Put a Dash of Chinoiserie in it!
Trends in Interior Design come and go. I’m fascinated by the ones that seem to take on a life of their own. In 2011, the web based show “Portlandia” starring SNL alum Fred Armison aired a hilarious sketch titled “Put A Bird On It” that perfectly encapsulated the compulsion to put a bird on practically every bowl, pillow and craft object sold on sites and shops like ETSY.
Put A Bird On It – “Portlandia” video
Bird motifs have been used in the decorative arts for thousands of years.
While we’re on the bird theme, I have to pay tribute to a classic film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, “The Birds”. Released in 1963, the film stars the beautiful and effortlessly glamorous Tippi Hedren as Melanie Daniels (Tippi named her daughter/actress Melanie Griffith after her character) , Rod Taylor as Mitch Brenner and Suzanne Pleshette as the school teacher and former lover of Mitch Brenner.
Hitchcock made an appearance in every single one of the films he directed, whether in person or in a photograph as he did in the movie “Lifeboat”. Hitchcock also liked to employ “McGuffins” in all of his films. A McGuffin referred to an object used as a plot device. In “Dial M For Murder”, the McGuffin was a spare key.
Trends in cuisine often mirror trends in Interior Design, hence the “Put an Egg on It” trend that seemed to follow in the footsteps of “Put a Bird On It”
For decades, Koreans have enjoyed a dish called Bibimbap served in a bowl it contains a segregated compilation of pickled vegetables, rice and a protein topped off with a sunny side up egg. I have to wonder if Bibimbap served as the inspiration for the current “Put An Egg On It” craze in American cuisine.
Back to Interiors!
Some trends manage to evolve into a defined style. In 1923, Dorothy Draper formed Dorothy Draper & Company, the first Interior Design Firm in the United States. Dorothy was known for her use of bold colors and her mix of modern elements with Classical design which resulted in the style “Modern Baroque”.
In the 1930’s, Dorothy Draper’s Modern Baroque style became known as “Hollywood Regency” more than likely due to its popularity amongst Hollywood actors. Hollywood actor turned Interior Designer, William Haines, played a significant role in shaping the Hollywood Regency Look into what we recognize today with his low to the floor seating designed to make the inhabitants appear “grander”. He often used a “dash of Chinoiserie” as so aptly pointed out on the blog “Decor to Adore” where Laura wrote a wonderful article on Hollywood Regency – Decor to Adore / Hollywood Regency
Interior Designer’s Kelly Wearstler and Mary McDonald were both heavily influenced by Dorothy Draper and Hollywood Regency, bringing their own unique twist to the genre.
There’s a great post about Dorothy Draper in the blog, “The Glam Pad” – All Hail Dorothy Draper. There’s another highly entertaining and informative post on designer William Haines in the blog “Outside Left” titled “Hollywood Modernist: WILLIAM HAINES”
Trends that become oversaturated are the ones that in my opinion, need to either die or go into hibernation. White Moroccan Shag rugs with black diamond patterns are for me are one of those trends. Initially unique, these rugs are now reproduced by every home goods store known to man. That being said, the original, Vintage examples of these rugs will forever be cool and relevant.
A source of inspiration that shows no sign of slowing down are Scandinavian Interiors. With their white walls, light floors, earth toned palettes and leafy plants it’s clear to see where the style “Boho Chic” drew its inspiration from.
Mid Century Furniture in Vintage and Retro form remains a go to choice for high and low furniture seekers. I do see the trend moving towards mixing Mid Century pieces as opposed to going full Mad Men.
A good example of mixing a mid century piece or two can be seen is this interior from Apartment Therapy. The 1950’s Eames shell chairs look lovely with the antique farm table and contemporary Capiz Shell Chandelier.
I’ve also noticed a growing trend in the utilization of bright colors, green in particular. I think it’s a great way to tie disparate pieces from different eras together.
I, like William Haines am a big fan of adding a dash of Chinoiserie. It has to be the right piece and I always err on the side of antique or vintage.
What are some trends you’d like to see “take a break” or “die out”? What trends are you excited about?