I was thumbing through the Dwell Studio catalog that came this week, and my eye stopped on this picture:
Pretty, isn’t it? My first thought was, “Wow, Dwell Studio! Pretty impressive, using Schumacher’s iconic fabric, “Chiang Mai!” (Actually, my first thought wasn’t that eloquent, but that was the gist.)
But I was fooled. As I looked closer, I realized that something was off. There aren’t as many colors, and the pattern isn’t quite as wild…ah ha! It isn’t Schumacher’s Chiang Mai, it’s Robert Allen’s fabric, “Ming Dragon” on Dwell Studio’s Carnegie headboard.
There are differences, of course. There are no Chinese pots in the Ming Dragon, there aren’t quite as many colors, the flowers are different…in this colorway, there are gray leaves, which Chiang Mai doesn’t have…
But. I don’t think there can be any argument that the Robert Allen fabric is, if not a rip-off, then at least an homage. The similarity in the dragon heads is unmistakable:
Granted, the Chiang Mai has a crazed look in his eye (and he’s looking at US, so who knows what he’s planning), and the Ming Dragon is more polite, averting his gaze. But I mean, how many dragons do YOU know with flowing dreadlocks?
That’s what I thought.
Homages-slash-rip-offs in design are nothing new, of course. Saarinen’s Tulip table has to be one of the most ripped-off pieces there is. I’ve blogged about it, actually. (Several times.) The original is more elegant, more sophisticated, its pedestal just a little more slender at the center…it’s just more graceful than the clunky knock-offs.
Schumacher’s Chiang Mai pattern is worth ripping off. It’s MAGIC. There are so many colors in it, including black, that it’s incredibly versatile. I’ve used it as a fabric and as a wallpaper.
So even though the Ming Dragon is pretty, I’m going to stick with the original Chiang Mai. That iconic, crazy pattern that’s both familiar and edgy.
I’m loyal that way.
Bossy color | Annie Elliott interior design is a full-service design firm in Washington, D.C. We create outrageously beautiful homes for fascinating people.