DECO THREE WAYS:
From Fall Fashion to Timeless Tabletop, the roaring twenties are back with contemporary lines, classic textures and shimmering shine.
Here’s the SWANK way to play with this Color Trend….
Like the top of the Chrysler Building… Old New York Deco, influenced heavily by the aesthetics of the burgeoning technologies of the day – aviation, radio, and luxury ocean liners – is shining bright in chrome and nickel, a monochrome elegance of line and composition. New York deco has a noir element about it, dark and formal, with uncompromising geometry and reflective surfaces akin to both mirrors and armor. These gowns up the ante on shine and texture, a mosaic of platinum, or black and indigo paillettes and sequins sheathe the models in cascade of chain-mail or finely inlaid glass – while leaving body-conscious seams visible, or belting at the waist to emphasize, economically, the form of the figure. The pantsuit is a study in fine and layered texture, calling to mind the foundational elements of deco architecture – limestone, marble, granite – a hint of sparkle here makes all the difference, and through out the emphasis is on clean lines, stylized forms and richly textured surfaces.
Picture then, a tabletop, in a similar linen, its square or circular shape edged with a sheer band. Atop it rests black glass chargers and dinner plates, chrome edged votives hosting silver and black candles, and woven wool napkins in pewter-tones and chrome plated candelabras in striking geometric forms. A runner of dark silver tweed spans the length of the table like Fifth Avenue in old New York. This is deco done darkly – Schwartzwalder Callas in indigo glass complete the look – and the table exudes a classic style that exudes formality in a time of exuberance, and a shine that will endure the somber times to follow.
New Yorkers work to play, and Hollywood plays as work. In MIAMI anyone who’s ever worked for anything will find a playground of the highest order, where days melt into one another beneath the sun or beside the sea. Miami Deco is a candy box of pastel macarons. Here, in the sun and surf, Deco loosens up, takes off its New York necktie of formality, lets down its Hollywood chignon of polished glamour, and feels free to flounce and sway in colors borne of cockatoos and hibiscus, tropic seas and corals. Here is deco on holiday. Layers of sheer silks with color-matched beading, draping as casual as a breeze on Collins Avenue, bare necklines and higher hems, feathers and accessories in the evening only. The look is exuberant yet easy, jewel-bright yet washed with tropical kind of haze – where once was sapphire and emerald, now floats gossamer cornflower and celadon. The world through pastel colored lenses.
The Miami table is as ethereal and wonderful as the fashions that inspire it. Here, acrylic tables filled with tinted water and orchid blossoms rest on pastel Spanish tile floors, seating is white-painted wrought iron in clean and sweeping deco lines. Chargers of mother-of-pearl and glass dinner plates in turquoise or periwinkle add aquatic tones to the resort style buffet. Chiffon falls cleanly from chair top to the floor, centerpieces are made of corals, both bleached and painted, flocked in glitter and twinkling with fairy-light in teal – calling to mind the glow of phosphorescence along the moon and neon-lit shoreline. Orchids in vivid yellows and demure pinks emerge from the corals like tropical fish, and above, the ceiling has been draped with raw linens in ivory and antique mauve. Lucite deco chandeliers are hung with garlands of sea-glass and silver-leaved sand dollars and starfish. Royal palms stand sentry at the entrances, elegant and iconic in whitewashed terracotta planters. An exquisite and water-colored fantasy, which is one part resort dining room, two parts cabana and one hundred percent luxurious.
Hollywood, 1928. Deco here was unsullied by the darkness of industry in New York. Out east, where captains of industry made money on the backs of coal, manufacturing, and the dark practice of banking, Deco embraced the hard realities involved in realizing icons like Rockefeller center and the Chrysler Building – in LA (as per usual) thing seemed a bit brighter, a reflection of the sun and sea, the clean air- the grace and charm of towering palm trees were the answer to skyscrapers inching steadily toward the firmament above the streets of Manhattan. Here in LaLaWood, Deco pairs its silver with ivories and cream, ramping up the indulgence with jewel tones and filigreed ornament. Gone is the reductive stylization of east coast formality, and in its stead we find flourished of inspiration from natural forms, and a color palette brightened and softened by the sea mist in the air.
The gowns above are Hollywood in the adolescence of its golden age. Silk charmuse is heavily ornamented and bejeweled, the gowns themselves are jewelry of the highest order. In soft rose and cloudlike angora, with overlay of crystals and matching headpiece, or hand beaded scrolling line work describing natural and Egyptian motifs, the look is rich but soft, tailored, but playful and lively.
The dinner table is set with cut crystal stemware, and crystal candelabras evoking the sparkle of diamonds and the buoyancy of light. Silverware is crystal-handled and rose gold plated, Service plates in ivory or cream-toned china soften the edges of the crystal and are, perhaps, stamped or glazed with a tint-on-tint floral motif – Hollywood held on to the flowery whimsy of art nouveau for a little longer than the east coast pushers of progress and innovation. Chair backs are topped with fur, perhaps angora, or arctic fox, and are festooned with a flapper-length draping of pearls. Napkins in ivory silk are bound in rings of silver and inlaid semi-precious stone – calling to mind the headpiece of a Hollywood starlet. In Hollywood, white callas and soft lavender roses are the flowers of choice, perhaps enlivened by broad leaved tropical foliage – throughout the space, a thousand votives in lotus-shaped crystal holders fill the room with a soft-focus light – in which we might all be ready for our close-up.
How are you planning on using the ‘new’ Deco as decor? We would LOVE to hear about it!
||Maya Kalman is the Founder & CEO of SWANK Productions, a luxury wedding planning, event design and event production company in New York City. Known for her beyond-the-box designs and undying passion for creating extraordinary event experiences, Maya risen to become one of the most well known wedding and event planners in New York City. She has been a featured expert on TNT, NBC Today Show, MTV, Martha Stewart, Food Network, Geraldo Live and many more, and has planned and designed weddings, corporate events and parties for some of the top companies, brands and personalities around the world.
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