I'm mesmerized by these Cecil Beaton photos, above. Of course, the costumes are really something else, especially that worn by Tilly Losch in the second photo. But what really fascinates me are those backdrops. The top photo (that's Beaton's sister, Baba) looks as though the subject is sitting in front of a wall covered in aluminum foil. And in the Losch photo, the background looks a little more liquidy. I can't quite tell what it is. And despite the fact that both photos are black and white, you can tell that the backdrops are reflective. I love it.
These photos started me on a roll looking for unusual uses of metallics. Of course, one of the most memorable "metallic moments" was Rose Cumming's use of metallic foil on her bedroom's walls. Eccentric, perhaps, but genius as well. And I always thought that the curtains were lamé, but I was wrong. According to Adam Lewis' The Great Lady Decorators: The Women Who Defined Interior Design, 1870-1955 (from which I took this photo), the fabric was actually a silk like that used for saris:
Metallics seem to be a popular choice for tablecloths. Mai Hallingby chose quilted Mylar for her The Tiffany Gourmet Cookbook tablesetting. Very tongue in cheek-or at least I'm assuming. I do think, though, that you would have to wear your sunglasses and sunscreen should you be sitting at a Mylar covered table under the noontime sun.
Sirio Maccioni's tablesetting for Tiffany Taste included a gold lamé tablecloth. Now remember, this is fantasy. I'm not suggesting anyone run out and buy lamé. But...if you wanted to be cheeky and over the top, it could be fun.
If all of this metallic is a bit too obvious, there are other ways to add a little glimmer and shimmer to your rooms. Think polished sterling silver bowls or trays. A not so shiny metallic wallpaper. Gold or silver leafed frames. And let's not forget metallic fabrics. I love those...so much so that I used a Celerie Kemble for Schumacher metallic fabric for my living and dining room curtains.
Glimmer by Schumacher
(Beaton photos taken from Beaton by James Danziger; Cumming photo from The Great Lady Decorators: The Women Who Defined Interior Design, 1870-1955 by Adam Lewis; Hallingby photo from Tiffany Gourmet Cookbook, The and Maccioni picture from Tiffany Taste)