With fame often comes fortune so it comes as no surprise that Hollywood celebrities past and present have found themselves able to not just own fine vintage rugs but avidly collect them. To say it’s common to find Persian rugs and other manners of fine antique carpets in the homes of the celebrity elite is an understatement. In fact, these luxury rugs have almost become synonymous with success. However, some celebrities are more loud and proud about their collections than others.
Frank Sinatra: Frank Sinatra kept his personal life rather guarded but his love for regal shag carpets shone through anyway. Photographs of Sinatra’s home revealed his tastes for beautiful and bold Moroccan shag carpets.
Kanye West: Arguably the biggest name in modern music, Kanye West is a little more open about his private life than the late Sinatra. While West’s Twitter account doesn’t devote an obsessive amount of attention to Persian rugs, he did fire off an infamous tweet accompanied by a photograph of an angel-emblazoned rug in which he exclaimed, “I specifically ordered Persian rugs with cherub imagery! What do I have to do to get a simple Persian rug with cherub imagery? Uuuuugh”. That may be a tall order.
Sigmund Freud: Psychological pioneer Sigmund Freud was a devoted collector of vintage rugs, mostly of Persian and Oriental design. In fact, there are detailed accounts of his arrival in London in 1938 with his extravagant and enormous collection of fine carpets. Much of his collection is on display at the Freud Museum in London to this day, serving as some of the better examples of ornate 19th century handiwork in rug design.
Dave Chapelle: When comedian Dave Chapelle hosted his own regular show on Comedy Central, he’d often begin each episode with a monologue, stood atop an antique rug, often of the Kashan variety. These hand-knotted Iranian rugs may not be the most expensive Persian carpets on the market, but they still make a rather impressive platform on which to deliver stand-up comedy.
Christopher Meloni: Stemming back from a 1995 trip to Turkey, accomplished actor Christopher Meloni has indulged in a passion for collecting Turkish rugs, discussed in an article in Men’s Health Magazine. The Turkish rug may have started Meloni off on his path but he’s expanded his collection to include a variety of fine carpets including rustic Navajo rugs and lavish Persian rugs.
Mark Mothersbaugh: Though not a known collector of antique rugs, Devo frontman Mark Mothersbaugh has poured his seemingly endless creative energy into designing contemporary rugs with a pop art influence. Citing cultural icons such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein as inspiration, Mothersbaugh’s modern art rugs are vibrant, irreverent, and an affordable place to start for the casual rug enthusiast.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: During his long and illustrious professional basketball career, celebrity athlete Kareem Abdul-Jabbar amassed quite the collection of Oriental rugs. In fact, his collection became so vast that recent years have found the sports legend selling some of his carpets.
Ursula Andress: Former model Ursula Andress was the Bond girl that started it all, so it comes as no surprise that she’d have an eye for class. She’s an all-around antique collector who enjoys the chase as much as the acquisition. While Andress is no stranger to flea markets in her hunt for antique gold, we have a feeling that very few of her luxury rugs were procured from bargain bins.
Luckily, you don’t have to be a celebrity to indulge in a collection of vintage rugs. Collections of not just fine carpets but antiques in general are an obsession shared alike by the common man all the way through the top of the A-list. Celebrity rug collectors may have the platform to make their artistic acquisitions known to the public but it’s easy to see, no matter one’s status, that appreciation for the fine knows no boundaries.