First, I want to wish everyone health and happiness for 2012 and hope that this year may be your best. Before I close out the ‘holiday theme’ I thought I would share one last Christmas post (do I hear groaning!?) to make mention of the very mod Christmas gifts I received. Bear with me here. Observing the ‘Modmissy’ theme my SIL (sister-in-law) gave me a retro-inspired stool/side table that looks like a big white mushroom. Made of fiberglass with a high gloss white finish, this stool is the perfect addition next to my white leather sectional. It adds that bit of whimsy to the room. From my teenage son I got a very ‘groovy’ acrylic tray. The 70’s-inspired pattern with lime green, pink, yellow, turquoise and of course orange is the perfect tray for sitting on my white credenza. And of course whenever I shop for others I always find something for myself so I picked up a Ball Chair and Egg Chair. Only these are miniature versions that don’t sit next to my desk but rather on my desk. Colourful and inspirational!
All photos via Modmissy
As I may have mentioned I collect silk scarves. I love the feel of the silk. I love the colours and patterns on the scarves. I love the history behind many of the scarf labels. So, I recently added to my collection and treated myself to an Emilio Pucci silk scarf. Happy Birthday to me! The scarf is a very long rectangular shape with colours of purple, lavender, turquoise blue, yellow and black and bears the ‘Emilio’ name printed throughout. Emilio Pucci, born in 1914, the son of a wealthy Italian aristocrat, was a scholar, skier and WWII pilot but was best known for his work as a fashion designer in the 1950’s and 60’s. Pucci started using textiles with stretch and movement and brightly coloured patterns and dizzying prints eschewing the trend of the time of heavy fabrics and dull colours. Pucci clothes “looked like they’d sprouted roots and bloomed on their hangers.” Pucci’s transformation of fashion created quite a stir and developed a fan following from Sophia Loren to Jackie Kennedy. Even Marilyn Monroe was buried in one of Pucci’s dresses. Over the years, the Pucci design house often collaborated with home design companies; Rosenthal dishes in the 1960’s to Italian furniture maker Capellini. Pucci’s electric coloured, kaleidoscopic patterned fabric has adorned everything from pillows to furniture. Now if I could only adorn my home with a Pucci upholstered chair, definitely a room ‘wow factor’!
Image 1: www.capellini.it
Image 2: www.visionamidcenturymodern.1stdibs.com
What is it about a pattern that makes it so recognizable, so well-known throughout the world? My case in point is the Burberry pattern. Everyone recognizes the Burberry check, the black, white and red ‘nova check’. Millions of people world-wide own a piece. But few know its history. Burberry was founded in 1856 by 21-year-old Thomas Burberry, a haberdasher in England. At the time Thomas Burberry focused on the development of outdoor attire and in 1880 he developed and later patented Gabardine. (Think wool gabardine pants) This hard-wearing, water-resistant, breathable ‘miracle’ material was originally worn by polar explorers; in 1911 Roald Amundsen the first man to reach the South Pole, in 1914 by Ernest Shackleton on his expedition to cross Antarctica and in 1924 by George Mallory on his climb of Mount Everest. In 1924, the black, white and red ‘Burberry check’ was first used as a lining for the famous Burberry trench coat. It was not until 1967 that the recognizable pattern was widely used on its own for everything from umbrellas, to purses to upholstery. Burberrys (now spelled with an ‘s’) is now a UK-based luxury fashion house that manufactures clothing and accessories. So….an iconic pattern that has become synonymous with high-class, quality and excellence started out as the lining of a coat!
MY BURBERRY CUSHION AND BOXERS
My parents moved to the suburbs in 1957. They purchased the model home of the new development; a ranch-style bungalow with a sunken living, dining room. As it was the model home there were many ‘extra’ decorative features included. One of those features was the paint finish on the walls in 2 of the bedrooms, the hallway and the wall above the fireplace mantle in the living room. A special technique of ‘painted-on wallpaper’ was applied to the walls. A ‘Master Painter and Decorator’, as they were called back in those days, applied a very detailed decorative finish using paint to give the impression of wallpaper. I shared a bedroom with my sister that had the special paint technique; soft grey with little bouquets of white flowers in a repeating pattern. (See photo below) My mother coordinated the bed linens in yellow and then pink. Years later in 1973 my mother hired an ‘Interior Decorator’ to redecorate the bedroom that my sister and I still shared. Now keeping in mind that this was the ‘70’s and the theme of the time was “mod and groovy’ our bedroom was decorated in the most amazing way! We had wall-to-wall lime/chartreuse green shag carpet, white faux fur bedspreads and the grooviest part was the wall finishes. On three of the walls was a vinyl wall covering of vertical wavy stripes of bright yellow, goldenrod, black, white and chartreuse green. The paper had a gloss finish. The remaining wall was painted in the brightest, sunshine yellow. We had draperies made to match the ‘groovy’ theme that were white and weaved. I remember the paperhanger man being very experienced (read mature) but very frustrated at hanging this very heavy, not pre-glued wallpaper. Years later I was the one who sadly had to strip the wallpaper off and prime over the yellow paint. The walls were then painted a colour that leaves no memory with me yet I can recall every detail of that bedroom from the very distant past. As a wise person once said “Memory is a way of holding on to the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose”.