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When I was a little girl my Dad brought me back a pair of lapis lazuli earrings from a business trip he took to South America. He would bring back gifts for each of us from his trips. I was delighted by even the most banal convention swag — like those pens that you could tilt back and forth to make it seem as though a little airplane was moving. Lapis earrings, by comparison, were quite spectacular loot. Recently I fished them out of the bottom of my jewelry box and have started wearing them again. The reason: that blue!

Not since the 1980s have the worlds of fashion and design so embraced this vivid hue. You can call it cobalt or sapphire or royal — I suppose it could be that each of these is subtly different — but I will call them all lapis. Lapis lazuli is a semi precious stone found in Afghanistan, Siberia, Chile, Argentina, and even, apparently, in Kimmirut, Nunavut here in Canada.

I might be willing to set aside my lapis label for the Duchess of Cambridge, who wore this decidedly "royal" blue Reiss dress to her first public speaking engagement at a children's hospice in Ipswich this year. Balenciaga designer Nicolas Ghesquière's interpretation of this colour manages to look retro '80s and futuristic at the same time. Love his pairing of this colour with cognac leather booties. The J.Crew Emmaleigh is a chic season-spanning shift.

Not surprisingly, Tiffany & Co. has a selection of lapis covetables. My favourites are the Elsa Peretti Sevillana Cuff — which I think would make a fine anniversary gift, since Mr. A and I did honeymoon in Seville after all. But since its $7,350 price tag is money earmarked for our reno, I'd settle for the sweet lapis anchor charm. It's very me, and just $440.

In the world of interiors you can always count on a dash of this intense blue from design superstar Miles Redd. This camelback Chippendale sofa in lapis blue satin is utterly inspired!

Amanda Nisbet's brave mix of lapis blue sofa against reams of zingy yellow drapery fabric and accent chairs in green malachite print lives up to her book's title — truly dazzling!

I love how Todd Alexander Romano uses high gloss blue in this high-rise studio. This treatment really takes the average and turns it into the amazing!

There's a school of thought with decorating that one should surround oneself with colours that flatter. If it's true then I might need to rejuvenate my boudoir with this Rivulets bedding collection from Anthropologie (left) or a headboard upholstered in David Hicks fabric.

See our Blue Rooms photo gallery for more lapis inspiration.

Photo credits:
1a. Margot Austin
1b. Inner Bridges
2a. Reiss blog
2b. Fall/Winter 2012 RTW, Balenciaga
2c. Emmaleigh dress, J.Crew
3a. Elsa Peretti Sevillana Cuff, Tiffany & Co.
3b. Anchor Charm, Tiffany & Co.
4. Good Bones, Great Pieces (2012 Stewart, Tabori & Chang) via The Aestate blog, photography by Lucas Allen, room design by Miles Redd
5. Dazzling Design by Amanda Nisbet (2012 Stewart, Tabori & Chang), photography by Roger Davies
6. Photography by Thomas Loof
7a. Rivulets Bedding in Cobalt, Anthropologie
7b. House to Home, photography by Jan Baldwin

Author: 

Margot Austin

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