“The look is layered, rather than cluttered, and has a fresher take than you expect: rather than floral patterns everywhere, a grandmillenial fetishist prefers mixed patterns…”
If asked, my favorite style of home design is firmly in the realm of uncluttered neutrals. I don’t mean extreme minimalism (I don’t think I could ever live in Kim Kardashian’s house), but something like “Japandi” (a fusion of Scandinavian and Japanese design sensibilities with a result that highlights form, function, and clean and bright spaces), with a mid-century modern twist.
I hate clutter (and yet I drown in it) and would prefer certain furniture elements not to take center stage (case in point: I want Vitsœ 606 shelving for my books because I think the books should be the star of the show, not the bookshelf).
This is not to say however that I don’t enjoy taking a look at everyone’s style choices. Social media has allowed us to take a voyeuristic look at what everyone’s taste is, and I’m no different. Recently I’ve noticed a new look on social media: lots of patterned curtains, chintz, brocade, and artful clutter.
Emma Bazilian, writing for House Beautiful called this “grandmillennial” style: “Ranging in age from mid-20s to late-30s, grandmillennials have an affinity for design trends considered by mainstream culture to be “stuffy” or “outdated”—Laura Ashley prints, ruffles, embroidered linens. Unlike that of the late-aughts hipster, their taste for the antiquated isn’t ironic; it’s less twee than timeless. And although there’s a good bit of shared DNA with prep culture, the two terms aren’t entirely interchangeable; the grandmillennial is less Lilly Pulitzer, more faded D. Porthault.”
The look is layered, rather than cluttered, and has a fresher take than you expect: rather than floral patterns everywhere, a grandmillenial fetishist prefers mixed patterns. Each design choice is thoughtfully well-edited, each item preferably one that has a historical aspect (a chair in your grandmother’s house, your aunt’s plate ware, candlesticks from a flea market in the South of France).
How does this all fit into the Filipino context? For the first Lifestyle Asia issue of the year, we interviewed Pie Alvarez and photographed her home. I think of her as the quintessential example of a tropical grandmillennial: the patterns aren’t so much cloying but visually interesting: she makes use of ikat prints and iraca and bamboo for textural touches. You get the sense that things are placed where they are for a reason: for function, yes, but also to be an optical objective for guests. A vibrant wallpaper choice is confidently paired with a graphically arresting tablecloth.
It takes a certain sense of je ne sais quois to pair it all together and it was a pleasure to see the photos. In the article, Alvarez admits that it’s probably too much for some people, but it doesn’t matter. “But that is the beauty of design—it truly depends on your preference, your style, and, of course, your taste,” she said.
After editing the article about her place, and reading about grandmillennial style, I found myself wondering if I would ever go for the look myself. Despite what I profess of my love for mid-century Japandi, I also do like some of the grandmillennial aesthetic: I’m a huge fan of de Gournay and Pierre Frey wallpaper (pre-pandemic, my favorite events took place at the Elements showroom).
Before I give myself over to full grand millennial mania, a caveat must be made: I do have a deadly dust allergy, and too much fabric will probably wreak havoc on my sinuses. But it is always nice to imagine the mismatched clutter of my future home.
Where to buy
Not only is Pie Alvarez the queen of tropical grandmillennial style, but she also runs Perla Manila, an easy one-stop-shop for your lush, lavish, tablescape dreams (don’t let ECQ stop you from throwing imaginary dinner parties). Wares include iraca palm placemats, mother of pearl coaster sets, and flatware with bamboo handles.
Where to get it @pearlamanila
A grand millennial focal point is usually a display of blooms, and where else to get the best blooms in the metro than at Lanai? Before I started working at Lifestyle Asia, I thought all flowers were born equal, but that’s before I saw the variety of choices at Lanai. Unfortunately for my wallet, I have become obsessed with peonies. Lanai also has a great collection of patterned china and glassware for every occasion.
Where to get it @lanaimanila_online
Kassa By Karen Santos
If you have tableware and flowers, where else do you go for the rest of your furniture? The answer is Kassa by Karen Santos. Larger pieces of furniture rule the roost here: from seating, shelving, and light fixtures, this one-stop-shop for everything chic will set your home apart from everyone else.
Where to get it Kassa by Karen Santos
Abodelaloo and the 57.ph
This was the summer of the block print: all of a sudden everyone I followed on Instagram was replete with people going crazy for table cloths and napkins with patterns straight from the Indian subcontinent. Now you can have a visual feast along with your actual feast.
Girllaloo, Cariloo and Siesta Manila
Do you want to dress as if you match your house? Of course, you do. Other than tablecloths, everyone also wanted block print pareos, caftans, kimonos, makeup bags and printed sets. I guess we all want to look like we’ve spent a summer at the beach. I was no different: I have pareos and printed sets that I can’t wait to wear out of the house (someday soon).