Thursday, August 28, 2014
For years, I had seen photos of boutis, those Provençal quilts that are often made of solid-colored cotton or silk, but I never thought much about them. Certainly they always looked charming, but I assumed that boutis were a little too countrified for my home. But then, a few years ago, I saw a photo of M. Givenchy's guest bedroom at Clos Fiorentina, his house in the South of France, in which the bed was dressed in a pretty deep-blue boutis. Any country-ness was tempered by the smart-looking fabric used throughout the room. And then there was KK Auchincloss's Paris bedroom, featured a few years ago in World of Interiors, where a crisp white boutis was draped over her bed. Givenchy? KK Auchincloss? Maybe it was time for me to reconsider the boutis.
Although in theory, boutis might be better suited to country houses where rustic charm is the order of the day, there really isn't any reason why you can't use one in a city home. I think that it's all about context. If you provide a polished backdrop for these quilts, they seem to take on a bit of polish themselves. And silk boutis, especially those in urbane colors, would look downright smashing in a jewel-box city bedroom.
Of course, I might be a little prejudiced at the moment because I'm in a quilted state of mind (so much so that I recently bought pretty matelassé bedding from Peacock Alley.) Then again, it might be high time to reconsider the humble yet immensely charming boutis.
Photo at top: A pair of boutis, which are made of 19th-c. pigeon-breast silk, in the home of designer and antique dealer Michel Biehn (Photo from Elle Decor: The Grand Book of French Style)