Monday, March 11, 2013

A Touch of Glamour

Miles Redd signing his book "The Big Book of Chic"

Sometimes it's fun to add a little glamour to our lives.  Interior designer Suzanne Rheinstein owns one of the prettiest home decor shops in Los Angeles.  Hollyhock is filled with beautiful furniture, antiques, accessories, and art for the home.  It is also the site of some of the best book signings around.  Suzanne hosts elegant evenings that feature interior designers who have written design books.  It is always exciting to go to these events and meet the designers. Lately it seems that many of them are writing books that are as much about their inspiration as about the homes they create for their clients.  The books are beautiful, dreamy, collage-like volumes that intersperse quotes, favorite books, photos of style mentors, images of works of art, and beautiful details of everyday life with images of the rooms they design for clients.   These are the sources of inspiration for these designers and the story of how they pull them all together and use them in their work is very exciting to see.

Suzanne Rheinstein's store Hollyhock in West Hollywood

A couple of months ago I attended a book signing that Suzanne hosted for New York City-based decorator Miles Redd and his book The Big Book of Chic.  As Miles says, "This book is about big glamour -- the kind that inspires the sensation of dancing across an MGM soundstage, silhouetted by a klieg light."

Suzanne Rheinstein with Miles Redd

There are some people that have to be described as debonair.  Such is Miles Redd.  It is almost as if he belongs to another age -- that period of flamboyant glamour between the wars when Cecil Beaton and Coco Chanel were the tastemakers of the day and Noel Coward was the greatest wit.  He is one of today's bright young things, a brilliant young interior designer whose exuberant take on traditionalism includes a mix of playful colors and eclectic glamour that has won him many fans.

After reading up on Miles, I learned that his lucky clients think his style feels like the world's most glamorous party. His sense of fun is contagious.  Not surprisingly, he writes that his favorite period of time is that "between the wars, the era of madcap, bright young things.  Frivolity gets a bad rap, but I will defend it to my dying day." This book includes the beautiful, dramatic, and cozy settings he has created for his clients as well as a medley of images of people, artists, and places that inspire him.  These include Cecil Beaton portraits, Rene Gruau sketches, Fitzgerald and Mitford novels, and royal memoirs that have influenced his unique approach to decorating.

Here are some of the quotes and images that have inspired his design aesthetic:

And here are some of the glamorous and whimsical settings he has created:

These rooms evoke old-style glamour.  They could be the setting for fabulous parties and it is easy to  imagine Noel Coward, Truman Capote or Coco Chanel in attendance.

It is true that sometimes we just need a dose of glamour to brighten up our day.  "The Big Book of Chic" by Miles Redd will do just that, with a healthy dose of wit and whimsy thrown into the mix.   The book reinforces the idea that creativity comes from many different places and is fueled by the evanescent impressions that come our way each day: the books we read, the trips we take, the art we see, the writers we admire.  All of these things live in our memory and if we hang on to them, we will be able to use them later.  Inspiration can come from many different sources -- a beautiful satin ribbon, an antique tapestry, a dinner party scene from a favorite book, a view of the Italian countryside or a painting by a Flemish master.  These impressions inspire the way we decorate our homes, plant our garden, set our dinner table, stitch a needlepoint pillow, paint a watercolor, or write a poem. 

As Miles Redd says about his book,
  "It is a piled-on mix of work and fantasy and perhaps you can make it your own."

Last seven photos via here


  1. Think his interiors are so brilliant and make you feel not only glamourous, but like anything could happen in them. I learn so much about my own city from you Sunday - I've heard of Hollyhock, but never knew it was in LA?
    Must go for a visit there very soon.

  2. Stunning, Sunday!

    Just the name, Hollyhocks, would have me opening the door.

  3. Hollyhock looks very chic !
    The owner is quite stylish and she looks gorgeous.
    Sunday you are so fortunate to live in an area that has so many opportunities to meet and hear authors.
    The Big Book of Chic looks like a coffee table book, one that could be left open to a different page everyday.

  4. Love it all! The ivy covered facade of "Hollyhocks, the quotations and pictures shared. This is a book I could spend hours with and find something new with each visit. Bonnie

  5. I love the photo facing the title page - you can tell he is an exuberant and glamorous person just from looking at it!

  6. Sunday it looks like you had a wonderful time! The book and Miles look over the top glamorous, like something from the times gone by. I have this book on my list and now will have to move it to the top bases on your images.

    I hope you are having a great week. I am having a give away...Paris Fleamarket Style by Claudia Strasser if you di not see the post stop by and make a comment. I think you would enjoy the book...what is not to love about Paris and its treasures.

    Take care, Elizabeth

  7. Great interiors. These spaces actually remind me a little bit of Edith Wharton's home at The Mount, but with the glamour level ratcheted up a few degrees.

    1. What a good point! I bet Edith Wharton was another one of his inspirations.

  8. Gorgeous store and images from the designer's creation. I also love the pull quotes! Funny, my latest post is on a new guide to French chic/street style. It must be the new season - a good time to be inspired by great style and décor!

  9. Love it all!!!! home decorative accessories and will use some of these ideas!

  10. I thought for a moment it was Prince William in your photos! Anyone inspired by Nancy Mitford to create those fabulous rooms is fine by me!

  11. If only for this exposition one could never sign-off uninspired, for a huge stylistic renovation or a just a fresh, little touch. You're a master of diverse collections!