Wildly beloved and relatively unknown, legendary designer Madeleine Castaing finally gets her due. Madeleine Castaing was a French antique dealer and interior designer. Original, even whimsical, she revolutionized the world of decoration, creating the style Castaing which is now a reference.

The romantic work of the french decorating legend is now captivating a new generation. Her work — often inspired by the novels of Marcel Proust and Honoré de Balzac — has influenced everyone from decorator Jacques Grange to fashion designer Anna Sui.


French Decorator Madeleine Castaing Gets Her Due (3)

In the history of style, she is as important as it gets and she still beguiles and seduces. Ms. Castaing’s use of color is one of the few perceptible influences on the otherwise sui generis work of English decorator David Hicks. The genius of Madeleine Castaing’s rooms is very hard to decode, though. Like all truly successful decoration, the magic comes from the flower of the combination, rather than the individual parts.

French Decorator Madeleine Castaing Gets Her Due (4)

Her love of late-19th-century furniture was groundbreaking. For 50 years, her Paris shop was a stage for her ideas and an unforgettable source of inspiration for those not too intimidated to go inside. Her fabric line is still sold today. As for her character… Well, you could love her just for her wig with the elastic chin strap and false eyelashes.

The American manufacturer Brunschwig & Fils, which distributed select Castaing fabrics during her lifetime but stopped for a while, has put the line — now encompassing matching wallpapers — back into its showrooms, confident that the patterns’ bravado will connect with a new audience. “Madeleine Castaing brought a unique sense of color and whimsy to her rooms,” observes Stephen Elrod, the firm’s executive vice president and creative director. “The iconic fabrics she created possess a bold graphic quality that plays into today’s bohemian and individualistic trend in interior design.”

French Decorator Madeleine Castaing Gets Her Due (5)

Brunschwig & Fils is once again stocking Edmond Petit’s Madeleine Castaing collection, including, from left, Rayure Castiglione and Rayure Fleurie fabrics, Feuillage wallpaper (shown in two colorways), and Lola Montez wallpaper border.

French Decorator Madeleine Castaing Gets Her Due (2)

Mixture of types and moods against the current, the “Castaing style” inspires today more than ever: Jean-Paul Beaujard in New York, Jacques Grange and the St James Hotel in Paris as well as Harrods and its Ladurée tearoom in London. Ladurée, which is now established in the Madeleine Castaing shop in St-Germain-des-Prés, uses its fabrics in its shops around the world, from Milan to Tokyo.

French Decorator Madeleine Castaing Gets Her Due (6)

One of the most important aspects of Madeleine Castaing’s decoration was her love of color — rich colors in exotic combinations — and its potential to evoke history and atmosphere. That is very obvious in this Madeleine Castaing inspired suite at Saint James Paris.

French Decorator Madeleine Castaing Gets Her Due (7)

With the relauching of Edmond Petit’s Madeleine Castaing collection, the french designer will once again be inspiration for everyone of us. Hopefully it really will connect with a new audience and the interior style will be available for long.