Rewind back in movie time, and imagine glamorous silver screen starlets from the bygone days of Hollywood, gracefully slinking down sensational stairways in head-to-toe satin. These stunning scenes created instant movie magic, symbolizing the height of Art Deco. Silent movies left their audiences simply speechless with glamour that regularly radiated from Hollywood’s stunning sweethearts. The talkies then took this “glam” trend into the 30’s and early 40’s.
These screen sirens were always perfectly coiffed and wearing sparkling, hand beaded couture. Pearls, satin, shimmery touchiere lampshades, winding heavenly staircases, golden light, silver wall coverings, and marble galore were common themes in these smoky vignettes.
Reflecting on this gilded age of style and design influence, Donna Overly, partner and designer with Vogue Interiors muses, “When a client is considering this extraordinary era of time for an Art Deco design project, I feel it is incredibly important to provide some element of historical reference for this very unique concept. Art Deco itself remained popular for several decades. Initially, the era began in Paris during the turn-of-the century and into the roaring 20’s.”
Donna continues, “This was a highly influential and inspirational fashion movement offering a light of hope, which lasted through the decades. It was a world of style that took us out of our doldrums, into a brighter, more luxurious place. It simply made us feel good”.
Overly adds, “This era surfaced the intrinsic state-of mind inner call, “I want to be her”, satisfying a basic human desire. Whether here or abroad, the reality of everyday life sent people scurrying to Sunday afternoon at the movies. They fully expected to be transported into a world that was an exciting and elegant escape from the grim realities of the surrounding world.”
Overly continues, “Glamour Gals from this gilded age required a bold background to perfectly frame their grand entrance. Movie making was an art form that perfectly framed the extraordinary beauty and exquisite elegance of Hollywood’s sensational ingénues. No single design element distracted the eye from their breathtaking beauty! The audience was allowed to live vicariously, being swept away from surrounding serious world issues and personal worries”.
So how does one re-create this glamorous look in your own home? Donna suggests, “The Art Deco look is certainly brave, bold, and beyond chic in its own right. Its basic, simplistic style and clean lines allow for real intimacy; the real focus is then on the individual”.
“In some ways,” Overly comments, “this is a more difficult design concept to create and achieve because of the very nature of its abstract simplicity. It is a very clean design, calling for the bold use of textured materials and other features, such as the use of stark black and white. Bright ‘lipstick red’ pops within this landscape, a feature that adds life, as well as another dramatic design element.”
“During that time period, there was not an excessive use plants or other furnishings that would detract from the basic simplistic design. The use of chrome was quite popular. The elements of design were absolutely crisp, and purposeful. Elaborate wall sconces, zebra stripes, and dramatic sculptures. Perhaps, highly lacquered black furniture on equally high gloss floors.”
So, what could be more inviting than rich ivory satin bedding, to contrast with a highly lacquered black dressing table, sumptuous velvet tufted chaise lounge and other dramatic furnishings to beckon you into a new boudoir? Gold gilded wall sconces mounted on silvery silk wall coverings or metallic glazed paint will also help ‘set the scene’ for recapturing this era.
Marble tiles in the bath can be paired with glossy, over sized Art Deco era vanities. Add large mirrors flanked with more gold gilded sconces, then blend billowy shower curtains into this marvelous mix. Silver hardware or chrome will bring added shine and sparkle to the bath. Add an antique dressing screen for additional privacy. After all, Art Deco was all about the ‘art of dressing.’
Other home entertaining areas can emulate the era with trademark sweeping sofas in shimmery fabrics, or tufted Chesterfield sofas paired with Art Deco ivory or black leather chairs. Set the stage with a large area rug that evokes the style of this era. Accents such as peacock feathers, palms, and modern white calla lilies or tulips also work as well.
In an era when entertaining in the home was king, do not overlook a long, high sheen dining room table that properly reflects flickering candlelight and the sparkling crystal chandelier from above. A corner chrome and burl wood bar can also showcase other detailed objects of the era: silver cigarette cases, martini shakers—design details that not only tie us to the past somehow, but also tell us a story of a more glamorous and romantic era.
24520 Production Circle, Suite 5
Bonita Springs, Florida 34135
By Maria Elena Coccari