For some time now I wanted to write something about the fabulous upholstry fabrics that are to enjoy at café l'Archiduc in Brussels.
In 1937, Madame Alice opened L'Archiduc. At the time, it was a classy and discrete art deco establishment used by brokers and their secretaries. Several small wooden booths, topped by cast iron frames, offered them privacy and comfort. Today, the booths are gone, but one can still sit on the original benches along the walls. The cast iron main door still remains along with its beautiful A, standing for Archiduc, for Alice, and most certainly for Amour.
Madame Alice quit in 1953. Stan Brenders and his wife took over. And so began Archiduc's Jazz Age. Conveniently located in the fashionable Antoine Dansaert's Street, a stones throw away from the Stock Exchange, the Beurschouwburg and the Ancienne Belgique, this art deco bar is home to several artists and hosts many concerts.
Sit down on l'Archiduc's benches covered with a vivid design in burgundy, navy and off-whites, depicting palm leafs and airplanes (if I rember well) - and ask for a dry martini.
The fabric sample 'Rhapsody (1927)' shown left featured in a 1988 V&A publication called 'Novelty Fabrics'. Although it fits pretty well, it's not related to l'Archiduc, apart from the design era. And the musician of course. It's the violin player of Robin Proper-Shepard of Sophia, who often resides in Brussels.
(Fabric scan via Nibs)
(Sophia image by Paul Lamont)
(The l'Archiduc history copy is partly taken from their website)