L.A. at Home

Design, Architecture, Gardens,
Southern California Living

« Previous Post | L.A. at Home Home | Next Post »

The Look for Less: Philippe Starck's Mademoiselle chair versus the Miss chair

May 24, 2011 |  7:07 am

Picnik collage

Philippe Starck's Mademoiselle chair was designed in 2003 but got a fashion makeover four years later, when its manufacturer, Kartell, teamed with Italian fashion houses to upholster the minimalist piece. Moschino and Dolce & Gabbana contributed fabrics for the seat and back of the Mademoiselle, but the most striking was a floral print by Missoni.

It is also the most widely imitated. Floral-print chairs are big these days. One of the chairs above is the authentic Starck design with Vevey fabric by Missoni. The other is a made-in-Asia copycat called Miss.

Which is which? And why does the authentic model cost $950 and the other one $275? Keep reading to discover why.

Mademoiselle2-1 The Mademoiselle was conceived by Starck as a feminine chair that could be dressed up with different upholstery options, including faux leather and crocodile prints.

The version of the chair with the Missoni print is on the left in the photo at the top of the post. Another color scheme of the same pattern is at right. The Starck design is made not only with authentic Missoni fabric but also with shatter- and scratch-resistant polycarbonate, a frame material that manufacturer Kartell has been a trailblazer in using. The frame comes in transparent polycarbonate or black.

Mademoiselle requires no assembly. It is $950 from the Kartell online store.

The Miss copycat, on the right at the top of the post, has an acrylic frame and requires some assembly. The fabric is a replica of the Missoni print. The Miss sells for $275 at Maison Bertet in Los Angeles.

Both chairs use a high-density foam for the seat and back cushion, but the knockoff has wood supports inside the cushion. The Kartell chair does not. In a side-by-side test, Mademoiselle provides a more comfortable sitting experience, with a back that offers more flex. 


Heath Ceramics versus Noritake

Klein Reid ceramic books versus Z Gallerie

Togo by Ligne Roset versus a low-cost lookalike

-- David A. Keeps

Photos: Kartell, Maison Bertet

The Look for Less appears on Tuesdays. For an easy way to follow future installments, join our Facebook page dedicated to home design.