If enough influencer interiors pass through your Instagram feed, I have no doubt you’ve seen a fair amount of white bouclé. The textile often shows up on statement pieces — an outrageous chair or a swooping sofa — and has almost invariably appeared in a limited spectrum of whites. But bouclé has been around for quite a while and the past couple of years are by no means its first heyday. As we like to keep an eye on trends in home objects, we found ourselves asking, ‘what comes next after bouclé?’
Bouclé, from the French for “curled” or “looped” is a textile woven or knitted using looped yarn. When the weave of this yarn is complete, the fabric has a nubby texture.
Bouclé, as textiles go, has two claims to fame. In the world of fashion, it owes its popularity without reservation to Coco Chanel, who premiered the first design iteration of her now iconic jacket in 1954. In clothing, bouclé remains intimately connected to the House of Chanel.
In the home sphere, Bouclé really hit the scene just six years earlier, when Florence Knoll commissioned Eero Saarinen to design “a chair that was like a basket full of pillows - something she could really curl up in.” Saarinen delivered on Knoll’s order by designing the famous Womb Chair.
Bouclé may have its origins solidly in the middle of the last century, but I actually think of bouclé sofas and chairs gracing homes designed with futuristic opulence in mind — the sorts of aristocratic homes assembled by François and Betty Catroux in the ‘70s and ‘80s, for example. Bouclé occupies a unique place in the textile hierarchy, as it certainly has been associated with luxury from its early days of popularity, but never a traditional sense of luxury. Bouclé is not leather or linen. It is solidly a textile for the modern era.
The resuscitation of white bouclé in the past couple of years can most likely be linked to the broader trend in decorating our living spaces toward coziness. Many, many, many cultural critics have made the link between increased time spent at home during the pandemic and the desire for more coziness, but the trend toward coziness began before March of 2020 and is primarily a reaction against the dominance of stark minimalism in the twenty-teens.
An opening appeared for white bouclé to enter the interiors zeitgeist at this juncture from minimalist to cozy. The textile is, in many respects, a trend “bridge” from one to the other. Not only does bouclé fabric bring added textual softness to a room, but also the most popular furniture using white bouclé features plump, organic, rounded, overstuffed, and even whimsical forms, developing a new strain of minimalism, one that always harkens for me to the thrown together yet pared back elegance of a tasteful Parisian apartment.
But, as with all single-object trends, white bouclé’s popularity has a bell curve. We’ve now passed the peak of the bouclé infatuation, but what comes next?
To answer this, we have to understand the underlying aesthetic sensibilities of the white bouclé trend. Is it a love of the textile itself? Or is it more about the ~vibe~?
The most obvious next iteration of white bouclé is… NOT white bouclé. As I’ve mentioned, the textile, featured predominantly in neutral hues, has been used recently to bring textural (rather than chromatic) interest to a predominantly neutral space. But, as people are playing with color and pattern more and more, the next variation on white bouclé is bouclé across the spectrum.
Bouclé embodies that feeling of softness and approachable luxury that makes it ripe to merge with the sage green trend. But it’s not all about green (though some would like it to be); dusty yellows, mauves, and a whole spectrum of deeper neutrals will start showing up in bouclé furniture. Unlike velvet during the height of the MCM trend, bouclé will eschew jewel tones.
But for those who gravitate toward white bouclé not especially for the textile, but for the general interplay between cozy whimsy and minimalism, white bouclé was a harbinger of an interior aesthetic trend I am dubbing Euro Cloud Home.
Euro Cloud Home is the design aesthetic for people who like to sit in a pile of cushions on the floor and watch movies on a projector, who have a checkered or hand-tufted rug, an Ikea Kallax bookcase and an Alexandra Von Fürstenburg coffee table.
There is a playful, ‘undone’ feeling to Euro Cloud Home that was lacking in mid-2010s minimalism.
In a Euro Cloud Home, bouclé merges with suede and shag, with acrylic and lucite, chrome and melamine, setting aside its previous love affair with linen and jute, rattan and wicker. Euro Cloud Home walls may be white, but objects in LEGO hues abound, lighting is playful (and probably faceted), mirrors are wavy, window treatments are nonexistent, and textile choices are varied and layered. It is minimalism, yassified.