Happy Fabric Friday, y’all! Inspired by nature and my season’s favorite, peonies, I thought today I’d give a shout-out to chintz. Over the last hundred years or so, ¨chintz¨ has come to mean any floral printed cotton fabric used for upholstery and window treatments. What we nowadays call English chintz, is in fact an imitation of floral cotton textiles produced in India long before they became popular in Europe.
Schumacher- Pyne Hollyhock Print in Indigo
In the 18th century, English spice merchants started using Indian chintz (hand-drawn and dyed cotton fabric with exotic colorful patterns) as a trade commodity and once in England, these textiles became all the rage. At first used as wall and bed coverings, they soon became part of the European fashion (Madame Pompadour – the 18th century fashionista- is wearing a gorgeous dress believed to be chintz, in a famous painting by Francois Hubert Drouais)
The story of chintz becomes even more interesting… As it turns out, these beautiful, comfortable cotton fabrics were threatening the local textile industries (mostly wool and silk at that time) and this led to a ban of printed cotton imports from India, as well as a complete ban on the use of chintz as a household or fashion item. In England, the ban lasted more than 50 years and was lifted around 1775. Fueled by the demand of Indian chintz, French and English mills came up with ways to produce similar commercial printings on cotton, now known as English chintz.
Original or not, I love chintz with its ways of instantly relaxing any decor and bellow are just a few of my favorites!
Have a great weekend!