When trade opened between Japan and the West in the mid-19th century, Japanese motifs began to be incorporated into European design. Often these Oriental-inspired designs pulled motifs from all Eastern cultures.
One popular motif was the crane which is the Japanese symbol of peace in harmony. The first fabric pictured below is a unusual 19th century toile that features the crane as well as a bonsai tree and a Phoenix. The second print has a black background and uses cartouches to showcase the crane. The theme is completed with porcelain vases, a Phoenix and an Oriental temple, surrounded by exotic flowers.
The next three are all 1920s-era Art Deco fabrics. The first depicts cranes, sunbursts and bonsai trees on a pale background. The second, with the dark reddish background has chosen to mix cranes in flight with swirling tsunami waves. The third fabric pairs the crane with the Japanese rising sun and wispy clouds. I include a close-up of this fabric. Best wishes for peace and harmony to everyone.
I love the autumn months in Languedoc. The vineyards are busy as the vignerons hand-prune the vines and prepare the plants for next year. The Indian summer is long, so the leaves only slowly turn from green to saturated reds, golds and browns. The colors of the leaves clinging to the vines depends on the type of grape, so the vista across a field is a patchwork of color. Below are a few samples of the gorgeous fall palette.
In town and at the market, too - color is everywhere ...
World War II forever changed the world. The shocking power of atomic bombs, the speedier air travel with the new turbo-jet engines, the advent of television. Technology and futuristic dreams were everywhere. The expression of this emerging post-war aesthetic was seen in fashion with Dior's "New Look" ... in furniture and architectural design with Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright ... and of course, in American and European textile design.
The French 1950s fabrics are very similar to what would have been found in the USA in that same era, although the French have always continued to produce a large quantity of very classic French motifs. Below, I've selected a few pieces that show a similarity to American design in their Calder-esque and deconstructed thematic exuberance. Out with the old and in with the new.
And, we can't forget the 1950s flamingo craze, can we?
I'll revisit mid-century modern movement again in the near future. The post-war simplicity and boldness of design mingled nicely with 19th century French geometric prints and with 1930s American ethnic prints.