Have you seen the (not so) new Gucci campaign? It stopped me dead in my tracks. Patterned, bejewelled, embroidered. All some of my happy words! And it made me realise that our fascination with the Orient has never really stopped. It’s as if it serves as a little reminder – the world is way to colourful and pretty to just drown in a sea of monochrome. And isn’t it just cunning how fashion follows interiors – I’m seeing Eastern influences everywhere. It is just so damn utterly timelessly, classy.
In the West, we look at art through life. Well, that’s one way of living. In the Orient they look at life through art.
You might ask, when did the fascination with the Orient start? We can thank good old Colonialism (again) for this. The Brits started importing Japanese art & artefacts, soon after founding the East India Company. Artefacts had to wait – first on the whishlist was tea and a boat load of good ol’ Opium (last one, not such a wise choice in the end). Thus the Japanese style of decoration was established in Great Britain well before 1894. It even got given a name – Chinoiserie.
In short, it means the European interpretation and imitation of Chinese and East Asian artistic traditions – specifically focussing on the decorative arts, garden design, architecture, literature.
Lets look at some other Chinoiserie examples, other than these fabulous Gucci frocks.
Slap on some wallpaper in the Chinoiserie style. Yes, it’s pricey, so why not invest in just a roll or two and frame them as panels of art? Works for me. Or turn your cupboard into an Orient masterpiece – wallpaper the doors!
Always one of my favourites – how beautiful is this pagoda-style mirror against the china blue wallpaper?
In Unexpected Places
Just love the scenic choiserie mural in this nursery – so diferent and most definitely something they can grow into.
Ming-style vases, greenery – a winning combo – always! But what if you supersize the ming vases and place them next to water? Genius!
What is nicer than this happy scene in an entry way? The garden stools almost make you feel as if you’re in a conservatory.
Bamboo, garden stools, pagoda mirrors – take your pic. Mix it up! The unexpected, becomes the admired.
Probably the easiest way to show off some Chinoiserie style. This table setting is from a very traditional Southern home. The monogrammed linen says it all. But the Pagoda-style monogram and mix Oriental patterns just transports your to somewhere magical.
Bring the outdoor in! Ming-style vases paired with orchards, citrus are just instant crowd pleasers.