Animal skin is almost timeless in its appeal when it comes to decorating. This look has been with us for centuries but does require some careful attention.
The 'reptilian' look has been one of the leading style features on the catwalk and in the home this year. With various textures and colours available, it creates a gentler 'wild side' look than traditional animal skin prints which also feature strongly this year.
Recent technological advances in printing have created amazing three-dimensional effects with fabric while still feeling quite natural. Of particular interest is Creation Metaphores' Boa print which is an unbelievably soft velvet featuring a snakeskin print that looks almost like paint. Amazingly, this keeps the gorgeous handle (feel of the fabric). Rubelli has also produced a crocodile print on velvet too, which is stunningly subtle.
Shagreen is another popular fashion statement today. Originally the term meant the raw hide of a horse or ass but since the 17th century it more commonly refers to leather made from a shark or stingray. The small scales are now reproduced to glorious effect in fabrics of all colours. While used in various forms for small accessories, it has also made an impact in the luxury brands of furniture in recent times.
Reptilian designs look fabulous when embossed on leather - whether it's crocodile, ostrich, cobra, turtle, python, lizard or even dinosaur. There is quite an astonishing range of designs that teach us a great deal about nature. The effect though is stylish and classic. Vinyls too feature a great selection of reptilian designs.
If reptiles aren't your thing, there is an extraordinary fabric range available in every animal imaginable: printed and woven, silks, cottons, velvets and embroideries.Think very carefully about where you will use it to maximum advantage. It is probably best to just have one animal print in a room - whether it's a gorgeous wing chair, ottoman, skin rug or snuggly throw.
Animal prints look truly lovely when incorporated in more traditional European designs - whether it be French, Italian or English. They break up more conventional florals and damasks with a little bit of quirkiness. Colefax and Fowler has several interesting animal fabrics in print as well as snuggly velvets.
My suggestion when decorating your home is to choose something absolutely fabulous - just one or two pieces if you want a classic design, or go completely over the top and put it all together to create your own piece of nature.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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