The History of Bali Chic

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

After a weekend with friends in beautiful Bali, I have decided that the term Bali Chic could not be more true! I was so taken with the creative spirit and energy the Balinese devote to everything they do. The island is full of inspired and unique furniture, stone sculpture, architecture, accessories, fashion, restaurants, artist studios and galleries. Bali is one of the thousands of islands which make up Indonesia and since the 1920’s it has been a has been a haven for western tourists seeking to explore its distinct culture. The international attention began with the arrival of many western artists in the 1920’s, and Bali became an artist colony of sorts, the most notable being German painter Walter Spies and Dutch artist Rudolf Bonnet. In the 1930’s a stream of fashionable and famous visitors such as Charlie Chaplin and anthropologist Margaret Mead encouraged the artistic development of the island.
Artist Walter Spies in Bali in the 1950s with Gela Forster, the photo was taken by Rudolf Bonnet! Very dramatic!  

Bali Life by Rudolf Bonnet, dated 1950, done in pastels on paper. The piece was sold in 2007 at Christie's Hong Kong.

The majority of the population practices Balinese Hinduism which is a unique combination of local beliefs Hindu influences. The island is dotted with thousands of puras or temples and personal shrines, which adorn almost every home and business. They are all beautifully decorated with intricately folded palm leafs, traditional black and white fabric, flowers and small offerings of fruits and cookies. I snapped a few photos of ones I passed!

While all this sounds very official and serious, the spirit and vivacity of the culture is felt in all the design and art here! It’s a kind of effortless, breezy, inspired chic . . . Bali Chic!
I will post more inspirations from my time in Bali in the days to come! 

Please note: wikipedia,, were referenced for this post! The photograph of Walter Spies is from the collection of the Tropenmuseum in Holland.

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