Scalamandre’s Iconic Prancing Zebras

Scalamandre is a company known for creating fabrics, trims, wall coverings and furnishings of the highest quality. Many people who may not recognize the Scalamandre name will be familiar with its iconic zebra print. In 1945, the company created red wallpaper featuring prancing zebras for the newly opened Gino of Capri restaurant in New York City. (Gino’s closed in 2010). Based on original artwork by Flora Scalamandre, this wallpaper has appeared in the films “Mighty Aphrodite” and “The Royal Tenenbaums” and on the pages of numerous shelter magazines. Janet Brown Interiors offers pillows, umbrellas and napkins featuring the prancing zebras, as well as a full range of wallpapers and fabrics created by Scalamandre.


Scalamandre zebras wallcovering. Photo from Wes Anderson’s film, “The Royal Tenenbaums,” featuring Angelica Huston. “Wallpaper Your Home the Wes Anderson Way” by Patricia Garcia. Edited by Mieke ten Have. Vogue.

If you look carefully at the photos in this post, you will note that the smaller zebras in the Gino’s and “The Royal Tenenbaum’s” wallcoverings are missing a rear stripe. Since “perfection was believed to be bad luck,” some of Gino’s customers thought the stripe was omitted on purpose (Source: The New York Times). The original omission actually was unintentional, but there was no time to re-do the screens before the restaurant’s opening, so zebras with missing stripes went on Gino’s wall. Later versions of the print feature fully-striped zebras.


Gwyneth Paltrow as Margot Tenenbaum in Wes Anderson’s “The Royal Tenenbaums.” Photo via Paper. “5 Under $50: Wes Anderson Edition,” Paper (May 5, 2012).


“Gino, a Manhattan gastronomic icon, is celebrated for its segreto (secret) sauce, its veal and peppers and its zebras — on the walls, not the menu.” Photography by Roe Ethridge. “That’s Italian!” by Anthony Haden-Guest. Home Design, The New York Times Magazine.


“The powder room’s wallpaper is by Scalamandre, the medicine cabinet is by Restoration Hardware, and the granite sink has Waterworks fittings.” New York City apartment. Interior design by Miles Redd. Renovation architects: Dick Bories and James Shearron. Photography by Miguel Flores-Vianna. “A Glamorous Renovation” by Mitchell Owens. Elle Decor (December 2009).


“Wallpaper with leaping zebras and shimmering golden accents – mirror, fixtures, and lighting – jazz up the powder room.” Wallpaper: “Zebras”/Safari Brown by Scalamandre. San Francisco Edwardian built in 1900. Home of Anna and Mason Morfit. Interior design by Melissa Warner, Massucci Warner Miller. Renovation architects: Robert Stiles and Charlie Barnett. Photography by Werner Straube. “Colorful and Stylish Family Home” written and produced by Sabine Rothman. Traditional Home (April 2010).


Le Zebre Rouge Pillow by Scalamandre. Right facing.


Le Zebre Rouge Pillow. Left facing. 


Scalamandre umbrellas. Photo via Scalamandre’s Facebook page.

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This nightshirt is not by Scalamandre, but the zebras are fun, just the same!


Look from Proenza Schouler. “Fall 2014 Runway Report.” Photo via Harper’s Bazaar website.


“Ball dress with zebra-effect draped chiffon bodice and duchess satin skirts, fall 1987. This dress exemplifies the incredible technique of the Valentino haute couture workrooms in Rome. The illusion of zebra has been created by using different tones of chiffon finely pleated in a technique that Valentino learned from Jean Desses, the mid-century Paris-based couturier (he was Alexandrian Greek) with whom he apprenticed. It takes miraculous skill, and no one else can drape like this now. I have this same model in my collection and what you can’t see in this photograph is that the skirts are buoyed up by several layers of duchess satin underskirt, each one to match a shade of the chiffon used in the bodice. Only the client will know, or someone who catches a glimpse as the wearer sweeps her skirts up a little to glide down the staircase of her palazzo in Rome, Seville, Paris, or on Fifth Avenue. That is the essence of real couture: hidden luxury.” Photo: Courtesy of Valentino via Vogue. “The Hamishsphere: The Top Ten Looks from the Valentino Archives” by Hamish Bowles. Vogue.


“A pale gray lacquer paired with crisp white trim and a graphic papered interior (Scalamandre’s Zebras), wakes up a faded but handsomely proportioned cabinet.” Photography by Erica George Dines. “Instant Furniture Makeovers,” Southern Living.


Hand-Painted Zebra Pillow by Scalamandre.

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Napkins featuring the Scalamandre zebra. Also available with red background.


Scene from “The Royal Tenenbaums.” Photo via Design Sponge. “Living In: The Royal Tenenbaums” by Amy Merrick. Design Sponge (October 2011).


Le Zebre Rouge Dogbed Pillow by Scalamandre. Photo via Scalamandre website.

Post by Kathleen Sams Flippen for Janet Brown Interiors.

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4 comments on “Scalamandre’s Iconic Prancing Zebras
  1. Jennie Dotts says:


  2. Pirate says:

    one of my faves!

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