Pierre Frey Toiles des Nantes

It’s no surprise that I try to stay away from things that are “trendy.” Flash-in-the-pan style does not do it for me. That’s why a lot of the design that appeals to be can be from one or two or five decades ago – it’s fine if it doesn’t look like it belongs to “today” because it indeed does not. But there’s always a through-line of great design where things that looked beautiful once can still look beautiful and relevant today.

One of these things is a gorgeous pattern by Pierre Frey called “Toiles des Nantes.” And although this pattern is based on a 18th century design, it is still very much relevant and always looks incredibly fresh.

I’ve seen people describe it as an “ikat” – which is obviously a pattern that has gotten a lot of traction in the past few years (although ikats have been around for centuries) – so it’s interesting to note that it’s really a toile.  And I know that most people think of toiles as having little people or scenes all over – but a toile can be any small pattern printed over and over, usually on cotton or linen.

Toiles des Nantes refers to the town of Nantes in France where this pattern originates. All toiles des Nantes have a vertically orientated pattern that is a kind of stripe, usually with some wiggly elements. (The toile “with the little people” is called toile de Jouy and originated in a town called Jouy in France).

Anywhoos, this Pierre Frey version of the Toiles des Nantes is super chic and combines a traditional French sensibility with a more “undone” tribal element – so I totally get the people who call it an ikat! Let’s take a look at some excellent example of this lively print!

It comes in two colorways —

The oft-seen Blue.:

And the less common but still awesome, Red:


And, boy, does this squiggly hotness look good everywhere —

In Foyers!!

(Celerie Kemble)

In powder rooms!! 

(I’m not sure if this is a really weirdly edited picture or if this turquoise was a custom-color situation)

(House Beautiful)

In swanky master bedrooms!!

Aerin Lauder’s bedroom in her Wainscott, NY home (Elle Décor)

Here’s the red!! One red hot mama of an awesome master bedroom in Texas by Beverly Field (Veranda)

And, of course, in your time machine!! Back to this dining room!!

This frencher-than-Brie daybed and dining space combo by Colefax & Fowler.

But, for real, change the color quality on this picture and that room could have been installed last week.  Yes, that’s the magic of C&F, but this amazing pattern really does last the test of time. And even though “ikats” and “toiles” float in and out of fashion, this intricate yet graphic print has serious staying power.