Monday, July 6, 2009

Helena Rubinstein & David Hicks, a Match Made in Heaven

What would a blog about savoir faire be without the meeting of two of my most favourite style icons? Helena Rubinstein, one who had enough savoir faire for 10 of us and David Hicks, interior designer extraordinaire who showed us what living with savoir faire was all about. So put these two together and what do you have? A match made in heaven whose offspring showcased how brilliant each was. Both were headstrong and had their own ideas on how things should be accomplished.

David Hicks has been considered to be at the forefront of interior designers in the 20th century. However after his marriage in 1960 to Lord Mountbatten’s daughter his career was on the wane. However fortunes changed with a commission from Madame Rubinstein to decorate her new Knightsbridge apartment in London. The result showed that Hicks was at the top of his game and put him back in the limelight. Most major newspapers and magazines ran features of the result, unleashing on an unsuspecting public a masterpiece of bold colour schemes and savoir faire. Hicks managed to incorporate Madame’s compulsive acquisition of objects and art into an intelligent mix of old and new. Vitrines inset into silk coloured walls held Madame’s collections. Radiators were covered in gold mesh that looked like Faberge. Old Portuguese carved wooden doors were used as bedheads, and Victorian furniture was painted white and recoverd in daring colours.

With true savoir faire when Hicks inquired as to what colour she would like the walls of her new drawing room painted, she called for a pair of scissors and proceeded to cut a swatch of purple silk from the lining of the Balenciaga she was wearing. And like a true gentleman, Mr Hicks carried out her wishes, the result being a pink, scarlet and magenta room that Hicks referred to as “one of the most dramatic, and daring colour schemes I have ever assembled”. I don’t have any photos of the finished result, however below are two examples of what the end product would have been like.

Decorating Savoir Faire

Shabby Chic. MMmm, a movement of interior decoration that conjures to mind lots of frills, flounces, white distressed furniture, and increasingly feminine schemes. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but it can reach overkill very quickly. However just a few of the right pieces in the right setting and you can create interiors that are both eclectic, and stunning at the same time. I say buy the furniture then accessorise with things that are not necessarily in the shabby chic vein.

Here are some of the pieces I have already or are coveting. I have also teemed some design classics which are poles away from the ‘shabby chic’ style such as the Wassily Chairs and the cowhide rug with the glass fronted cabinet. To look at each piece individually they are in totally different design ranges, but together they seem to work.

I am currently coveting the two chairs below and am just looking for ways to make them work with what I already have. The obelisks currently sit on a cream lacquered Chinese sideboard, and I am looking for the perfect piece of art to hang in between them.

So whatever your decorating style is, have fun with it and mix and match for some savoir faire.
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