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Autumn Trend: Antique Style Chintzy Florals


Chintz is a pattern that exploded in the 1980s but was quickly tossed aside at the turn of the 21st-century. However, antique floral chintz turned heads at Y/Project this year when multiple designers donned their models in Cottage-Core, Laura Ashley-inspired flower dresses. As Autumn kicks off, we’ll likely see more of this trend that took inspiration from fine upholstery.

What is (Floral) Chintz?

Chintz is a cotton fabric with a glazed finish and multicolored patterns. Although initially used in upholstery curtains and clothing, chintz now refers to a characteristic floral pattern found in decorative elements, like wallpaper. Floral chintz has a saturated design and natural motifs.

History of Floral Chintz

Before flower delivery in San Francisco was common, many Californian socialites would wear florals on their hats, dresses, and ties to add some Victorian spring flavor to their outfits.

If we go even farther back, to pre-1600 specifically, chintz fabric was being made for the first time in India. Chintz actually comes from the Hindi word “Chint,” which translates to “Spotted.” From 1600-1800, chintz was primarily used in the Indian city of Calicut, where tailors would print or paint on calico cotton. The vibrant colors of the dyes used were made from plant pigments.

Chintz Popularity in Europe

Portuguese and Dutch traders found chintz sometime in the 16-hundreds and took it to Europe, where it was used for dresses and upholstery. During this time, England and France banned the design because their textile mills couldn’t produce chintz or keep up with the demand. 70 years later, the ban was lifted, but floral chintz faded away from popularity for a century by that time.

Cut to the Industrial Revolution, where technological innovations made it possible for factories to produce their own chintz. Wealthy Victorians loved how easy it was to keep the fabric clean.

Chintz Popularity in Pop-Culture

The 20th century didn’t seem to favor chintz as much as European autocracy, but many high-profile Americans have used this fabric famously. Jackie Kenedy decked out her room at the White House in an orange blossom chintz in the 60s, and in the 80s, Princess Diana wore Laura Ashley’s famous chintz dress. Finally, Mario Buatta favored chintz-filled interiors.

Modern Chintz Revival

Nowadays, “Chintzy” is synonymous with being cheap or gaudy, but many modern brands are trying to shake that stereotype. As seen by the 2021 Autumn fashion reveal, chintz is being embraced by designers such as Yuhan Wang and Erdem in multiple ways, and it isn’t hard to see why. As maximalism dissolves minimalism, exuberant, highly textured fabrics are becoming the hot new thing with celebrities.

Chintz is interestingly mirroring the 1920s obsession with Bohemian style, which favored chaotic decorating styles over symmetry. On top of that, floral patterns speak to the current trend of bringing the outside in. Concepts like Cottage-Core and Grandmillennial style, which use ruffles, and florals, will have more to work with if this Autumn trend continues for the coming years.

Decorating with Chintz

Through the centuries, chintz patterns have been used in multiple different ways in interior design. Modern designers are finding new and creative ways to add either small touches of florals or explode the room in the entire fabric. It’s common to find chintz-obsessed rooms with the wallpaper, furniture, window draping, and accessories all composed of this design.

Maximalist: Rug, Curtain, and Furniture Pairings

The maximalist route lets fans of chintz mix up different sized and scaled patterns. Animal prints look created with any natural patterns, but vertical stripes can also create a lot of visual interest. With the right rug, curtain, and furniture combination, the patterns start to clash in a charming way. Pay attention to the colours here because a muted look may play more to a minimalist look.

Minimalist: Wallpaper and Accessories Pairing

If you’re still attached to the minimalist look, only contrate on large areas. Chintz wallpaper is eternally classy and can pair well with other natural elements. Designers often love to skirt the line of what’s considered “minimalistic” in this style and will add accessories that contain this loud pattern but are small enough to fade away. Mirrors are a common element, as well.

Wearing Chintz Fabrics

Staying fashionable with chintz is simple because most pieces designed with this element in mind are whole looks. You’ll often see chintz on long, Victorian-style dresses, overcoats, and floor-length sweaters. However, if you aren’t a fan of wearing something ultra-feminine, there are dress shirts, shoes, hats, and pants that allow anyone to pull this look off effortlessly.

There are many famous chintz prints that you may want to wear on your body:

While it can be difficult at times, it’s important to practice restraint when wearing this fabric. The death of chintz came from over-decorated rooms and mismatched outfit accessorising. When done right, chintz can be absolutely elegant, and in the modern era, this pattern is très chic.

Intro image: Pexels

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