See that photo above? A little grand, don't you think? And perhaps not the way we decorate today. But what amazes me is the skill and artistry that went into that bed's draperies. Those swags...stunning. The tassels and trim...terrific. Check out the printed lining of the bed curtain, the swags around the bottom of the bed, even the red table to the left that is upholstered in a red damask with a small tassel trim. Oh, and what about the bolsters on either end of the bed? All of the above took an amazing amount of skill and talent. Never mind the fact that you probably won't be decorating your bedroom with those swags and fringe trim. I understand that, and my home certainly doesn't have any of it either. But let's give credit where credit is due, and in this case it goes to Renzo Mongiardino. Only a deeply talented decorator could execute curtains like that, and I think most of us agree that Mongiardino was one of the best. In lesser hands, this room could have been ended up looking like Belle Watling's salon. Or perhaps that should be saloon.
What I find a little sad is that because the room above really isn't our aesthetic anymore, many designers never learn how to make Curtains- that's curtains with a capital "C". I'm not a designer, but I'm guilty of it as well. It's plain panels in my home. But just think of those wonderful creations by John Fowler. Now Fowler got curtains, but how many designers know how to design and fabricate curtains like his? I'm willing to bet not many.
This post certainly isn't an indictment of today's style of decorating nor today's designers. All I'm saying is that it's kind of a shame that curtain-making like what you see above is becoming a lost art. Perhaps we shouldn't be so quick to say no to the swag!
Blue taffeta and passementerie in the home of Princess Chavchavadze
At Waddesdon Manor, David Mlinaric used a Louis XVI engraving as inspiration for the silk taffeta draperies.
John Fowler was the genius behind these curtains in the drawing room at Cornbury Park. Look at the workmanship in the detail shot.
Keith Irvine...he knows curtains.
(Mongiardino photo from The Best in European Decoration; image #2 from Les Reussites De La Decoration Francaise 1950 1960: L'Interpretation Moderne Des Styles Traditionnels; #3 from Mlinaric on Decorating; Fowler photos from John Fowler: Prince of Decorators; Irvine photo from Keith Irvine: A Life in Decoration)