03 July, 2010

"This Flag is My Flag . . . "


Firstly, a caveat. You must know that sometimes these blog posts take on a life of their own. And secondly, some back story - I was in New York a few weeks back - just as the World Cup was beginning - and it was so heartwarming to see the great display of national pride from such a diverse collection of countries. Hearing people cheer for the feats of athleticism. Seeing the varied panoply of colours of the soccer jerseys that everyone seemed to be wearing. Seeing schedules with flags on the billboards outside almost every sports bar across the city - showing the match for the day.

So I had a brilliant idea - I decided to explore the use of national flags in interior design. Maybe search around and find images of the Spanish flag used in a living room. This was going to be so exciting. Maybe something with Brazil's flag as a pillow. Or maybe Canada? Or Portugal? Italy? France?

But - nothing. And I mean - nothing. at. all. It was practically the zenith of 'dead-end-google-searches.' I could find sites that sold these pillows and throws - but, no pictures of anyone who'd ever used them.

Well not quite nothing - the obvious exception is an old grudge match from late-17oo's.

After searching through tons of images - I'm curious about the overwhelming (and almost exclusive) use of the Union Jack and the American flags in design on both sides of the Atlantic. We seem to be the only two nations to readily adopt our national symbol as a decorative motif.

Often, it's the simple use of the flag.

And sometimes it stretches a bit further than that . . .

(this image used is always bug me because the flag is displayed incorrectly. I was in Boy Scouts as a little kid - and I know that the flag should always be displayed with the star field in the upper left corner - no matter what its orientation. The good news - this isn't actually an American flag. It's an antique Indian blanket from the 1880's using a representation of the flag as its design motif. So it basically just proves my point even further.)
And, just for the record - I love this chair.
Really. A way whole lot.

Personally, I used my American Flag pillowcases from Ralph Lauren until they fell apart. And, at the moment, there's a beautiful new Union Jack pillow sitting a few feet from me on my sofa.

Do you have flags used as a decorative element in your home? And are they your own nation's flag?



Reynolds Still said...

That Ralph Lauren!!!!! Incredible images ole Great Tartanscot! All so very handsome. I have a wonderful old flag I found many years ago. I displayed its glory many years ago but unfortunately had someone tell me how disrespectful it was for me to drape it over an antique bench that I had. Since then I've had it packed away...SPOIL SPORTS! Happy 4th of July friend!

Best regards,
Reynolds Still


Anonymous said...

I was sure I could find some `Roots` decorated Muskoka or Whistler lodges, but websites for purchasing product was what I found too...

Other Iconic Canadian designs include the Hudson`s Bay blanket and red and white schemes though...

Maybe troll these blogs:

This Canadian decor magazine article on decorating with a union jack!

Ok, so not strictly home decor but check out these flag suitcases:

Lisa said...

We are a proud bunch aren't we...
Have a relaxing & very fun 4th!
Love that chair too!

Tabitha said...

Swarovski made a few crystal clutch bags ( for VIP's only boo hoo ) with the Scottish saltire on them for the Scottish Style Awards last week.
That reminds me I have an old RL sweater with the US flag on it in a cupboard somewhere, I must go dig it out!

Claudia Juestel said...

What a wonderful way to celebrate Independence Day via design Scot! I remember those RL flag pillows well, must have sold a ton of them. :)

Happy 4th.



diane@onlinefabricstore said...

A definite yes...I have a small flag needlepoint pillow that sits on a chair year round just as a daily reminder of how lucky we all are. the room does not have to be red white and blue to use this symbol in some small way.

Happy 4thg everyone!

Cristin said...

what a fun post! love the chair too.

Cynthia said...

What a great question! Never thought about the lack of other countries' flags in the design world. Maybe it's that we Yanks and Brits have the best colors to work with? Thanks for exploring the idea.

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