Born in a family of scholars and artists – her music teacher was none other than Francis Poulenc – Andrée Putman went through many high profile jobs in fashion and art direction before finding her true calling, and making a name for herself in the world of design. Her passion for craftsmanship, her knowledge of French Arts Decoratifs’ tradition, and her eye for minimalist shapes gave her an edge on her fellow interior decorators.
In the late seventies, Putman founded Ecart International and singlehandedly revived the neglected work of some great designers from the 1930s, including René Herbst, Jean-Michel Frank, Pierre Chareau and Eileen Gray. The brilliant aesthete followed her instinct informed by her unique taste, and made the rather counterintuitive choice of re-editing some iconic designs from the past, despite the fact that, at the time, the business of furniture was all about newness.
By naming this new venture Ecart – which means gap, or distance in French and is the word “Trace” spelt backward – Putman made the first of her many statements: she was distancing herself from the general trend and going back to the traces left by the great masters of the early 20th century. She trusted her instinct and her taste for beautifully executed, essential designs; and in no time she was catering for international collectors and interior decorators, by re-issuing stunning pieces of furniture.
However, Andrée Putman’s résumé is much more than just paying homage to the past: her forward thinking and impeccable, original taste drove her to design fashionable hotels – including the Morgans with its B&W chequered tiles and the Pershing Hall with its stunning green wall– and nightclubs; the sleek interiors of the Concorde and some of the most fashionable boutiques for Yves Saint Laurent and Balenciaga. Karl Lagerfeld too, commissioned projects from her including his famed 7L gallery in Paris.
Andrée Putman reset and expanded our visual culture in terms of interior decoration. Moreover, thanks to her commitment, the world rediscovered the beautiful, innovative work of the legendary masters of the past. Sadly, she passed away in 2013, but her legacy lives on through her own designs, and through Ecart International, her brilliant brainchild.
The Invisible Collection has the pleasure of presenting a selection of designs by Andrée Putman, re-issued by Ecart International, available for purchase through us.