The Ultimate Botanical Print Icon
After their exotic Bahamas vacation in 1941, Lucile and Remy Chatain Sr. of CW Stockwell textiles were so taken by the lush tropical landscape, they began looking for ways to distill rainforest flora inside a city home.
With help of the legendary botanical illustrator Albert Stockdale, the following year CW Stockwell textiles released Martinique - THAT iconic banana leaf wallpaper, unknowingly starting an interior design movement for the following 80 years.
The wallpaper gained its iconic pop culture status when world-renowned architect Paul Williams and famous decorator Don Loper made a choice to include Martinique in their renovations of the famous Beverly Hills Hotel in 1949.
Martinique wallpaper was used to line the walls of the Fountain Coffee Room(left) and all of the hotel’s
hallways: 5 ½ miles of wallpaper to be exact.
Since then, the legendary print has become a national phenomenon, copied time and time again in every possible colorway and variation.
Over the years the wallpaper, just like the Beverly Hills Hotel itself, became synonymous with Hollywood, glamour and excess.
With countless images of celebrities in the 50s, 60s, and 70s taken in front of the wallpaper, the banana leaf print craze grew dramatically and sparked the popularity of tropical themes in interiors, textiles, clothing, art, and just about anything else.
This lush campy print received multiple revamps and was used at other iconic locations since gaining fame at the Beverly Hills Hotel. In 1985 French-Vietnamese restaurant Indochine opened its doors in downtown NYC and banana leaf-covered walls became a celebrity favorite.
Throughout the 90s and into the new millennium, hospitality hotspots, hotels, and luxury residences have adapted this cult classic to contemporary spaces, receiving the same level of public admiration and popularity as when it was first introduced almost a century ago.
To the right is San Francisco’s Leo’s Oyster Bar, fashioned after golden-era Hollywood and its sumptuous cocktail and oyster bars.
Despite countless interpretations, shameless copies and big-name homages, Martinique, in its original form, is still available today at CW Stockwell textiles.
The wallpaper can be purchased in its iconic design as well as in stunning modern upgrades, including more streamlined takes on the legendary print in a contemporary color palette.
A perfect example of fusing the line between design and pop-culture, Martinique remains one of the most influential prints of all time.
Taking inspiration from Martinique, Lanai collection by Eastern Accents is an example of incorporating this iconic print into home textiles. Lush, glamorous and enticing, tropical flora meets a modern makeover.
Head to our website for more tropical inspiration.