I was very excited to read the other day that Scalamandre has reissued the "Zebra" wallpaper as part of its Cabinet de Curiosites line. "Zebra" was first designed for the legendary New York restaurant Gino's in the 1940s. The original owner, Gino Circiello, had been friends with the Scalamandre family, and when he opened his restaurant he asked them to design a wallpaper that had a big game hunting motif. What they came up with was a magnificent design of running zebras being chased by arrows, all set against a red background.
I first learned about the famous wallpaper about ten years ago. In fact, I decided to dine there just to see the wallpaper, which looks even better in person. I had been told that while the restaurant was still in business that Scalamandre would not reproduce this pattern. It seems however that that may not have been an accurate story. According to some recent articles, Scalamandre employees discovered the lost printing screen during their move from their Long Island City factory, so they decided to include this print in their new collection.
The new "Zebra" is slightly different from the original in two ways. First, the new zebras no longer look like hunted prey (they seem to prance rather than run). Secondly, the original design was charming in that one of the zebras was missing a stripe from his hind end, and the new pattern has reintroduced the missing stripe. The new "Zebra" comes in many colorways, although the red one is still my favorite. Kate Spade used a bright green version of the print in her guest bathroom. Also, I believe the red version was used on the set of the movie "The Royal Tenenbaums". What I like most about the design, though, is that is whimsical without being kitschy, and that it represents a little piece of New York history!
Photo of Gino's, courtesy of New York Times
Photo of Kate Spade's Guest Bathroom, courtesy of World of Interiors
Photo at top of "Zebra" print, courtesy of New York Times