“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 artdirection 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