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Design Trends | Old School Is The New Black

French brand Signature shows us how to upgrade our interiors with upscale retro looks.

Akil Wingateby Akil Wingate
French brand Signature goes from intimate to elegant. Photo by Akil Wingate.

One of the many criticisms lobbed at Maison et Objet over the years is that with each passing year the pool of eclectic, out of the box designs dwindles, and clutter rules the vast exhibition halls. That certainly seems to be the case this year. A lot of the usual suspects are there with a lookbook they’ve recycled from 2016. Same old, same old.

Photo by Akil Wingate.

Photo by Akil Wingate.

So what’s the trend that seems to be catching on for home interiors? Going rustic and old school. A lot of back-to-basics themes using wood as source material for furnishings were on hand at M&O. But one brand gets authentically retro. Signature, which flexes its versatility with products that range from chic elegance to 50s gas station and diner swag, has single-handedly redeemed M&O.

Here’s the odd bit about waltzing past a Signature display window. Those soda pop bottles carefully lined and arranged on the oak dish cabinet aren’t Coke and Pepsi. They’re certainly not Dr. Pepper or any other American classic to come out of the Baby Boom Generation. Those high-backed wood chairs with the cherry finish aren’t holdovers from a Mad Men set. That wood dining table with the heavy gray stains didn’t come from your Grandma’s kitchen in Arkansas.

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These Real McCoy designs that pull heavily from that old school 50s apothecary/barbershop/baker’s lookbook are…(hold your ten gallon hats) French. A closer look at the labels on the model trains, polished soda pop bottles and cutting boards will reveal French labels. 

Signature. Photo by Akil Wingate.

Signature. Photo by Akil Wingate.

What can we learn from this, kids? Other than the French do it better? Old school is back with a vengeance, and Signature gives us a solid blueprint for how to take your interiors into the future. For your kitchen, source polished wood tables that will do double duty as cooking islands and intimate meal settings. Your living room needs oak coffee tables and bookshelves that you can line with classics (or your complete Batman New 52 Collection). If you’re a beer, wine or pop drinker a multipurpose wine cabinet with a glass tree is more than apropos. Just don’t confuse Mayberry and Mod. Keep it simple.