2020 was the year our appearances mattered the least. There were no parties to go to, no fancy dinners, no 500-person weddings. Yet, ironically, wall mirror interest skyrocketed. CB2 reported that mirrors were their most-searched home product, with over 4 million inquiries. 1stDibs saw a double digit increase in mirror searches overall, and a triple digit increase for one in particular: the “Ultrafragola” designed by Ettore Sottsass for Poltronova. (Celebrity owners include Lena Dunham and Bella Hadid.) Meanwhile, New York Design Center says they, too, have “seen an uptick in mirror sales” at their brick-and-mortar outpost, The Gallery at 200 Lex.
Accordingly, it’s not the plain-framed, rectangular wall mirrors that are trending. Rather, it’s more decorative ones that double as aesthetic accents. “They’re statement pieces,” Erman explains. Emily B. Collins, the director of New York Design Center’s The Gallery at 200 Lex, agrees: “Most people that shop The Gallery at 200 Lex aren’t necessarily looking for round mirror to check their reflection or do their makeup in, but to instead act as an alternative to art.”
And then there’s the problem that plagues so many of us—the too-blank wall: “If your room is lacking in personality and needs a little somethin’ something’, an ornate or highly decorative mirror can add a lot of flair without making your space feel busy,” she says.
Below, shop a curated selection of our 15 rectangle mirror.
Designed Specifically for Women
The Daily Mail’s success in reaching out to this relatively untapped female market encouraged Harmsworth to think that there was room for a whole newspaper dedicated to women. Accordingly, he launched the Daily Mirror in November 1903 with an all-female staff under the editorship of Mary Howarth. The Mirror’s first issue declared that the paper would not be ‘a mere bulletin of fashion, but a reflection of women’s interests, women’s thought, women’s work’, covering ‘the daily news of the world’ and ‘literature and art’ as well as the ‘sane and healthy occupations of domestic life’.1 Gendering sections within a newspaper was one thing: gendering the whole paper was another. The mainstream market was not yet ready for a women’s daily newspaper, at least not in this form. The Mirror struggled to find a consistent tone and identity, and seemed caught between being a magazine and a newspaper. As its circulation plummeted, the oval mirror was rescued only when Harmsworth removed the female staff, handed over the editorship to the experienced journalist Hamilton Fyfe, and turned it into an illustrated paper – as which it was a major success, becoming the first daily to rival the readership levels of the Mail. The illustrated Mirror was keen to display the female body: the front page of the first relaunched issue was dominated by a sketch of the Parisian actress Madeleine Carlier, who, tantalisingly, had just won a court case after breaching her contract by refusing to wear an ‘immodest dress’.2 In 1908, the paper claimed that 15,000 women had submitted pictures for its competition to find ‘the most beautiful woman in the world’; each received a certificate of merit.3 These traditional gender stereotypes were even more evident under the proprietorship of Alfred Harmsworth’s brother Harold, Lord Rothermere, between 1914 and 1936. Although the Mirror enthusiastically accepted the enfranchisement of (most) women over 30 in 1918, ten years later Rothermere became preoccupied that the proposed equalisation of the franchise at age 21 would lead to lots of young women voting for the Labour Party, considerably weakening the forces of conservatism. ‘Stop The Flapper Votes Folly - This is Not The Time For Rash Constitutional Innovations’ declared the paper in April 1927, and, like Rothermere’s other paper, the Mail, resisted the proposal until it sailed through the House of Commons the following year.9 Rothermere also became sympathetic to the hyper-masculine fascist dictators, Mussolini and Hitler, and in 1934 swung the arched mirror (and the Mail) behind Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists. For all the press attention on the achievements and freedoms of the ‘modern young women’ of the 1920s and 1930s, underlying attitudes to gender remained resilient.