French Design

On July 14th we celebrate Bastille Day, the French national holiday commemorating the storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789, marking the beginning of the French Revolution. To honor this important day in history, we suggest you pour yourself a nice glass of wine and enjoy this look back at the history of French design…

King Louis XIV, who reigned from 1643-1715, was a huge supporter of the arts. During his reign he converted a hunting lodge built by Louis XIII into the spectacular Palace of Versailles. Grandeur sums up the style of this period – gold on the walls and on the furniture, marble statues and accents and rich velvets, damasks, tapestries were the fashion (for those who could afford it). You can view a slide-show of the Palace here.




The influence of the Orient began to take over France during the reign of King Louis XV. “Chinoiserie” was all the rage. Fanciful imagery of an imaginary China became the decoration of choice and lacquer panels became one of the great features of French furniture.

This red lacquered chest from Paris, dates to 1740


Tapestry by Jean-Baptiste Pillement

For more Chinoiserie inspiration, we love the Chinoiserie Chic blog.

Louis XVI came to the throne in 1774, and reigned for nineteen years. His wife, Marie Antoinette, was the ultimate fashion plate at Versailles – famous for parties and excess – but later became inspired by a natural, simplified life. Shepherdesses, shepherd’s crooks, hats, wreaths of roses, watering-pots and many other rustic symbols became the fashion thanks to Ms. Antoinette.

Marie Antoinette, Sony Pictures

It seems the French knew as much about good design as the did about good wine, so celebrate Bastille Day with all the wonderful influences of France!

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