Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My Initial Thought




Some people have the best initials. Take Wallis Windsor, for example. Double W's look fantastic when engraved on flatware or embroidered on linen. Heck, just one W looks terrific. M is good, as is T. I think I'm taken with these letters because they're symmetrical. You can flip them on their vertical axis, and they still look the same. J is asymmetrical, something which I admit drives me a tad crazy. Same with a B. But if you have one initial that is symmetrical, like an H, then you can use that letter as the starting point for an interesting monogram. That one symmetrical letter can be the foundation upon which you build your cypher. On my stationery, seen above, I tried to achieve balance with one long B to the right and a smaller J and E to the left. And if you throw a box around anything, it's like instant symmetry.


See what I mean? Old Wallis had great initials. Those interlocking W's were perfect for this appliqued bed linen.



Edward's E was pretty nifty too. Of course, being able to add a crown to your monogram always helps.



Givenchy has monogrammed cotton slipcovers in his dining room at Clos Fiorentina. If you didn't know that this was Givenchy's monogram, it might be a little tough to decipher the letters. Still, it's rather striking, don't you think?


Also at Clos Fiorentina- the "Walter" guest bedroom named after friend Walter Lees. See, there's that W again. Looks fabulous.



And yet again, W rears it's pretty little head in this room decorated by Jonathan Adler.



Todd Romano's monogram is quite clever (seen here on a matchbook). The T bisects a wide R, resulting in a cypher that is tight and symmetrical.



But, after seeing these chairs that were auctioned off by Christies last week, I take back everything I said about B's. According to An Aesthete's Lament, these beauties belonged to Bunny Mellon.


(Windsor photos from The Duke & Duchess Of Windsor: Public Collections; Private Collections (2 volume set).; Givenchy images from Le Style Givenchy; Adler photo from Rooms to Inspire in the City: Stylish Interiors for Urban Living by Annie Kelly, Tim Street-Porter photographer, Rizzoli 2010.)

51 comments:

  1. All three of my initials are asymmetrical :) And now that you've got me thinking about it, C is so much less fun to play with than say W or T. The box idea is terrific. Emily Amy came up with a pretty cool graphic, that suggests a monogram, for her gallery. Great post.

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  2. Courtney- I can't remember what her graphic looks like; will need to go check that out!

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  3. Don't forget the fabulous red intertwined DS monograms stencilled on the slipcovers done for the Duke and Duchess of Beaufort (back when he was David Somerset).

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  4. Ah yes, how could I forget? Those were fabulous.

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  5. I wonder what the B on Bunny's chairs stood for... do you think it's for Bunny?

    I have crap initials: MFF

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  6. clint9:31 AM

    i need a monogram. you should offer bespoke consulting services to help me design one.

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  7. Meg- I feel your pain, obviously :) Re: the B, that's what I'm assuming too.

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  8. Clint- The B in my monogram stands for bespoke!

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  9. Monogramming is becoming tres big! Everywhere you look! Too bad we don't write as many letters as we used to. I have a ton of personal stationery from my favorite hand pressed printing shop - The Printery in Oyster Bay, NY. They print on presses used in the 1800's. How cool is that?

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  10. So true. My graphic designer came up with something for my initials (vjf)but I wasn't loving it.

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  11. I love this! I have always wanted to do it too - maybe I should since I have a W. But I have a J too jbw. Actually that might be good because the j and b are opposites with the W inbetween. hmmmmmmmmm. food for thought.

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  12. My initials are PHD. My husband's initials are JD. He is a lawyer; alas, alack, I am not a Ph.D. In this university community where I live, I would be judged as a poor wanna' be if I were to claim my rightful monogram. Just sign me HBD.

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  13. Be careful with the use of monograms, everybody! Remember what the Windsors' houses looked like—as if she couldn't remember her name or as if everything needed to be branded in case somebody walked off with a belonging or two. More than one monogram in a room is too much.

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  14. Joni- Lucky you; you've got that W that I covet!

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  15. Home- I think you should monogram something with PHD- just for the fun of it!

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  16. Aesthete- I couldn't agree more. Perhaps Wallis' overzealous monogramming had to do with her Southern roots. After all, we want to monogram everything in site.

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  17. With my first baby due, I monogrammed RW on the pocket of my white towelling robe inspired by the general style and elegance of my American godmother.
    It was a bit wasted on our National Health maternity ward but made me feel good at any rate.

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  18. Love the post! My maiden initials were LAC which I liked because of a big C with curvy A and L on the sides. When I got married I legally kept all names so that I had flexibility with my monogram. I went from Campbell to Casey and wanted to keep the A! so now legally I am LACC all for a monogram...

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  19. Great post!!! Gets me thinking. Joni's comment is perfect. Have a great day.

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  20. The Empty Nest3:05 PM

    Leontine Linens has the most beautiful monograms in the world. I've always wanted them to design my own special one that I could use on stationery, silver, in addition to their linens

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  21. I love this post . I love monograms and the chairs in the last picture are stunning

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  22. I'm stuck on symmetry as well. Love the B chairs, I almost wish they would mirror each other!
    Lila Ferraro
    Queen Bedroom Sets

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  23. Found you via the lovely Amid Privilege. I was thinking of monograms just the other week: http://misscavendish.blogspot.com/2010/01/monograms-are-not-monotonous.html

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  24. Fun post! I love monograms--part of my Southern heritage,I guess. Mine are TNF. Not great, but usually works out ok.

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  25. Anonymous3:02 AM

    What you need is a cypher - a motif of your initials woven together to create one symbol.

    The WWW that you like, as you well know, is for Wallis Warfield Windsor - it's appeal is that the exact meaning, or composition, isn't obvious. Hubert de Givenchy's cypher is even more complex.

    Perhaps the coolest cyphers are the most indecipherable.

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  26. You can always "mirror" an asymmetrical monogram, to give it symmetry. I do that with mine.

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  27. I've had some fun with my initials: TNT. But, I've always been careful about where I put them. For instance, they're no longer on my luggage. The symmetry of the two Ts also limits me to monograms with letters of equal size, because putting the last name initial larger in the middle destroys the balance. My father shares them and designed a clever motif with up and down Ts forming the two legs of the N. I should play with that in a design for something.

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  28. Newell- I think you win the prize for THE best initials; they make Wallis' look boring, although I see where it could be a problem if placed them on luggage. You should use your father's motif on book plates- that would be nice and discreet.

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  29. Love what you have done with your initials....xv

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  30. Love this post. I have always been fond of monograms and yet have never taken the plunge. Thanks for the beautiful inspirations!

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  31. When the Duke and Duchess of Windsor auction catalog came out in 1997 I lusted after her bath mat. Since my last name begins with an "M", I copied her monogram and had it inverted so that the "w" looked like an "m" at the embroidery shop. I even had them add a crown and I quilted the whole thing and edged it in blue. Still have it and love it.

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  32. My mother told me, when she was thinking about my name prior to my birth, she knew she wanted me to have an attractive, balanced monogram. What a thoughtful Mama.

    I only get that "W" you rave about in "Washington Cube."

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  33. That Walter guestroom is fantastic. Love the green & yellow color combo. So cheery!

    Bre @ http://theredbungalow.blogspot.com

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  34. love the monogram on your stationary...i love sending notes on personal stationary...in fact i love old-fashioned letter writing

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  35. There really are some letters that are better than others. I have "M" and I love using it to monogram thing!

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  36. I have a whole business that is built on monograms and bespoke cashmere sweaters. Monogramming is the right trend for the times in which we live. It makes everything personal and meaningful. Bunny Mellon's chairs just take my breath away. Oh, how I lust after them. I wonder who is the lucky person who owns them now?
    I recently did a post on monogram jewelry that featured diamond brooches and crowns. One piece from Princess Margaret's collection was auctioned off. Really, I must forgo the shelter mags and peruse the auction catalouges more often!

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  37. Perhaps, besides my complete dislike of "claiming" your sofa pillows, and such, an I is just the worst! Combined with the R and L...I am stuck with, just not pretty.

    And, yes W an M are the best!!! However, you did a wonder job with yours!

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  38. These are all v good monograms but I first read the TR of Todd Romano as a TFR...

    Thanks for sharing!

    http://davidikus.blogspot.com/

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  39. My own surname has the unfortunate combination of L and D - a long time ago I came across a gorgeous monogram design website and taking something from there as a starting point actually came up with something for LD that was quite attractive - - I must look it up again. I'd love to provide a monogramming service for my linen sheets.

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  40. Suddenly, I want monograms!
    pve

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  41. Such fun to think about. My monogram is RSM, not to much fun to work with....I do like what you did with yours!

    Great fun meeting you at the roundtable!

    xx

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  42. Fabulous post. We should all have a monogram that suits our personal style.

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  43. Love a monogram, particularly on something meaningful to be passed down. I am an M and and S. Both have loads of potential. Maybe that's why I like monograms so much...

    Marija

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  44. What a wonderful post! Everyone should have a monogram. By the way, I have been enjoying your blog for quite some time! Thank you.

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  45. Monograms can be so graphic and cool..those interlocking W's really get me! Perfect!

    x

    Kit

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  46. Wonderful post!! My mother gave me monogrammed sweaters when I was young, and I hated them, not just because they were way too preppy for me, but also because my initials seemed so boring. I wanted something with an X or a Z in it! You know who also had a great monogram? Marie Antionette.

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  47. What a cool idea to post about monograms---and your examples are wonderful! Thanks for inspiring me to design my own. I have to work with K and A. :)

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  48. Your blog ..... it's amazing and soooo inspiring. Nice to find you!

    A small footprint from Agneta & Sweden

    Ps. I have an ongoing jewelry contest on my blog. Welcome! Ds

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  49. Those dinning room chairs are to die for. Beautiful monograms.

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  50. I have odd initials: KM. They don't overlap very well. But the one thing I like about monogramming is when it is monochrome: white on white. Brings to mind old issues of Victoria Magazine...

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  51. Anonymous10:11 PM

    I had a monogram designed for me by a wonderful woman who does great work. You should check out her web site for beautiful monograms - I think it's www.monogramsinc.com or perhaps without the s. Agree with the comment above that you have to be careful not to have too many monograms in a room. I'm not crazy about the ones I've seen on car windows or soap. Too much.

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