“She wanted to die, but she also wanted to live in Paris." Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary
Marcelle Bleu, inspired by French chic-- from the nubbly weave of certain Chanel suits to the silken smoothness of Dior’s New Look-- is a textile brand for smart spirits who unearth treasure not only in faraway lands, but at home, wherever home may be. And that treasure consists not only of beautiful things, but of new eyes for art and life, including the city one lives in, the home one loves.
The Marcelle Bleu brand is based in Brooklyn. Tell me about the connections between Brooklyn and Paris.
The connections just recently seem to be increasing exponentially, with Paris--the city which inspired Marcelle Bleu--taking style cues not just from New York (a long-standing cross-cultural influence) but from Brooklyn in particular. Vogue actually ran an article on why Parisian women love Brooklyn men! But all the hype aside, there is an affinity between the fabled Bohemianism of Paris’ Left Bank and that seen in Brooklyn, originally in Williamsburg, but now, as rents there have outpaced Manhattan’s Upper East Side, in neighborhoods like Bushwick and Bensonhurst. The French tradition of wonderful cafes--the Cafe Flore, for example--which become a second home to intellectuals and artists, is mirrored in by Brooklyn cafes, where young people hang out for hours, reading books and newspapers and/or discussing their creative aspirations and work.
What specific qualities of French style in interior decoration and fashion are reflected in Marcelle Bleu textiles?
The colors and textures of our fabrics are in many cases directly inspired by the fabrics used by French couturiers and interior designers. Just look at our fabric named ‘Webster’: one could imagine its nubbly three-color weave used in a Chanel suit. In contrast, ‘Louis’, a lighter fabric with a much smoother hand is ideal for long linen-y drapes, perhaps pooling a bit on the floor, a signature of Parisian style. And then there is our Siena Velvet, the essence of French luxe, calme, et volupte! Marcelle Bleu does not really reflect the artisanal ethos of Brooklyn, but instead seeks to bring decorative symbols of French elegance to our borough.
Which French interior designers do you most admire?
That’s easy! Eileen Gray, for the first half of the 20th century; Andree Putman for the 1980s onward. Also, Jacques Grange, who expresses a far less Minimal aesthetic, but one still marked by classic French restraint. I like Grange’s description of his own style as one of “strange balances”, and the mixture of “something very rough with something very refined.”
Which elements of decoration do you find indispensable in a successful interior?
First of all, long flowing drapes--velvet is beautiful!--because no window should be undressed. An orderly, smartly tailored bed, with duvet cover and pillows sheathed in a sensual, alluring fabric. A long, deep, comfortable sofa. Lamps everywhere, whether ceramic or glass table lamps with shades to diffuse the light; or more contemporary forms of lighting--French designer Serge Mouille’s three-armed metal floor lamp, for example. A beautiful thick-piled rug is a necessity, for both visual and tactile reasons.
What are the ingredients of a happy home?
It is not only how you decorate a home, but what passions you pursue in that home that matter. Friendship, love, work, sleep. Cooking as a primary activity comes to mind! One can imagine a delicious fusion of classic French cuisine with Brooklyn tastes and lovingly, locally cultivated organic vegetables and meats, not unlike the food at l’Antagoniste in Bed-Stuy, for example. All in all, just as young Parisian men now sport beards, tattoos, skinny jeans and lumberjack shirts, so Brooklyn has much to gain from Parisian style, which, arguably, is more eternal than that of Williamsburg.
Artfully mixed and matched, Shopdecorators wide selection of drapes, pillows and bedding—available in many subtle shades and myriad textures and patterns--brings incomparable verve to stylish ensembles of classic Mid-century Modern furnishings. At Shopdecorator, home is not only a place, but an experience, the setting most central to our families, friendships and visual adventures. It is our pleasure to take you on this continuous journey of design discovery.