24 June 2010

Get Inspired: Ruffled Curtains

Haute couturière Elsa Schiaparelli in a window of her showroom at 21 Place Vendôme in Paris. Image by François Kollar from "Good Housekeeping", June 1938. Republished in "Shocking! The Art and Fashion of Schiaparelli" (Yale University Press, 2004).

Believe it or not reductivist extraordinaire Jean-Michel Frank had a thing for curtains with ruffled edges. The influential French interior designer hung them at the windows of numerous projects, commercial and residential, including the fashion salon of Elsa Schiaparelli at 21 Place Vendôme in Paris in 1935, shortly after he decorated the salons of Mainbocher and Lelong. And by ruffled curtains I don't mean Priscillas, those overwrought, dramatically crisscrossed curtains adored by Dorothy Draper and my own mother. Instead I mean sumptuous, dead plain, unlined panels of wide-wale white piqué (a fabric that deserves to come back in a big way), the leading edges trimmed with cascades of bias-cut piqué tucked and sewn into gentle loops and whorls and tied with matching tiebacks.

Heaven, no?