"What is Hollywood Regency?" I can't tell you how many times I've been asked this question. And to be quite truthful, I'm able to give a vague description of this style, but an informed, detailed answer? No.
That is why I am very excited about the October 2008 release of Regency Redux written by design historian and writer Emily Eerdmans. The book not only describes the aesthetic of the Regency period in England (defined by a "penchant for clean lines and restrained ornament, directly inspired by ancient Greek and Roman architecture, combined with the swagger of the French Empire style"*), but it also explores the various modern interpretations of this style. Of course, I think it would be safe to say that Hollywood Regency is one of the most well-known variations of the Regency look. But the Regency period inspired many other designers outside of Hollywood, including Dorothy Draper, Syrie Maugham, Oliver Messel, Sybil Colefax, and others.
The Regency style continues to influence today's designers, namely Miles Redd, Geoffrey Bradfield, Jacques Grange, and most famously Kelly Wearstler (who has written the book's forward). Their work is featured in "Regency Redux" as well. With lavish photographs and informative text, this book will finally answer the question that has stumped many of us!
(* quotation taken from the book's website- Regency Redux)
This room is stunning! Painted by none other than Rex Whistler, the Painted Room was located in Port Lympne, the home of Sir Philip Sassoon.
Top right: a view of Eltham Palace, built by Stephen and Virginia Courtauld in 1936. Bottom left: A still from the 1936 film Wife vs. Secretary- a great example of Hollywood Regency. Bottom right: A photograph by the late Hoyningen-Huene.
A dressing room with a daybed by Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann and Classical modern lamps by Jean-Michel Frank.
Image at top: Cover of "Regency Redux" with an image of The Greenbrier, decorated by Dorothy Draper