired something (very likely a robe). I'm on the careful hunt for something vintage, maybe even some old silk that I can take to my tailor to whip something creative up. I'll hunt in the usual places: on Etsy and e-Bay and I'll take my time until the right piece comes up. And if I lose hope of ever finding that lucky score, luckily for all humanity, de Gournay also makes fabrics in the case that one desires to coordinate their attire with their interior design.  I'll start saving now. 

An image from 2015 exhibition China Through the Looking Glass at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Dress: Alexander McQueen AW2006; wallpaper: de Gournay chinoiserie. Image via de Gournay.

An image from 2015 exhibition China Through the Looking Glass at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Dress: Alexander McQueen AW2006; wallpaper: de Gournay chinoiserie. Image via de Gournay.

Steven Meisel for Vogue US, May 2015

Steven Meisel for Vogue US, May 2015

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