Gibbs offers an informative chronicle of the place occupied by curtains and drapes in Western European interior design from medieval times to the present. Her window solutions tend to evoke a Masterpiece Theater feeling--the grand elegance of heavy, dark interiors made even gloomier by cutting off window light. Given a stately mansion to bedrape, one might do well to attempt an imitation. Yet modern-day adaptations of the 18th-century look may seem alternately depressing and inappropriate. However, Gibbs guides us well through rooms whose doors and windows are swathed with expensive cloth and lavish trimming. The author also provides examples of 20th-century window treatments--including some quaint art deco interiors that seem chosen to make modernity look a bit ludicrous. But that's true to the range of a rather narrow aesthetic; much here seems to involve fussy ballooned curtains, swags, valances and whatever's ``busiest.'' Some designers, still, will take comfort in the thought that ``more'' may really be better. Illustrated. (Aug.)
Gibbs, educator and founder of KLC, the London interior design college, has designed her book to enable the increasingly sophisticated interior designer to make informed and appropriate choices when designing. No other book provides such a detailed examination of the history of curtains, windows, and even beds and bed hangings. Rather than a superficial review of various drapery styles, she provides an in-depth look at the lifestyles, furniture, colors, and influences of design styles beginning with the Renaissance up to the present. Ultimately, she gives advice on style and fabric selection when designing window treatments for today's interiors. This book is essential for all interior design collections.-Gayle A. Williamson, Fashion Inst. of Design & Merchandising, Los Angeles
The scope of Gibbs' book goes far beyond its title. For although window treatments are the focus, the illustrations, period paintings, and color photographs of restorations give readers an excellent visual sense of whole house decorating, not just that of windows. The text is straightforward and obviously based on copious research. Each of the 11 or so styles is explained first in terms of influences and lifestyle, and then the scheme of furnishings, from furniture to trimmings, is detailed. Those unfamiliar with art deco, for example, will discover that its initial outrageousness appears rather contemporary in today's anything-goes style. The final chapter, which seems like an afterthought, covers the mechanics of selecting curtains and draperies, an unnecessaryand incompleteaddition to an otherwise good introduction to interior design styles.