THE “IT” PRINT
This wallpaper is Dorothy Draper’s “Brazilliance”. The image was shot for the 2012 Bergdorf Goodman catalog at Draper’s Hollywood Regency masterpiece, The Greenbrier Hotel, in West Virginia.
Courtesy of Bergdorf Goodman
Every couple of years I see the Banana Palm come back as the next season’s “it print”—in both fashion and home. But do not mistake this palm as a passing trend, this print has has been around for the last 70-plus years and is, in fact, an iconic pattern with major design roots. So, for anyone who considers themselves a serious design junkie, here is what you need to know about this gorgeous leaf.
THE PALM PATTERN PASSPORT
The banana leaf wallpaper at The Beverly Hills Hotel is one of the most iconic palm’s ever. It’s technically cataloged as the Martinique “A” BH90210, by Don Loper and it appears in the hotel’s coffee shop and hallways, suffusing the spaces with a tropical, fashion-forward and transporting vibe.
Courtesy of The Beverly Hills Hotel
For me, the Banana Palm conjures the tropical, beachy climates of Southeast Asia. It immediately transports you to the prefect vacation. Apparently that is universally true—its appeal has stretched way back to the time of Alexander the Great who wrote about seeing the “exotic” fruit tree during his travels through India. From that point on, the banana palm was grown in any available hot climate. Spreading far beyond Asia made it possible for its lush green leaves to inspire a wider audience.
DOROTHY DRAPER’S “BRAZILLIANCE”
Courtesy of The Greenbrier Hotel
Speed ahead to the 20th century and the banana palm begins to transcend beyond a lush tropical plant to a luxurious, escapist-inspiring design. The now iconic print started with legendary American decorator Dorothy Draper who designed her “Brazilliance” wallpaper for the Arrowhead Springs hotel in San Bernardino, California in 1937 and later in Brazil’s Palácio Quitandinha in 1944.
DON LOPER’S “MARTINIQUE”
Hollywood decorator Don Loper designs Martinique, a banana leaf wallpaper exclusively for the Beverly Hills Hotel
Courtesy of Gray Malin
In 1942, Hollywood decorator and necktie designer Don Loper modified the banana leaf theme into his “Martinique” pattern for the Beverly Hills Hotel, which solidified with its connection to refined, glamorous California living. The wallpaper still graces the hotel’s hallways and coffee shops today and has become one of the most recognizable patterns in the world. And of course the leafy trend hit New York in 1985 when the fashion-industry’s favorite restaurant Indochine opened with its pattern on the walls. Dorothy’s version came back again in 2009 when her protégé Carleton Varney redecorated Dorothy’s iconic Greenbrier Hotel in West Virgiinia.
A FASHION FAVORITE
Dolce&Gabanna took this print from the walls to the runway and created a sense of endless and effortless holiday.
Courtesy of Coveteur
Beyond interior design, the print has popped up on fashion runways throughout the last two centuries—from Stephen Burrows in the 1970s to Dolce & Gabbana in 2016. Designers love to incorporate the palm in Spring/Summer collections.
BANANA PALM ON THE INSIDE
Courtesy of The Inside
This history inspired me to create my own twist on this legendary print for The Inside. Whether it’s removable wallpaper or upholstery, this instant design classic will add a touch of the exotic to any space. We styled ours with some coral accents to match the splash of coral in the wallpaper — one of the most seamless ways to mix color and pattern.