I noticed it first in fashion designer Rachel Antonoff’s fall 2018 collection in the form of one covetable midi dress. Then I took note of it in a few of Gucci’s more extravagant, floral-centric designs. Even Opening Ceremony leaned into it with a collaboration with Vans. Finally, Dior launched its 2019 cruise line and it became totally evident to me: Toile is on the verge of a comeback.
The pattern, known more formally as toile de Jouy, first found popularity in late 18th-century France. Inspired by traditional Chinese porcelain designs and prints, the pattern is identifiable by its landscape scenes and floral motifs frequently rendered in either blue or red hues. Since its origin, it’s enjoyed waves of popularity, notably in colonial time, the 1970s, and the early aughts. It’s a traditional pattern, typically partnered with more traditional furnishings. But given its slow trickle back into fashion, it may be gearing up for an upgrade.
The key to modernizing this over 200-year-old pattern lies in what exactly you pair it with. When you go all-out with a toile look, you can end up with a room that strikes the right note of maximalism. St. Louis–based interior designer Amie Corley also notes the importance of careful styling. “I think that the repetition of this pattern is key to its success in a space,” she says. “I also love it mixed with modern elements so that it doesn’t get too granny. I’d upholster a modern swivel chair or a sleek mid-century sofa in this pattern to keep it fresh.”
Two rooms in last year’s Kips Bay Designer Showhouse also demonstrate a contemporary way to make sense of this pattern. A red-and-turquoise room designed by Lee Ann Thorton demonstrates a maximalist take on a colonial fabric, while an all-over blue room designed by Cindy Rinfret shows the impact of the classic blue-and-white motif, especially when it’s spread across walls, textiles, and ceramics.
Toile has yet to quite make its way back in the mainstream after a nearly 20-year decline in popularity, but don’t be too surprised if it starts popping up again, perhaps at first in the form of whimsical wallpapers and throws at Anthropologie, and maybe later in vintage-inspired accents at Zara Home. For now, though, if you’d like to hop on the bandwagon, these decor picks will help you ease right on into the trend that’s kept up for centuries.
Settle this old-school throw pillow on a mid-century sofa for a mashup that spans decades of style.
This Dior piece is technically a throw blanket, but we’d be tempted to forgo toile wallpaper and hang this up instead.
Another way to make toile de Jouy feel perfectly modern? Throw in a few brand logos and some neon signs.
If you want to put your own twist on tradition, this red wallpaper is a great option. From afar, it’s your typical toile, but up-close, it features Brooklyn iconography, including Notorious B.I.G. and the subway. Perfect for making your bathroom as cool as can be.
In striking black and white, this print, though classic, feels a bit more graphic than expected.
Leave it to Gucci to make an old thing feel completely new. This over-the-top quilt takes luxury to a new level.
It might be challenging to go full Sofia Coppola, but Sasha Bikoff’s toile wallpaper is a good place to start.