Let’s go back in a time capsule about 20 plus years when I returned to college in pursuit of another degree. It was about ten years after “Out of Africa” hit the theatres, the movie that was the seed that sprouted my obsession for animal prints and dreams of safari adventures a la Ralph Lauren. It was during this time that I met a woman who was also returning to college after a hiatus. We became fast friends and one day she invited me out to visit her boyfriend’s home in the Hudson Valley region of NY. So one semi-snowy evening, I made the trek from Albany to meet them both for dinner at his home. Well, it wasn’t a house, it was an expansive estate complete with an intercom system outside heavily carved wooden doors. I parked there for quite a few “New York minutes” before I had enough courage to ring the buzzer. But, in the spirit of adventure I pushed the button, the massive doors opened, and I was ushered in and down a long, tree-lined driveway to the home, complete with turrets and gargoyles. The start of a very memorable evening, which turned into a lifelong friendship.
The interior of this centuries-old mansion was lined with mahogany paneling, ornate crown mouldings, and crystal chandeliers complete with stuffed grizzlies and wild cats lurking in dark corners. The owner was the last of a dying breed of big game hunters, an impressive man who I soon learned had a keen sense of adventure and a heart of gold (did I mention he had a real pet lion?). The house had all the traditional sensibilities, with exotic overtones, and could have easily been the film set from “Out of Africa.” Worn leather mixed with upholstery in animal prints, the latter representing every conceivable animal roaming the Savannahs and plains. Someday, I’ll share more of this friendship (including their pet lion) and some incredible stories. But, for now I want to share some updated versions of more traditional patterns that I began to appreciate after spending much time at the estate of my friends. Times have changed; conventional animal prints have given way to more modern riffs of pattern and shapes of which are just as eye-catching and dynamic. Here are some of my favorites…
Until next time,
BE INSPIRED. BE AMAZED.
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