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Embroidered Embellishment
This opulent coat, called a habit, was the primary component of the habit à la française, the predecessor of the three-piece suit that also included a waistcoat (vest) and breeches. This type of outfit, often rich with embroidery, would have been donned for formal events during the decades before the French Revolution. This example was...
Living Jewelry
When a piece of jewelry is made of natural materials such as this neckpiece designed by Liv Blåvarp, it forges a special connection with the wearer. There is something about natural substances that bring out feelings of sensuality and an intimate connection on a deeply primal level. When Blåvarp began making jewelry in 1984, she sought to make...
Inside Out and Upside Down
In the hot weeks of June 2008, patrons of New York restaurant Florent stuffed their pockets with matches, postcards and other ephemera emblematic of the 24-hour diner soon to close, “beloved in equal measure by celebrities on the A list and hedonists on the edge.” [1] The matches that were struck by both Calvin Klein...
Image of textile piece 1919.
Peche’s Ornamental Ombré
Matilda McQuiad discusses this ombré textile by prominent Austrian designer Dagobert Peche.
Some Very Bunny Antics
When it comes to post-war wallpapers the kitsch award goes to American manufacturers. From the late 1940s through the 1950s the United States churned out more novelty wallpapers containing a greater volume of funky, humorous designs than probably all other nations combined. This wallpaper with rabbits is a perfect example, with Victorian bunnies sporting bathing...
Paper Dolls
In Paper Dolls, one of many trompe-l’oeil designs by William Ward Beecher, blue paper cut-outs join at the hands and feet in the form of a child’s paper chain. The figures cast shadows on the beige ground behind them, so that they appear to hover above the surface. The February 17, 1953 issue of Women’s...
Buttons – An Expression of Curiosity
This button, from a set of nine, offers the viewer a chance to peek into the age of Enlightenment, a period of time when the human mind was breaking free from the constraints of the Church and the limitations of the Middle Ages. The Renaissance, primarily spanning the fifteenth through sixteenth centuries, is often thought...
The Four Horsemen
Albrecht Dürer (German, 1471-1528) is commonly regarded as one of the greatest artists of the Northern Renaissance. He trained under his father, a goldsmith, and later with Michel Wolgemut, a well-known printmaker and publisher. One of Dürer’s most prominent works is The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse dated ca. 1497-98, a woodcut print that depicts...
A Strong Wallpaper Indeed
I thought it was about time to write about something other than a regular wallpaper. Wallpapers seem to get all the glory but there are other papers that pull their weight as well, like dado papers. Dado papers were used below the chair rail in rooms that lacked wood wainscots and were popular from the...