Friday, January 25, 2013

Downton Abbey style

The world of Downton Abbey
I confess: I never saw one episode of Downton Abbey until a few weeks ago when I started following the third season of this already iconic British drama. So I was also intrigued by the book, published by Rizzoli and written by Jessica Fellowes, revealing some of the production secrets and behind the scenes. Highclere Castle in Hampshire was used for exterior shots of Downton Abbey and most of the interior filming (the castle was often used in the past for television and film productions like The Secret Garden, Eyes wide shut and many more). The village of Bampton in Oxfordshire was used to film outdoor scenes.
But let’s focus today on the fashion of Downton Abbey, which as always represents the culture and the lifestyle of the times.
Morning Tea: Even if in a plain moment of daily life we can see Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham and  Isobel Crawley wearing large hats and gloves, being summer the gloves are lacey instead of the winter ones usually made of  subtle baby goat skin (another confession, I still have gloves of my grandmothers in a box, together with other ornaments, gorgeous buttons, and I have aged silk umbrellas and textiles, because I belong to a family of “keepers”).

Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham and Lady Edith, daughter. Younger ladies at the time in the morning used only a few simple pieces of jewelry and always light colors for their dresses.

Afternoon tea: at this time of the day more jewelry was allowed and of course in summer a parasol was a must to protect the aristocratic skin from the sun.

In the afternoon deeper colors were allowed. A curiosity: the cane used by Violet Crawley (as by other elderly aristocrats) was used often not as much to support the person but mostly as a symbol of supremacy!

dowtonabbey-11 lady Sybil 
Lady Sybil Branson (née Crawley) is showing to friends an evening dress, just arrived from Paris, I suppose, a two tones chiffon Jupe-culotte with precious embroidery on the top, long gloves and a tiara. I can’t avoid to admire also the extraordinary inlaid cabinet behind her, the damask wallpaper in a subtle turquoise hue, the Aubusson rug and the gilded wainscoting.

Morning uniforms for the staff: every single detail was studied, the dress are printed cotton with off white apron and cap (always with the crest of the family embroidered somewhere).

Of course also the staff had to change for the evening, wearing black uniforms and candid lace and ruffled aprons. Day and evening the uniforms needed to be perfectly cleaned and ironed.

Evening Tea in winter: the two sisters, Lady Mary and Lady Sybil in  dark colored velvet. Lovely pillows of different sizes grace the pale pink sofa.

Lady Mary, lady Edith and lady Sybil, the three sisters of the Grantham family with medium tone flowing dresses, elbow length gloves and very long and delicate necklaces.  On the left I believe is one of those majestic and elaborate fireplaces of the time.

A formal evening: Matthew Crawley with a high uniform, red jacket. Not sure about the hairstyle of Isobel Crawley, it looks a bit too modern for me, what do you think?

Once again extreme care for details in the evening dresses of Downton Abbey, longer skirts, darker colors, precious jewelry. Often the sleeves are chiffon or delicate transparent fabric through which the skin can be seen.

Finally a beautiful image of Lady Mary  with the typical fox hunting ladies’ costume, which was always black or dark blue, white shirt and tie and… who knew? pants under the skirts to allow for more easy and fast movements. For men was a must to have red jackets, cream colored pants and for both sexes cylinder hat, horse riding gloves and boots.
Needless to say that Susannah Buxton as a costume designer for the series won a few awards.
Great series, great book, I am hooked!
If you are watching Downton Abbey let’s play a game:
Who is your favorite character and why?
Who is the one you can’t stand and why?
It will be fun to read your comments…
All images courtesy of Rizzoli
©2013 Brillante Interiors writes about new trends, timeless decor, iconic pieces, design ideas, or at times just musing about "a certain Italian way of doing things".
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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Eclectic designer and his Parisian apartment



Éric Allart is an interior designer, a decorator and an artist, passionate about design, always in search or creating himself beautiful, unique pieces. He loves mixing styles, genres, and he is always moved by curiosity and passion for beauty.  In Paris he lives in an apartment that reflects his creativity, his ability to mix styles and centuries and…he obviously has no fear of color!



Coffee table by Fred Brouard (note the book on Fornasetti…one of my favorite artist-designer) and above the fireplace a metal sculpture (by Éric Allart) becomes a mirror, on the sides of the mantel two vintage lamps create symmetry.



Antique wrought iron chairs in a foyer with a Fred Brouard’s sculpture on the wall. I love the approach and the blending of different styles and centuries.



Here is a great idea  if space is limited, a pile of tabourets that can be used for sitting when guests arrive. I could also see the same concept for storing items not used frequently in cylindrical boxes, creating an interesting totemic sculpture. 



Verner Panton suspension lights, a saturated blue paint on the walls and “Pyramidale” lamp by extraordinary designer Gabriella Crespi.



A 1970 stunning aluminum desk and in front a creation by Allart, the lamp “Derviche” made of black laquered metal with fabric shade. For his creations Allart prefers the use of metal, mainly bronze, and he always create unique pieces or in a very limited edition.



A simple but very inviting kitchen with antique chairs and an English vintage suspension light.



I am in love with the color of this custom cabinet painted in "Lamelle de Champignon" by Emery & Cie, and I want to say…a Black and White photograph, as seen in the corridor, is always an elegant touch.



A beautiful Fred Brouard’s sculpture and a bas-relief on the wall.

Photography by Nicolas Millet for Côté Maison.

©2013 Brillante Interiors writes about new trends, timeless decor, iconic pieces, design ideas, or at times just musing about "a certain Italian way of doing things".

If you receive this post by Email and wish to leave a comment please click HERE and go to the comments section. I love to hear from you!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Ray Eames!



Bernice Alexandra “Ray” Kaiser (1912-1988) was born in Sacramento, California  and together with her husband Charles Eames (1907-1978)  gave shape to America’s twentieth century.


Charles and Ray Eames

They were in fact the most influential designers of the mid 20th century,  designing furniture, working in the field of architecture, film, photographic art, industrial design and more!





Ray and Charles were responsible for many classic, iconic designs, their molded plywood chair was called "the chair of the century".





Other iconic pieces:









Ray and Charles in their living room.

From  New Advertising site “Fifteen things Charles and Ray teach us”

  1. Keep good company
  2. Notice the ordinary.
  3. Preserve the ephermal.
  4. Design not for the elite, but for the masses.
  5. Explain it to a child.
  6. Get lost in the content.
  7. Get to the heart of the matter.
  8. Never tolerate “O.K. anything.”
  9. Rembember your responsibility as a storyteller.
  10. Zoom out.
  11. Switch.
  12. Prototype it.
  13. Pun.
  14. Make design your life. (And life, your design.)
  15. Leave something behind.

I believe this sums up very well their aesthetic and their philosophy.

Regarding comments received I am happy to say that Robin was the first to answer correctly, unfortunately we don’t know who Robin is, since we don’t have a link to a website or a blog but nevertheless…congratulations!

You can read the other comments on my previous post Can you guess who she is?

©2013 Brillante Interiors writes about new trends, timeless decor, iconic pieces, design ideas, or at times just musing about "a certain Italian way of doing things".

If you receive this post by Email and wish to leave a comment please click HERE and go to the comments section. I love to hear from you!

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