Just a Certain "je ne sais quoi!"
Coco Chanel said, “Fashion changes, but style endures.” Fashion also goes in cycles and some years different styles are in, but the French style never misses a season! When you walk around the Guild Shop, you will always find French-influenced in pieces that we receive and consign.
Starting in furniture, we often get pieces that have strong French influence. A little Louis XV here or a bit of Louis XIV there; the French kings had a strong impact on the style of their reigns.
The styles of Louis XIV are baroque and have rounded edges. The most famous construction of this time is the Chateau de Versailles with all of its opulence. Gilded bronzes, ornate carvings and scrolled legs often are associated with this style. Later came Louis XV, which classifies as the Rococo. Exotic woods, like ebony, cherry and beech were staples. Card tables, rolltop desks and chairs with short armrests became the hot commodity. Textiles came to the forefront in upholstery. The Greek acanthus leaf became a symbol of revived wealth on pieces, and laurel and branches carved into the wooden pieces guided the imagination to nature.
The next Louis XVI was influenced by history outside of France and influenced by what was happening in neighboring Italy. This developed into the Neo-Classic styles, which were simpler and with straighter lines. Columns, fluted legs and ovals were used in much of the design. As history continued, so many influences came from around the world and yet the ideas coming out of France set the trend. Still today, one of France’s contributions to all of us is fashion in every sense of the word.
Last year, I went to see an exhibit at the Speed Art Museum by Isabelle de Borchgrave called Fashioning Art from Paper. Ms. De Borchgrave is a master of taking these styles and recreating them into paper. It remains one of my favorite exhibits as it really mixed history, fashion, artistic wonder and so much more. This photo is part of this exhibit and believe it or not, it is made of paper! This lovely lady depicted was Madame Pompadour, who was key in influencing Rococo fashions.
And let’s talk about the needlepoint colors of this matching chair set—so much work and artistry placed into these pieces. The Guild Shop was so lucky to get these and the person who bought them (they only lasted a day in the shop) had a perfect space for them.
French fashion … SWOON! Who doesn’t love a little bit of “in the style of” Chanel? These fun clip-on earrings are the quintessential Chanel, looking like resin and pearls. If you look at Ms. Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, you will always see that no matter what amazing outfit she dons, she always has a classic pearl in her ear.
Come take a walk down history row and may you find your treasure,