Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Silver Belles

A theme running through this account of silver is that it was never solely a rich man's pleasure. Silver has a universal appeal and a powerful hold on the imagination; for century after century it was the necessary luxury.
--Philippa Glanville, Silver : History & Design

Now that I no longer work in retail, this time of the year seems much less dreadful. No longer do I spend 8 to 10 hours a day with several versions of the same holiday songs being burned into my consciousness. Honestly, between working in retail and singing in the chorus in elementary school, I feel like I know every word of every Christmas song. Just for once, I wish that people would distinguish between songs that are about Christmas and those that are actually just about winter. "Sleigh Ride," "Baby it's Cold Outside," "Let it Snow," "Winter Wonderland," "Marshmallow World" and "Jingle Bells" are not about Christmas. They are about winter. We could keep playing them until February or mid-March if we really wanted to. But I sometimes I feel like I'm the only one who actually listens to the lyrics.

You could say that the color trend I'm writing about is also like these songs, not just for the holidays, but for the winter. Icy cold silver is very hot for this winter. I've seen it turn up in many unexpected places, even in a sofa from Chiasso. The imagemap below displays a sampling of some of the silver pieces that have caught my eye:


1. faceted metallic ottoman from Chiasso
2. Skyline sofa from Chiasso*
3. Silver Ocean Globe from Urban Outfitters
4. madison quilt + shams from West Elm
5. Starburst Wire Wall Mirror from Wrapables.com
6. Argent Dining Chair from Eurway

Silver is the color of sleek, streamlined, futuristic things. It is cold, clean, sophisticated, and modern. Naturally anti-bacterial, it symbolizes purity. This particular property of silver was exaggerated in legends of it warding off evil, for example, the silver bullets that can mortally wound the undead. And so historically silver has been used in the rituals of many different cultures. Its traditional role as a "necessary luxury" has been revived this year. These pieces almost seem to say, "treat yourself to something new." And their metallic gleam emphasizes their newness.

However, one drawback of metallic fabric is that you really need to see it in person. Photographs of it can be very misleading. And there are few fabrics more hideous or ghastly to the touch than poorly designed metallics. So if you see some silver furniture online or in a retailer's catalog, perhaps you can take a break to "test drive" it while you're out doing your holiday shopping. You can put your feet up on a silver ottoman while visions of a winter wonderland dance in your head.

*The Skyline sofa from might be discontinued, as I was unable to find it on their site. If you want it you should probably call to see if they still carry it. (The number is 1-877-CHIASSO )


  1. What a great blog...I love scandinavian silver jewelry....but it is very sought after.


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