The Ripples of Moiré Design are Trending

by Valerie Demetros

Moiré — you may not know the name, but you have probably seen a moiré pattern and may have even worn it.

It’s been around since the 1600s, mainly in clothing and accessories and has been used as an effect in decorating for years.

Derived from the French verb moirer, it refers to producing a watered textile by weaving or pressing to produce an unpredictable rippling pattern. It’s most commonly done in silk because of the water-like sheen it affords.

Moiré is traditionally made via calendering, when a fabric is passed under numerous rollers that alter its appearance through pressure and high temperature. Cue the ripple effect.

Lately, a few brands and interior designers have redirected their sights to the historic textile that whispers opulence, reintroducing it to today’s quiet luxury.

As early as the 1960s, Jackie Kennedy draped a White House room in moss-tinted silk moiré walls.

And now, the rippled wood grain and marble look is more modern than ever. Designs lately have shown black silk moiré walls in the Brooklyn Heights Designer Showcase and even in Oscar de la Renta’s recent designs.

Much like stone or wood grain, moiré can offer a more subtle, textural level than other patterned fabrics, creating a sense of depth and movement without adding too loud a color contrast. When used in the right way, moiré enhances a space, subtly playing with light to make smaller spaces — such as dressing rooms or hidden nooks — appear larger.

Designers are quick to suggest that when applying moiré walls and furniture, consider light sources in the room. The effect is really only appreciated in a space that has adequate lighting, especially natural light.

Of course, it wouldn’t look totally flat in a darker room, but since it reflects light, the variation and movements just wouldn’t be the same.

When it comes to upholstery, the nondirectional quality of a moiré motif can be a fresh option offering movement and textural appeal. At the very least, choose a throw or throw pillows, or perhaps add one wall with a moiré design to create a modern, subtle sense of luxury and movement.

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