Hollywood Regency Chic
By Karen Parr-Moody
With the warmth of spring teasing us, the cheery style of Hollywood Regency leaps into mind. The style has roots in the Hollywood Hills of the 1930s, and is luxurious without being ostentatious.
To get the look, designers mix bright colors with vivid prints, Asian touches, faux bamboo, and much, much more. It’s a playful mash-up of high-meets-low and new-meets-old, emboldened with candy-coated flashes of color.
Sometimes known by the monikers of “Palm Beach style” or “Palm Springs style,” Hollywood Regency’s pioneering designers were Dorothy Draper and Billy Haines. Today, the style is experiencing a revival, hurried on by high-end interior designers Jonathan Adler and Kelly Wearstler. Adler defines Hollywood Regency as “Neo-classical lines mixed with Hollywood glamour and a top note of mod moxie.”
At GasLamp Antiques and Decorating Mall, Hollywood Regency devotees will thrill over A Flair for Vintage, the quintessential booth devoted to the style. Here, a gilt mirror is perfectly at home with cheeky pottery, and Kelly green, deep pink, and canary yellow seem to paint together happily.
In the white-themed booth, owner Caroline West has her vintage furniture finds sanded, primed, and painted a semi-gloss white by a professional painter. Against these re-freshened pieces, West blends in new decor accessories. In the photo, above right, there are some examples of her booth’s mix. The bamboo table is seated with white French Louis XV boudoir chairs with cane backs and updated pink upholstery. An Ikat print pillow completes the look.
It would be easy to bring a touch of Hollywood into one’s home – or onto one’s porch – with this fabulous bamboo chair at left. West had it re-upholstered with jute fabric to look stylishly modern. Again, an Ikat print throw pillow is right at home to round out this elegant, but breezy, look (pillow, $75; chair, $250; Booth B-112).
A dose of Chinese Chippendale chairs is necessary for the Hollywood Regency style, and in the photo at right, West features some topped by pillows made of decorator fabric (chair, $95; Booth B-112) Such hip designer fabrics are a staple at A Flair Vintage, and have included the wildly popular Imperial Trellis designed by Kelly Wearstler for Schumacher. The vintage ceramic lamp, shown here, illustrates the Hollywood Regency idea of using gold somewhere, anywhere, whether it’s a fabulous figural clock or an ornate gilt mirror (lamp, $95; Booth B-112).
Hollywood Regency style isn’t aflutter with tchotchkes, but it does have the proper dash of them, particularly in the world of chinoiserie. And let’s face it, the look simply demands the presence of a Chinese foo dog – all the better if it is in a striking color, like this electric turquoise number (photo, left; foo dog, $58; Booth B-225). It’s as the late Diana Vreeland, famous “Vogue” editrix, once said: “A little bad taste is like a splash of paprika. We all need a splash of bad taste.”
The word “chinoiserie” means, in French, “in the Chinese taste,” and that is exactly what it is. It was merely how European artisans once interpreted Chinese style, and wasn’t nearly accurate. So while the Chinese were using bamboo to frame their houses, the French were translating that into faux bamboo furniture made of wood or metal. There’s something particularly quaint about seeing what was originally a wood reinterpreted as a metal, as with the faux bamboo chair with pink cushion at right ($299; Booth B-231).
Chippendale furniture can be another facet of Hollywood regency’s eclectic style. The chest of drawers at left is perfect for the look, particularly since it is painted a creamy white to lighten up the mood ($250, Booth B-105). The Italian lamps are another welcome touch to a Hollywood Regency look (capidimonte lamp, right, $215; Italian lamp, left, $149).
With Hollywood Regency décor, the salty sea spray of Palm Beach is as at home indoors as it is outside. So it is perfectly acceptable to invite seaside details indoors, including coral and shell motifs, awnings, stripes, wicker and rattan. This unusual chair, at right, with its modern print upholstery brings some creative panache to the outdoor-meets-indoors idea ($250; Booth B-226).
Hollywood Regency style attracts fans for many reasons; one is that it is both comfortable and glamorous, a balance that can sometimes be hard to strike in the world of antique décor. At GasLamp, visitors can easily cozy up to vintage finds that punctuate glamour with cheer and comfort.