Is a carpet blog needed?
To inform, To promote. To get a conversation going. To provoke. To question.
Taste. Style. Fashion. Overlapping terms, yet different in connotation. Taste is something that can be acquired, not necessarily bought, but gotten through acquisition, exposure, conversation, comparison. Taste can be improved, changed, transferred, expanded. Everybody can have taste, with a little effort. Taste is the mark of a civilized person.
Style is different. Not to be confused with in style, see fashion. Style is innate, in born, part of a person’s makeup. You have it or you don’t. You can ‘t buy it, borrow it, fake it or copy it. Style is personal and individual. Two persons cannot have the same style. Ostentatious display of branded luxury goods does not give a person style.
Fashion is what’s current, now in or out of fashion. What is publicly seen as chic or desirable. What is in fashion has no relation to taste. Personal style may or may not include elements in or out of fashion. The two categories may connect or intersect, but they are never identical.
How does this all connect to carpets? How doesn’t it? Traditionally, carpets were firmly in the “taste” section. Having one or more handwoven oriental carpets meant that one had taste. Of course, carpets were not the sole indicator: paintings, furniture, objects, general decorative schemes and architecture were contributors in greater or lesser degrees. You just knew if someone had haste. Maybe that taste was a bit conventional, but it was real and in-your-face. It may have been the taste of a designer or architect –think Stanford White – but it was unquestioned. If you had taste, you had carpets, period. And they worked artistically with the rest of the ensemble because oriental carpets worked with virtually anything.
Carpet types go in and out of fashion. One year they are popular, the next they are outré. The fashion cycle grows ever shorter. This was recently manifested in the light colored, allover pattern Ziegler Sultanabad carpets. Not too long ago they were the rug of choice for hedge fund operators and other affluent Wall Street types. Prices reached the stratosphere, but the Great Crash took it all down. Carpets that reached in the hundreds of thousands of dollars now sold at a fraction of that. These latter prices were really what they were worth. The bubble had popped.
Or before that, recall the Aubusson craze of the 1970’s-80’s. Then they were the ultimate floor covings for rich interiors. They all sold, at substantial prices. Then poof, they went out of fashion .So quickly, so thoroughly. Now good pieces can be found at reasonable prices, but the supply has diminished. High prices pull things out of the woodwork; low prices, no pull. The rugs have not changed, but fashion has moved on .A person of taste for 18th century French décor, for example, will regardless still find the pieces most attractive and appropriate. Less fashionable does not mean less desirable.
This process seems to be going on right now with room size Heriz carpets. With bright colors and striking semi-geometric patterns, they held their prices throughout the Great Recession. Only recently have they tended to weaken. A good ,l ate 19th century piece, say 12’ by 18’,can be picked up quite reasonably now. Color is supposed to be coming back, but Heriz carpets are not yet riding the tide. This story is not fully written yet, so give it another year or two to clarify. They were never so elevated as Ziegler’s, so they cannot fall so precipitously.
Carpet fashion has no regard for actual, underlying quality and little understanding of the history of the art form or the criteria for evaluating specific types. What is not clearly understood is that antique carpets in particular have a chameleon-like character .In a totally contemporary setting ,a strongly colored Heriz, say, need not overpower everything else .There is the view from floor-to-ceiling windows and minimalist, unornamented décor. The splash of color on the floor complements the abstract, modern wall candy, not competes with it. A large number of rugs in this type of setting is another matter. Clutter on the floor is not a good thing.
Only in extremely stylized room settings are oriental carpets really inappropriate .Art Deco is the best example. Especially in 1930’s extreme Deco interiors, the carpets are part of the entire scheme and usually made to match. Only Chinese Tianjin Art Deco carpets will work here instead of their European counterparts. A busy Persianate rug, no matter the exact origin ,is simply incorrect
So what is style? Can a rug or rugs give a person style? Style is individual thus a person who says “I have these beautiful things ,up to the minute in fashion ,therefore I have style” doesn’t quite understand what style really is. The designer is called in to realize what is pictured in shelter magazines and the owner of a luxurious interior wants to have style. Style has been acquired.
So don’t buy a rug and think that it makes one stylish. The type, placement and use of a carpet displays taste or the lack thereof. Buy an item in style and be prepared to pay a premium. Remember that it can go out of fashion all too quickly. Better, develop taste, a lifelong pursuit. You cannot buy style at any price. You cannot purchase a different you. But you can develop taste and be a better you.
Is a carpet blog needed?