Don’t call it a comeback, Chinoiserie Art has actually been here for years—more than 300 years to be exact. It is, however, experiencing a fabulous resurgence, in part thanks to influencers like Emily Henderson and even Gwyneth Paltrow, Ms. GOOP herself.
Chinoiserie – loosely translated from the French means “Chinese-esque.” The style dates back to 17th century Europe when Chinese imports including painted silks, lacquered pieces, and porcelain were the height of fashion. Europeans were fascinated by the Far East and European artisans loved copying Asian designs—creating their own interpretations of cherry blossoms, pagodas, foo dogs, dragons and everything they imagined Asian culture would be like, without actually traveling to Asia.
The ornate style and pieces were also a perfect fit with the highly ornamental Rococo style of the 18th century, and both were favorites of the aristocrats and royals of the time.
While traditional Chinoiserie was, and still is, very ornate; today’s interpretation is much lighter and simpler, and pairs quite well with modern design. A well-chosen piece of artwork for the walls or a collection of ginger jars on the credenza is the perfect counterpart for a contemporary backdrop of clean lines and shapes.
According to designer Emily Henderson: “My favorite look is a wonderful wallpaper in a room – say, a dining room – but mixed with a very contemporary light fixture and some contemporary furniture.”
Designers are also loving screens and panels as an easy, affordable and non-permanent way to incorporate Chinoiserie into their clients’ homes.
Annie herself fell in love with a set of gorgeous, celadon green panels for her bedroom, so much so that she had smaller versions recreated for her new spring collection. Aptly named Eden, these panels offer a touch of Eastern chic, with cherry blossoms and birds. Just enough to elevate an otherwise neutral space and evoke another time and place.
What about you? Are you crushing on modern Chinoiserie like we are? How would you incorporate it into your home? Let us know in the comments below!