16 December 2007

eeek or chic?

maison21 feels like he's finally arrived on the design blogging scene! no, i'm not referring to habitually chic's gracious post introducing me to the readers of her fabulous blog (though i loved that- it was crazy going from 11 hits one day to hundreds the next- i'll always be grateful, chic!). what i'm refering to is my first hate email- well, i guess hate mail is waaaay too strong a term for a comment left on a recent post that begins "Maison, love you darlink", but it was the first negative comment left on my blog, and i loved it! maison21 has arrived! he has haters!! i knew the post on my love for a bedazzled zebra would befuddle some readers who wouldn't "get" the statue, and i was proved right: here are the comments left by "anonymous":

Maison, love you darlink, but you're better off without the zebra. I'll incur the wrath of all the zombie Wearstler devotees here for saying this, but somebody has to address the elephant in the room: Hollywood regency is over! And all this animal shiz is seriously tacky. Get over your addiction!

Of course bad taste is better than not taste. Yada, yada, yada. But don't waste tears on that zebra. Ugh! I shudder to look at it. That thing looks like it belongs in the Reverend Ted Haggard's apartment.

OMG, I just saw your tiger (cub?)! Yikes! I'm thinking you need a design intervention. [cue Amy Winehouse] There's gotta be a Promises in Malibu for animal tchokes addicts.

where to begin? first of all, anonymous, i'll let you know when something is over! maison21 is THE DECIDER in matters of style! but seriously, much as maison21 hates to be compared to the reverend ted, or to amy winehouse (ouch!), maison21 must admit that "anonymous" does have a point after a fashion- while far from over, the hollywood regency look has been over-exposed, and frequently over-done, as well, but over-over? hardly- not in this decorator's opinion anyway.

maison21 has never been in favor of the hollywood regency label to begin with- it's a little gimmicky and evokes costume-esque connotations. he prefers the style he favors- a mix of chinoiserie, 70's modern, some french 1940's, a little rococo, a dash of deco and a hint of safari exotic- just be labeled "eclectic", though a decidedly glamorous version of "eclectic".
as for the "over-ness" of hollywood regency as a viable decorating style, recently a spread in a national publication featured a home vaguely reminiscent of the style of maison21's own, but not in a good way. the feature caused us to have a crisis of decorating confidence and literally think about getting rid of everything we owned. the crisis passed, thankfully, because after all, it's just decorating- and it's fun! we love what we love, and don't really care to change it because others are using a similar point of view, albeit somewhat less tastefully than we would like. styles of decor fall in and out of fashion, just like everything else and as things become more popular, people without a lot of taste or vision will jump on the bandwagon. but just because someone else is working a similar style, but at a different level of taste, doesn't make everything associated with that same style bad. the current hot trends in decor will change and evolve, and we will all evolve along with them, while along the way we'll learn what to to keep and what to pack away. right now, most of us think ms. wearstler's uber-hot "trellis" fabric & wall paper (above) is absolutely gorgeous, but i betcha in 10 years, we will probably be looking at it and gagging. some people though, will continuously use "trellis" and when it comes back into style in another 10 years, they will be hailed as visionaries, while those that turned our backs on it will look foolish. see what maison21 is getting at here? things go in and out of fashion but style remains, just not always the same style at the same time for the same person. a timeless classic to one person is stuck in a time warp to another.

as to anonymous' admonition "And all this animal shiz is seriously tacky." once again, there is no right or wrong opinion here- that's why we have both modern home and country home publications on the newsstand. this is a situation where you either "get it" or you don't. no right or wrong, no tacky or tasteful. it brings to mind jeff koons' "rabbit"- maison21 thinks it is true genius, a work of transcendent beauty at once both ironic and profound, tacky and sublime. in his fantasy career as an art collector, it is the one sculpture that maison21 would pay anything for (if a koons balloon heart sold recently for $23.6 million, what would a bunny go for? 50 mil? maison21, fantasy billionaire art collector, might even have to sell his private 747 or english country estate to afford a bunny, but he'd do it in a heartbeat- he loves it that much). maison21 can also see the point of people who just don't get the bunny- "it's an inflatable toy cast in steel- big deal". it's pretty easy to miss both the irony and beauty, and just see a toy bunny. not their cup of tea, and they won't be the fool paying 50 million for it.

so when "anonymous" doesn't get maison21's "tiger (cub?)" (sic), m21 doesn't think she's wrong, but that she doesn't have the same frame of reference to appreciate the darling cub (i know, an italian porcelain cheetah cub figurine and a koons' bunny ain't exactly in the same class of "art", but i think you can easily draw a line from one to the other). m21 thinks perhaps ms. wearstler, being approximately that same age as moi-self, probably gets both the irony and the beauty of the cub, which is why she's used similar statues in her interiors (see below). she probably gets the koons' bunny too. as a child, maison21, watched "valley of the dolls" on the late, late movie and thought it was super-chic, only to grow up to discover that it was more campy than glamorous, but still, the aura of glamor of the period can't be denied. and i remember thinking a giant porcelain tiger glimpsed at gump's while visiting san francisco, was the coolest thing i'd ever seen, only to find out as an adult that it was probably aimed at a market with more money than taste. but knowing the tiger is a little tacky doesn't take away it's glam factor, just adds another layer of nuance and appreciation- it's valued for it's beauty and craftsmanship as well as it's slightly dubious origins- the irony is part of the appeal. that might not make sense to some people, but maison21 gets it, and kelly wearstler gets it, and so do many, many, others. "anonymous" doesn't get and that's ok too- anonymous just has a different frame of reference for her design sensibilities, maison21 might not "get" her look either. maison21 says to each their own chic!

and thanks for the comments, "anonymous"- maison21 hopes you'll keep 'em coming!


Suzy said...

Well said! I love that everyone has such different and diverse would be terribly boring if we all lived in the same interior, wouldn't it? And while I'm not much of an animal sculpture collector (not even the fantasty billionaire collector in me), good for you for putting it out there and sticking to your guns!

maison21 said...

thanks, suzy! you are so right- it would be so boring if all interiors were the same. sometimes i love working on projects that don't necessary fall into my personal design idiom- i love taking the maison21 aesthetic and applying it to a different style. it's both challenging and fun, and the results are always broadening for both the client and myself. they get an interior that they weren't quite able to articulate on their own, and i get the opportunity to stretch my design skills in ways i might never do otherwise.

Pigtown-Design said...

Honey... i am three time zones east of you and just did a post on what's "over", too. Hollywood Regency was one thing, as was the whole animal heads in resin, cowhide rugs, and more.

The NY Times has an article today.

Anonymous said...

Dahlink, now it is *I* who has arrived! You've devoted a whole post to me. This is incredibly flattering. First of all let me say, I'm not a hater, I'm a F-A-N.! How could you not see this?

I read you every day and I've been following you for some time now on craiglist. (I can spot a pro on CL a mile away.) Not only am I a fan, but I'm a soon-to-be customer. In fact, I was seriously considering that bamboo secretary. I mean I was looking at it several times a day. Dreaming about it every night. That secretary represented everything I wanted when I was 13! You have no idea how close I came to buying it. (And at the higher price, too!)

I also loved the bronze deer head. I swear I'm going to buy something from you soon. I hope you won't mind that whatever it is I do buy won't be ending up in a dreadful Hollywood Regency interior, though.

Anyway, enjoyed your treatise on animal shiz, Jeff Koons (don't get me started) and Kelly Wearstler. (I can't understand, for the life of me, why this woman has such fervent followers. She's merely copying.) But really, somebody has to say it: this stuff is u-g-l-y. And most people who are decorating in this style are doing it because it's "cool" and as an effort to impress. How else can you explain this trend mushrooming up practically overnight?

As far as Hollywood Regency being over, I'm certainly not the first to say this. But the moment a trend filters down to the lowest common denominator, you know the end is near. Will people in Hollywood cling to their Hollywood Regency interiors once the trend has died down? I seriously doubt it.

As far as me "getting it" don't be so quick to think I don't. I get it alright. In fact, I'm could put a Hollywood Regency room together in a flash if I wanted to. But who wants to live in room full of garish patterns and shocking yellow and black furniture? Not moi!

maison21 said...

hi anonymous!

i know you aren't a hater- i was being tongue in chic :) if i were to ever get REAL hate mail, i probably wouldn't publish it (i moderate my comments for that very reason- it's no fun if things get mean...)

i know you "get it", i just used artistic license to give me material for a post! i knew when i posted about the zebra that lots of people would hate the darn thing (i understand, really!) i just wanted an organic way to introduce the issue. one of my core tenets is that decorating is highly personal, and we all like different things for different reasons- you just provided me with a vehicle to talk about it from another angle. thank you!!!!!!

i definitely agree with you as well on that fact that it's lame when people decorate in a style just because it's trendy. when decor isn't done out of love for that style, rather because it's popular, the results are usually pretty dreadful. the best rooms are always from the heart and the head (and the eye)- when it's personal to a person it TRULY shows.

thanks for the props, and thanks for commenting with a point of view- really, it's appreciated!



Anonymous said...

You're welcome! [kiss-kiss] I'm glad to provide you with post ideas whenever your well runs dry. You simply MUST do a post on this slide show in the L.A. Times on an Eagle Rock house. Truly attrocious. (Especially the part about the little girl's room.) Zebra lovers eat your hearts out!
Btw, this L.A. Times slideshow proves that Hollywood Regency is on its way out. If they think something is cool, you can be sure it's not.

Anyway, give us your thoughts!

Be the change..... said...

I'm glad you kids figured out your differences ;-) I have to agree about loving the 'tongue-in-chic'ness of the over the top christmas tree ornaments are all vaguely tacky hallmark vintage tv show themes and I have a feather boa from Phyllis Diller ( long story ) I use as a tree skirt! My favorite however is a big statue of mary poppins I got at disney has the place of honor in my 'tasteful' living room - which mortifies my friends! Keep it fun!!

All Things Bright and Beautiful... said...

Dear Maison - Under all that glitz, glam and laughter - you really are a thinker - nothing like a bit of tension to bring out our true selves:-)
I'm impressed at your rebuttle. Go get em leopard :-)

And I appreciate that you come and visit my blog - I know its not your style - but I'm chuffed that you visit anyway :-)

Alkemie said...

Dear Maison,

I got here through All Things Brigh and Beautiful's blog. You have wonderful posts and this was an especially fun one to read. Is that last photo a picture of your place? I LOVE that shiny Credenza or chest of drawers. It's beautiful!

maison21 said...

hi alkemie-

welcome! and thanks for your kind words. alas, the photo is not my place. it was lifted from kelly wearstler's website (without permission- don't sue me, kelly!)- it's the interior of a yacht that she designed. i would happily live there though, as it's far nicer than my digs! sadly, my own home is nowhere near that pulled together :(, but we're always working on improving it!

Singerie Design said...

I always thought Hollywood Regency should be called Regency Revival. I think the tacky animals fit with post modern interior design. As modernism can be too starck and sometimes things which have some whimsy and tackiness fit perfect into the interior space and add some softness and humor. However I would not have taken it to the airbrushed version baby lion version. ;)