Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Holiday Chic Gift Guide: Chinoiserie

As worried as I am about the future of art, I'm even more nervous about the future of books. I've been hearing rumblings that the publishing houses aren't doing so well which scares me. I love my reading and can't imagine pulling out a Kindle instead of a real book. And what will happen to all the beautiful coffee table books? You definitely can't read or enjoy them on a Kindle so my Holiday Chic (get the play on words?) Gift Guides this season will all have a theme based on a different book beginning with Chinoiseries. I've tried to include a fun range of ideas, some reasonably priced and a few purely of the Neiman Marcus Fantasy Catalog variety because sometimes it's just fun to dream! Hope you enjoy them!


As a designer, I thought I should add a few examples of Chinoiserie inspired furniture and the Chinoiserie Laquer Etagere from Hollyhock would make a lovely over the top present and a perfect place to display many beautiful books. My favorite part are the gold fish and hanging tassels!

This beautiful gilt Chinese Chippendale Style Mirror from Deadwyler had it's price cut in half to $1900 but while it's still not cheap, you would be getting a gorgeous bargain.

Pieces in Atlanta is one of my favorite stores and I think that this Red Pagoda Chandelier would look very smart over a breakfast table or in an entry hall.


If home furnishings are too expensive for your budget, then perhaps a $32 candle would be a better gift idea. I love the Pagoda Box Candles of Seda France and luckily their candles smell as fabulous as the packaging looks. My personal favorites include Hyacinth and French Tulip but Chinese Mandarin Vanille clearly fits the Chinoiserie theme perfectly!

The best part of Christmas is unpacking all the old ornaments and remembering the stories behind them so I was think an ornament makes a lovely present. While you could get something cheaper at Hallmark, this $115 L'Object Pagoda Ornament would certainly be treasured for a lifetime.

Everyone knows that Mrs. John L. Strong makes the most luxurious stationery and paper products and I especially love them for their Chinoiserie motifs. These Pagoda note cards and lined envelopes would have to be saved for only the chicest correspondence though since they cost $135 for a box of 20.

If you really wanted to blow the bank, then I suggest a trip across the pond to have a drink in the "deeply glamorous" Artesian cocktail lounge at the Langham Hotel designed by the fabulous David Collins. I mean, who couldn't use a few drinks these days! It's just the kind of place that Auntie Mame would love.

And speaking of Auntie Mame, it's one of my all time favorite movies. I not only love it for it's hilarious madcap mishaps and divine interior design (Chinoiserie inspired among others) but for it's heartwarming story part of which is set at Christmas during the Depression. It's also actually based on a book, Auntie Mame: An Irreverent Escapade by Patrick Dennis which I think I'm going to put on my Christmas list this year. I have a lot of time on my hands now for reading and this is just the sort of story I need! Happy Holidays!

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