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Featuring Bridges’ signature “Harlem Toile de Jouy” motif in a crisp black applique on creamy Le Creuset white, the collection includes a round cast iron Dutch oven, a stoneware pitcher, and stoneware mugs. The illustrations might, at first glance, appear as scenes from an ordinary toile pattern, but upon further examination, “Harlem Toile de Jouy” contains much more nuance than an ordinary toile.
Traditionally, toile de Jouy refers to the vignette-patterned cloth produced in Jouy-en-Josas, France, between 1760 and 1843. The motif — which typically features pastoral scenes rendered in blue or red on a cream backdrop — gained mainstream popularity in the 18th century, thanks to German entrepreneur Christophe-Philippe Oberkampf, who set up a textile printing factory in the Jouy-en-Josas suburb of Paris. Today, “toile” (which is French for “fabric”) is a catch-all term for patterns that mimic the bucolic scenes of traditional toile de Jouy, and remains popular for wallpaper, soft furnishings, and clothing.
The inspiration for “Harlem Toile de Jouy,” however, came to Bridges while she was searching for the perfect toile for her own home. Unable to find one that spoke to her, she created her own version, which depicts men playing basketball, girls jumping double dutch, women braiding hair, and other images that “lampoon some of the stereotypes deeply woven into the African American experience.” Based on the relationship between her home, Harlem, New York City, and Paris, where many African Americans went after both wars, Bridges drew from this rich connection and decided on a French theme.
“The celebration of Black culture through Harlem Toile de Jouy is very meaningful to me,” says Bridges, “I’m thrilled to partner with Le Creuset to create an heirloom that can be handed down generation to generation.” What started as a wall covering for her home has now expanded into partnerships with brands like Sonos, Wedgwood, and L’or de Seraphine, and is featured in The Studio Museum In Harlem, the NY Museum of Art and Design, The Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, and the Musée De La Toile De Jouy in Jouy-en Josas, France. The collection is available at Bloomingdale’s, Le Creuset Signature Stores, and LeCreuset.com.