Saturday, October 8, 2011

RACHEL ASHWELL SHABBY CHIC Couture, more than a Palette, even more than a Style

Yesterday evening, I was lucky enough to be invited at Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture's, for the release of Rachel's 
new and 7th Book :
"Shabby Chic Inspirations and Beautiful Spaces" 
It was actually the second time I was meeting her. She remembered me and my little shop, so classy from her, and maybe because we were more comfortable, we started speaking of the Shabby Chic style, 2011 version, and the actual meaning of this new book.
You will see, if it is not already done, that Shabby Chic finds actually its roots and inspirations in funkier styles, more "Artsy", more "Boho Chic", more wonky and unexpected. Rachel tries to express here a deeper side of her personality : the very artistic and creative one. But without these artistic skills, the Shabby Chic world would probably have never existed. There is no doubts on this point : Rachel Ashwell is a true artist. That is why her view enchanted so many of us, that is why, myself, as a French artist, in 1997, I recognized something much more different than a simple Home Decor Style. 
Whatever we call it, Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture, is not just a palette of colors, it is a spirit, it's not just a Home Decor style, it is an attitude. It finds its roots in many things which makes us feel good. That is why it has been so successful for more than 20 years.
I took many pictures of the things which, according to me, are the most meaningful of the "Shabby Chic spirit" :

The Bags & Bedding 

 These bags look so comfy that we want to sleep in it!

 These pillow shams are not ironed, it makes them look even more gorgeous!

 How do you want us to leave this store without jumping on this comforter, which, by the way is amazing of beauty and softness ? I couldn't stop petting this thing...

I could spend hours watching these shelves. And the best of the thing : it's not only beautiful, it is also comfortable, I can tell you. And it lasts.

The Accents
 I won't tell you how these cushions are gorgeous, but I am chiefly fascinated by this teal color that we meet quite a bit at RASCC's. This bench is the perfect example. The faded rugs are allowed and even recommended. So it gives a true new life to a bunch of them!

 Sometimes, a very simple flowers arrangement can be very sophisticated.

 This crocheted bean bag is very Boho Chic, it chiefly reminds me my childhood in the 60's-70's. It is comfy and relax, cool, the better example of feeling good here.

 Rachel Ashwell also collects the very regal mugs. Who would have thought of that ? Actually, I have a few myself now, that I found in England and it's true it is beautiful.

 We can be elegant and like funky very Indian accessories. Watch the silver basket, I bought two awhile ago, and it is really very convenient, and so chic!

This throw is hopefully maybe, one day, my next purchase. It is so soft, difficult to let it go...

The Chandeliers

 The light is an essential element at RASCC's. Even if you can't afford one of these jewels, the Shabby Chic Attitude pushes you to create your own whimsical chandeliers made of Bits and Bobs. But it must just remain elegant and classy. 

 This one is absolutely brilliant, such a simple, artistic and beautiful thing!

 We can see a funkier addition with the first one, very Boho Chic and original.

 Total Rachel Ashwell's invention, high ceiling required, however very surprising,
more I see them, more I like them.  

The Inspiring Things 

 Rachel Ashwell creates inspiring boards. One thing is sure : it does inspire us!

 I don't know why, I couldn't stop staring at this trimming hung on this crib. This idea never crossed my mind, why ? It is so simple and so beautiful! Notice the purple umbrella, amazing, hmm ?

 I absolutely want to see the stencil of this. I never liked so much the stenciled lettering, but this one is pure Art. The "R" has obviously been enhanced by hand and it's a true marvel.

The Lamps
 The famous lace lampshade, nothing to add, everything is said. 
Notice the gorgeous blue glass lamp base. Very vintage.

 My favorite lampshade ever...

 These two smoky ones are obviously a new addition. Don't they give us a beautiful light ?
I unfortunately can't afford all these marvels, but just looking at them makes me feel good, and I have a few Target versions which makes me very happy every day! 

On The Table
 That day, the food on the table, was so artistic as the rest. And really good!
With the dark jacket, Janice, the Santa Monica store manager

Such a freeing concept : no need to iron a napkin, ever!

 The ruffle and the Tablecloth. For me, this is pure Art.

When I discovered Shabby Chic years ago, I really liked the concept of mix and match plates, cups, saucers, whatever. It allows us to keep our favorite pieces and actually use them, no need to keep tons of plates, just because they fit together.
And what is more beautiful than a simple white plate like this one ? 

Royalty & Faith

 Rachel Ashwell also brought the Royalty and Faith elements in her world. Something very freeing to me, because these are not very politically correct in France et c'est dommage! 
Here the Infant of Prague, gorgeous!

 I am Jewish but I really love these big wooden rosaries

 While we are here, check the cracks on this pink paint and the beauty of the whole thing.

 Another probably Regal element, I always admired these things in England.

 I've always been a big fan of coat of arms, I even painted blazons on a folding screen years ago. 
In France, it's not usual anymore, at least I can admire this work here.

The Art

 Many paintings by Laurence Amelie who is French, I discovered her, thanks to Rachel,
Henri Matisse used to believe in "decorative Art paintings".
Laurence Amelie is proving here it does exist.

 And Abstract Art by Umbaldos, actually, I am wondering if this one is not my favorite...

The Magical
 The Florentine frames, trays, tables are a true passion for me. 
At RASCC's it's a festival for the eyes!

 The Mannequin and the Corsages : just a piece of Art by itself.

 This cabinet + the giant dreamcatcher + the star+ the feathery chandelier = Magical Vision

 And further we go...

 Better it is!

And during this time, there was a Party!

 Rachel and me, I was a little loaded with many bags, 
but never mind, it was fun!

 The beginning of the evening, people arriving

 Rachel talked with absolutely everybody, such a nice, polite and patient person!

The Unexpected (my favorite part)

 The velvet Pumpkins : I never saw them before, and I must say : 
they are amazing and very heavy (full of sand, probably) 
They make me think of the French movie "Peau d'Ane"

 The "just put there" Chandelier. Why working so hard on the hanging project, 
when we can just do that ? Isn't it gorgeous ? 

 A kind of orangelike-salmon unusual color for Rachel Ashwell, 
and nonetheless, beautiful.

 The unexpected reflection of myself in the mirror above this
very comfortable Couch

 An unexpected repair on this piece here. That is what I like in Shabby Chic :
this relax attitude, this new life given to things, and still, it is awesome and elegant

 This lamp base is flirting with the Kitsch style. However it perfectly fits in Rachel Ashwell's world.
I just love it!

 This fragile fan is very damaged. But it's like a star at Hollywood :
everybody was looking at it, touching it. A true marvel.

 Again, almost in the Kitsch world, but still a Shabby Chic Vase

 These three wall decor items are probably the last things I was expecting to see there.
However they perfectly found their place near the window.

 A last view on the Pumpkins, I couldn't resist!

From the Outside 
A last glance on the big dreamcatcher "made in Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture Land" 

 Slices of Coziness on this Bed, I love this view!

 The Mabel Chair, that I maybe will have one day in my home...
I just would like to add that as an artist, I've always been inspired by Rachel Ashwell's work, and I am glad now to know that her inspiration comes from other artists like me. 
As a recycler, I've been a little bit too much a hoarder, Shabby Chic being my "zen space". Discovering Rachel as a revealed artist is like seeing her putting one foot in my own world. 
And as was saying Coldplay in the background, at the end of this Party, Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture somehow "fixes" me.
I hope it will still fix me during a very long time.
Long Live RASCC !