Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Design Dreaming – Midnight In Paris

So . . .  I’m supposed to be taking a little time away from the business of interior design.  You know - doing things like:  gardening, reorganizing closets, pondering life at the half-way point of the year, reading, and slipping in to see a few summer movies.  I’m pretty proud that I’ve checked a few of those things off from my list.  The garden has been revitalized and some closets are looking pretty good.  I even have managed to fit in a movie and it’s only day four of my ten day break!


Since I’m not a movie critic, I’ll spare you a lengthy and cerebral review of Woody Allen’s latest release, “Midnight In Paris”.  The movie is definitely worth considering and you couldn’t ask for more of a visual feast.  I only wish I had additional movie clips to share!

Owen Wilson’s character, Gil Pender, plays a Hollywood writer who dreams of creating a legitimate piece of literature and is swept away by the 1920’s era of ex-patriots and romantic notions of living in Paris.  His fiancé, Inez, portrayed by Rachel McAdams, wants nothing further than to return to the states, as she’s more attracted to the affluence of his current position and lifestyle.  I’ll share that it’s not your typical romantic comedy and much like Gil’s character, it does tend to wander a bit, but if you love architecture, art, and a bit of clever wit, it will be a sweet little escape.

Speaking of escapes . . . let’s meander . . .


Gil and Inez go shopping for furniture.  The chair she’s holding onto is $18,000.  Gil politely questions if there might be something a little more reasonable .  His designer mother-in-law, (not seen in this photo), chirps, “Cheap is cheap”.  A cringe-worthy moment for this interior designer.  No discussion of any value, the provenance, etc.  I know it’s just a movie, but I wish the stereotype would be given a rest!


In what the audience would imagine to be a dream segment in the movie, a fine collection of literati and artists, including Zelda Fitzgerald, (on the far left), appear from the past.  In a midnight car ride from a street corner, we are transported to 1920’s Paris and Gil’s journey begins.  As an aside - If movies and fashion translate to interiors, do you think we’ll be seeing even more Art Deco in design?

St Ouen

During the movie, several scenes revolved around a trip to St. Ouen, an area just outside of Paris and home to fabulous ‘flea market’ finds! 


In the ‘Roaring Twenties’, women wanted to rid themselves from the constraints of corsets and big hats.  They cut their hair, exposed their legs, and adopted an elegant, slim silhouette.  Some of greatest fashion designers emerged, as in Jean Patou, Jeanne Lanvin, Paul Poiret, and Coco Chanel.  (Sketch courtesy of The Paris Apartment Blog)


This stairway, in a 1920’s French apartment building, echoes the same slender, vertical shaping.  Dramatically simple and elegant.


For some travelers, staying in a hotel might seem to be more comfortable.  After all, you can check their ratings and perhaps feel as if you’re in a familiar cocoon.  For those who prefer to be a bit more immersed in the local culture, there are several options in short-term luxury villas or apartments.  It’s doubtful you would feel less pampered, as personal services can be arranged during your stay.  I was particularly impressed by Haven in Paris’ and Paris Perfect’, aptly suggested by The Paris Apartment.  Visitors have also shared their reviews and you can check to see if air-conditioning is available.  (I would think that’s a must during the summer season!) 


An apartment on the Champs-Elysées.


A tiny balcony but oh what a view!


Think of all of the US cities and architectural structures which have benefitted from the influences of French iron craftsmanship.


Oh, yes, and did I say, “What a view?!”


Not only do you have a photographed preview into the apartments or villas, a charming floorplan is included, as well.


Modern kitchens and appliances are provided for your personal chef or cooking lessons.  Bon appétit!




Rachel McAdams at the movie’s premiere. 


A pair of antique French tambour net lace curtain panels – Cheryl’s Fascinating Finds

Did I lose you along the way?  Then I might suggest another movie.  If, on the other hand, you enjoyed the side trips in the journey of this post, make it a date.  Zelda, Scott and “Papa” will be waiting for you!

Au Revoir! ~ Wanda

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