Saturday, September 25, 2010

Windows Dressing (Up)

For years interior designers have acknowledged the connection between home fashion and clothing.  Bustles, pleats and ruffles on women's clothing of the Victorian era translated to the swags, cascades and jabots of the same period's window treatments.  The slinky, bias cut gowns of the '30's were echoed in the soft, puddling draperies of the time.  And during World War II  short skirts and tailored jackets translated into the streamlined furniture and short, flirty curtains that glamorized rationing.
When drapery designers get together we often talk about dressmaker details on our treatments or soft furnishings.  We know that linings and interlinings improve the drape of a window treatment.  We often hand stitch hems, especially in silks and delicate fabrics. We seek out the special pleat or tuck to create a window treatment that's exactly right for our client.  Just as the couture fashion designer creates a unique look for her custom client by manipulating fabrics, so do professional drapery designers create unique treatments for our custom client's home using the same couture skills.
Professional drapery designers have developed specific technical skills that permit them to work their magic.  But one skill that anyone can improve is observation.  One designer I know calls it "research"  every time she visits Anthropologie.  She's looking for a pleat, a trimming, a special fabric embellishment that she can add to  draperies, valances and furnishings.  I was recently delighted when I found several embellishments in the catalog from usually-quite-conservative Talbots.  Fabric roses, ruffles in wool, even pleats on leather ballet slippers could all be transfered to use in home dec.-
Can't you envision these soft chiffon roses strewn across a throw?  They could be lined up in rows on a square pillow or sewn at random to the face of a silk or sheer drapery.

And what about this girlie treat - a silk charmeuse collar.  This would be a perfect drapery tieback in a boudoir. (Sorry fellas, even my he-man hubby might take exception to all this frou-frou in the master bedroom!)  And with the growing idea of woman caves - we really need a better name for these rooms! - how about decidedly old-fashioned criss-crossed priscilla curtains on the window with a collection of roses trimming the leading edge.
Next time you're out do some research of your own to discover the interconnectivity of fashion, fabrics and home dec.  Happy looking!

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