A La Mode: Marbled Prints

Susi Bellamy

Posted on September 02 2018

I have long been inspired by the marbled textures on antique books, omnipresent in libraries and in Florentine design. I learned the technique myself as I was inspired by its intuitiveness and its' fluidity  - in many ways it is very different to collage, which consists of the deliberate arrangement of elements on a page. Marbling is organic and in many ways accidental. You select the colour palette, but once the ink hits the waters' surface, you are largely out of control of the final product. 

I think this very elemental process is part of the enduring appeal of such an ancient technique. Not only is the final product visually delicious, but the act of watching the forms take shape on the water in movement feels indulgent. In more recent times, marbling has experienced a renaissance - specifically in the worlds of fashion and interior design.

Dries Van Noten recently created a celebrated menswear collection where he used large-scale marbled prints as the main printed element of the shows, mixed with classic tailoring and clothing components inspired by utility and sportswear.

In the parallel world of high-end womenswear, Rosie Assoulin has explored bold collages or marbled paper layered together to create dresses, palazzo trousers and jackets. These embrace a trend for moreishness, where there is no such thing as too much pattern. Stella Mccartney (centre below) has also explored this fertile ground for creating fabrics with an oceanic seductive swirl to them.

In the interiors market, marbling is less fusty and antique than its' traditional image would lead you to believe and has become digitally manipulated and more acidic in its' palette to create some truly stunning and tactile effects.

Our own marbled range is an eclectic selection of colourways and styles - from the feathered to the globular. The bright tangerine and putty pink tones of Orange Feathered make it a really feminine but bold statement for the home.

On the other hand, our calm and cool Pietra Blu wallpaper has a different ambience, that makes it the perfect accompaniment to bright and airy spaces, bringing it a serene energy. 

In conclusion, what makes marbled prints so unique is the unique blending of eras and techniques - from the antique to the modern, the handmade to the digitally mirrored. It represents a celebration of all of these at once, in a spectrum of colours as diverse and compelling as the rich, textural patterns themselves. 

You can shop our bestselling marbled collection here.