Madame Muse Design

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Gino's and the Scalamandre Zebra

Remembering Gino's Italian Restaurant
780 Lexington Avenue, New York City
There's something charming about about including pieces in your decor that have a story and heritage behind them.  I can't be sure which came first in my case, seeing the wallpaper or hearing the story {perhaps it's appearance in the restroom of Kate Spade, one of my favorite muses}.  I fell in love with it's whimsy and panache at once and have been following it's appearances ever since.

The story begins as Gino Circiello leaves his home in Capri and immagrates to New York.  Franco Scalamandre, founder of Scalamandre textiles, becomes a patron and enables the creation of Gino Restaurant.  At the request of Gino a hunting inspired wallpaper was designed by Franco's wife, Flora Scalamandre.  Gino's was a sensation! The likes of Frank Sinatra, Ed Sullivan, Gregory Peck, Jackie O, and Ralph Lauren were regulars.  The place had a bit of a "Cheers" feeling to it, the long time staff knew their frequent diners by name.

My one and only time at Gino's with my cousin Chris 

As a devotee to this magnificent work of art I made a special trip to New York expressly to eat with my beloved wallpaper at Gino.  As if my fate wasn't sealed before, now it was a certainty.  I must have the wallpaper!!!
Scalamandre - wallpaper in works

My Scalamandre zebra stalking continued when they re-released the wallpaper in 2007 as part of the Cabinet de Curiosities collection.  The original, or should I say "re-original" wallpaper's smaller zebra was missing a noticeable stripe on his derriere {look just left of Chris's head and you'll see it}.  The 2007 release had the stripe corrected, I can't quite decide if I think that was a good decision or not.  There's something enticing about the imperfect, quaint, and time honored.  Additionally the new release is available in 4 colorways.  

Scalamandre Zebra Wallpaper

From top left clockwise: Liz BanfieldKate Spade,
Lindsay Coral HarperMiles Redd, Massucco Warner Miller

I love the wallpaper used in in small nooks, hallways, and bathrooms. Droves of key designers have used this venerable paper in their work, if you have examples of any others please let me know so I can keep on stalking!


  1. Why no mention of the greatest Star and most famous person to ever enter the premises. Marilyn Monroe.

  2. Fun story... followed from a link in the NY Times online. -Ed