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Dressing screens and room dividers take the art of concealment literally, as they create chic boundaries within the home.

Dividing screens have long been a beloved fixture of the lady’s boudoir. So enamored was Mademoiselle Chanel with her collection of Coromandel screens fashionably placed within her Rue Cambon apartment and Ritz suite, that her decorative dividers inspired the designer’s signature fragrance.

The appearance of oriental screens in Europe in the 19th century, and at Paris’s 1867 International Exhibition for Industry and Art, engendered a trend for decoration and a renaissance in the decorative arts, as they became a major showpiece in many a well-appointed salon, as well as more intimate quarters. No self-respecting dressing room was without a chinoiserie screen, seductively draped with lingerie - an ode to femininity - while cunningly concealing a space for daily ablutions. Adorned with artwork like a moveable tableau, the screen evolved, integrating itself into the interior decoration, upholstered in textiles and wall coverings.

In the open-plan layout of contemporary homes, the screen has made a triumphant return, creating subtle spatial boundaries in vast spaces. However, no longer a camouflage concealing unsightly elements, the modern frieze features cutouts and storage and offers light and functionality, but with the emphasis still focused on decorative effect. From classic baroque and art nouveau, to laser cut and hi-tech materials in experimental forms, screens are cutting a swathe in the living space for stylish segregation.

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