Monday, April 21, 2014

David Hicks and Petulia



I recently spent a rainy afternoon watching the 1968 movie, Petulia.  Starring Julie Christie, George C. Scott, and Richard Chamberlain, the movie takes place in the swinging and psychedelic San Francisco of the late 1960s.  Christie played Petulia Danner, a young, glamorous wife who is, to borrow her phrase, a kook.  ("Kook" is really putting it mildly.)  Recently married to a wealthy, handsome, and violently abusive man (portrayed by Chamberlain,) Petulia embarks on an affair with Scott's character, a doctor going through a mid-life crisis.  The film's story unfolds in scattered rather than linear fashion, with flash-backs and flash-forwards (supposedly a novelty at the time) interjecting themselves throughout the movie.  Adding to the slightly chaotic film sequences are the acid-like, psychedelic images that flash up on the screen every now and then, set to the accompaniment of music by Janis Joplin and the Grateful Dead, all of whom make cameo appearances.

In a 2006 New York Times article about Petulia's release on DVD, Dave Kehr wrote that the movie was originally "released to largely uncomprehending audiences."  Had I been an adult watching Petulia in 1968, I would have been one of those uncomprehending viewers, and in fact, I'm uncomprehending in 2014.  The movie is too weird and, well, too kooky for me.  And the Janis Joplin/ Grateful Dead soundtrack does absolutely nothing for me.  But I really didn't watch this movie for its plot or to see a young Richard Chamberlain.  Rather, I watched it because David Hicks served as design consultant on the movie.

    

I had once read that Hicks was responsible for two rooms on the film's set, and I believe that both rooms were set in the home of Petulia and her husband.  The first Hicks room that makes an appearance is the Danners' living room.  You can see a glimpse of it in the photo below:



By the way, just what are those blue flowers? They look like blue carnations or mums.







In the three photos above, you can see a number of Hicks hallmarks, including bergères covered in bright blue, solid-colored fabric (which, along with the room's contemporary painting, cobalt glass collection, and shelves of blue books, punctuates the room with the color,) skirted, triangular-shaped sidetables, and a number of tablescapes.

But perhaps even more "Hicks-like" than the living room is the Danners' bedroom, in which one of Hicks's wonderful canopied beds plays a starring role.  (According to Ashley Hicks's most recent book, his father was not happy with the way the Petulia canopy was built, noting that the valance was too shallow.  He was right.)  Such an intense color combination of canary yellow and hot pink is not quite what I would expect in a house in San Francisco, and yet, it's really very striking.  Christie's bright yellow robe only adds to the intensity of color.  And I'm crazy for the pink fabric that lines the bed hangings.  Do you think it is a highly-glazed cotton?  It looks too shiny to be silk.





 Who knew that one could be so pensive while serving orange juice?

Although I wouldn't rate Petulia a movie classic, it is a rather interesting film.  If you love the swinging sixties and the music that went along with it, then you might well enjoy this movie.  And for those of us who don't, let's just appreciate the beauty and vitality of these David Hicks-designed  rooms...and the beauty and vitality of a young Richard Chamberlain, too.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Carrie Donovan's Fashionable Lair



I long admired the style of fashion editor Carrie Donovan, whose Gobstopper-sized pearls, exaggerated eyeglasses, and Old Navy commercials helped to elevate the fashion maven to legend-status. So I was especially excited when I found these photos of Donovan's Manhattan apartment, circa 1975. Yes, her apartment might look a little wild and wacky today, but these photographs were published in the mid-1970s, a time when flamboyance and colorful personalities were the norm rather than the exception in fashionable society. And remember, this was also the era when Donovan wore modish turbans, and anyone who wears a turban must have a flair-filled home to match.

What is most notable about this apartment is Donovan's highly-enthusiastic use of one fabric throughout her apartment: a tulip-print cotton by Gloria Vanderbilt.  The fabric covered most of Donovan's living room furniture, including banquettes, slipper chairs, and tables.  In fact, Donovan was so enamored of this tulip print that she is shown wearing it in her portrait by artist Ben Morris.  (You can see the portrait in the photo directly below the text.)  The splashy red fabric must have served as a snappy backdrop for some very fashionable entertaining.

And then, in a design move reminiscent of Donovan's mentor, Diana Vreeland, Donovan chose the same tulip-print cotton  for her bedroom, although there, the fabric's vivid red coloration gave way to a white background.  (If you'll recall, Vreeland also used a single fabric, a floral chintz, in both her "Garden in Hell" living room and her bedroom, although in her boudoir, she chose the blue colorway rather than the red version used in her living room.) The effect is much sweeter and more soothing than the living room's zesty shade of red.

Did Donovan borrow this design idea from Vreeland?  I'm not certain.  But what I do know is that Donovan lived in an apartment whose style was almost as big as her persona- and those ubiquitous eyeglasses and pearls, of course.






All photos from Home Decorating by House Beautiful, Spring 1975.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Spring Book Releases





The Spring book release season is in full swing, and two recent publications have captured my attention: One Man's Folly: The Exceptional Houses of Furlow Gatewood by Julia Reed and Linens by Jane Scott Hodges.  I am sure that most of you are at the very least familiar with these two books, but for those who might not be aware of them, let me give you an introduction to both.

One Man's Folly is a photographic tour of the Americus, Georgia compound of designer Furlow Gatewood.  I use the word "compound" as Gatewood has peppered his spacious property with houses and outbuildings that are decorated in Gatewood's inimitable style.  Each room is filled with comfortable fabrics and furnishings mixed with interesting objects and inherited treasures.  The result are interiors that are well-mannered and genteel yet carefree and easy-going, all attributes which speak to Gatewood's Southern upbringing as well as the property's South Georgia location.  With text written by Julia Reed, one of my favorite Southern writers, One Man's Folly is a worthy addition to one's library.

Then there is Linens by Jane Scott Hodges, who is the founder and owner of Leontine Linens.  Hodges's book is also a photographic tour, one that captures Leontine's famous linens in use in some very swell interiors.  Alongside copious interior photos are designer tips on decorating and living with linen as well as information on linen basics.  If you have a passion for linen, then this book should be right up your alley.

*To purchase a copy of One Man's Folly, visit Amazon or Barnes & Noble. For Linens, visit Barnes & Noble or Amazon.

One Man's Folly:





Linens:





All photos used with permission of Rizzoli.  One Man's Folly by Julia Reed, Rizzoli publisher; Linens by Jane Scott Hodges, Rizzoli publisher.

Monday, April 14, 2014

What's in Store at Hollyhock



A few weeks ago, I visited one of my favorite shops, Hollyhock, where Suzanne Rheinstein and the Hollyhock gang hosted a book signing party for me.  It was such a treat to see old friends, meet new ones, and peruse- no, make that swoon over- all of Hollyhock's treasures.  The work of Vladimir, Christopher Spitzmiller, Frances Palmer, Livia Cetti, and Scanlon Apparati caught my eye, as did all of the beautiful antiques that look anything but old-fashioned.  (Stay tuned for a future blog post about Scanlon Apparti, a line with which I'm currently obsessed.)  To say that Hollyhock carries the best of the best is an understatement.

I took a few photos to show you what is currently in stock at Hollyhock. To see more of what Hollyhock carries, or to inquire about anything you see here, please visit its website.




Book signing party invitations displayed amongst pieces made by Frances Palmer.





A bookcase filled with decorative paper objects made by the talented Beth Scanlon of Scanlon Apparati



A Scanlon Apparati diorama letter holder with notepads by The Printery






I marveled over these diorama wall hangings by Scanlon Apparti.





Porcelain flowers by the famous Vladimir




A shell pot with mussel lid, one of a pair



This piece has a very interesting provenance. Frances Elkins refashioned a George III japanned dressing mirror (c. 1770) by adding a silvered, carved wood stand and crest to it. The addition dates to the 1930s. This piece once resided in the Ladies Powder Room at the Kersey Coates Reed house, which was one of David Adler's best known houses.




A bevy of blue and white ceramicware




Detail of a charming trompe l'oeil-style table




Yet another charming vignette




A black paper Hollyhock planted in a vintage pot, which was made by artist Livia Cetti


Photos are the copyright of Jennifer Boles for The Peak of Chic

Thursday, April 10, 2014

One Night in Bangkok


Actually, make that one night at ADAC, although it certainly felt like Bangkok.  Jim Thompson recently celebrated the grand opening of their fabulous new Atlanta showroom, which is their first in North America. And in keeping with the company's Thai roots, the folks of Jim Thompson made sure to give the party Thai flair.  There was Thai silk, Thai food, and even a Thai tuk-tuk, into which my friend Barry and I crammed our too-tall bodies.

I had hoped to take some photos of the showroom, but it was jam-packed with guests having a really good time.  So instead, I'll show you official images of Jim Thompson's new Spring collections.  The Temple of Dawn collection, which is named for a Bangkok landmark, includes some beautiful silks and breezy cottons and linens.  Their new outdoor collection, aptly named Singing in the Rain, is made up of acrylic fabrics that can withstand the rigors of outdoor living.

If you're planning a trip to ADAC anytime soon, please stop by the new Jim Thompson showroom.  The tuk-tuk may no longer be there, but beautiful fabrics await you.

Temple of Dawn collection:

Deva- linen, Lurex, viscose



Ampawan- linen, cotton, viscose


Benja- linen


Screen and curtains: Arun-linen


Chair: Pathum- silk, linen, viscose


Singing in the Rain Collection:


Deluge- acryliic





Stream- acrylic



Torrent- acrylic

Fabric photos courtesy of Jim Thompson Fabrics