Andrée Putman

FRANCE (1925–2013)

It would not detract from her keen originality to call designer Andrée Putman the Coco Chanel of interior design. As Chanel did with clothing, Putman liberated French interior design from its proper, stuffy roots with her unmistakable vision of elegance, clarity and wit. Born in Paris, Putman enjoyed a budding career in music before becoming a journalist for prominent French interior design magazines. It was not long before her own individual style ushered Putman into the design limelight, and in 1978 she opened her first design studio, Ecart. In addition to producing interiors and stores for some of French fashion’s biggest names (Yves Saint Laurent, Karl Lagerfeld, Azzedine Alaia, to name a few), Ecart also reissued furniture by then-obscure designers from the early part of the 20th century.

Putman was singularly responsible for the revival of now-venerated names of design such as Jean-Michel Frank, Eileen Gray and Mariano Fortuny by reproducing some of their best work. Putman continued to win the world over by designing interiors from Tokyo to New York, where her work for Ian Schrager at The Morgans Hotel launched the genre of designer hotels. In 1997 Putman opened a new design studio under her own name and continued to expand her product line to include furniture, accessories and interiors, as well as exhibitions, a line of perfume and the redesign of the Concorde interior. Justifiably called the “Grand Dame of Modernism,” Putman’s career spanned several decades, largely impacting the design field with her quintessentially French style, that is in turn, quintessentially Putman.

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