I have been noticing a proliferation of African textiles, such as Kuba cloth, in the shelter magazines lately. Is this a foreshadowing into the demise of Ikat which has been in vogue (and over exposed) for the past few years? Kuba cloth, which originated in the African nation of Zaire (Congo) is a vegetable dyed, tightly woven textile using the strands of raffia palm leaves. The result is a coarse, yet resilient, textile traditionally used for ceremonial skirts, wall hangings, or mats for sitting and sleeping.
In the October issue of Elle Decor , two of the feature stories showcase the African textile. The London apartment of photographer Simon Upton is literally draped in the fabric. A consummate traveller, these represent his bounty that he has collected along the way. Although a bit overkill for my taste, it goes a long way to successfully temper the hard edges of an otherwise contemporary space. If you look closely at the image below you will notice that Ikat's evil stepsister, Suzani, makes a guest appearance.
The second story was the New York apartment of Anthropolgie's head antique buyer Keith Johnson. In my opinion, this was the better of the two as it's a more subtle approach and the curatorial nature is more to my liking. Their sitting room below is very chic and understated which strikes the perfect balance of modernity and antiquity. Notice the hint of Kuba in the pillow on the sofa? And the multi-tiered cocktail table from Anthony Todd never disappoints! This space really speaks to me.
So what do you think? Is Ikat on its way out? Although with Kuba cloth now available at places like this , perhaps it's 15 minutes are winding down as well.
All photos above from Elle Decor, except the top, which is courtesy of Pfeiffer Studios