Monday, July 26, 2010

To Eames or not to (Faux) Eames

I am almost always in Camp Save-Your-Money-Until-You-Can-Buy-Exactly-What-You-Want-Because-If-You-Buy-A-Lesser-Version-You-Will-Ultimately-Be-Unhappy.  Follow that? 

What I mean is, I always recommend that you really identify that special piece of furniture, lighting, household renonvation, etc. and squirrel away your cash until you can bring the exact vision to a reality as opposed to spending half the money (still money, mind you!) and, ultimately, being disappointed.  Mind you, I love a great thrift and certainly do not think that high dollar always equals high style.  What I think, though, is that settling in your choices (because of price differentials or geographic limitations or "I want it now!") is not the route you want to take.   Overall, quality is almost always the victor. 

The problem comes in, of course, when an item is either so highly priced for your budget that you will likely never be able to save up the cash to afford it and, even if you had the cash, you would simply not be able to rationalize spending that sum on the particular item.  (I am being realistic, not pessimistic here....)

Enter my personal conundrum.

I really don't know how long I have pined for the DWR Eames Lounger (and Ottoman, of course) in ivory and walnut.  The absolute cheapest version of it retails for $3,899.00 (not including tax or shipping), but can range as high as $6,899.00 with various bells and whistles. 

Do I give up the dream and accept that I will only be able to visit the lounger at the DWR store or at friends' homes forever OR do I act as I usually do and attempt to capture the look for less (without cheaping out...)?

Knock offs are so utterly frowned upon in the design world and I, of course, understand why.  I certainly do not even want to start or engage in the great knock-off debate that so often rears its controversial head.  I do, however, want to show you this.

This guy could be purchased from Euro Moderno for $879.00 (minus $100.00 with a coupon code) plus free shipping.  It apparently is made of 100% real Italian leather and the wooden shell is walnut.  It comes in ivory, too. 

I am throwing this out there and want to hear from you.  Should I foresake my inner design purist and grasp at the closest version to the Eames Lounger I will ever have or completely scrap it because it just ain't the real thing? 



P.S. To give you further character insight, I have always refused to buy knock off bags, sunglasses, etc., either foregoing them all together or saving my pennies for the real deal.  Are these the same things? 


  1. A toughy. I am in the same dilemma. I do not have the cash or space for the Eames but my dream replacement for Mead's Man Chair is yours as well. Might I suggest a vintage Eames(original!), perhaps that needs re-covering? You can buy a replacement cover! The long and the short is you would love it forever, and you'll own it forever!

    P.S. I have been meaning to ask you this for a while. Can we please discuss Betty Draper's "re-designed" living room, pre-fainting sofa?! Deep purple grass cloth(LOVE), orange accents, LuLu-esque bamboo fabi? There is a serious attention to color in that show...makes me love it more!

  2. I know NOTHING, but based on what you said (and my own personal opinion), I think you should hold out.

  3. I disagree. I own an original eames in walnut and black leather. I also 6 knock off eames dining chairs, a knock off saarinen marble dining table, and all are beautiful editions to our home. We buy based on need and budget in the moment. Sometimes we can splurge and afford an original, and other times we just make due with the beauty of the design and the mediocre longevity of the fake. Dont hold out. You only live once, might as well enjoy the moment.

  4. In this case, if you have a gimlet eye, you will know how "fake" the fake looks - or not. I'd have to at least win the lottery to spend that much on the chair, even though it's gorgeous. I would keep thinking what else I could have spent it on. The faux looks pretty authentic to me, at least in the photo. If it's good enough, why wait on the original? By the time you can afford it, something else might have come along. KS

  5. Knock-off is not a dirty word ha ha.
    Buying an original does not make your character any better either.
    I think it's great that there are choices for every budget.
    At perch. we have to deal with all the Kartell knock-offs being sold locally. The entire line hasn't been knocked off yet, so we just carry those things.
    I believe in design for the masses, not just for the few who can afford nice things.
    But if you are lucky enough to have the money to get luxury items, go for it.
    I don't think in this case you will be unhappy with the homage to the chair you want.
    I had a vintage (1970's) knock-off of this chair ha ha that I got on eBay for $175. I sold it when my taste changed for $400.
    Lots of people enjoyed that knock-off.
    Let us know when you get your fab chair!
    xo xo

  6. These two chairs look exactly alike to the untrained eye. What's the difference... the name on the tag. So do you want to pay under $1,000 for a look that you love or over $4,000 for a name that you love. The pro to the Eames chair is that it will probably appreciate over time and your grandchildren could sell it for more than you bought it for. However, you might not be able to buy it until you have grandchildren so why wait for the name when the fabulous look can be yours today?

  7. To quote Shakespeare..."What's in a name?" I love me some brand names, but am willing to forgo it for a design I love. In this case, the cheaper version is still awesome looking. Plus, it might better serve you when there will someday be a toddler waddling around the house with paint/peanut butter/god only knows what else on his or her fat little fingers!!

  8. Thanks for all of the feedback! I think Vamp definitely summarized my thoughts/fears to a tee. I wouldn't want to screw over amazing local places like Perch, but will never have the luxury of buying the "real deal." I think my mind is made up. STAY TUNED!! Love to Gimlet Nation!

  9. As a proud owner of a "cheaper version" of the Barcelona chair, I say go for it. I think sometimes you have to compromise to achieve the look you want...

  10. Buy the fake, save the money, and go on a fab vacation!
    Or may I suggest looking for a quality, similar looking chair that costs less. You will have the benefit of uniqueness and not have knock off anxiety.

  11. I think I can say I appreciate the real deal, quality scenario. That being said, who will notice? I think I am with KS and Visual Vamp...there are times for the real thing and times when you can pull it off. Does the sub look and feel similar to the untrained eye? If you get the sub, will it bother you every time you look at it? If not, I say go for the lesser version. I do this on occasion and have a weird sense of "trickery" and pride when someone complements said item and doesn't know it came from, say, Target. :)

  12. This is tricky! I agree with faux purses/shoes. Fake items that get used always wear and tear and show their true identity. But the chair....on one hand you will have it forever but would you ever get sick of it? I bet this knock-off chair is just as comfy. Think about great is their furniture? Buy the cheap one and see if it has a return policy. If you like it then also go get a pair of Jimmy Choos since you saved all the $$ on the Eames. :)

  13. I am with the same dilemma. My choices are a real good knock off for $2100 CAD or the real deal for $3200CAD (all after taxes). The knock off is very good but the difference is $1100. Other knock offs look cheap but given the "small" difference, would you still go for the knock off? Are you happy with your knock off? I have fake EAMES ABC stools but real Le Corbusier LC7 dining chairs. Happy with all of them.

  14. I am in the exact same boat as you and found the Eames knock-off lounger and ottoman on Euromoderno which lead me to this post. I have always appreciated the work of Eames and a huge fan of the herman miller/DWR version of the chair. With that said personally it was just too hard to justify $4k+ for this piece. I researched every knock-off version of the chair and it came down to this one being the closest in quality. I went ahead and ordered the Euro Moderno chair a week ago. It hasn't shipped yet but I will update everyone on a full comparison of the two chairs when it arrives...