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Black: Going Gothic

“Normal is an illusion.  What is normal for the spider is chaos to the  fly.” – Morticia Addams

Black, as we’ve previously discussed in this blog, is such a perennial we  shouldn’t be surprised that it’s “trendy” in one way or another every  season.  This fall and winter are no  exception.  In fact, popular culture,  fashion, and what trickles over into interior design is darker, more gothic,  and mysteriously romantic than ever.

Though  it closed in June, I can only imagine that the exhibit Angel of the Odd: Dark Romanticism from Goya to Max Ernst at Paris’  Musee d’Orsay must have been a huge creative influence for designers.  The exhibit’s some 200 pieces, assembled from  collections around the world, clearly illustrated the fascination with the  macabre that has been infusing the cultural zeitgeist for some time.

Johann  Henry Fuseli, The Nightmare, circa  1782

Jean  Delville, Idol of Perversity, 1891

Hans  Bellmer, The Doll (face and knife), 1935

In  fashion, fall/winter 2013-2014 is dark and stormy, resplendent with opulent  jewels and rich textures.  The palette is  saturated with shadowy plums, burgundies and black… all equal drama. 

Ralph  Lauren channeling Anna Karenina…

while  Gucci felt decidedly more Dracula

But  the goth of all goth’s… Alexander McQueen... took things further back than  dark Victorianism.  This collection smacked of  dark Elizabethan.  Gorgeous! 

On  the home front, trend forecaster Li Edelkoort collaborated with textile company  Rubelli to curate one of the spaces at the Rossana Orlandi Gallery in Milan for  Design week.  The result was a dramatic  amalgamation of dark Victorian gothic appeal mixed with 21st century  textiles.  Edgar Allan Poe, Morticia  Addams, and Alfred Hitchcock would be pleased.

Part  of the specially curated exhibit was a collection called Avifauna,commissioned by Rubelli under the art direction of Edelkoort, which consists of 13 different birds varying from a  swan and stork to a woodcock and a quail, all covered in Reticolo Ardesia  fabric from Rubelli’s collection.  It’s  an interesting intersection of the haute couture and taxidermy trends that have  returned with a vengeance this fall. 

But  fear not, one needn’t redecorate one’s home a la Dark Shadows to enjoy a little of this lovely dark trend.  

These  plates may only adorn your table once a year, but I think they’re pretty fun. They look a little Anthropologie-esque.

This  quirky beauty is Merve Kaharaman's wood  antler-embellished personal throne, complete with carved hoof legs, leather  pads, and a textured finish that mimics fur.

And  this little gilt beauty could be tucked into a bookcase as a mysterious  surprise year round…

There  are also more classic elements one can introduce to bring subtle touches of black  into the home, as spelled out by several of my fellow designers in a recent  issue of House Beautiful

“Black  lacquered doors are the epitome of chic.” – Ron Woodson 

and  this one slides too (you know how I love a sliding door)!

“A  line of black at the base of a wall is like the perfect eyeliner.” – Lauren  Rottet

(the  tiny superhero cape is the perfect complement)

“I  like black cars, black dresses, and black pearls, but I tend to use the color  very judiciously in interiors, because it can be overwhelming.  For instance, honed solid-black marble  countertops can give an otherwise light hued kitchen a hint of industrial chic.” – Sandra Espinet

“I fell in love with black; it contained all  color.  It wasn’t a negation of color…  Black is the most aristocratic color of all.”  - Louise Nevelson



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