Monday, November 2, 2009

Timeless Toile

We've all seen it. Toile is everywhere. It's black & white, red & yellow, blue & cream. It's on the walls, spread across beds, sitting on chairs, and has even made it's way into fashion. It is in old homes, new homes, and even nurseries. And now, color can change a timeless classic into a new, modern fad.

Above: Bright red carpeting contrasts against a rosy patterned toile. Dark and sleek furniture set the modern tone. (

Above: Soft green toile wall-paper is coordinated with a matching bed skirt and toss pillows in this serene bedroom. Solid green chairs, white bedding, and a subtle paisley on the euro shams on the bed keep this room simple and soothing. The green is fresh and crisp against the white and the yellow table lamp adds an unexpected pop of color. (Elle decor)

Above: A contemporary purple and white toile stands out against the creamy, ornate furniture in this bedroom. Even though the furniture has so much detail, the unusual color of the toile is what catches the eye.

Below: A tiny room makes a big statement with black and cream toile wall-paper. Everything else about this bedroom remains simple and understated allowing the detail on the wall to speak volumes.

"Toile twahl] means "cloth" in French and it is the abbreviation for "Toile de Jouy"—literally "cloth from Jouy," a town in France. Scenes repeated on cotton fabric known as monochromes are the most well-known and popular versions of this decoration and are used most frequently in interior design for wallpaper, bedding and drapery. No doubt you have seen countless photographs of guest bedrooms covered in the intricate pattern, and those bedrooms are in good company—royal bedrooms in fact.Marie Antoinette drenched her bedroom in the fabric and it subsequently stayed a favorite among the upper-classes. The irony was that the fabric itself was only cotton, which wasn’t a highly prized material in the days of baroque and rococo opulence. Surprisingly, the queen—who was widely reputed for her indulgent lifestyle—chose the seemingly humble fabric on account of being trendy. Today we may not think of toile as the darling of the hip and happenin,’ but for the queen of style and her contemporaries, patterned fabric with it’s origins in exotic India was the peak of chic.Without photography, television, or an easy way to travel long distances, the leisure class of the eighteenth century was fascinated by all things imported. Brightly printed and painted fabrics made their debut in France in the seventeenth century, and they became so popular by 1700 that King Louis XIV placed an embargo on the textiles known as "Indiennes" to protect domestic textile manufacturers. The wool and silk industries had so much clout in those days that they even lobbied to ban the sale of cotton, imported or domestic. They were successful, and it wasn’t until 1756, seventy years after the initial ban, that cotton reentered the marketplace. Three years later, the embargo on foreign imported fabric was lifted and King Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette’s husband, founded the Manufacture Royale de Jouy in Jouy-en-Josas, a suburb of Paris. An estimated 30,000 designs were created at the factory in the years following.Some of the most popular artists of the day, such as Fragonard and Boucher, were commissioned to create designs, and the subjects ranged from Greek and Roman classics to the lives of famous figures, such as Joan of Arc. Patterns can tell stories, and so themes based on literature, such as the fables of la Fontaine and the adventures of Don Quixote, were widely used. The bucolic scenes of men and women outdoors that are some of the most readily recognizable subjects when we think of toile today, were also very popular with the widespread vogue of rococo style artwork. Images of the Far East, known as chinoiserie, showed European interpretations of what life was like on the far-off continent. Even the Egyptian pyramids made their way onto the textile years later due to the travels of Napoleon when toile resurfaced during his reign. After the American Revolution, toile was introduced to the United States, and during a visit to England, Benjamin Franklin bought some of the fabric to take home to his wife." Seattle Homes Lifestyle Blog

Update toile with color, like this teal, and add bold buffalo checks and colorful dots. (calico corners)

Throw in a graphic floral with eggplant and chartreuse to spice up a lilac toile. A solid grounds the two busy patterns. (calico corners)

(Lyon Hotel)

A brown and blue toile nursery is gender neutral. (hgtv)

1 comment:

Thanks for reading. What do you think?

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