Billy Haines: Yellow and Turquoise
Images above, Todd Merrill Antiques
This cheerfully glamorous Billy Haines-designed brass table and chair set sold last year through Todd Merrill Antiques, but I like to think it found a happy home in a chic breakfast room. Maybe the new owners have a striking turquoise vase filled with fresh flowers on the table, to bring out that sharp turquoise-blue piping on the original canary-yellow upholstery.
Billy Haines was a silent film star who became a highly successful mid-20th-century decorator associated with Hollywood Regency style. To grasp Hollywood Regency, think Jane Austen's Emma with a posh, theatrical spin.
Originating in Southern California in the 1930s, Hollywood Regency was a bit of a reaction against stark Modernism. Elegant English Regency and Greek Revival forms of the early 19th-century were often reinterpreted in an exaggerated, camera-ready way. For example, the yellow chairs above resemble classic Greek klismos chairs with curved saber-like legs and broad concave backrests, but the Technicolor vinyl upholstery and white laminated tabletop is pure 20th-century.
For more on Haines see William Haines Designs or Class Act: William Haines Legendary Hollywood Decorator
(originally posted August 22, 2006)