Insights • Inspirations • Destinations • Design

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Hermés School of Decorating

Remember a few years ago when everybody was painting their walls Tiffany Blue? (Which Tiffany trademarked by the way.) So many people became obsessed with the delicate turquoise colour of the famous New York jewellery house that Tiffany Blue was EVERYWHERE. There were even weddings that were themed according to the colour scheme, complete with Tiffany Blue table decorations and Tiffany Blue bridesmaids.

Well the trend for Tiffany has finally abated. And in its place is a new school of colour thought. One inspired by the House of Hermés. Yes, that's right. We are all heading towards an Orange Horizon.

The always-gorgeous Faux Fuchsia emailed me recently to tell me she has just painted a buffet in bright orange. And you know that if Miss Fuchsia is doing it, the rest of us will soon follow. (I can imagine how glam it looks. FF could make a hard rubbish find look like a treasure from a Sotheby's sale.)

So, inspired by the creatives who are heading up The Orange Brigade, I thought I'd post some images of this vibrant and lovely summer colour, so redolent of Hermés' signature shade. Personally, I've become a paid-up convert to The Tangerine Gang. I bought an orange handbag from Sambag the other day. I tell you, it was love at first handle.

My new handbag by Sambag. So pretty, I'm almost afraid to use it. NB I would have loved to have bought an Hermés Kelly. But sadly, I don't believe in spending more than $300 on a handbag. Which rules me out of purchasing anything with 'Kelly' in the name. And I don't have the courage to buy one of those perfect counterfeits from China either. (Shhh – who said that word??!)

Oh, be still my beating photographer's heart. I think this little Leica could quite possibly be one of the sexiest cameras ever created. Wrapped up in a cute orange cover, it makes me nostalgic for the days when cameras were, un-hem, more retro, and far less complicated. I love it. Imagine whipping this out in Paris? Or Miami? Or the Caribbean? Trust Leica to come up with a covetable little model like this. {Via Leica}

And this is the perfect camera bag to accompany it. It's Proenza Schouler’s Orange Camera Case, a retro-cute homage to 1970's holidays in Key West and Palm Beach. Just don't look at the price. Shhhh. Don't even whisper it. {Via; $1,850}

Have you ever seen a more glamorous ensuite? This image is from Jonathon Adler and Simon Doonan's Park Avenue apartment. {Via Architectural Digest Espana} Look at that ornate shampoo stand. And the tangerine shower curtain! (Although 'curtain' is a bit of a pedestrian word for that operatic number.) Then there's the brass railing at the top of the subway tiles, that fabulous gilt/brass Hermés sign (does anyone know where they picked that up from, because I'd so love one too) and the Parisian railway clock on the wall. And I won't even mention the architecture books. (Okay, I did.) Is that so one can read up on Mies van der Rohe while one is, er, waiting for other inspiration to flow? Who knows? But it's all gorgeous. Just gorgeous. 

Here's another image. {Via Architectural Digest}

And if you want a little more tangerine theatricality, here's a ruffled version of a shower curtain from Urban Outfitters. 

Now I don't know about you, but I think this is taking the Hermés decoration thing a bit far... If you're going to collect boxes, at least display them in an elegant way, don't you think? Then again, what do I know? Perhaps it's artistic? {Via Martha Stewart} 

I love this space, with the industrial-style lamps, the cute church stools, the bright mirror and the tangerine blinds that sit in a very cheeky position halfway down those elegantly arched windows. Even the waste bin matches.  Simple, but so sweet. {Via}

Who could imagine that a simple orange runner could turn an ordinary staircase into a statement piece? But this space really works, mostly because of the crisp white walls and the surprising and somewhat cheeky orange line that runs up the side. Lovely. What a work of art! {Via}

Monte Carlo, as this vintage poster shows, is a place where Hermés orange is really at home. I don't know why, but orange just seems to suit this scene. Must be all those brightly trussed-up Grand Prix cars and those glamorous cruise-collection-from-Chanel wardrobes wandering up and down the esplanade... 

Even Monte Carlo's beach umbrellas take their colour cues from the Tangerine Tango trend.

Dolce and Gabbana's 'hot', chilli-print scarf from D&G's Spring 2012 collection. (Sorry, but the pun was there waiting to be exploited!) This print is so different, I can't help but like it. It almost looks like the little chillies are marching across the scarf. The image may be D&G but the colour is VERY Hermés.

And here's Miss Pixie Geldof and Miss Paloma Faith wearing the fabric in a frock. Love the hat box Paloma. AND the Sophia Loren head scarf! I'd lose the cardi but otherwise it's retro-perfect. 

Penguin's classic orange covers are now collector pieces. I have half a dozen framed in our downstairs bedroom. I just love the simplicity of them. 

Here's how Australian designer Lyn Gardener showcases her beloved Penguins. I've had the good fortune of staying in her beautiful country getaway, The White House at Daylesford. I could have moved into this particular room.

I'm always fascinated by this film whenever it's shown on TV. And my friends, in turn, are always surprised by this. (My other favs include You've Got Mail and Funny Face. You can see why eyebrows are raised.) It's not the violence I like (it has terrible scenes: you've been warned), but the whole, over-the-top set design. It's as if Cecil Beaton took some acid and then teamed up with a bondage queen. The colours and images are extraordinary. One of Stanley Kubrick's best. (I have to warn you again: the violence is appalling. I apologise in advance if you're offended.)

Lastly, I'd like to show you a tiny part of my lovely home town, Melbourne, Australia, which is – along with New York, Boston and Canberra – one of the world's most beautiful cities in autumn. We're being blessed with a particularly glorious season this year, so everybody has been out embracing the leaf-strewn streets and mild sunny days. If you don't think much of orange, just come to Melbourne in May. You'll become a convert too, I promise!
{Image of Fawkner Park by Cliffano Subagio for The Age}


  1. Dear J

    Thanks for the shoutout! There are lots of photos of the new orange piece on the blog. It looks 100% better. Orange is my 2nd favourite colour. A few years ago I couldn't find orange chrissy decs and people made them for me!!!

    I also luff orange in the garden- clivias, day lilies, nasturtians, hippeastrums and kalanchoe. Some people think it's common. I say good enough for Monet at Giverny, good enough for me xxx

    1. You're very welcome Miss Faux Fuchsia. You know we all bow down to your keen sense of aesthetics!

      I love orange in the garden too. You should do an orange and hot-pink horticultural mix? Imagine how fantastically tropical that would look? xx

  2. Orange is definitely having a decorating moment, isn't it! Love your Orange Bag. I miss Sambag....they need to open a few more stores.

    I'm glad the whole Tiffany thing is over. I remember seeing pictures of some celebrity wedding in LA where they had a Tiffany theme, complete with a stack of Tiffany boxes as wedding cake. The other trend has been naming tables at weddings after luxury goods....the Hermes table, the Chanel table etc, rather than table 8 or 9. Kind of like you have achieved corporate sponsorship of your wedding...the rise of the luxury good has a lot to answer for - no longer just the logo, but the colour is evocative too. (That said, I'd never say no to a Birkin, or clic-clac. I have a soft spot for Hermes due to all the inital H things they produce, just for me!)

    1. Hi Heidi,

      So lovely to hear from you. Yes, I'm quietly glad we've moved on from Tiffany shades. I don't think I could have looked at another pale-turquoise wedding! (In saying that, it's still pretty if it's mixed up with another colour. Don't want to offend any turquoise lovers out there.)

      As for Sambag, I think Sam Wagner is opening new stores as fast as she can find the retail space. I'm sure she'll come to Adelaide soon!


      PS I laughed at the Chanel / Hermes table seating arrangements. Knowing my luck, I'd probably be on the Harris Scarf table!

  3. A most deliciously fabulous colour, always uplifting with its cheeky demeanor. You would have laughed to have seen my post a few days ago about a front door which I have just had painted in orange! Not Hermes orange though, more of a 1960s tone. But in my book, all orange is good orange.

    And yes, what a magnificent autumn we are having. (I do think though, that Canberra's streets perhaps rival our own in autumn, but the Carlton gardens are quite breathtaking this year.)

    1. Thank you Miss Glamour Drops! Always lovely to hear from you. And I SAW your orange front door. I meant to link to it, so thanks for the inclusion here. How glamorous. We might try some orange in our next house, I think. I shall look to you and FF for inspiration.

      And yes, Canberra is truly one of Australia's most beautiful cities in autumn. It even would outdo Melbourne, I think! (It's also glorious in Spring too.)

  4. i feel the need to wear some orange today! lovely post on the most lovely color. xo janet

    1. Thank you for the kind comment Janet. You always inspire me with your sense of style! Orange would look magnificent on you too!

  5. Age 7, moving into a new house I chose 'burnt orange' carpet & muddy orange brocade fabric for my curtains & canopy.

    Walls were stark white.

    My sister recently said when she looked down the hallway, when we were little, the light coming from my room was 'pulsating'.

    In Milan, over 10 years ago, I fell in love with the shades of orange the women were wearing. Never seen it here.

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

    1. Oh how funny Tara! Do you know we must be similar ages, because I remember having a tiny child's bedroom wallpapered in orange too?! Love the description of 'pulsating'. So funny.
      And yes, I remember seeing all the Milanese women dressed in it. But Italian women look great in anything!
      PS - Your garden must be beautiful now it's spring. Georgia gardens are so glorious. My mother loved driving through your state last May.

  6. For someone who is not mad about orange I bought 3 pieces of orange clothing and one orange bag this summer and I want the front door (with its glass) that Glamour Drops has just painted!!!! Guess I must like it after all particularly as I would like my stairs carpeted in orange!!!!! xx

  7. Oh well done Jules! We're all going orange this season, it seems. I've gone crazy too. I even bought an orange trench coat on Chapel Street yesterday - but at $29 it was too cheap to resist!

    Thanks for your lovely email. I apologise profusely for not replying, but we've been desperately trying to wade through things here - property, books, trips, whether to get married or not (!) (I'm still not sure.) Keep writing though. I want to read your chapters when they're done! They'll be fantastic, I'm sure.

  8. Oh yes so agree with you Janelle - isn't Melbourne looking particularly lovely at the moment. And orange, beautiful orange one of my favourite colours too. I have an orange handbag already otherwise I would be very tempted by your gorgeous find. I have also stayed in The White House in Daylesford - and that little libary room is completely delightful. Hope all is well with you and the books are coming along nicely. Sarah xx

    1. Thanks Sarah. Do hope you're having a wonderful time with your daughter. Melbourne has turned on a beautiful autumn for her! xx

  9. Dear Janelle

    Have to admit to an ongoing love of orange. Even to having at least three orange handbags: one traditional Oroton, one a combination of handbag and briefcase made from wild boar skin (cinghiale) bought in Arezzo, the other a bright orange, beige and tan Jamin Puech I bought in their store in Rue Vieille du Temple in the Marais some years ago. There are others too I'm ashamed to admit. Did I mention that I'm an accessories fanatic! best wishes, Pamela

    1. Oh, what a glamorous wardrobe Pamela! I think we'd all be in awe of the sight of that.
      I do know of the Jamin Puech store in the Marais - have often walked past it on my wanders around that neighbourhood but have never actually popped in, so must do so one day. Thanks for letting me know it's worth seeing.
      I was an accessories fanatic too, many years ago, while living in Europe. But then I had to start being frugal. Shoes are still a weakness though - although I've even cut back on those.
      Your orange leather briefcase made from wild boar sounds extraordinary though. I think I'd break my frugality for that!

    2. Dear Janelle
      We're finally away on Wednesday for a couple of months: Budapest, Vienna, Milan, Lake Como, Provence and Paris. Since discovering your site have bought your 2010/2011? book on Paris and will be taking it in hand luggage (check-in bags already too heavy) - you can be sure it will be much used! Will probably be re-visiting Jamin Puech, I love their bags, though they're not for everyone as they're not minimalist! We're hoping to be in Paris for les Soldes - they were in the last week of June in 2010 so keeping fingers crossed. Have a wonderful trip to NY and the Caribbean,whether it's a honeymoon or not! (We once knew a couple who cancelled their wedding at the last minute but couldn't get a refund on the honeymoon trip so went together anyway. They were so happy on the honeymoon that wasn't that they were married (quietly)after all when they returned! And it all worked out well!)

      Best wishes and good luck with your Picnic book! Pamela

    3. Oh how lovely Pamela! I do hope it's useful - and not too heavy to take in your luggage? Another lady photocopied pages from it and took those instead.

      I'm so pleased you'll make Les Soldes. The Bon Marche department store always has the most incredible sales. You should try to drop by there if you have time. The store's interior alone is magnificent. And there are lots of great shoe stores nearby - in the Rue Saint Peres I think?

      Lake Como and Bellagio are two of my favourite places in the world. Bellagio is extraordinarily beautiful. The best photos are at dawn when the mist rises over the lake and the sun breaks through. It's completely magical. The Villa Charlotte and the Villa Balbiniello are both worth seeing. If you do a boat tour, they'll most likely take you there and past Edward and Wallace Simpson's old villa nearby. George Clooney's is there too, somewhere. And there are wonderful walks up behind Bellagio, through the orchards and down to the little fishing village on the other side.

      I do hope you have a wonderful time! And thanks for the lovely advice on the nuptials. The Man is pushing for a quickie wedding but I think you're right - we'll do the honeymoon first to see how that fares, and then decide on the wedding!

    4. Janelle
      Many thanks for the great suggestions about Lake Como. Shall certainly look for the places you recommend, Villa Charlotte (have a beautiful granddaughter called Charlotte) and Villa Balbiniello, also Bellagio. Will also look for Edward and Wallace's villa. Not a great fan of either but they lived in Paris after the War at a very interesting time with a fascinating mix of people. For example, have always had quite an interest in the Mitfords and their diverse circles.

      Le Bon Marche is one of my faves, last time we were there it was during Les Soldes and I found a fabulous Lacroix scarf and a Missoni, both about half price(I was a great fan of Lacroix's accessories - and enjoyed his clothes designs as well). My husband likes the tea room/cafe upstairs at Bon Marche. It's fabulous, I know I can leave him there with a book, a pot of darjeeling and a madeleine and he'll be happy while I potter around.

      Yes marriage not something to rush. Hopefully you want something that will last and that's worth waiting for. We'll be celebrating our 43rd anniversary in Paris on this holiday (naturally must say I was a child bride - almost true).

      Best wishes Pamela

  10. I would not say no to a present in a Hermes box, but I am definitely a blue girl. Having said that, all your photos in support of orange are very persuasive, except for Clockwork Orange. I saw it in my early twenties and still traumatised.
    Faux Fuschia's orange buffet is inspired.
    Sounds like you are frantically busy with moving (?), trip to USA (really looking forward to photos from that trip), writing books and generally deciding which way life should go!

  11. Yes, I think Clockwork Orange would disgust many people Claire. It horrified me. But I really liked the costumes. I like films that are a bit different from the rest.
    Thanks for taking the time to write! Lovely to hear from you, as always.

  12. Dear Janelle
    A Clockwork Orange anecdote. Years ago when it was first screened in Brisbane, it was very newsworthy. We were sent a clipping about the first night, the by-line was something like, "Clockwork Orange first night in Brisbane. One woman walks out!" It turned out that that woman was my mother. Her escort, the fellow she was going out with at the time (my Mum was widowed in her forties) proved not to be a gentleman. He didn't walk out with her and she had to take a seat in a coffee shop until the movie was over! I would have gone home without him! But good on my Mum, she had the courage of her convictions. Have never been able to bring myself to see it either. Best wishes, Pamela

  13. Oh Pamela, I'm glad she walked out! I like a woman who stands up for her beliefs. (Literally). I've walked out of a film once but I can't remember what it was now. Must have been terrible. Her date should have escorted her out though. He obviously wasn't a gentleman. But she was very ladylike waiting for him in the coffee shop! I would have caught a taxi home. Yes, Clockwork isn't for everyone. But it's not the worst film I've seen. Lars von Trier's Dogma is far, far worse. Your mother would have hated that!

  14. Hi Janelle

    Great to discover you! Yes, Melbourne is beautiful in autumn, I live in the other place!

    Your Hermes inspired post was great, Im glad you said Kelly not Birkin!

    1. Thanks for your lovely note. I'm very grateful. So pleased you dropped by. Yes, I'm a bit over Birkins too. I think that's what happens with branded bags. That's why I like more obscure labels and 'quieter' styles. In saying that, I wouldn't complain if I was ever given an orange Hermes Kelly...!

    2. Thrilled you replied. Maybe an orange Birkin but ...

      I also love Georgian houses, there are several gorgeous ones in NSW.

  15. That bag is a beauty, I'm looking for a simple chic elegant no logo bag which means naff LV or Gucci monograms, I hardly ever use my Chanel bags I think all of the obvious bags are a bit tacky and 90's so I'm off for sambag snoop, wider if they ship here?

    1. Oh Tabitha, your taste is perfect, where it's Chanel or no-name. I think that even if you bought a little $5 straw handbag from a stall in Bangkok it would still look gorgeous! Don't think Sambag ship overseas. A pity, as the bags and shoes are beautiful.

  16. A stunning post, Janelle - what a feat for the eyes! Thanks so much for taking all the time to collate it. I'm *so* not an orange girl but you could almost turn me with this post ☺. J x

    1. Thanks Jane. Hope I've convinced you to consider it! I used to be a black-and-white girl - have 15 black jackets alone - but have started to wear more colour these past few years. Hope things are going well for you in Hobart. xx

  17. I would not ordinarily call myself an 'orange girl', but I must say that your images present a very persuasive argument - particularly with regards to the fabulous camera bag (although the price did make my eyes water somewhat).

    The chilli print scarf is yummy - as are the dresses. Sadly, I too have an inability to get rid of pretty packaging, but since I am unlikely to open anything with any importance whilst showering, I have so far been fortunate to escape the seemingly common mistake of an Hermes box shower overload!
    Great images / great blog! Paula x

  18. Dear Mrs Sutton, Thank you for popping by The Library. Your comment made me laugh!
    Do you know I love your Georgian house? In fact, I was trying to find something like that to be the setting for my new novel and then came across yours! I love Ben Petreath's Parsonage too. Georgian houses are the epitome of architectural elegance. So many of us adore yours.
    Janelle x


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