Insights • Inspirations • Destinations • Design

Friday, January 27, 2012

Orange You Glad Orange Is In?

I adore orange. The scent. The drink. The idea of a walled orchard with nothing but Citrus × ​sinensis trees, blooming white in spring. And I love the colour on some people. And in some places. Marrakech medinas, for example. And Palm Beach in summer. (See Elle's gorgeously sexy frock below.) Orange is tropical. Fresh. Flirty. Romantic. It's the colour of candlelight. And sorbet. And the Palm Springs sun. It brings to mind summer nights and sun-kissed skin and cocktails with giant paper umbrellas balancing on top.

In saying this, it's something of a perennial colour.  It comes and goes, and then comes and goes again. It's not an evergreen, like white, or blue. As such, I don't know how much media saturation (if you'll forgive the colour pun) Pantone is going to get out of its Tangerine Tango forecast this year. Just how much blood can we squeeze out of this design orange? I mean, how much tangerine tango IS there in fashion and interior design. Or perhaps a more pertinent question is: How much tangerine tango can we take for twelve months?

The thing is, orange is one of those colours that sneaks up and seduces you with its wit, charm, and humorous take on life. It's like Hugh Grant. It's a colour cad that's never around for long but it's fun when it does appear. So I suspect tangerine might take us all by surprise this year. I was watching that poignant Parisian episode of Sex and the City last night (An American Girl in Paris, Part Deux), and there was a fabulous bright orange panelled wall in one of the scenes with Aleksandr Petrovsky. It immediately made me want to repaint our summer library in a cheeky mandarin shade.

Orange as a decorating refresher ... This is Windsor Smith's master bathroom, where she has given a gilt Louis XVI console an injection of modernity with orange Hermès boxes, a vintage Gucci bag and a fabulous 1950's fashion photograph. The orange doesn't overwhelm or dominate the scene but enhances it and lifts it up from being a purely all-white place. {Via House Beautiful}

Punch drunk... A striped orange banquette in the corner of The Dunmore's dining room on Harbour Island (formerly The Dunmore Beach Club) looks immediately inviting – ready for a Bloody Mary breakfast to counteract the big night you had at The Landing restaurant the evening before! The picture frames really pull this whole scene together and make it whimsical, fresh and fun. Very Harbour Island. {Via The Dunmore}

Orange with a twist... A bathroom in the Vernon Pantone suite of the Maidstone Hotel in the Hamptons is full of punch and glamour, although it's toned down by the layers of white. Some of the orange touches in this room include an orange blanket on the bed, Torbogen print paper by Wohnzimmer, and Benjamin Moore’s Outrageous Orange paint in the ensuite. {Via Maidstone}

Slices of orange... A corner of one of our guest bedrooms is an ode to orange, or  more correctly – to Penguin classics. It's such an unusual colour for a series, isn't it? I wonder if Penguin has trademarked it like Tiffany has done with its pale blue shade? The vintage French garden chair was spray painted to match and the taffeta fabric was bought in Paris for some incredibly cheap price – 10 euros/metre, I think? I simply sewed some tangerine bobbles on the edge to tie it all together. 

Mango glow... Pumpkin-coloured towels in a country bathroom make this space warm and engaging. {Via Sunset}

Bright with white... The sublime saffron-and-white palette of the Mondrian Hotel in LA. Like Liza Minelli, the Mondrian LA is still great after all these years. {Via Mondrian}

A desert orange... The Parker Meridien Palm Springs uses splashes of desert orange liberally throughout the interior, including the famous front door. Top image is also from the Parker Meridien. {Via Parker Meridien}

Champagne as decorating inspiration... Designer Maureen Footer painted the inside of her client's kitchen cabinets in Veuve Clicquot orange because he was a bit of a bon vivant whose signature pour was Champagne. What a fantastic idea. She suggesting coating the paint with beeswax for an antique look, but I think high gloss would be just as glamorous. {Image via House Beautiful}

Exotic orange... I always thought orange looked beautiful with something unexpected, such as zebra stripes. The top image was a small Hermès box I bought in Paris (I couldn't afford a big one!), and loved the colour so much I photographed it before I opened it. My handbag just happened to be behind it, and as it turned out, I loved the combination as much as the box. Other people seem to like it too. Look at how glam it looks here, in the image below. {Via Domino}

More Hermès orange here:... Hermès' gorgeous orange pencil shaving pillows {Via Decorati}

A corner of our orange-and-pink guestroom. My partner complained that there wasn't enough colour in our black-and-white-themed house. So I cobbled this together one day, thinking he would hate it and we could happily return to our monochromatic lives. But instead he loved it, and now sneaks down here for his afternoon siesta. Sometimes, when I'm not around, he'll even put mismatching sheets on the bed, just to add more colour. I think he was born in a circus??

Orange as stripes... Paul Smith's signature stripes are usually seen inside his suits but here they look surprisingly stylish as a wallpaper decorating the hall of a Hague apartment. Doesn't it remind you of sweet bon-bons? I once saw this wallpaper stretched over a five-storey staircase in a tiny boutique hotel called the Hotel d'Angleterre in Versailles. It made the staircase fantastically dramatic and also a little cheeky and upbeat. You couldn't help but feel happy when you walked up it. {Image via}

Designers Guild's boldly striped wallpaper in Arafura geranium. Imagine this in a powder room Or a craft room?

And Les Toiles du Soleil's French canvas fabric in Mogador-Rouge, a beautiful orange-and-pink stripe  for a beautifully bright armchair or deckchair.

And some more orange inspiration...

 Carrie in Sex and the City 2

Elle in Sydney this summer...

And a Marrakech mediana, where we hope to be next year...


  1. I adore the thought of orange but have always been cautious in the use of this colour. Last year I felt brave and purchased a bright orange frock..a big departure from the usual black/white/neutrals I feel safe wearing. Still not sure if the shade suits my complexion?
    I surely wouldn't mind a Hermes box or two though!

  2. Orange like purple leaves me cold but in saying that my favourite colour combination is pink and orange!I also bought an orange and white striped shirt this summer (and I will never purchase anything purple!!)so it is probably not surprising that I like the striped banquette and the zebra stripes!
    It's a funny colour there are deep bright shades that I love along with faded out barely there ones and I think it looks amazing on Carrie and Elle but that is probably because of their impossibly tanned skin and dare I say their builds!!!!
    My comment is almost as long as your post sorry about that! well I'm not really!!!!!! xx

  3. Bought my first orange fashion piece this year and haven't stopped wearing it. It's a happy colour! I too, like Julienne, adore orange and pink together. Fabulous post, just fabulous! I learn so much when I visit here! A-M xx

  4. I'm not a big fan of purple either Julienne, unlike my mother who ADORES it! (There's a famous book called 'When I Am An Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple', or something like that, and I think all women over 70 buy it?) I do love French blue, which has the teeniest hint of mauve in it, but that's as purple as I'll go.

    You stylish ladies are all buying orange frocks! I'd better get out there and get one! I bought orange high-heeled espadrilles last year and have nothing to wear with them. (Do any of you do that? Buy shoes that have absolutely nothing to do with what's in your wardrobe?)

    And thanks for your kind compliment A-M. So glad The Library is helpful...

    Janelle xx

  5. I love orange (and not just the Hermes boxes)!. I have an orange handbag which comes out each Summer which I love and a little soft orange wrap cardigan too. Have never used it in interiors though but do I love your pink and orange guest room, Janelle. x

  6. Just back from Marrakech and the Atlas Mountains..I have orange on my so beautiful. I would love to hear all about your past adventures Janelle. We decorate in it too...the warm red/orange, green and mustard yellow...just picked up a bunch of pillow covers in the markets in Marrakech...old kilms, cut and turned in to pillow covers. Well worn, they need a good airing out and visit to the dry cleaner but then...I know they will be perfect. They better be, we bought 10! xx


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