Madame Castaing (1896-1992) created the most influential decorating style to emerge in the post-war period. She opened her first shop during the Occupation in rue Cherche-Midi, but she is forever identified with the unchanging black-painted premises at the corner of rue Jacob and rue Bonaparte in the heart of the Bohemian left bank quarter of Paris, where she lived and had her business from 1947.
Madame Castaing invented the neo-nineteenth-century look, a mixture of Neo-classical, Beidermeier and Regency styles combined with judicious use of the capitonné upholstery of the Second Empire. She was responsible for making English mahogany chic, for mixing museum-quality antique pieces with the bibelots, lamps and cache-pots which were once to be found in markets. The effect was remote from either the austere scholarship of the English Regency Revival or the claustrophobic stage-setting of 'Victoriana'.