Thursday, April 25, 2013
Time May Change Me
While flipping through The New York Times Book of Interior Design and Decoration, I came across the photo above, which depicts a Manhattan living room. It's certainly attractive and elegant, but it's not extraordinary. The furnishings seem very much in keeping with that early to mid-1960s formal style that was just starting to loosen up.
And then, while looking at the pillows on the sofa, something caught my eye. It was my first indication that this apartment belonged to someone with whom we are all familiar. Can you guess?
The pillow at the far right bore the logo of Bill Blass. A little research on the internet confirmed that this was, in fact, the home of Blass. It's far different from his later homes, where strict editing and a well-defined aesthetic, coupled with the decorating assistance of Chessy Rayner and Mica Ertegun, resulted in interiors that were pretty close to perfection.
As it turns out, it was another female design duo, Barbara Brown and Clare Morrow, who decorated this apartment for Blass. Brown and Morrow were models who also decorated, working for clients such as Blass and Donald Brooks, another talented fashion designer. (Morrow mostly modeled for Norman Norell. Glamorous, don't you think?) But it seems that Brown and Morrow also had a knack for decorating for attractive, single women, with Brown once telling the New York Times, "it's a help to work for beautiful women, especially if you feel you should help them get married." Um, I think that there might be quite a few of us who could use the decorating/matchmaking services of Brown and Morrow.
The photo below shows Blass' dining room. As much as I love Porthault table linen, I have to say that I'm a little surprised to see it combined with the leaf-print covered walls and the faux-bois chair cushions. I suppose that I just never thought of Bill Blass as being a floral Porthault linen kind of guy. Nevertheless, the dining room, like the living room, has a charm that was fitting for the time. It is also a good example of how personal style and taste change, evolve, and, most importantly, mature over time.
Photos from The New York Times Book of Interior Design and Decoration; NYT quote from September 10, 1968 article by Virginia Lee Warren.