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    Univers :  Curtains Fabrics Trimmings

    A short history of textile arts in French furniture. With the reign of stained glass and partitioned windows filtering daylight, the curtain as we know it today only appears late in French furniture. Curtains and curtains were mainly used to warm up beds, while tapestries were the main decorative element on walls until the beginning of the 17th century, when they became part of a compartmentalized French-style panelling decoration.

    From the Middle Ages to the Renaissance, therefore, drapes and tapestries decorated the walls, while the beds were topped with a sky and closed with curtains to protect from the cold and draughts. On the walls of palaces and mansions, drapes show hunting scenes, recount the loves of heroes and gods or describe the ever-renewed cycle of the seasons. Under Louis XIII, the walls of the rooms were stretched with tapestries or embossed and gilded leather, then French-style panelling accompanied or replaced the tapestries. Small fixed tables were covered with shimmering coloured carpets, beds were wrapped with valances and curtains enriched with chiselled velvet and striped embroidery, all topped with a ...
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    ... canopy. During the reign of Louis XIV, all the decorative features in force under Louis XIII were maintained, such as the wainscoting topped with tapestries. Entirely upholstered with fabrics, the bed is equipped with four wooden uprights supporting a simple sky surmounted by vases and plumes: this is the "French-style" bed.  

    With La Régence, the size of the flats is reduced, the shapes of the furniture are lighter, the lines are more flexible, and the search for comfort and privacy is paramount. The renewal of the interior decor, the development of small flats and the growing use of wood panelling create a pastoral repertoire of grace and freshness in the field of tapestry and upholstery. During the reign of Louis XVI, the palette of panelling became even lighter and glazes, silks, Indian and wallpaper were used to decorate the walls. Finally, the upholstery of seats and the fashion for wall hangings favoured the development of brocaded silks and satins produced by the great silk manufacturers of Lyon. 

    The Etruscan taste of the Directoire will put in fashion the antique velums and umbels and the use of complex pleated hangings that are fixed to the walls. While the Empire continued the habit of draping the bedroom in the shape of a tent, pleated fabrics became fashionable, while the modern use of flattened fabrics soon became widespread. 

     Under the Restoration, the role of the upholsterer was even more important. Although silk hangings were quite rare in private homes, printed canvases and cottons such as de Jouy's were very popular. The nascent vogue for upholstery seats at the end of the reign of Charles X gave pride of place to textiles. Carpets, finally, completed the furnishings, declined in shades muted enough to blend into the whole.

    The reign of Louis-Philippe was marked by an ever-increasing search for comfort, which coincided with the rise of the bourgeoisie. Curtains, sheers, bubble blinds and heavy fabrics filled doors, windows and beds, muffling street noises and filtering natural light from the harsh daylight. The upholsterer continued to reign supreme during the Second Empire and brought all the refinements of trimmings to the fore: bouffettes, crested braids, multi-bodied tassels, fringes and pompoms filled furniture and lampshades, while tiebacks, cords and mantling created skilful pleats designed to play with moire effects and changing reflections of light. Upholstery textiles are an essential part of interior design. It is omnipresent, from mantling curtains to upholstered and fringed seats, from skirted tables to scalloped fireplaces. The walls are stretched with silk, the armchairs covered with chintz, and everywhere the velvets, brocades, reps and lampas are a sign of opulence and splendour.
    If Art Deco, in its search for luxury, gave pride of place to tapestry on walls, seats and screens, Art Nouveau, which tended to emphasise the naked beauty of the line, and then functionalism, which militated for the truth of the materials, signed the definitive death of this upholstery art. The "law of the ripolin" advocated by Le Corbusier will triumph and will see for a long time to come the reign of white walls which is still ours. With the vogue for large bay windows and open spaces, curtains with heavy fabrics were gradually replaced by boat blinds or thin curtains that let in the light.   

    New textile trends: Have fabrics and curtains definitely disappeared from our interiors? This is not the case, and over the last ten years or so we have witnessed an undeniable revival of furnishing fabrics marked by several trends. The first trend is that of cotton or linen curtains declined in pure whites and knotted with simple ties: you will find on Decofinder the models of Maisons du monde, of Côté Bastide which renew the country style and the Provencal inspiration or the Coquecigrues brand which varies with spirit on a traditional toile de Jouy pattern. Alongside these airy cottons, other houses offer natural materials that offer their authenticity and raw charm: for example, the Compagnie Marianne Oudin, publisher of fabrics made from plant fibres such as nettle, water hyacinth, abaca, banana, pineapple, hemp or jute fibres that can be used for blinds, curtains, claustras, folding screens or large floor cushions.

    It is also fashionable to have moving partitions, door curtains made of light materials - ribbons, pompoms, pearls or feathers - which can form a curtain or be hung in an isolated line, according to your desires. Or curtains made of innovative materials that will make a great impression both inside and out. For example, the chainmail curtains from De Foin or the double-sided non-woven curtains created by Atmostyl. Laser-cut, seamless, they can be adjusted in length with a simple scissor stroke. A new generation of fireproof and water-repellent curtains, they can be used as interior hangings, as partition panels to partition an open space, a terrace or a swimming pool, or as a decorative element for a reception or a garden party. 

    As for upholstery fabrics, vegetable fibres continue to win all the favours, abaca, rabane or ramie, just like crumpled linens and washed cottons, which we will associate with stylish furniture, Louis XV shepherdess or Louis XVI armchair, as well as ultra-contemporary and minimalist furniture. But the taste for sensual and precious materials remains, leather, alpaca, astrakhan. Finally, models of damask, lampas or antique brocades are reissued, but rather than associating them with an exuberant upholstery as in the Second Empire, they are destined for a unique piece, armchair, screen or wall panel where they will unfold like kakemonos, real textile paintings.
    Trimmings: a new plastic vocabulary: Finally, we must rediscover trimmings, which, thanks to the inventiveness of its shapes and the variety of its materials, will be able to adorn the most contemporary curtains like heavy brocades in the old fashioned way. The Spanish company Color de Seda creates pompoms that evoke clouds, puffins in the shape of flowers or shells, tapered ones that have the lightness of a butterfly's wings. As for Thomas Boog, he has joined forces with Passementiers Declercq to create a superb branch of coral in trimmings, evocative of tropical reefs. Finally, don't miss the opportunity to discover Rémy Lemoine's creations on the site. Let him speak, because he sums up better than anyone else the revival of trimmings, thanks to which a simple embrace can become a jewel or a sculpture: "Trimmings are transformed into sculpture, and become a work of art. The embrace is a jewel of simple and contemporary form. Murano glass horn, straw necklace, wooden ellipse, wicker, leather, raffia are worked here in volutes and the wrought iron is transformed into a curtain-holder. Bringing out the traditional clichés of decoration by basing my work and my reflection on the use of traditional or avant-garde techniques. Rewriting tradition with a new plastic vocabulary so that a new language can resonate". 

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