Don’t let the Internet dictate your sensibility

Team USA

The opening ceremony in Sochi wasn’t even over before my Twitter feed was glutted with ugly Christmas sweater jokes about Team USA’s Ralph Lauren uniform. There’s something about the Internet that makes us thrill to any opportunity for gleeful derision. It’s somehow more appealing to type “OMG – how awful!” than something more considered and thoughtful.

As a whole, and with a few notable exceptions, the opening ceremony uniforms were forgettable. Even countries that are usually more fashion-conscious that the US (France, Japan) went with middle-of-the-road styles that hardly spoke to a sense of national culture.

For those who quickly panned the American outfits, I wonder if it would have mattered to know that each sweater took 12 hours to whip-stitch? Would it matter that the California-based husband and wife team who designed them took pains to produce something uniquely American? Knitting is an integral part of our textile heritage, so then is all Americana ugly? In spite of all the booing, the same sweaters were auctioning for thousands on eBay by last week. But gauging design value based on dollar signs isn’t any better than gauging it by Internet comments.

sweater model

I suspect the great sweater controversy is mostly confined within our own borders. Other countries care less than we do about the uniforms, and the ironic/nostalgic ugly-Christmas-sweater preoccupation is an American cultural invention. It would be much harder to draw the insulting comparison if the spate of themed holiday parties from two months prior weren’t still fresh in our minds. Those purportedly unlovable Christmas sweaters have become so popular in recent years that pop-up shops selling nothing but holiday sweaters appeared at intersections in my city (Austin). I stopped by one, it was extremely busy.

I do not think the Team USA sweaters look like ugly Christmas sweaters. However – not unlike Christmas sweaters – here are three words I would use to describe them: Festive, friendly, fun. The Olympics are supposed to be about building goodwill among nations. So isn’t it nice that we sent our athletes wearing an outfit that’s unmistakably American – one that invokes a sense of cheerfulness and approachability? That’s a great message to send about the United States and American culture. Why forsake it for something sleek, toned-down and homogenous? Would it really have been better to send our team dressed in something you can buy at a mall?

Sochi

Of course, the sweaters weren’t the only instance of viral teasing this Olympic season. Host country Russia has probably taken the most heckling. In the weeks leading up to the games, there was a slew of articles on Olympic construction beleaguered by corruption. Then the journalists got to town and confirmed that Olympic hotels were “hilarious and gross.” When the fifth ring didn’t completely light up, it seemed almost fitting.

Most of that criticism was deserved. The Putin regime should be called out on its crony capitalism and poor human rights record. But nations are more than their lousy governments. It would be nice to cut through the negativity and noise for a moment and remember Russia is so much more than its present politics. Yes, it may be the progenitor of some very shoddy Olympic architecture, but Russia also gave us Saint Basil’s, the Kazan Cathedral and many other grand, onion-domed monuments. Russian design isn’t just commendable on its grandest scale, the ornate wooden trim on traditional wood houses found in Siberia is absolutely stunning. The legacy of great craftsmanship will continue to have impact long after we’ve forgotten the construction debacle leading up to the Sochi Games.

rugs

Of course, here at DLB we’re all about textiles and so a hat tip to the history of Russian design would not be complete without a look at the region’s beautiful weaving tradition. We have a lovely collection of Bassarabian carpets. The regional aesthetic blends folk motifs with ideas borrowed from French carpets, as all things French – language, food, design – were once widely admired and employed among Russian aristocracy. The result was a blooming, vivacious genre of rugs and flatweaves.

None of this is to say technology is bad or Twitter-based criticism is invalid. It’s simply a reminder that the metrics of cultural flashpoints aren’t the best standards by which to judge design. Great design is deeply thoughtful and so too should be our criticism. An opinion informed by knowledge, history and cultural context will always afford better judgment than an opinion based on a critical mass of low-information blogs and tweets.

Minimal Design For The New Year

One thing that always comes to mind during a new year, besides making a list of goals, is starting from a clean slate. Organizing my apartment, throwing out things that are causing clutter and getting in the way of me being my best. There’s a refreshing feeling that comes with things that are minimal. You have no distractions and it’s easy to point out the most beautiful and important aspect.

While searching for the minimal and the beautiful, I came across Brooklyn jewelry designer Fay Andrada. Each piece in Fay’s collection is unique and exquisite. Her inspiration lies in handmade tradition and her goal is to create modern artifacts. With her innovative line, Fay has mastered the art of simplicity. Her work is unbothered and almost zen-like, Here are a few of my favorite things:

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Antique Tulu Rugs

Tulu means long haired in Turkish. These rugs were made in the past for the purpose of getting warmth and for sleeping. They are soft, usually have vibrant colors and are very shiny. Antique Tulu rugs are some of the most beautiful textile creations in the entire world. They can be identified by their artistic details and luscious texture. These rugs were made by hand knotting with the Ghiordes knotting style. Tulu rug patterns are unique but they are mostly based on flowery or vinery designs with something solid or plain for a centerpiece. Tulu rugs are usually woven with a combination of vibrant and earthy tones for balance.

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Our collection of Tulu rugs is specially selected from Anatolia, the home of the Tulu rugs as well as other parts around it with a rich heritage of Tulu rug weaving. We guarantee great quality antique Tulu rugs no matter your choice. Every Tulu rug has a history, a story that it carries in its threads. Tulu rugs are woven in the city of Karapinar, which lies east of Konya. It is home to a lot of mountains and plains. At least 100 years ago, the people of the village could not grow plants or tend livestock because of the conditions at the time. As a result, they started doing Tulu weaving (long–haired) and producing Tulu – rugs. Most of these rugs are 70–100 years old. They begin weaving these Tulus to keep themselves warm in the blistering cold up in the mountains. Commercial Tulu rug weaving only started recently to help them make a living for themselves.

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Some Tulu rugs show regional geography and terrain, hence, the flowery and vinery centerpieces and designs. Some Tulu rugs exist with oatmeal fields (centers) and more solid edges. This depicts the plains of the Karapinar and the mountains depict the solid edges that give some balance to the city of Karapinar.

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Owning one of these Antiques mean owning a beautiful, soft and luscious piece of history. It’s worth it.

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A Rug Roundup: Doris Leslie Blau’s Year in Review!

Horizontal press

As the year is coming to an end, it’s time to reflect on what an exhilarating year it has been.  It is quite the honor to have had Doris Leslie Blau antique, vintage and custom rugs placed in so many impeccably designed rooms by fabulous designers, as well as being featured in many of the top media outlets. Below is all the wonderful press we’ve received in 2012! We look forward to seeing you in 2013!

Michael J. Fox Home

Architectural Digest featured Michael J. Fox and Tracy Pollan’s home designed by Gomez Associates. Doris Leslie Blau’s antique and vintage carpets were placed in their home.

Promenade winter 2012

DLB’s Persian Malayer carpet was featured in the article, “Fine Art for the Floor… Whether Modern or Antique, These Beautiful Rugs Transform a Room.” Our very own Nader Bolour was quoted in the article, “It’s like putting a soul into a body. The eye always goes to the floor when someone enters a room.”

NY Spaces Special issue 2012 inside

DLB’s custom rug was featured in NY Spaces page “Artful Furniture and Home Accessories.”  Doris Leslie Blau’s rug was titled, “Tibetan Beauty.”

Elle Decor Nov 2012

DLB’s Persian Sultanabad rug was featured in Elle Décor’s  Arts and Antiques page, “For the Adventurous Collector.”

Trad Home Fall 2012

Traditional Home featured a dining room designed by Mary Douglas Drysdale; the carpet is a Doris Leslie Blau Aubusson carpet.

AD Oct. 2012

Owner Nader Bolour’s Starburst designed rug was featured in Architectural Digest’s article, “Most Wanted… From Simple Pleasures to Ultimate Luxuries.” To quote the article, “The exuberant black and white design of Nader Bolour’s Starburst rug for DLB evokes the tactile brushstrokes of abstract expressionist paintings.”

Veranda July-Aug 2012

Doris Leslie Blau’s Brown Stripe rug was a featured rug in Veranda’s “The World of…” page discussing flat weaves.

AD Sept. 2012

In Architectural Digest’s article, “A Plum Assignment,” interior designer Jamie Drake’s designed room featured Doris Leslie Blau’s custom designed Lily Rug.

Architectural Digest August 2012

A Doris Leslie Blau Persian Tabriz was used in a Carey Maloney designed room in Architectural Digest, August 2012.

Atlanta Homes June 2012

Atlanta Home featured a Lindsey Coral Harper designed room with our Eskayel Madagascar rug. Lindsey said, “My jumping-off point was the carpet. I wanted to do a rich jewel-toned room, glossy from floor to ceiling. So when I found the inkblot carpet from Doris Leslie Blau, I flipped! It looked like a Rorschach, so I thought that my room could double as an in-home shrink’s office.”

Interior Design Magazine May 2012

Two Doris Leslie Blau custom rugs, the Madagascar and animal skin flat weave, were featured in Interior Design magazine’s article, “Painterly Strokes that are Artfully Placed.”

Metropolitan Home April 2012

In the article “Lighten Up,” Doris Leslie Blau’s cotton Dhurrie carpet was a featured rug. To quote the article, “Forget plush
pile carpets, thin is in. Today’s most desirable carpets are graphic flat weaves.”

Cover Magazine Spring 2012

Our Madagascar Eskayel custom designed rug was a featured rug in Cover Magazines “Rug Revolution” edition.

Elle Decor April 2012

Elle Décor featured DLB in their “Happenings” feature. They shared Doris Leslie Blau’s custom-made collection of hand-knotted jute sisal rugs. The collection was said to“Come in various voluptuous colors with a solid, self-contained cotton border, give delight to the senses.”

In Style March 2012

In Style featured fashion designer Nanette Lepore’s living room designed by Jonathan Adler with a custom Doris Leslie Blau peacock carpet.

Elle Decor March 2012

Elle Décor featured Doris Leslie Blau’s custom Ikat-style rug. “The rug has an overscale motif in hand-loomed hemp.”

W Magazine Jan 2012

W Magazine featured one of our Eskayel designed rugs in the article, “Six Room-Making Rugs.” The rugs were said to be “A series of ethereal, Rorschach-esque statement pieces.”

Thank you for joing us and supporting us on our journey through 2012!

Behind the Rug Design: Doris Leslie Blau

Since he was a young boy, Nader Bolour has immersed himself into the world of rugs. He got his start by washing and vacuuming rugs and carpets in his father’s shop and was immediately in awe by what he was seeing. Once he realized his passion for rugs, he purchased Doris Leslie Blau and has been committed to searching for the most unusual and striking antique and vintage rugs and carpets as well as having a beautiful collection of samples for customization and contemporary rugs.

Read more at Dering Hall

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DLB Rug Chosen by Mary Alice Stephenson at Christie’s

Mary Alice Stephenson was featured this week on Christie’s “Arbiter of Style.” Among her favorite picks, the renowned style expert includes a contemporary DORIS LESLIE BLAU IKAT-INSPIRED CARPET.

DLB Rug Chosen by Mary Alice Stephenson at Christie's

Doris Leslie Blau Rug Chosen by Mary Alice Stephenson at Christie’s

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