Saturday, January 22, 2011

Collection SS2011: Rêve de Corail

The tea pot amulet in the right hand corner of this design, with a monkey on its lid (that served as the inspiration for this pattern) gives wings to our imagination in this "rêve de corail" ("coral dream") design. 

Carmine, scarlet, magenta, cadmium red and, of course, coral red.... When was the last time you paused to think of a colour - and not just of any colour, but of red?  The colour red's range of meaning has never ceased to amaze the imagination and intellect.  Red's impact on cultures has garnered attention throughout history.  And yet, its deepest essence continues to remain a mystery. 

Reds were the first colours to be used by the Neanderthal man when he began to paint and dye, long before he discovered how to extract the other colours from plants, roots and animals.  In fact, red is not only the first colour known to man, it is the first man: the Judeo-Christians believe that God created man from red clay and gave him the name Adam, which in Hebrew (the language that God used to communicate with mortals) derives from the word "red".  God was so passionate about his creation that he hid his colour from plain view.  He let blue reign over the firmament and the endless seas, while green was allowed to proliferate over the brown earth.  But red was reserved for an intimate place inside God's most beloved creations - particularly in the flesh and blood of his own image on earth.  Red became the colour of beginnings and endings, of sunrises and sunsets, of birth and death.

The biblical Near East and Mediterranean Europe - the Hebrews, the Greeks and the Romans - loved red and made it the colour of power and beauty.   Since very ancient times, red has been perceived as beautiful, bright, lively and joyous - arousing admiration, pleasure and good fortune.   In early Christian art, red was considered the colour of divine love, subsequently transported to the cardinals' vestments.  The cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church have for centuries worn red as a symbol of their willingness to uphold the faith to the point of martyrdom.  Yet Christianity also introduced a negative, disquieting and deadly interpretation of red - in contrast to its positive resonance.  Then came the development of a chromatic symbolism based on the four cardinal points: two of the referents for red today remain fire and blood; only now, one must carefully distinguish between good fire and evil fire, between good blood and bad blood.  The red of fire, in its benevolent manifestation, is that of the Pentecost and of the Holy Spirit.  It is at once light and breath, powerful and redemptive.  It is a red that shines, lights, heals and heats - just like the sun.  Its malign aspect is the red of shadows, the flames of hell that burn without illumination.  It is the satanic red that burns, wounds and destroys: the red of Judas' hair, the fur of vermin - like the treacherous fox - and above all, it is the red of the wily, lying, lustful and proud man.  In Christian culture, blood red is largely that which gives life, transmits vital force, purifies and sanctifies.  It is the red of the Saviour, the blood spilled on the cross to save mankind.  It is a sign of vigour, energy, fertility and redemption.  Conversely, red associated with bad blood is the symbol of impurity, violence and sin.  Red is the stain of rage, of war and of death.

To paraphrase Wassily Kandinsky, in no other colour would one see so much contrast than in red.  Anyone who knows passion knows red.  Red has always been first among the colours of the spectrum.   Its primacy is not merely an arbitrary aesthetic choice; there is something imperious about red that makes it stand out.  Indeed, red is a colour that demands to be seen ! 

And seen it is in this "rêve de corail" ("coral dream") design (as displayed above), where an apparent endless string, displaying coral pebbles in sequence, unwinds right before our eyes as an open invite for anyone to touch the "charms", the many artistically executed marvels of craftsmanship...  or, conversely (mirroring the dual symbolism of red), the strand tempts our gaze to identify its loose end and from there, to follow the pebbles.  And in this game of seduction, the coiling strand steals our gaze and hypnotically draws us closer and closer to the centre, leaving us wondering about just where that path will take us and ready to step beyond, to quench our curiosity, despite the change of getting lost.

Even though this pattern reminded me of Valerie Dawlat-Dumolin's 2004 "impose ta chance" design, I loved it when I saw it displayed, because its assymetry resonated with me instantly.  Yet, when knotted, I find the scarf becomes somewhat traditional - is it the tassle-looking images in the corners?  I'm not sure why, but I find the scarf loses part of its charm and magic when tied.  

Still, I love this design for its power to make us dream, and I'd recommend it for anyone with a passion for marinelife or just for holiday destinations with a view of the ocean - but be sure that the colour matches your skin tone, for not all colour combinations are equally as impactful as the one above.  


  1. This is on my list at the moment, in the coral white colourway, it's so alive and vibrant and exciting and indeed makes me want to daub all over my own little hermit's cave and bring it back to life for spring.

  2. Thank you for sharing Tabitha, and for taking the time to drop by. I'm thrilled to see (and welcome) a growing number of like-minded admirers (and collectors) of objects impeccably made (and with passionate). May I also congratulate you on your choice - your taste is particularly noteworthy as I find this particular colour combination very impactful and -as you pointed out- equally uplifting. Do share a photo of you wearing it, so we can admire it "in action".

    Thanks once again and I looking forward to welcoming you back, shortly.