The thousands of textiles currently housed at the Brooklyn Museum are prime examples of the vast global history of textile making and sewing traditions in New York City. In participation with New York Textile Month,we will be showcasing one textile per day for the month of September. While difficult to narrow it down to only thirty textiles, we think these works are best at weaving narratives about topics such as innovations in the textile industry, craft and the beauty of the handmade, textiles from legendary designers like Frank Lloyd Wright and Anni Albers, as well as textiles with a sense of humor. Did you know that PeeWee’s Playhouse had a line of textiles made?
Alexander Girard was one of the key American textile designers in the post-World War II period. Born in New York, Girard was raised and educated in Florence and Rome, Italy. From 1952-1975, he worked for Herman Miller Textiles and was responsible for many of their iconic designs that were used on the modernist furniture by Ray and Charles Eames, Eero Saarinen, and Harry Bertoia, among others, produced by that firm. There are ten large Girard textile samples in the Museum’s collection with seven attached color-way swatches from Herman Miller, such as the one presented here, his “Millozenge” pattern that features a regularized pattern of small repeated diamonds. In addition to his work at Miller, Girard also designed the interiors of famous New York restaurants such as La Fonda del Sol, in the Time-Life Building, and L’Etoile. He totally transformed Braniff Airlines and revolutionized that industry with his “The End of the Plain Plane” campaign for which he reimagined the entire presentation of the company from designs for sugar-packets and ticket counters, to the exterior of the planes that he had painted in bright geometric patterns. He and his wife were passionate folk art collectors and they founded, designed, and built the Girard Foundation in Santa Fé, New Mexico to house their art.