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.

Vintage Rugs and Textiles: Delightfully Abstract

Textile Lessons from Lucienne Day

Lucienne Day

 

What better way to ward off winter blues than to reflect on the whimsy and optimism conveyed in the abstract motifs of superstar textile designer Lucienne Day. Day died four years ago on January 30, 2010 at the ripe old age of 93. In Britain’s post-war era, she cleared the path for woman designers in a male-dominated industry and left behind a 60-year work legacy with resounding impact – still felt to this day.

Interior Design-Calyx

 

Calyx (pictured above) was her breakout work. It was shown at the 1951 Festival of Britain. A linen screen print, the design was a bold, modernist take on mushroom caps that emphasized the geometry of the fungus. Her manufacturer, Heal’s Fabrics, was so wary of the untested pattern that initially they only paid her half the 20 pounds she charged for the design. Calyx, though, went on to win design awards in the U.K. and abroad, and it established Day as one of the most important designers of her time.

Interior design-dayfabrics

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Unique and Powerful Scandinavian Rugs

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White walls, whitewashed floors, and bright and colorful textiles have long-been described as the staples of Scandinavian design.  Interiors in Sweden, Denmark and Norway have boasted this modern style for decades, designing homes where light can easily bounce off the walls in countries known for cold temperatures; and where interiors are warmed by textiles and accessories that are used to add color, pattern, and life to otherwise stark spaces.  Scandinavian design is full of intriguing juxtapositions – neutral versus bright hues; pattern versus serenely designed spaces; streamlined furnishings versus daring accessories.  These dichotomies can be seen even more clearly in vintage Scandinavian rugs that are gaining in popularity.

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Rugs like this one from Swedish designer Brita Sweden beautifully embrace both color and strong geometric patterns.  This Swedish rug is a great piece to create a strong statement in an otherwise neutral interior.

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In many ways the power of Scandinavian rugs is their ability to break through the crisp whites, and soft beiges that are so often present in the furnishings in contemporary interiors. Their color and their design inject instant drama to a space.

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This home from the 1950s shows that even sixty years ago Scandinavian design was ahead of the curve, offering flat woven carpets in the bright hues that are so coveted in today’s interiors.

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An exploration of the new Scandinavian rug showcase at the DLB shop at ABC Carpet & Home will turn up many of these beautiful vintage pieces from the 40’s, 50s and 60s.  This stunning green carpet is a perfect example of the dramatic effect that Scandinavian rugs are able to deliver.  Despite a subdued color palette, the fan design in this rug provides a sense of movement.  Looking at it, it is hard to believe it’s from 1943 and not 2013. This rug was designed by Barbro Nilsson for Marta Maas-Fjetterstrom; one of the leading Swedish mills at the time.  The title she gave this rug was “The Park.” If you notice on the bottom left hand corner it is signed ABMMF, meaning Marta Mas-Fjetterstrom ltd. and on the bottom right hand corner Barbro Nilsson wove in her initials. Initials in the carpet increases it’s value.

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Geometric figures also have a strong presence in Scandinavian rug design.  This vibrant orange and green flat woven rug from Sweden features diamonds and circles that fit directly in line with today’s design obsession with such patterns. This rug was designed by Sverige Rolakan.

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The perfect partner to their sophisticated patterns, color also has great importance in Swedish flat woven rugs.  This navy blue and black rug design features contemporary shades that are in line with today’s top Pantone colors.  In a room with a generally neutral color palette, the striking black and blue color combination is sure to stand out. This carpet is signed GLH (Gavleborg County Arts & Crafts) on the  lower left corner and signed by the designer AMH Anna-Maria Hoke on the lower right corner.

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This vintage orange rug from 1963 is filled with juicy hues.  It’s the perfect piece to brighten a living area, or to place in a child’s room for a splash of color.  Like many Scandinavian rugs, it is designed with the intention of bringing a room to life, making it the perfect statement piece in a room that doesn’t boast much in the way of colorful accessories. This rug was designed by Marianne Richter for Marta Maas-Fjetterstrom and titled “Orange Facade.” Her initials are woven in on the lower right corner and ABMMF is woven in on the lower left corner.

Vintage Scandinavian rugs and Swedish reproduction rugs are now available at the DLB shop at ABC Carpet & Home at 888 Broadway (East 19th Street) as well as their 61st street location and online. Not only are these striking pieces tailor-made for today’s interiors, but you can find them at fair prices that rival those of similar pieces found at auction.

Rugs: Inspiring Art Deco Design

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In just a few days, Hollywood will be releasing The Great Gatsby.  The film starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan is an adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel written in 1925.  A celebration of the jazz-era style of the 20s and 30s, The Great Gatsby promises to be filled with beautiful Art Deco style.  From the fashions to the architecture and interiors, at every turn we can expect to see the geometric forms and bold outlines that Art Deco is known for.  Once an exposition of the modernist decorative style that emerged in Paris in 1925, the glamorous style featuring luxe palettes of black and gold and cool zigzag designs can still be spotted in the skyline architecture of cities like New York, Chicago and Detroit.  Art Deco is making a comeback in 21st Century design, and you can discover it in a number of home accessories including the luxurious Art Deco carpets that are just waiting to bring a bit of 1920s glamour to your home.

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Known as the “Cathedral of Finance”, the Guardian Building in Detroit showcases the beauty of Art Deco design.  Geometric patterns in striking primary hues were painted on the building’s ceiling to create a stunning cathedral effect.

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Art Deco isn’t shy when it comes to luxury.  This building in black and gold, like the Empire State Building and the Chrysler in New York, is a monument to the time when this architectural style was supreme.

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Inside the EmpireStateBuilding a brass mural features many of the geometric lines you can expect to see in Art Deco design.  Rectangles upon rectangles make up the body of the building, and a mix of linear and zigzag shapes completes the mural’s design.

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This abstract rug features the beautiful geometric lines that Art Deco design is known for.  In a neutral color palette the mix of shapes doesn’t overwhelm the rug’s design, but instead enhances it.  Pair a rug like this with linear black furnishings to create a strong Art Deco statement.

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This rug was actually made in the 1920s when Art Deco style was on the rise.  The wavy gray chevron pattern was a popular design at the time, and still fits within today’s design trends.  A striped border adds even more geometric detail.

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Art Deco style was first spotted in Paris.  This French Deco Rug shows the beauty of the design that was coming out of France at the time.  A mix of cool shapes creates an attention grabbing-rug in soft hues of brown and ivory.

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The geometric motif on this Swedish rug is a subtle showcase of Art Deco design.  In more subdued tones, the strong graphic lines stand out in this neutral rug design.

Explore the beauty of Art Deco style by taking a look at the Art Deco rug collection at Doris Leslie Blau > (http://www.dorisleslieblau.com/deco-rugs/)

By Jeanine Hays (www.aphrochicshop.com)