13 November 2011



Wallpaper, 1810-1830, Chinese.
at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London
(image from the book EXOTIC TASTE)

The influences of interior design are great and broad. Often asked-is that Chinese altar table right for this room? Is it too exotic?
No, No & NO-
One of the most influential of all is perhaps the Orientalist room, its art, its textiles- it is EXOTIC TASTE. It works with everything, everywhere, and I know it is my own personal choice for what continues to awe and inspire my most creative urges in interior design. Consider in earnest rooms you are attracted to? If you don't know the back story- the history of the room-do the research and I think will find the mark of the Exotic in full exposure or a little hidden in the patina of a black lacquer- a sinuous figure- a subtle fretwork?

the designers interpret- left to right, Martha Angus, Miles Redd, Charlotte Moss, Jeffrey Bilhuber

a page from Exotic Taste
detail from  the Small Chinese Salon, 1762-68 in the Chinese Palace at Oranienbaum, 
frenetic geometrics contrast with delicate birds butterflies and flowers

A new book EXOTIC TASTE ORIENTALIST INTERIORS traces the influences of it all.  Written by Emmanuelle Gaillard and Marc Walter’s , the Silk Road is fully traced and found in the of late 19th & early 20th century rooms in the West.

from Vendome Press: Exuberant Chinese-inspired drawing rooms, Persian-style boudoirs, bulbous Mogul domes, and Turkish smoking rooms - stylistic influences from the exotic East have inspired Western architects, artists and designers for nearly 400 years.  Illustrated with extraordinary vintage and contemporary interior photography, fabrics, wallpapers, patterns, decorative objects, and costumes, EXOTIC TASTE tours the houses of writers, artists, business tycoons, princesses, and even the Russian Empress Catherine..

The Turkish Salon at Pierre Loti's Mosque in Rouchefort, France 1889-1894
Loti's Mosque is also featured on the Exotic Taste cover

Pierre Loti in the Turkish Salon

there will be antique embroideries, antique slippers strewn on the floor, antique Korans purloined from Sfax, even old and worn whitewashed arches. When you come we shall fuddle our heads with kif in there while playing the drums. Pierre Loti

The Chinese Salon, at Chateau de Haroue, Lorraine decorations by Jean Pillement, at left.  Chinoiserie
 1765-67 at the Petit Palais, Paris. (image from Exotic Taste)

(image from the book EXOTIC TASTE)

The photography of Tim Walker captures the mythology of the Exotic-with the French aesthetic

Every day we see the following - the patterns in Chinese porcelain, their shapes transformed-the sleek patina of coromandel screens and objets d’art with Eastern references- literal and interpreted in a more subtle modern way. 

Porcelains from the Russian Imperial collections at Tsarkoye Selo, Russia
& interpretations by Mary Katrantzou. below

detail of Christofle, Courge torchere cloisonne enamel and gilt, 1868, Mary Katrantzou, Fall 2011,center, detail of Charlotte Moss curtain r.

(image from the book Exotic Taste)

Japonisme. by William Merritt Chase ,1898.

detail of Charlotte Moss curtain

close-up of a Howard Slatkin curtain detail at left,
& at right-a plate from L'ornement polychrome,Recueil historique et pratique by M.A. Racinet,Paris, 1869-88. the motif from Alhambra at Granada

Modern - current, is what Katrantzou does with Exoticism in her Spring 2012 fashion collection. Katrantzou studied the famous room of Diana Vreeland and began “imagining a luxurious apartment inhabited by Babe Paley or the Duchess of Windsor.”

William Merrit Chase, top, Jeremiah Goodman interpretation of Diana Vreeland's Garden, bottom row, Mary Katrantzou l, and Beaton Turandot headress, r.

Exotic Taste wows. It is the fantasy scholarly book "exotics" all have been waiting for. As a celebration of exotic taste I will be revisiting the EXOTIC all month at little augury-

Mary Katranzou images from Vogue.com



  1. Wow. That first image so astonished me I couldn't even SEE anything else. Beautiful.

  2. The Moss curtain detail...SUPER SILK and THAT tassel!

    Gaye...WHEN IS YOUR BOOK being published, I can only imagine the silk boards, the endpapers and the contents...forget the dust jacket, for it will be a book as cherished as a BEST FRIEND!

    Your CHINOIS eye is oh so polished like Rock Crystal...

  3. it IS a fabulous book. I have been looking at it each night since I got it, and having colorful, graceful dreams.

  4. Dying for this - it's on my list!! Vendome produces the most beautiful volumes - publishing at its best!!

  5. I LOVE everything about this post evidemment...

  6. Book ordered! One for me and one for a friend who is as in love with all thing eastern and exotic as I am. Cannot wait for your posts and for the books to arrive!

    In the same vein of exotic east, are you familiar with the artist Harrison Howard? You would so appreciate!


  7. I knew some of you would already have this book! It is a must have.

    Hannah- I am very familiar with Harrison Howard and I will have to include him in some future posts, so glad you reminded me.

    The Swan- Ah ha, the BOOK. Some day.

  8. Gaye, I always know I will hear of new and interesting books on LA. This one is fabulous! Speaking of books, while doing a google image search of Rudolf Nureyev, I came across this link:


    which features a gorgeous photo of RN's bathtub from a book which the blogger identifies only by its title, "Rooms." Would you be able to identify the author/publisher? If you can't, I am out of options!! Thanks so much.

  9. Diane, serendipitous that you ask! I just brought the book off the shelves Sunday to go back through and enjoy-I named it as one of my favorite design books in an interview I am doing. the book is ROOMS with Photographs by Derry Moore and text my Carl Skoggard, Rizzoli. I highly recommend it. pgt

  10. Gaye, you are awesome! I went immediately to abe.com, my favorite used book site, and bought a copy for under $10. My lucky day! Thank you!!

  11. Gaye...what a post! I loved every bit of it. Loved how you combined fashion, painting, Oranienbaum and more. Oh!, The Beaton Turnadot headdress! a post filled with delights!

  12. Diane, quite a bargain I'd say! You will be even more thrilled when you get it.

    Philip- So appreciate your comment. More on Beaton tomorrow! pgt

  13. Glad you like the book as much as I did. I think we will always have a taste for the exotic ~ your contemporary examples are fantastic.

  14. Janet, this one is a must have for Connoisseurs.thanks for visiting and can not wait to see what other books appear on your Must have list. pgt



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