The Blue & White China-Inspired Trend: Frocks, Gardens, Even Flip Flops

The other day my partner came home from work, stripped off his black suit and said: "What's with all the blue?"
"What do you mean honey?" I said, stuffing yet another insert into a blue-and-white-striped cushion cover and stirring yet another navy paint tin.
"Our house," he said. "It's become very blue. It feels like we're living in a Chinese porcelain store."
"Noooo?" I said, starting to paint another wall in a cobalt oxide shade. "Really?"
"Yes," he insisted. "I think I'd better take that paint brush from you."

Then he banned me from buying any more blue things. (I had already bought him three blue-and-white striped shirts for his birthday. "Thanks honey!" he said. "They'll go with my other twenty-two.") It was at that point that I realised that I had become addicted. Blue was my new green. I clearly had a problem with cobalt.

This week, however, I've realised I'm not the only one to become fixated by the coolly glamorous hues of porcelain blues. Everywhere I look designers are drawing on the beauty of blue and white to create classically sophisticated pieces. In fact, blue and white as a trend is strengthening faster than china in a Paragon kiln. Our lives have become one big China urn love-in. {Image above via Robert Cavalli}

Here are a few of the lovelier photos I've noticed lately.

Oh – and I still love Mr Oscar Wilde's quote: "I find it harder and harder every day to live up to my blue china."

Me too, Oscar. Me too.

Chateau de Groussy's extraordinary garden. {Image at very top is also from Chateau de Groussy.}

Blue and White China Flip Flops, by Mandarina.

Blue and White iPhone Cover, by Pink Pagoda.

JK Place hotel. 
(I know some people who would love to rip this interior out, blue china and all, and take it straight home with them.)

Solange Knowles in Robert Cavalli. 

Princess Mary. {Via Polphoto}


Navy nail polish. One of THE trends for Fall 2012. Adore this colour. Reminds me of the night sky over Paris. A Cup of Jo touched upon this trend the other day. She had more than 100 replies. Clearly, navy is big this season.

Our 'To Read' pile in our dressing room.

Our blue and white china-inspired dressing room and ensuite.

Our navy and cobalt sunroom. 

Sidewalks in Lisbon, by the always-delightful Slim Paley. {Via Slim Paley's blog}

The beautiful Ellen Degeneres and Portia de Rossi. I love this couple. So much grace and class. Look how even the video camera matches the porcelain blue palette. Portia comes from my home town of Melbourne. Love seeing a local girl happy.

Aerin Lauder, at her Hamptons beach house. {Via Elle Decor}

Carolina Herrera.

Australian Vogue.

The new exhibition about Doris Duke's Hawaii hideaway, Shangri La, which is now showing at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York (MADS), until January. (Book published by Rizzoli.) Yes, I know it's not quite blue and white porcelain, but it certainly fits into the trend. 

Source unknown, sorry, but I am in love with this powder room. It has inspired me to do ours in blue and white tiles.

Vogue's memorable shoot at Versailles, featuring Kirsten Dunst as Marie Antoinette. I like Kirsten even more now that I've discovered she likes Picnic at Hanging Rock. I suspect she learned of the film from Sophia Coppola on The Virgin Suicides, who's also a fan. (Virgin was apparently inspired by Picnic.) 

NB We're making the trek up to Hanging Rock this weekend, armed with several 'spiritual men' (I hesitate to use the word 'shaman': I think they're just wise old Buddhists!) who have flown over from Asia just for the excursion. I will let you know what we discover. I was, I have to admit, very nervous of going, but I have been persuaded to join in. Apparently it's integral to 'The Book'. I don't know. I think I might wait at the bottom of the rock in the Gift Shop...

Carolyne Roehm's bestselling tome on the two tones.

More Carolyn Roehm.

John De Bastiani.

Mark D. Sikes.

Michael Smith.

Mondrian hotel, SoHo, New York.

Grant Gibson.

A gorgeous pair of porcelain-blue heels. Some people have a sartorial aversion to slingbacks or kitten heels, but I'm a fan. What's not to love? They're also easier to wear than high heels. These are from Mandarina. Such a great online store.

Monet's house at Giverny. 
Have you seen his home and garden yet? If you're an interior designer or a garden lover and you haven't, go next May (the best time of year). It is truly one of the exquisite hideaways in France.

Snowdon's beautiful 'Blue' exhibition, held in London this year. I posted photos of this in a recent blog, but here's a lovely video about it all. Snowdon explains that his favourite colour is blue – "there's something about it that puts everyone at ease", and that he decided to ask his friends and family to pose in it. The Queen Mother, the Queen and Prince Philip and a dozen big-name celebrities, including Manolo Blahnik, Graham Greene, Tony Blair, Ralph Fiennes and Jeremy Irons  all went into the studio to be photographed. Here's the video – here. I'm going to try and order the book. It looks incredible.

And lastly, one of my favourite gardens: a Connecticut estate photographed by Tim Street-Porter, who's married to the lovely Australian writer Annie Kelly. Look at the blue and white urns. Just beautiful.

Oh - and just remembered this image, originally posted on a blog I love called College of Life {}. Isn't it fantastic?

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