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Design Notes May 2016 Madeleine Castaing

When I heard that American fabric house Brunschwig & Fils was re-introducing Madeleine Castaing designs into their US showrooms my interest was peaked. Castaing has been a source of inspiration for European interior designers since the 1920’s but she was curiously missing from the contemporary American lexicon until the 2010 release of Emily Evans Eerdmans’ book, “World of Madeleine Castaing.”

Over on the Continent, at a time when Art Deco was captivating Paris, Madeleine Castaing bucked convention with her unorthodox approach to interior design. She famously paired chintz with leopard, mixed period furniture before it was de rigueur and, some say, gave Karl Lagerfeld the idea of pairing navy blue with black. Blue was a constant thread, her favorite shade a striking blend of turquoise and jade that she employed so often it was quickly dubbed bleu Castaing. She also championed rooms that felt lived in, the bathroom included, even going so far as to leave partially painted walls unfinished. Today, contemporary style-setters like Carolina Irving and Tori Burch are fans (both have her Rayure Fleurie wallpaper in their bedrooms).

 
Design Notes May 2016 Madeleine Castaing
 

As influential as le style Castaing has become, the woman is even more fascinating. At age 16 she married art critic Marcellin Castaing. He was 20 years her senior and they stayed together for life. The couple became patrons of artist Chiam Soutine, whose portrait of Castaing (c1929) hangs in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. In later years, she rocked fashion circles with dramatic false eyelashes, exaggerated lip liner and a wig held in place by a black elastic chinstrap. All this and so much more are revealed in filmmaker Christopher Flach’s three-part documentary about this grande dame of decoration – a must watch.

Madeleine Castaing fabrics and wallpapers are produced by Edmond Petit and available in the UK exclusively through Turnell & Gigon.





Monika Eyers
Editor, Design Notes

Photograph © World of Madeleine Castaing

 


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