Monday, October 21, 2013

Antique Parisiene textile fashion books



When I was visiting Toulouse France about 5 years ago, I found the cutest little antique book shop.  I was instantly drawn to the thickest, most giant book, towards the back. On the spine I read a date, if memory serves correctly, it was sometime in the early 19 th century.  The title said something in slightly rubbed off french: Textile archive of the .... Atelier.  When I opened it I found the most glorious samples of textiles shining before me!!  Hearts were exploding from my eyes!  Each little 4x4 came with weave and color descriptions, and were titled with a fancy nick name.  Page after page were more and more magical textiles that I have never EVER visualized.  Some looked like the wings of an insect, almost plastic, some looked like intricate jacquard ribbon of the 17th century.  I came back to reality when a tiny little french lady, started to loudly insist that the book was meant for me ( Due to her carefully scanning my abundance of ribbons used in my outfit that day).  Sadly, Although the book and I were obvious soul mates, I left with only a little piece of ephemera, a fish and little crepe flowers on a banjo.

This loss of "the most perfect book ever" created a new unhealthy obsession.  I began searching on both the British and French eBays EVERY DAY.  I was about to give up because everything was lame, and torn out single pages from a book.  I finally settled on a 1930s book that had both the fabric samples and the intended designs that they were for!   My heart was set on a 19th century textile book, because I already know a lot about 1930s textiles, and I thought there would be no new discoveries.  I was soooo wrong and happy I did not listen to my doubts!  

(I filled my desire later when I went back to Toulouse and found a small book of 19th century textile samples later!)


Nora said...

It is the most beautiful most perfect book indeed - I am sooo jealous! It is worth displaying in a museum! Sigh!

Ruby Armoire said...

Oh my word! What a book! I wonder if some of those fabrics could be reproduced...

Nicole Eymard said...

Yes! It should be displayed in a museum, and I really would love to go to this fictional museum!

Nicole Eymard said...

I know right? I can not believe it! I really hope they can be reproduced, twill is overused!

Florence said...

That's a wonderful book. I often wonder if I should bid on those sample catalogues on Ebay, but the starting price is often high for my wallet.
It would be so nice if someone could reproduce antique textiles !

Do you remember the name of the antique book store ? I live myself near Toulouse and I would love to pay a visit.

Florence said...

Thank Nicole. I will look for it the next time I will go shopping.


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