These days when my mom leaves her name for coffee pick-up at the Starbuck's counter, the response from the youngest employees is often, "How do you spell it? That's such a cool name." Pretty comical for her to hear since she has disliked it her entire life. Apart from some women she grew up with who were named for Generals Buchanan, Pickett and Fontaine, most of her peers went by Mary or Jean. No one had an old fashioned name like Mom's. (It was her great-grandmother's and, to me, is of the same ilk as names like Sela or Melissa Rufty's mother's.) But to a 19-year-old, it's now so retro that it's fresh.
This phenomenon reminds me of the drastically different reactions people have to flower arrangements and to interiors. Remember the Elle Decor reader who complained about the puffy flowers that, to his mind, resembled an "old lady's hair-do?" In contrast, Lia recently left this comment on my blog: "Peonies are lush and sensuous like jazz on a sultry summer night. That's the way they make me feel."
I think these full-tilt Bennison curtains rock. In Kristen Buckingham's house they represent a whole new form of California Dreamin'. Mom, on the other hand, has already lived through the era of valances and acres of florals. She appreciates the beautiful linen-cotton "Chinese Pheasant," but she prefers curtains that hang simply from handsome rods.
Where's your personal line between old and new? How old does something have to be before it starts to feel revolutionary again?
What do you think of the welcoming vignette above, captured by Kerri McCaffety for New Orleans Homes & Lifestyles, May 2009?
[Interior design shown in images three and four is by Kristen Buckingham. Photography by Simon Upton as seen in the March 2009 Elle Decor.]
BTW: I still think some of French General's textiles make nice budget-friendly substitutes for Bennison.