Glamour Girl
By Karen Parr-Moody

When I think of glamorous, feminine décor, my mind travels back to Lyons, France in 1777, when Jeanne Francoise Julie Adelaide Récamier, known as Madame Récamier, was born. Both a socialite and a great beauty, she kept up a salon where famous minds spoke theirs.

Beyond her enviable blend of beauty and brains, Madame Récamier was notable for launching a trend that has lasted for centuries: The image of a glamorous lady lounging on a divan. The famous painter, Jacques-Louis David, captured her in such a state, and the rest is history (photo, left). The divan on which she lounged came to be known as the récamier. And lately — what with this terrible heat — I can think of nothing better than lounging on a récamier and drinking some cold champagne.

There is something deeply calming for a woman to surround herself with a little — or a lot — of glamour. More recently than the era of Récamier, the world of interior decor has continued to churn out design movements that provide items from which a glamour girl can choose to feather her nest and rest her marabou slippers.

Among the glamorous design movements that continue to inspire are Art Nouveau, Art Deco and Hollywood Regency. Then there are more recent trends that take a melange of various movements and rework them into modern form.  Either way, it all adds up to some real glamour.

Let's face it: Any glamour girl worth her French perfume has to have a stylish mirror on her dressing table. I can think of no better solution than the bronzed, figural mirror seen in the photo, above right ($80; Booth B-178). This bevelled mirror is from the Art Nouveau period and features a young maiden with a saucy bow tied at her hip (inset at left).

Art Nouveau, which began around 1885, was a product of many influences, but is perhaps best known for its sinuous lines inspired by nature. This style also included flowing and sensual female forms, such as the young lady holding this mirror aloft. Note how the folds of her dress flow into the mirror's base; she is almost like a tree nymph. If this is not a mirror fit for a glamour girl, I don't know what is.

Featured in the photo, left, is another glamour girl find: A corner chair upholstered in a modern mix of fabrics, including a sexy zebra print. The irony is that as feminine as this piece looks, it has masculine roots. Corner chairs are said to have been designed as gentlemen's writing chairs and were popular during the Victorian and Edwardian eras.

The zebra print has its roots in Art Deco. During this design movement, which began during the Roaring Twenties, African safaris became immensely popular. Another of the era's trends was that of English aristocrats who were not the firstborn — and hence not first in line for an inheritance — settling in Africa to seek their fortunes. It was during this period that animal-print textiles were viewed as stylish and began to arrive in homes.

 

 



A glamorous room simply begs for a vintage hatbox, like the one in the photo, right ($15; Booth B-315). This once housed a Vera Whistler Originals hat by Julius Lewis of Memphis.  The box is done in an ivory color with gold print and accents and has a carrying strap that is made of gold braids. What debutante must have once had this box in her closet? You know it probably housed a faux leopard hat.

 

 

 

 

 

The metallic cocktail table in the photo, left, is made for a glamour girl's boudoir — it seems very Mae West to me ($298; Booth B-210). In fact, West had a romantic boudoir in her home in Santa Monica, and I could easily imagine her setting highball on the antiqued top of this table. The scrolling with leaves on the front, coupled with other leaves at the bottom, give it a romantic quality. The legs are a modern interpretation of Louis XVI tapered, fluted legs, which balance out the effect.

 

 

 

 


The crystal chandelier in the photo, right, is shown with a matching sconce (one of a pair); both add a pinch of glitz to a room ($375 for the pair of sconces, with only one shown here; $975 for the large chandelier; both at Booth B-222). This looks into a home decorating style I like to call "Nouvelle French." The look is Restoration Hardware mixed with bona fide antiques, with components that celebrate such details as cut crystals, cast iron hardware, industrial designs, and slightly worn linens.

What I love about the sconce and chandelier is the French Empire design with the swag drape of the crystals, combined with the brass bows. Also, these fixtures are not too shiny, but have a soft patina which any glamour girl would appreciate.

Whether you want to outfit a boudoir or fabulously ladylike living room, just add a dash of silver leaf here and a hint of zebra there. Mix it up with a healthy soupçon of mirrors and a smattering of hat boxes. Then you will discover you have the perfect ingredients for creating a decadent recipe, all without stepping into the kitchen.

Print this page