Friday, February 10, 2006

Please Don't Hate Me!

The Divine Dolly has been debating the merits of Rachel Ashwell vs Cath Kidston and I can't keep my mouth shut, even when I know what's good for me!

Now, I love, love, love Cath, and her brand/style of vintage scrumptiousness. But I digress...

I have the Ashwell books, and have pored over them, and I do enjoy them. But the trend I have noticed here in Australia, is to take the "pretty, pretty" elements of Shabby Chic and go over the top with it. I may be wrong here, but to me, the basic premise of the whole Shabby Chic thing, is to start with a basic palette, and add whatever you love - including your collection of kitsch!
I have seen so many white and pale pink rooms, with dripping chandeliers (I love chandeliers, don't get me wrong), and oh-so-romantic bits and bobs. I'm kinda over it. I'm yearning for some colour, some punch, to really make these rooms "pop".
Yes, I know Rachel says pastels, but please, please, add some colour somewhere. It only needs to be subtle, in the form of some little accessory, to keep these whitewashed rooms from being - dare I say it - bland.

I think that's why I prefer the Kidston look. She goes for colour - but not over the top.
Now I am a pink gal - I love it. But lately I have been drawn to the combination of aqua and cerise, and am seriously thinking of painting one wall in my kitchen a deep claret.
Now, I'm no expert decorator (although I do subscribe to Romantic Homes magazine *lol*), and I love pretties as much as, if not more than, the next girl. But I have to say it.

The Australian version of Shabby Chic is becoming ... boring



Blogger ms*robyn said...

boring ~ as did the american country style that we took on so passionately a few years ago. Flossy - my reply is going to be too long so if you don't mind, I will post on my blog with a reference to yours. hope that is ok?

7:27 AM  
Blogger Miss Eagle said...

Am most interested in this - as one who had a shop in Townsville specializing in Shabby Chic and whose daughter still runs such a shop here in Melbourne. I guess it is like everything on which people don't get the best grasp = yep, gets dated. Ms Robyn is right. And she is so clever to say American country style. Australian country style never had those weird little hessian dolls! You see Rachel Ashwell put together a style which may or may not continue in fashion - but she drew on timeless sources of country living in England and France. These styles have not dated - perhaps some things within those styles get more emphasis at one time than at another but the style continues. My daughter broke out - mainly because she is a bit of a Francophile - and has included warmer pinks but basically it is the pinks that seem to sell followed by greens. She finds - and I had a similar experience - there is not the same market for blue. Rachel has taught us a lot. Back in the 60s and 70s we used to haunt the auctions and the second hand shops and we would restore furniture so that it probably looked better than when it was new. Rachel has shown us that we don't have to go to those limits any more and that we can appreciate the signs of ageing that in another time would have been seen as defects. These days my favourite drool is English Country Living - and if a bit of Swedish and, if a bit of French intrudes, how lovely. Lastly, any watcher of Rachel's television programs will know that Rachel herself stretched the shabby chic concept considerably - I think of an Indonesian oriented decor which
emphasised the shabby chic fundamentals of beauty, comfort, and practicality. So, to sum up, Rachel has shown us quite a lot but she has got there on the shoulders of previous generations of country living.

9:32 AM  
Blogger The Rich Gypsy said...

Couldn't agree with you more Suzie! But I think even Rachel (yeah, like we're on first name basis) would be disgusted by the sickeningly sweet version of her own concept of 'Shabby Chic' ... Did you see in her latest book she says that even she has moved on and changed and now gravitates towards aqua; turquoise; and a deeper shade of pink? All the OTT lacey and frilly bits were never part of Shabby Chic. Nor were the newly bought Knotts Pine pieces of furniture smelling strongly of freshly painted stark white. BLAH.

Love Cath Kidston too for the energy in all her colour. The prettiness makes me feel like a girl again ... the red ginghams and florals. I do think the vibrance of her palette better suits us here in Australia because of our bright light ... it's the depth we need to balance it all out.

Thanks for this interesting post ... like ms*R, I may continue it further on my blog too.

9:50 AM  
Blogger dolly said...

ooh well I've started a debate! yep I don't like the sugary sweet stuff of shabby - I have been *shocked* to see these shabby shops on just about every corner here, with sky-high prices too! in the UK shabby is not that big - what I like about Rachel is her concept - her books that talk about collecting, searching and finding and not buying new white quilts with pink flowers! oh yeah and I too think Rachel would puke at the pale pink sugar coated stuff

I don't like Cath as much because I think her stuff is very over-rated now in the UK - the catalogue has slogged to death any of her original patterns and fabrics - including tents and fold-up chairs and there are even Kidston dog bowls I reckon

also I know someone who used to work for her and hmmmmm...
..but of course her English style is still gorgeous

Cabbages and Roses I love much more - just what I like

anyway I too will post more about this on my blog

love dollx

10:05 PM  
Blogger Kristy said...

I think that too much of any one style or design school just looks contrived.By only buying things that we actually love our own style can evolve naturally. Cath Kidston is great but I only have a few pieces.Rachel Ashwell interests me as in the UK she is not so widely know.You only have to type in Kidston on eBay to see how ubiquitous her design has become!I for one would rather be myself than one of a crowd.

12:12 AM  
Blogger Maggie Ann said...

Flossy, I like hearing your thoughts on decorating...I agree with you, a few punchs of real color is energizing and cheery in a pastel room. I love Romantic homes magazine. They have the most wonderful ideas in thier pages. We wall papered our living room in a tan stripe on the bottom and a pink sponged look paper on top with a brown & green leaf design chair rail dictates the colors of the whole room. Its all beiges and cream. sounds boring but its restful. The pink wall paper supplies the color. Everytime I try to change it...I come back to the neutral pallete. I loved the comment you left me at knitting kat....I never knew that the Amish left one stitch out on purpose, to remind us that only God is perfect. Thats nice....I like things that lift God up for praise...thats how it should be. How nice to be in your sidebar

7:17 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

I can't say I've ever been a big fan of country or Shabby Chic design, so I guess I don't have much to add to this discussion. Except to say that I definitely think you should go for painting that wall claret. I love bright bold colors and the way they surprise you.

12:41 PM  

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