20 December 2014

that dress~ GWTW

December 15th marked the 75th anniversary of Gone With The Wind's premiere in Atlanta Georgia, 1939. The movie centers around the Civil War city of Atlanta and the countryside near Tara and Twelve Oaks. Recently in an interview, Anna Wintour called Scarlett O'Hara the most well dressed character in literature-vis a vis the film.

Walter Plunkett created  this dress for Vivien Leigh's Scarlet to wear during Christmas at Aunt Pittypat's house in Atlanta. Scarlett went to grieve there (get closer to the action) -for her first husband Charles Hamilton, Pittypat's nephew. Her wedding dress to the ill fated & feckless Charles was pretty fantastic too-(& not a hoop in sight).

Ashley, married to Melanie- Charles' long suffering sister, comes home from the war on furlough and Scarlet gets another taste of the bitter pill-unrequited love, though no one could deny the dash of her bonnet, & the sprig of holly pinned to her green dress. Suffer she must-but that's no need for becoming a dowd.

Scarlett fights her way through the Civil War with  pluck-ultra, and 40 wardrobe changes- A Civil War "fashionista." It had to hurt as she watched from the parlor door Melanie & Ashley drift off to their bedroom clinging to one another.

 As Ashley leaves to return to battle, Scarlett waylays the poor man to give him a ridiculously fashionable sash for his uniform- vaguely reminiscent of her own white one, but in buttah yellow.

It is hardly worth mentioning that the gift gets her an embrace & kiss-I could care less-for being mesmerized by that dress with its darling ruched bodice trimmed out in red & adorned with a tasseled cameo, and Aunt Pittypat's extravagant curtains of silk & lace.
No, these are not "portieres" (a curtain that hangs in the entryway to a room that with no door), as referred to incorrectly in the movie.

Along with that dress, Aunt Pittypat's design aesthetic gets full marks- minus the antimacassars.

I love the Victorian pieces upholstered in Chintz. While we think of them in tired old antique Velvets, rethink your Grandmother's-or Aunt Pittypat's in a bold chintz with painted frames lacquered in red-violet-or green-even white would do. Consider an Indian cut work Lace to update Pittypat's windows, Schumacher has one I've used over & over.

And for Christmas supper, drape yourself in a fur stole, get an instant lift with a blue bow tied tightly under your chin, keep the Christmas tree small ( on a table near the windows), keep the table decorations low & simply chic (candles & holly sprigs), decant the port yourself...

& raise a glass to 75 years, and 40 costume changes!
If you haven't read Margaret Mitchell's GWTW, or seen the movie- "GOD'S NIGHTGOWN!"

17 December 2014


from Novel Interiors 
photograph by Ivan Terestchenko

Tis the season, actually it is upon us & in "Dickens-time"-doesn't it all seem to be squeezed into a Scrooge kind of night?
I always take a moment from whatever I might be reading to stop and open up Mr. Dickens' A Christmas Carol. After many years of this tradition, I'm happy to say Dickens never disappoints!
I've had the same experience reading Lisa Borgnes Giramonti's blog A Bloomsbury Life for about 5 years now, so it's no surprise her new book- Novel Interiors-follows along the same lines, and like Dickens, it's one we will return to often, and with pleasure.

Lisa's book, with photographs by another Little Augury favorite, Ivan Terestchenko, reveals beautiful private rooms evoking the words and atmospherics of her most beloved novels, and yes, Mr. Dickens is there.

photograph from Novel Interiors 
Ivan Terestchenko

In fact, Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol preface could have been Novel Interiors' introduction:

Lisa has found the perfect Idea to put readers in the mood to sit down and read a good book (hers or any of the many others she calls upon in Novel Interiors).  Whether it's a first time for you and Charles Dickens, or you and George Eliot, it will be at Lisa's nudging. The book will have you opening it over and over again, and no doubt looking for it again and again.
It's not a book you'll find shelved after a time or two-but will inevitably be found on the sofa (under a pillow), in the chair (under a pillow), or in the bed (under a pillow).


The perfect place to find Novel Interiors,
photograph by Ivan Terestchenko

There is little of the typical language we find in decorating books and magazines (God bless us everyone!), rather Lisa has turned to the great writers to help us find our way-and in doing so we find a new way to look  rooms, especially the rooms we inhabit. This is where Lisa excels, she can move her readers through a room with such ease, drawing out the aspects that make it truly beautiful-it may be a bit worn, or quite grand, but it always has a story to tell.

photograph by Ivan Terestchenko

Grand rooms in estates like Chatsworth are rare, but still there are great and elegant rooms where inhabitants carry on their lives in Evelyn Waugh Brideshead-like fashion. Lisa's chapter "Remembrance of Things Past" visits these formal rooms and while I find myself identifying with some of them-I'm equally drawn to rooms in the chapter "Shall I Put the Kettle On?", proving there is a unique Novel Interior of our very own waiting to be written.


photograph by Ivan Terestchenko

What I like most about Novel Interiors is its melding of two of my very favorite subjects-Rooms and Literature. I think Lisa's book may just bring about a Renaissance (Shakespeare)- or maybe its more a Revolution (Tolstoy) in how rooms look-feel-and are written about-especially in the real world.

all photographs from Novel Interiors provided by the author & used with her permission

14 December 2014



Dutch Designer Edwin Oudshoorn

his collections here

11 December 2014

the design work of JEAN-LOUIS DENIOT

It can't be said enough-I adore a book. I love to look at them, and actually read them.
A book is a Trip. It takes you places, and if the subject is intriguing enough one book just isn't enough.

This season of  design books has been phenomenal and I fear that before year's end-and Christmas gifts are all purchased, I'll not have completed my recommendations of Books to Give & Receive. Fortunately, any time of the year is book time.

Sumptuous iridescent green silk curtains oversee a light filled view in this Jean-Louis Deniot designed Paris apartment photographed by Xavier Béjot

One of the most elegant design books this season is about the work of Jean-Louis Deniot. I became aware of the designer through writer Diane Dorrans Saeks' blog, The Style Saloniste, so it's fitting the first Deniot book has been penned by none other than Diane. From the moment I saw the first of his rooms at the Saloniste, I was wild about them. JEAN-LOUIS DENIOT INTERIORS, is la cerise sur le gâteau, revealing Deniot's personal apartment, country houses in France, and projects that have taken the him to the United States.

An architect, the elegant Frenchman Deniot, has an innate sense of what is right and necessary. His design sensibilities are Classical-along with a sophisticated stylishness uniquely his own. There are many great designers- but in Deniot, I see a rigorous technician with an immense soul.
He is indeed, a virtuoso.

Jean-Louis Deniot © Javier Béjot, and author Saeks photographed by Drew Alitzer

"I always want to get away from the white box. My interiors are about atmosphere, character, texture, and a sense of harmony."- Jean Louis Deniot

An unerring Vestibule in the French countryside by Deniot
photograph by Xavier Béjot

SHADES OF GREY & Henri Samuel

One of Deniot's sources of inspiration is the work of the late French designer Henri Samuel. Samuel's cultivated Classicism is instantly recognizable in this Deniot designed Chicago home. Classical architecture, commissioned pieces by Deniot, & a Jean Roche inspired mirrored mantle-all echo notes in a Samuel designed room.

reminiscent of a Parisian salon, a Deniot Living Room in Chicago
photograph by Xavier Béjot

Saeks concludes the book in a terrific final "conversation" with the designer. Reminiscent of what makes The Style Saloniste so revered is this revealing brand of "Q & A." The book too, reveals a designer whose confidence is absolute, but maintains he makes an effort for his attention and intention to go quite unnoticed.

"It is the art of being invisible."- Jean-Louis Deniot

go inside the book at RIZZOLI here
all photographs were provided for and used with the permission of RIZZOLI


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