All girls raised in affluent New England suburbs who attended small liberal arts colleges have encountered toile fabric at some point in life. Whether it was the pattern on their pink canopy bed, a CK Bradley Bag, or perhaps a summer dress.

Yesterday I was reading Domino Magazine (I subscribe to Lucky Magazine and sometimes they send me their sister publication Domino, all about decorating) and came across a lovely toile filled page. They were featuring walls covered in toile fabric, essentially my dream room. For some reason, I just love the classic patterns and have always wanted to wake up in a toile filled boudoir, preferably at Versallies.


Domino’s article was talking all about how to “toile-a-fy” your walls. Though they were talking about fabric-ing walls, quite a costly process, and probably a bit out of place in my studio apartment, I thought it would be a lovely touch to find a toile bedspread, or perhaps a toile wall hanging, to almost get that wall-to-wall look (without making my boyfriend want to throw up in the process). A quick online search came up with a plethora of bedspreads, fabric and wallpaper. However, Domino’s examples were much better:




The black is fun and funky (and the example of fabric-ed walls), the yellow is oh so classic, especially for a kitchen, and the blue room is exactly what I want my study to look like in my Park Avenue or Parisian pied-à-terre. Of course, before decorating with such an iconic fabric one really should know its history, and luckily Domino gave me just that.

Toile as we know it is technically called Toile de Jouy, its name comes from Jouy-en-Josas, a town in France and can be defined as any printed motif featuring people, architecture, animals – or all of the above. Domino’s “textile authority” told readers that toile became popular in Europe in the mid-1700’s, when France revoked a 73-year ban on imported and domestic printed cloth, inspiring a competitive frenzy among French manufacturers.

A mill near Versailles led the pack with intricate patterns so refined they caught the eye of the Anna Wintour of the day, Mary Antoinette – thus establishing toile as a decorate staple among upper classes. Over centuries, toile has evolved to reflect the times, featuring everything from Manhattan skyscrapers to the moon landing. However, this blogger prefers the more classic patterns and simply cannot wait to add some toile to her boudoir.