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Yvette's European Door Inspiration

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A few weeks ago, Assistant Decorating Editor Yvette, went on a well-deserved vacation to Central Europe. She spent two weeks traveling to the beautiful cities of Budapest, Prague, and Vienna. Upon her return, Yvette was kind enough to share with me some of her vacation photos. The pictures were great, and Yvette's artistic eye captured many features of the Central European cityscape. One album in particular grabbed my attention, an album devoted specifically to doors.

The first photo of this album was an aged wooden door, with an ornate detailing over the threshold. “You could just see the age and feel the history,” Yvette said. “I was drawn to the detail. We just don’t do that anymore. An artisan was probably commissioned to do the threshold work."

I was surprised to learn, that most of the door pictures she had taken were of residential buildings. The fact that these extraordinary doors were used in ordinary places, was something that mesmerized Yvette. “Here, in the U.S., for the most part, doors are pretty basic... The doors in the cities I visited were special in some way, whether it be the shape, color, or materials that were used.”

I’ve included the doors album below for you to look through and feel the same inspiration that Yvette did. Hopefully you too can draw inspiration and look for ways to incorporate the colors, lines, textures, and materials of the doors she saw in Europe, into your own home design. Whether it be for your front door or bedroom door, adding adornment and style to this decorating feature goes a long way.

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You can tell how much thought and hard work went into this masterpiece of a door. (Budapest)

1 You can tell how much thought and hard work went into this masterpiece of a door. (Budapest)

The metal work on the windows reminds me of fleur-de-lis. (Budapest)

2 The metal work on the windows reminds me of fleur-de-lis. (Budapest)

What an outstanding color for a door. (Budapest)

3 What an outstanding color for a door. (Budapest)

The woodwork on this set of doors is amazing. (Budapest)

4 The woodwork on this set of doors is amazing. (Budapest)

What a great contrast of colors. (Vienna)

5 What a great contrast of colors. (Vienna)

What attracts my eye most to this picture is the detailing around the entryway. (Vienna)

6 What attracts my eye most to this picture is the detailing around the entryway. (Vienna)

I'm loving this unique color palette. (Vienna)

7 I'm loving this unique color palette. (Vienna)

I'll have to save this idea. Shutters on a door look great. (Vienna)

8 I'll have to save this idea. Shutters on a door look great. (Vienna)

The rusty coral color of this door reminds me of vintage photos. (Vienna)

9 The rusty coral color of this door reminds me of vintage photos. (Vienna)

The combination of wood and metal work so great together. (Vienna)

10 The combination of wood and metal work so great together. (Vienna)

The slanting woodwork gives this door such character. It's almost as if it's sleepy. (Prague)

11 The slanting woodwork gives this door such character. It's almost as if it's sleepy. (Prague)

I think the graffiti actually adds something to this door. (Vienna)

12 I think the graffiti actually adds something to this door. (Vienna)

The detailing makes this door look almost armor-like. (Prague)

13 The detailing makes this door look almost armor-like. (Prague)

A great detail of the door. (Prague)

14 A great detail of the door. (Prague)

The cool blue of the graffiti mixed with the chocolate of the door and the pop of red flowers is an inspiring combination. I see why Yvette was drawn to it.  (Prague)

15 The cool blue of the graffiti mixed with the chocolate of the door and the pop of red flowers is an inspiring combination. I see why Yvette was drawn to it. (Prague)

I like the diamond patten. (Prague)

16 I like the diamond patten. (Prague)

This is such an exciting color for a door. (Prague)

17 This is such an exciting color for a door. (Prague)

Emerald is such an interesting idea for a door color. It's bold, but earthy. A good choice if you want a unique front door. (Prague)

18 Emerald is such an interesting idea for a door color. It's bold, but earthy. A good choice if you want a unique front door. (Prague)

Book Friday: Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty

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As many of you may know, The Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art has put together a tribute exhibit to the extraordinary designer Alexander McQueen. This weekend marks the end of the truly amazing show. I want to encourage anyone able to do so to brave the lines and crowds at the MET and visit the exhibition. You will not be disappointed.

Alexander McQueen, the fashion mogul who tragically took his life last year, was an incredible talent and asset to the entire world of design. Although his outlook on life was often dark, his dedication to fashion allowed him to produce cutting-edge, brilliant apparel for women.

Below is a gallery of images taken from the “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty” book available at the MET. For those of you unable to view McQueen's creations in person, this book provides a proper window into the artist's life and career. Page after page beautifully illustrates the striking fashions on view at the MET, and the preface (by Chief Curator of the exhibit Andrew Bolton) is insightful and revealing.  I hope you are able to grasp the sensationalism of McQueen’s designs from this selection of photos from "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty."

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McQueen took much inspiration for his clothing from nature. This photograph, which looks like the bark of a tree, is appropriate as the opener of the book.

1 McQueen took much inspiration for his clothing from nature. This photograph, which looks like the bark of a tree, is appropriate as the opener of the book."Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty," The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

McQueen in his design studio in London.

2 McQueen in his design studio in London."Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty," The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The black outfit, when paired with a hat, resembles the traditional toro outfit. The red patterned dress has a similar Spanish flare.

3 The black outfit, when paired with a hat, resembles the traditional toro outfit. The red patterned dress has a similar Spanish flare. "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty," The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

A piece that reveals McQueen's innovations with fabric cutting and construction. The jacket demonstrates his impeccable tailoring, a skill that continued to develop during McQueen's tenure as creative director for Givenchy.

4 A piece that reveals McQueen's innovations with fabric cutting and construction. The jacket demonstrates his impeccable tailoring, a skill that continued to develop during McQueen's tenure as creative director for Givenchy. "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty," The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The exotic world, and specifically Japan, had a real impact on McQueen's designs.

5 The exotic world, and specifically Japan, had a real impact on McQueen's designs. "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty," The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

I love comparing the front and back of this kimono-esque dress. Its shape very fashion-forward.

6 I love comparing the front and back of this kimono-esque dress. Its shape very fashion-forward. "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty," The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

This design is from McQueen's Romantic Gothic collection was inspired by Tim Burton.

7 This design is from McQueen's Romantic Gothic collection was inspired by Tim Burton. "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty," The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

An other-wordly gown–both dark and angelic at the same time.

8 An other-wordly gown–both dark and angelic at the same time. "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty," The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

I stared at this dress and jacket for a long time at the exhibit. Made from gilded duck feathers and layers of tulle, it is truly stunning.

9 I stared at this dress and jacket for a long time at the exhibit. Made from gilded duck feathers and layers of tulle, it is truly stunning. "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty," The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Here is a close-up of the duck feather jacket.

10 Here is a close-up of the duck feather jacket. "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty," The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

McQueen's Scottish heritage inspired an entire collection of work. When asked about the traditional garments, he said,

11 McQueen's Scottish heritage inspired an entire collection of work. When asked about the traditional garments, he said, "Every piece is unique and has emotional content. I want to create pieces that can be handed down, like an heirloom." "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty," The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

This dress reminds me of an old Hollywood glamour.

12 This dress reminds me of an old Hollywood glamour. "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty," The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

While working, McQueen liked to recall the styles and personas of great women of the past–Catherine the Great and Marie Antoinette, for example. This dress embodies the power and elegance of those iconic figures.

13 While working, McQueen liked to recall the styles and personas of great women of the past–Catherine the Great and Marie Antoinette, for example. This dress embodies the power and elegance of those iconic figures. "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty," The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

McQueen's combination of materials and attention to textures is so unique.

14 McQueen's combination of materials and attention to textures is so unique. "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty," The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The collection is called

15 The collection is called "Romantic Nationalism," and is full of rich reds and Victorian fashions. "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty," The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

This satin cape is phenomenal, so luxurious and powerful.

16 This satin cape is phenomenal, so luxurious and powerful. "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty," The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

A close-up of the cape, so that you can see the material and detailing.

17 A close-up of the cape, so that you can see the material and detailing. "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty," The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Another extraordinary cape, this one is from the

18 Another extraordinary cape, this one is from the "Romantic Gothic" collection. "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty," The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

McQueen's collection

19 McQueen's collection "Romantic Exoticism" incorporates a wide range of sense stimuli: colors and textures taken from the natural world and global cultures. "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty," The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The body of the dress is made from seashells.

20 The body of the dress is made from seashells. "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty," The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

A gown made entirely of pheasant feathers for the

21 A gown made entirely of pheasant feathers for the "Romantic Naturalism" collection. "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty," The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

This bright-daisy print has pop-art implications.

22 This bright-daisy print has pop-art implications. "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty," The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

McQueen pairs the daisy print with a feathered train, lending the gown a more serious and elegant style.

23 McQueen pairs the daisy print with a feathered train, lending the gown a more serious and elegant style. "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty," The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

This dress is known to many as the

24 This dress is known to many as the "shipwreck" dress. "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty," The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Real antlers were used to poke through the lace embroidery of the piece.

25 Real antlers were used to poke through the lace embroidery of the piece. "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty," The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

This skirt design is made from wood. It reminds me of a birds tail.

26 This skirt design is made from wood. It reminds me of a birds tail. "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty," The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

McQueen was able to conjure up the most beautiful designs out of the most organic, unconventional materials.

27 McQueen was able to conjure up the most beautiful designs out of the most organic, unconventional materials. "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty," The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Over the course of his career, McQueen designed all kinds of curiosities. His inspiration from the natural world is visible in these pieces.

28 Over the course of his career, McQueen designed all kinds of curiosities. His inspiration from the natural world is visible in these pieces. "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty," The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

A final shot of the artist himself.

29 A final shot of the artist himself. "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty," The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Regarding McQueen, Charles Isherwood for The New York Times said, “his daring, sometimes outlandish creations gave women a chance to play with new personas, escape into more daring, more debauched, more exotic roles.”

What many revere most about Alexander McQueen is his precise tailoring. A strong foundation in the traditions of sewing and textiles enabled the designer to later push the style envelope, to create the stunning clothes he is best remembered by.

Others marvel at McQueen's runway-shows, performances which often included installation art and references to pop culture and history. One of his shows, called It's Only a Game, enacted a game of chess inspired by the Harry Potter series.

Personally, I am in awe of McQueen’s visions. For me, his fashion demonstrates a passion and fervor for all things inspirational—whether the beautiful, the ugly, the historical, and even the supernatural. He embodies a creativity and drive that we in the design field strive for everyday.

Here is a wonderful quote, in the words of McQueen himself, that I find uplifting: “What you see in the work is the person itself. And my heart is in my work.”

Hopefully you find McQueen's legacy and fashions as remarkable as I do.

Book Friday: Scarves

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For some inexplicable reason, Western woman have largely stopped wearing the classic silk scarf.

And it's a shame because scarves used to hold such an important place in fashion.

In "Scarves" a new book out from Thames & Hudson, Nicky Albrechtsen and Fola Solanke give a visual history of the accessory. With over 257 illustrations, the book shows the many different creative interpretations of the scarf, from art to advertising campaigns.

From a design point of view, these scarves prove that art can be evident in what you put on your head as much as what you choose to hang above your mantle.

The range of  color and pattern are inspirational for simply framing as wall art or inspiring  a wallpaper design. Like the scarves' patterns themselves, the possibilities are endless.

Perhaps this book will ignite a scarf trend that revitalizes an age-old closet staple.

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Jean Patou, silk, 1960s.
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1 Jean Patou, silk, 1960s. ("Scarves", Thames & Hudson)

Balenciaga, silk, 1980s.
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2 Balenciaga, silk, 1980s. ("Scarves", Thames & Hudson)

Tannus Jeefe (signed with the pseudonym 'Peg Thomas') for unknown manufacturer, silk, 1950s. 
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3 Tannus Jeefe (signed with the pseudonym 'Peg Thomas') for unknown manufacturer, silk, 1950s. ("Scarves", Thames & Hudson)

Yves Saint Laurent, silk, 1980s.
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4 Yves Saint Laurent, silk, 1980s. ("Scarves", Thames & Hudson)

'L'Automne

5 'L'Automne", Yves Saint Laurent, silk, 1970s. ("Scarves", Thames & Hudson)

'BOAC VC10', advertising new long-haul routes to Africa, unknown British manufacturer, silk, 1960s.
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6 'BOAC VC10', advertising new long-haul routes to Africa, unknown British manufacturer, silk, 1960s. ("Scarves", Thames & Hudson)

Emilio Pucci, silk chiffon, 1980s. 
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7 Emilio Pucci, silk chiffon, 1980s. ("Scarves", Thames & Hudson)

'New York', unknown American manufacturer, rayon, 1960s.
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8 'New York', unknown American manufacturer, rayon, 1960s. ("Scarves", Thames & Hudson)

'21 Club', unknown American manufacturer, silk, 1960s. 
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9 '21 Club', unknown American manufacturer, silk, 1960s. ("Scarves", Thames & Hudson)

Genviève M. for 'Rémy Martin', silk, 1970s. 
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10 Genviève M. for 'Rémy Martin', silk, 1970s. ("Scarves", Thames & Hudson)

Unknown American manufacturer, silk, 1950s. 
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11 Unknown American manufacturer, silk, 1950s. ("Scarves", Thames & Hudson)

Unknown British manufacturer, silk, 1950s. 
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12 Unknown British manufacturer, silk, 1950s. ("Scarves", Thames & Hudson)

Unknown British manufacturer, rayon, 1950s. 
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13 Unknown British manufacturer, rayon, 1950s. ("Scarves", Thames & Hudson)