Before the Oscars, a look at how big red became the thoroughfare of modern royalty

A French Deco Rug

“I am a mortal, a man; I cannot trample upon these tinted splendors without fear thrown in my path.” -King Agamemnon, from the Greek tragedian-playwright Aeschylus in the fifth century, BC.

Those were the words the good (fictitious) king said upon returning home to his plotting wife after leading his troops to victory in the Trojan War. The story goes, wife Clytemnestra laid out a crimson carpet to highlight her husband’s arrogance by having him trample on the color of the gods. He walks on the carpet, but only under protest. Later, depending on which version you read, Clytemnestra or her lover kills him. Because, you know – tragedy.

A Swedish Rug

Evidence suggests that, while there’s a nice mythical quality to tracing red carpet back to ancient Greece, the practice more likely originated at railroad stations. According to Live Science, President James Monroe received the red carpet treatment in South Carolina, his hosts laid red carpet along the river in his honor in 1821. But it was not until the 1900s, when the luxurious 20th Century Limited train from Chicago to New York had passengers board and disembark on a plush carpet that the idea fancy people deserved fancy rugs, i.e. “red carpet treatment,” took hold.

According to the director of the Academy of Motion Pictures’ Margaret Herrick Library Linda Mehr, the red carpet was added to the Oscars in 1961.

Doris Day (1)

Doris Day at the Oscars, 1961
Via: DorisDay.net (http://www.dorisday.net)

 The television broadcasts of the awards show switched to color in 1966, and ever since watching our favorite movie stars traipse down that sanguine, hallowed walkway has become our chief vicarious indulgence.  It would be hard to name a more popular, or more American, fantasy than getting to be part of the Hollywood glitz.

85th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals

Jennifer Lawrence, 2013 Oscars
Via: The Gloss

So who is responsible for the actual red carpet at the Oscars? Today, it’s a man by the name of Joe Lewis. For seven years Lewis has been responsible for seeing that the carpet is ready and in place to carry the stars from their limos to the doors of the Dolby Theater. The carpet itself is 600 feet long and will be laid out today and vacuumed Sunday just in time for the wave of press to arrive.

Red is the color of blood and power. Cheerful, robust, vibrant, strong – a bold, red textile can imbue a bit of glamour and stateliness into any space, even if there’s no chance of Brad or Angie crossing the threshold. Check out DLB’s crimson textile tide here.

The Arts and Crafts Rug Movement: A Journey to the Past…

When it comes to rugs and carpets, design is one of the factors that are taken into consideration by those who purchase such products.  Aside from materials and quality, the design of any rug or carpet matters greatly if you want your floor piece to create a unique impact and add an elegant appeal to your home.  Regardless of the theme of your home interior, adding a classical rug with a hint of the past can make a big difference.

Let your guests be awed by your magnificent home furnishings especially your rug, which can very well be the centerpiece in your living room.  What can make it even more amazing is if it carries with it a touch of the ARTS AND CRAFTS MOVEMENT which originated in the 19th century in Great Britain.  In case you are not familiar with this movement, it was supported primarily by people dedicated to achieving high quality craftsmanship in terms of house furnishings.

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This Voysey rug has the design and skill so prominent in the Arts and Crafts movement. The floral detail and vibrant colors come together to create an overall stunning image.

The ARTS AND CRAFTS MOVEMENT, founded by William Morris, took pride in their simple but beautiful handcrafted items.  The inspiration of laborers supporting the movement at that time sprouted from the belief that humans should be treated as workers with creativity rather than mere tools that worked monotonously.  With Morris on their side, the movement led to the formation of Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. which was later renamed Morris & Co. where they offered their creations such as fabric, furniture, wallpaper, tapestries, stained glass, etc., all of which were created with decorative arts as a key ingredient.

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Another great Voysey rug, this time with a muted palette that compliments the prominent pattern.

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A second quarter 20th century William Morris style rug, with an emphasis on the rich designs of the Arts and Crafts movement.

Irish Donegal Rugs

Irish Rugs have a long and proud tradition. Their most famous rugs come from a town called Donegal in Ireland. The Donegal Carpets are a trademark brand of handmade wool carpets that can be found in esteemed establishments all over the world; including the US White House, Dublin Castle, Eltham Palace and Norte Dame University.

BB1504 Donegal 21.5 x 13.4

Rug and carpet making is an ancient tradition for Donegal and the most famous manufacturer was a Scottish textile company over 100 years ago owned by Alexander Morton. Morton practiced the same techniques of the Donegal people for his wool carpets. The popular Celtic designs made the rugs a real success. Soon the rugs began to be purchased by and gifted to famous churches and other establishments around the world.

BB1148 Irish Donegal 16.4 x 11.4 C.1920

In 1957, the Morton’s sold the company to a consortium called Donegal Carpets Ltd. Many Irish textile manufactures that made rugs and carpets closed their doors during “The Great Depression” and in 1987 the last facility was forced to close its doors. In 1997 the government reopened Donegal Carpets by petition of the local people. Now Donegal once again makes their signature Celtic rugs for the world to enjoy.

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Today’s Donegal rugs are typically custom made with colors that are chosen by the clients. In their contemporary designs the Donegal rugs are now often neoclassical or abstract. The designs are graceful, the quality is top-notch and the colors divine. There is no greater quality rug to be found.

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