As a designer, I find that I’m more inspired by the past than hot, new trends. I love exploring designs that have stood the test of time. My job is to make them new again. Toile has always been a favorite for me. Painted scenes that tell a story are the essence of this 16th-century French decorating pattern. I did a deep dive into the history of toile in preparation for AphroChic’s Brooklyn Renaissance Collection, studying how today’s designers are updating these traditional treatments with contemporary stories and colors. Here are a few of my favorites. Designs that are completely reshaping the way we see and use toile in interiors.
The Parisian company Manuel Canovas has the most beautiful Toiles Collection of fabric and wallpaper. The designers at Manuel Canovas demonstrate just how beautiful toile prints in mod colors like fuchsia and paprika can be. It’s French design in a whole new light.
When I came up with idea for the modern toile for our Brooklyn Renaissance collection, I knew I wanted something completely out of the box. My husband and I worked with Brooklyn-based artist Samantha Hahn to create the Brooklyn Life Indoor toile that tells the story of young women living in Brooklyn on a really fun and fantastic (if I do say so myself) pillow.
A particular design by Sheila Bridges greatly influenced my Brooklyn Life toile. Her Harlem Toile de Jouy Wallpaper is so unique, presenting baroque scenes of “Afro-French” people. It comes in a range of hues like yellow, robin’s egg blue and cherry, and it is certain to brighten any interior.
UK-based Timorous Beasties is known for its edgy London Toile and Glasgow Toile that reflect some pretty gritty scenes from these iconic cities. You can introduce a bit of this flavor in your interiors with their London Small Scale Lampshade which features the toile pattern printed on the inside.
Even large-scale design houses are exploring the modern toile trend. One of my favorite fabric companies, Designer’s Guild, created this Pagoda Toile that is modern in its painterly feel. The blue and white pattern is classic and breathtaking.
Have you ever considered bringing some modern toile pieces home?
Tell me in the comments below.