The History of Toile

The History of Toile

Creative Living

by Katie Kime

In a small town on the route between Versailles and Paris, nestled alongside a freshwater river, a Swiss-German artist set up the first toile factory. Over the next half century, he would produce more than 30,000 toile designs, making the style popular around the world, notably with the French monarchy and Marie Antoinette herself.

From the Rococo to the Neoclassical, from scientific advancements to societal shifts, toile designs told the story of the times.

At Katie Kime, we see toile through a similar lens. We partner with local tastemakers and long-time residents to bring to life the essence of a place in each of our city toile designs. From historical monuments to cheeky icons and favorite hangouts to the tiniest flora and fauna details, each element is thoughtfully chosen to tell the story of the places that have so much significance and meaning to so many. 

We began our city toile journey in our hometown of Austin, Texas, and have now created toile designs for major cities like New York and Chicago and for smaller places that are no less special, like Marfa and the Hamptons. We started working on our City Toile project more than six years ago, and today, we have designs in just 15 cities.

It’s a longer process than I think most people realize. It would have been easy to just google places and churn out a dozen designs every year, but we care much more about the quality of something than the quantity. We spend so much time choosing the place, doing our own research, and then meeting with local residents before we ever embark on the design process.

I’m so proud of our city toile collection because of what it means to our community and how it allows people to tell their story through the places that have shaped them. I started this brand over 10 years ago because of a passion for print and expression. I love that our toile collection continues to pay homage to this centuries-old technique of storytelling. At the end of the day, whether it’s through our monogram shop, city toile prints, or any of our other prints or pieces, Katie Kime has always been and will always be about telling your story.