Saturday, February 2, 2013

Purple Passion: Manuel Canovas

I know there are folks who adore purple.  It’s never been my favorite color, but my appreciation grows steadily over time.

For example, last summer I saw the most amazingly simple combination of plants.  Vitex agnus-castus, underplanted with purple-leaved Heuchera, separated by clumps of Perovskia atriplicifolia, all abloom at once, all thriving in an inhospitable stretch of highway median.  Looking velvety cool, despite the blazing hot pavement, probably at 130 degrees or more, and refreshingly delicate among the chaos of rush hour traffic.  The sight convinced me that purple should be the backbone of the new garden I hope to establish this year to replace my overgrown, faltering butterfly garden.

Purple shines in winter as well as summer.
Some plants shimmer despite the frigid weather.
Even the decorative cabbage is layered with purple tones.
It is old-fashioned and romantic,
Monet's Garden Trays from Two's Company
the color of Lilac, Lavender and evening skies, and pure energy and adventure.  Think of frosty morns and glam rockers.  Purple is decadent
Cowtan and Tout's Mackinaw is lush with autumnal colors,
but it's really the bits of purple that give it that extra something.
and exotic;
Thibaut's new collection, called Biscayne, includes this tropical floral.
Lucala in Linen and Plum
Detail of Lucala

Detail of coordinating Rinca wallpaper, also in Plum.
Both Lucala and Rinca come in printed fabric and wallpaper.
royal and rebellious.

And perhaps no one understands this better than the creative team at Manuel Canovas.

Founded in 1963 by its namesake, Manuel Canovas Paris quickly became known for textiles, both for fashion and home, in bold patterns,
As you know, I'm a big fan of chrysanthemum and Penelope.
Seen here in Prune and Rouge.
Bagatelle in Magnanese
chic and oriental;
Sultan in Fuschia
gorgeous rifts on traditional toile;
Bengal in Grenat
Cerisy (my favorite toile of all time), seen here in Prune,
is both warm and vibrant with a cream-yellow background,
ivory accents and rich raisin purple.
Bengal and Cerisy are available as fabric and wallpaper.
and stunning color combinations…
Byzance, a linen-silk blend, in Rubis
usually with shades of purple.
Although these are the "taupe" versions of Aurore and

Dara, they seemed infused with dark and bright purples.
Even without a lot of pattern, Manuel Canovas fabrics are sumptuous and heavily invested in purple.
Maroquin, in Cassis, is beautifully textured.

Safari in Lilas

Shetland, a wool-blend plaid, comes in several color combinations,
including Amethyste and Taupe.

Tamia in Parme is sturdy enough for outdoor use.
The variety of textiles, and how they are embellished, is extraordinary.
Fiesta in Amethyste... embroidery on linen-viscose
Nimes in Basilic... embroidery on viscose-silk

Silk Charlotte in the softest Mauve

And Bastide is a damask of fire-resistant Trevira fabric.
Seen here in Parme
And I love the charmingly descriptive names for purple hues.
Belem in Lie de Vin...
the color of wine.

Spritely Marly comes in the popular French color known as Parme,
which I think of as the hue of spring crocus.

Foch, a luxurious cotton velvet, comes in five shades of purple,
including Quetsche... a dark, luscious plum and

Glycine... like racemes of wisteria.

Zenith in Violine,

Vence in Oeillet

and Vallauris in Pensee, recall Deco-era resorts on the French Riviera.

Calypso in Fuschia and

Nautilus in Lilas aren't your usual beach-inspired patterns!

Tarascon, seen here in Parme and Violine, may be the perfect stripe.
Manuel Canovas is now one of the five brands that make up Cowtan and Tout, and Ariane Dalle, previously with Pierre Frey, leads the design process.  But purple, in all its glorious variations, is still a mainstay of the collections.
Champs-Elysee, a linen-viscose weave, comes in Raisin (seen here),
as well as Lilas and Violette.

Voyage en Chine in Prune

The chairs sport a cotton-linen weave called Ales...
here in Amethyste...
and the draperies are the finely-embroidered Beauregard.

Ales in Parme

Beauregard in Nattier Rouge or

Fuschia Rose.
I remember a pair of earrings and cocktail ring that my mother owned decades ago.  They were uncut amethysts.  The ring was large and almost liquid.  The earrings hung in long teardrops with posts, which looked like little seals of calligraphy.  I believe my father had purchased them in Hong Kong.  And although the set is long gone, I can recall how magical, how foreign and mysterious, it seemed to me when my mother would get dressed for an evening out or let me play with her jewelry box.
Le Cabinet de Curiosite in Amethyste
So as we head from January (garnet) to February (amethyst), consider adding a bit of purple passion to your home, preferably with something wonderful from Manuel Canovas.

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