Style Court

Eight Years of Textiles, History, Art, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes

11.01.2009

Houseplants and Antiques



Shampoo is a satire that deals with narcissism and superficiality in L.A. during the late 1960s. According to TCM's database, the movie's production designer, Richard Sylbert, received an Academy Award nomination for his effective use of mirrors, extensive latticework, and "soft and dreamy" overexposed film.

But other aspects that grabbed my attention when I first saw it played late at night on TV were the handsome antiques and abundance of houseplants.

Looking at Julie Christie's house (she plays the character Jackie), it's hard not to think of designer Michael Taylor and his famed "California Look." Taylor favored a liberal use of white but appreciated wood left in its natural state. He loved bringing in green plants and maximizing that California sunshine, and he often used large-scale pieces.

Although Shampoo's story takes place in November 1968, the movie was made in the mid-70s. Since Christie's pieces are so timeless -- French commode, Asian screen, unfussy armoire, Chinese lamps, silver candlesticks, and Chippendale-like chairs -- it's difficult to tell if much about the decor skews toward either the 70s or the 60s. I need an expert on electronics, kitchen appliances and hanging baskets to weigh in. It's said that Michael Taylor's signature style really crystallized in the early 70s, but his California look had been evolving for decades.

Here are pre-1964 examples of Taylor's work from The Finest Rooms. The massive screen behind the sofa was made from old French boiserie and the book says that the woods throughout the room were left unpainted to serve as a warm and mellow counterpoint to cool greens and white.

After reading that Shampoo was released in 1975, I remembered that Rose Tarlow opened R. Tarlow Antiques on Melrose Place a year later. Curious to see more examples of French and English antiques used in late 70s/early 80s interiors, I hit the books.

As mentioned in a past post, American designer Dick Dumas lived and worked in France for several decades and restored a 14th-century monastery barn that was published in 1984 in Pierre Deux's French Country. Shown directly above and below, Dumas' approach to rustic French style avoided anything overly quaint and embraced a blend of the modern with the old. Lintel and border stones of a tall 18th-century French rectory doorway were brought in to frame double doors that open into a small, contemporary at the time, library.

In the living room, the authors explain, Dumas kept earthy regional elements including rough stone walls, beamed ceilings and tile floors, but mixed in highly refined things such as an elegant 18th-century fireplace, and Asian and modern art. To me, the ample cream-colored sofas slipcovered in quilted muslin, the indoor plants, and the general lightness echo California style in the 70s.

The house wasn't without color, though. Below, reminders from the previous post.

A four-poster bed made from plumbing pipes is painted in panther spots and the red-and-white fabric is from Manuel Canovas. In the dressing area, Dumas covered a Louis XV-style chair with an Ivory Coast batik.

Below, a pretty French commode similar to Julie Christie's was photographed in the 21st century at Michele et Cie, located in The Stalls on Bennett Street in Atlanta.

17 comments:

TERI REES WANG said...

Hairdresser Carrie White of Beverly Hills was the creative muse for that "Shampoo" story. She is sitting somewhere in that salon scene. She is listed in the credits as ..Carrie: playing herself.

That was a special time.
All cast and crew have been in recovery and are clean and sober all in their own way, for decades know.

Brilliant that you are able to see the backdrop.

Mrs. Blandings said...

Absolutely genius post - this is what hooked me in the first place. Fabulous.

Style Court said...

Oh gosh, thanks you all. It makes me happy that you think the post worked!

Style Court said...

Oh, and I didn't even talk about Goldie Hawn's apartment in the movie. Loads of cool chairs. Also, to my eye, realistic. Great pops of yellow. Not perfectly cool pulled together chic like we expect to see in some movies today, but perfect for the era I thought.

Love the Home You're With said...

one of my favorite all time movies- saw it way back when it came out and now own it. great all around style- warren beatty's navajo bracelets and conch belt are awesome! i think the interiors are late 60's/early 70's, and julie christie's home reflects her british background, where her european accessories are mixed with a california sensibility, creating the best of both worlds. your post was inspiring! thanks....robin

Sanity Fair said...

The Louise chair in batik is my favorite - I never tire of seeing Louise chairs in new and fabulous fabrics.

Karena said...

I must watch the film again. When younger many of these fabulous details were lost on me. Now it is wow, what beautiful imagery!

Sarah said...

Warren Beatty was divine looking... and the sets were totally 'cool...' great movie. Another fun movie to watch for the sets is 'Pillow Talk' because Doris Day's character is an interior decorator.

I love the way your blog chronicles art - it is unique in the blogosphere and I look forward to your daily posts!

Anonymous said...

Decorative arts + warren beatty = the perfect post for a mid-morning (mid-morning at 8:00 am?)break and inspiration. KDM

Style Court said...

Sarah and Robin -- thanks!

Amanda Stone Talley said...

Such a cool post! I loved all of the lattice too! I'm taking some inspiration from the salon today! Also loved the commode from Michelle's and Fifi's lamps on top!

Anonymous said...

I just love this movie. The way that Beatty's character cuts Julie Christie's hair - it looked so gorgeous. The ending song kills me, Wouldn't It Be Nice. Very interesting post.

Style Court said...

Anon -- I love that scene too :)

AphroChic said...

I am in love with that Louis XV chair. Absolutely awesome!

Mélanie said...

I love Dumas' style . All the pieces are so lovely

Shawna (mangotangerine.wordpress.com) said...

I know this is an older post but I am new to your blog so I have just stumbled upon it. This one caught my eye because the images were so familiar to me. I was born in 1967, grew up in the 70's on the west coast, although not California- British Columbia. The white walls, dark wood, antiques and houseplants are all reminders of home. My mother was English though so the antiques were English and not French. Because we weren't sunny California there was less use of white; upholstered pieces were dark too. I know my mother never saw the movie Shampoo but now I am dying to see it. Just a note about house plants. both my mother and I consider them essential to a happy home but I noticed that they went quite out of fashion in the 80s and 90s and when they began to make their way back in they had to be one or two large statement plants.

Style Court said...

Hi Shawna!

Loved your detailed comment and memories. Editor Deborah Needleman seems to bringing back clusters of house plants, in her own distinct, restrained way. And I agree, in general, it's still a single fig leaf or palm that we see. Hope you can watch Shampoo :)