Decorating Dictionary - Define Shagreen

Decorating Dictionary: Shagreen

What is the definition of Shagreen?

Have you ever heard someone mention the term “shagreen” and wondered what on earth it meant? Well, now you have to wonder no longer – we will define shagreen for you! Here is the latest addition to our Decorating Dictionary

Shagreen: is a highly textured rawhide or leather originally obtained from the rumps of horses and onagers, and later, from the skins of sharks, stingrays and dogfish. Historically, this exotic skin was used to cover the sword hilts and bows of Japanese and Chinese civilisations past. Shagreen was popularized as a luxury decorative material in the 18th century by Jean-Claude Galluchat, a master leatherworker in the court of Louis XV of France. It quickly became the epitome of sophistication and style amongst the French aristocracy. The decorative use of shagreen saw a revival during the 1920s and 30s as it was often used in Art Deco furniture pieces – a popular interior style during this period. Today, the majority of shagreen products are made from faux/artificial materials.

[Image Sources: 1, 2, 3]


And the Most Beautiful Object in SA is…

*Drum roll please*

The winner of the Most Beautiful Object in South Africa 2013 is Gavin Rajah for his Pebble Dress!

Pebble Dress by Gavin Rajah
Pebble Dress by Gavin Rajah

This dress from Gavin Rajah’s Spring/Summer 2013 couture collection was created out of leather pieces that were moulded into pebble shapes and then embroidered onto mesh by hand. The leather pebbles are placed to create a gradation of colour with rose gold blending into chocolate.

Rajah’s studio pioneered the technique to foil ostrich skins with the Klein Karoo Co-op last year. After the technique attracted interest from Chanel and other international fashion brands, the studio decided to create their own textiles in foiled leathers. The result is a more tactile leather with depth and dimension. The garment is handmade and has been created without seams in pure couture tradition.”

Gavin Rajah was nominated by Malibongwe Tyilo, in his capacity as a Blogger of Skattie What Are You Wearing?

Malibongwe had the following to say about Rajah’s creation: “The Pebble Dress combines to great effect some of the most relevant design influences at the moment: leather, ombre, texture and craft. Their unity creates a completely resolved design piece. At first glance, your eye is attracted by the complete garment and it’s almost scale-like appearance. A closer look reveals the incredible amount of work and precision that has gone into creating not only the garment but also an entirely new fabric.”

Gavin Rajah

Speaking from Mumbai, an ecstatic Rajah said: “I’m incredibly humbled by this accolade and it’s a testament of the work being produced by my studio. I want to thank Ravi Naidoo and his team for offering not only this amazing platform to share, collaborate and interact, but bringing to the fore creativity and design in South Africa. A special thanks to all who voted for the Pebble dress.”

For more information and pics of the Most Beautiful Object in SA, please visit

Quick Tips - Decor Diva - The Design Tabloid

Quick Tips #3 & #4: Removing Pen & Ink Stains

Coming out of a discussion I saw on Facebook, here are two easy tips for removing pen & inks marks from your furniture (thanks Kelly & Beverley!)…

#3   Remove pen scratches and stains from vinyl, faux leather & sealed leather furniture by dabbing it with a bit of hand sanitizer on a clean white cloth or cotton wool. However, do not try this on suede or untreated, unsealed or soft leather as it would further damage your leather. I also read somewhere that you can use milk in the same way – the enzymes in the milk will break down the stain and moisturise the leather at the same time.

#4   You can remove ink stains and marks from fabric items & clothes with a bit of antiseptic liquid (like Dettol or Savlon). Dab some cotton wool in the antiseptic liquid, give the stain a good rub and then toss it into the washing machine.