The MNY Spotlight

The Joy of Toile


Years ago, long before I had any desire to be a fashion designer, my grandmother invited me over to her home to rummage through some of her old dresses.  To this day, that afternoon was one of my most beloved memories of her, because I came home with a treasure trove of dresses, each with its own great story. 

Chinoiserie Chic

Now, every time I take one of her mod printed dresses out of my closet, I feel like I am time traveling to another era; there are no bounds to the inspiration they give me. I think that is why these nostalgic motifs are so “of the moment,”because it reminds us of a timeless and glamorous period in fashion we wish we could revisit.

Just like that dreamy afternoon at my abeuling’s, I still get butterflies every time I put on a feminine toile Mestiza dress. Toile and Chinoiserie prints evoke this universal nostalgia because they carry their own rich history. I didn’t initially know this, but toile, shortened for “toile de jouy” is a print originally from Ireland and popularized in France in the 18th century. Over the years, the popularity of toile and chinoiserie has come in waves, most recently in the past few years with the emergence of the cottage-core and grand-millennial chic aesthetic in mainstream culture.

Chinoiserie Chic

Personally, I think strutting around in a cheerful prints that have been relevant since the 1760’s is the dose of whimsy and optimism we all need in our spring wardrobes right now.


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