Updated: Aug 20, 2020
...a journey through the Colors of Provence!
Pink and Red are the colors in this week's La Vie en Couleur Collection!
The pinks of Provence come from the beautiful roses that cascade down the side of homes, while the red represents Mont Rouge, or the large deposit of ochre upon which the village of Roussillon sits. Which one of these beautiful colors or color mixes would be fun to incorporate in your home?
A little history:
The fabrics of Provence have an interesting and, shall we say, colorful history. Originally, in the early seventeenth century, Armenian merchants in Marseille imported these textiles from India. Marseille, home of one of the largest ports in the world, at that time was a tax-free port thus attracting many new industries and imports.
This new cotton from India was colorful, colorfast, and easier to care for than the wool and silk fabrics of the time. The textiles became an instant hit, especially with the nobility. King Louis XIV, the Sun King or Le Roi Soleil, loved and used these brightly colored fabrics so extensively that he realized very quickly that it was in his best interest to control this commerce. La Compagnie des Indes, or East India Company, was created so that King Louis XIV, and the French, would profit from this new product.
This new textile trade was operating smoothly until the wool and silk industry began losing profits. After hearing the outcry, the King pivoted and outright banned the sale, production, and wearing of these new fabrics in 1686. The ban lasted approximately 73 years; however, fabric was still being produced in Avignon at the time as it was under Papal protection and not French law.
When the ban was finally lifted, "Les Indiennes" became as popular as it had been prior to the ban. Colorful patterns that incorporated the recurring motifs of the Provence landscapes reflecting sunflowers, olives, cigales (cicadas), poppies, and lavender began to appear on these fabrics.
Through the years, these textiles continue to be popular. Today, if you visit any Farmers Market, or Marché, in Provence, you'll see the large assortment of colorful linens and clothing created from this cotton with a long history!