Favorite Vintage Ads Friday: Perry Ellis for Martex, 1984

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Posted October 10, 2014. Filed in Favorite Vintage Ads

Perry Ellis-Martex-"Night Tiger"-1984

Today’s Favorite Vintage Ad features a line of bedding designed by the late clothing designer Perry Ellis for Martex in 1984. His inspiration for this line was Africa, for which he created three distinct patterns based on animals found in the bush: the tiger, zebra and jaguar. 

The first pattern features “Night Tiger” on a bed without a frame, casually setting against a wall like a banquette or daybed. If you’ve checked in to Favorite Friday Vintage Ads before you know how much I admire the inspired style of the Martex ad campaigns of the 1980’s – and how more than often I preferred everything in the room BUT the bedding. However, in this case, I do like the bedding … although you will never find matched sets of patterned anything in my house!

 In the case of this vignette much is achieved using very little: The striking silhouette of a high-style black lacquer and gilt English Regency chair juxtaposed with a carved African pull-up table, the sensuous curve of a stone bowl classically displayed upon a modernist column, and three spears as art leaning against the wall are visually arresting. It’s that mix of high-low, formal and informal, shiny and matte, restrained and exuberant – along with the unexpected – in a restrained envelope that is so appealing. It’s sculptural and has the personality of an artist’s atelier. The French have the perfect descriptive for such an environment:  simplicité, calme et volupté (simplicity, calm and voluptuousness). Well, perhaps these rooms can’t be described as “voluptuous”, but elegant, yes.

Perry Ellis-Martex-"Night Zebra"-1984

The second pattern Ellis named “Night Zebra”, and the visual team created a complimentary vignette combining classic and elemental items – an elegant and graceful English chair with cane seating, an African stool, and a framed African textile as art – within an envelope of restrained simplicity.

Perry Ellis-Martex-"Night Jaguar"-1984

The third pattern Ellis named “Night Jaguar”, where again the bedding makes a bold statement amidst a mix of classical and elemental pieces floating in space like art work, each selection made for its unique and sublime qualities.