Long after birthing the settee, armoire, Louis XV chair and more, Paris is once again setting trends for home.
As always, the chic elegance that defines French taste was well represented at the recent Maison & Objet show in Paris. But historic looks continue to be redefined, with relaxed finishes and cleaner shapes replacing the polished wood, fancy carvings and elegant damasks of period styles. A veritable feast for the senses, this stylish home fashion show suggests that perhaps a sense of history can be achieved as much with well-worn materials as with well-aged design ideas!
Here were four of the key trends shown…
1) Unexpected combinations Mixing elegant and casual is well within the French DNA, and unique mixes of materials and textures this year didn’t disappoint. My favorite room setting included a slip-covered linen sofa paired with faux-fur pillows and throws, a set of wicker chairs, a weathered, brocade-covered Louis XVI chair and a raw-wood slab coffee table with industrial metal legs! Other unexpected combos included a smooth table top with weathered legs or a Louis settee with a parson table.
2) A fresh take on contemporary. Minimalists the French are not, but smatterings of mid-century modern furniture were balanced with warmed-up contemporary influences… including organic, long-and-low Japanese-inspired looks on one hand, and weathered, retro industrial looks on the other. The latter dominated, including utilitarian-looking shelves, tables and chairs (plucked from old warehouses, it seemed) with wire-brushed wood tops, weathered metal legs and oversized fasteners. But even at their most utilitarian, a subtle sophistication still colors the French view of modernism; a luxurious faux fur throw or weathered Louis XV accent chair was never far away from any of the above!
3) French laundry textures Plain-weave washed linens and cottons that recalled old laundry and feed bags were applied to sofas, chairs, bed and table linens; often accompanied by simple stripes or French script patterns. The effect was nostalgic and yesteryear, with the appeal and warmth stemming from use, rather than age.
4) One-of-a-kind accent furniture A plethora of unique accent pieces supported today’s broader trends to fewer matched pieces in a room, a collected-over-time look and a mix of local and global designs. One-of-a-kind accent chairs led the way. Furniture that combined storage with display also dominated, including utility-style shelves, curio-style armoires with a glass or wire-framed door and apothecary-style drawer chests. Trust the French to create multi-purpose furniture that isn’t just beautiful, but makes an art out of organization!