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building black

April 1, 2013

CocoComposite (2)

From Benjamin

“Don’t you like color?”, asks house-guest, Igor Stravinksy’s wife, of their hostess, Coco Chanel.
“Of course, as long as it’s black”, is Chanel’s predictible response.

After a weekend given over to the pastel hues of spring, I devote this post to the striking monochrome interior design of the 2009 film, “Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky“,  set in a 1920s Parisian fantasy.

Featuring myriad High Modernist motifs that together, (if perhaps not actually simultaneously), characterized the radical shift away from stuffy, earth-toned Victorian design, the rooms of Chanel’s suburban house combine the stylized, biomorphic curves of Art Nouveau; the crisp, angular geometries of the Viennese Secession;  and the zooty rhythms of French Art Deco.   A room mixing two different, equally domineering patterns of wall paper; a minimalist yet fanciful nickel-plated bed frame, and an Escher-esque, marble mosaic wall treatment are just a few of the over-the-top set-pieces that make this movie note-taking-worthy for anyone interested in furniture or architectural design.

Production Designer Marie-Hélène Sulmoni and Set Decorator Philippe Cord’homme brilliantly capture in their scenery what Chanel exemplified with her fashions:
the self-inventing, forward-marching, convention-shattering spirit of the 20th Century – what may still, even now, be a compelling “rite of spring.”



3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 1, 2013 4:57 pm

    …[the] ‘Rite of Spring’ is about to be performed…

  2. April 1, 2013 9:20 pm

    I wonder how much difference there would be between decor by John Smith and Johann Scmidt. Which one is the world famous artist/designer and which one is the wallpaper designer?

  3. April 1, 2013 9:23 pm

    In Germany and Austria, there are probably telephone books full of Johann Schmidts.

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