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The Toile de Jouy Museum
Toile de Jouy
Inside the home of an 18th-century fashion pioneer
May 20, 1999
Web posted at: 6:12 p.m. EDT (2212 GMT)
JOUY-EN-JOSAS, France (CNN) -- Before the 16th century, it was uncommon for the French to wear printed fabrics. But when Portuguese navigators introduced painted cottons from India, a new style was born.
Soon, the demand for prints was growing. In 1760, a manufacturer named Christophe-Philippe Oberkampf opened one of the first factories to make colorful prints domestically, in the town of Jouy-en-Josas. The fabrics came to be known as "toile de Jouy," or Jouy linen.
As many as 1,300 artisans there designed patterns of the countryside and florals -- and applied them to cotton, linen and silk. Toile de Jouy became so popular that the ill-fated French queen, Marie Antoinette, decorated Versailles with it. Today, modern interpretations of the fresh, colorful designs can be seen in a unique exhibition at the Toile de Jouy Museum.
An exhibit, mounted by Paris fabric house Pierre Frey, recreates parts of Oberkampf's home. The living and dining rooms are filled with unique patterns on the floors and walls, as well as in the upholstery. Oberkampf's descendants have loaned the exhibit some of their ancestor's personal effects to help give the show an authentic 18th-century feel.
Musée de la Toile de Jouy:
Château de l'Eglantine,
54 rue Charles de Gaulle,
78350 Jouy en Josas, France.
CNN Style Correspondent Elsa Klensch contributed to this report.
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