Ever since I saw and, more importantly, sat in the Brunschwig et Fils Mr. Wing Chair, I have been in love with today's re-interpretations of the classic wing chair. First introduced around 1680, the upholstered wing chair has been a staple of traditional style. Its "wings" were originally designed to protect occupants from drafts in dwellings heated only by fire. The style of the chair changed little over time varying mostly in the shape and carving of the legs. I hadn't been much of a fan -- way too stodgy and conservative for my tastes. Okay, maybe if it was upholstered in a fabulous flame stitch textile and adorned with nailheads (I love practically anything with nailheads), but not in my house. A stately wood-paneled library or ivy league clubhouse, yes. My house, no.
Then in the mid-1990s, Ralph Lauren reinvented the wing chair with his Writer's Chair--a high-back scrolled-arm button-tufted leather easy chair. I remember testing it out and feeling like I was in chair heaven. The chair enveloped me, and the soft, buttery leather felt like a vintage bomber jacket -- worn but yielding. It was instantly a hit. But its massive size and leather upholstery relegated it to the study, den, or family room. It was just not slender enough for a contemporary or transitionally-styled living room.
Along came the Mr. & Mrs. Wing Chairs by Brunschwig et Fils. I was surprised that a house like Brunschwig would invent these chairs. It just seemed out of character for a company aligned with everything traditional. But that didn't matter. Sitting in the Mr. Wing Chair is heavenly. And oh, the lines. My fantasy living room has a pair of the Mr. Wing Chairs opposite each other flanking my Barbara Barry Loose Back Sofa for Baker (that subject is for another blog post). I love everything about this chair: the low seat, the high back, the slender tapered legs and especially the silhouette. I just love a piece of furniture that looks good from multiple angles.
Since falling for Mr. Wing Chair, I've seen many other re-interpretations of the iconic wing chair that I present to you here. Modern heating systems may render wings unnecessary, but I say style like this trumps the need for functionality.
Brunschwig et Fils Mrs. Wing Chair Dessin Fournir Collins Wing Chair
Dessin Fournir Tuva Club Chair Donghia Egret Wing Chair
Ironies Tule Lounge Chair The James Wing Chair by Victoria Hagan
The Villa Chair by Thomas Pheasant for Baker
Cisco Brothers Uncle Jim Double Chair