Hollywood Style

New Furniture Collections Evoke Movie-star Glamour Of Yesteryear

Focus On Home Decor

September 04, 2005|By Elaine Markoutsas | Elaine Markoutsas,Universal Press Syndicate

You may not care what Brad and Angelina are up to or when Katie and Tom will tie the knot. But these days, some furniture makers are banking on Hollywood nostalgia in the home for star quality.

The Tinseltown of yesteryear sparkles in several furniture collections introduced last spring at the High Point Furniture Market in North Carolina.

It's old-fashioned glamour, the kind that comes from films of the 1920s, '30s and '40s that show luxurious homes and suave actors like Humphrey Bogart and Cary Grant and alluring actresses like Lauren Bacall and Rita Hayworth.

Classical elegance with modern appeal is the overriding theme of this star-kissed furniture. We have seen some of these elements before. There's more than a hint of art deco, another visit with the streamlined style popular in the 1930s and last influential in the 1980s.

A little bit of sheen caresses fabrics and finishes like lacquer. Crystal, chrome and polished nickel are glittery accents. Dreamy mirrored furniture is making such a statement that it's practically a story in itself. And the fabrics show a textured or luxurious side to linen, linen velvet, silk and damask.

"We saw the first wave of it when Thomasville did Bogart about two years ago," says Jackie Hirschaut, vice president of the American Home Furnishings Alliance. "Like any collection wrapped around an iconic figure, there's some lifestyle appeal as well as the perceived glamour of a look associated with celebrities.

"The designs are classic," Hirschaut says. "They have an aura of simplicity and elegance that resonates well today. I think the prime consumers are baby boomers."

However, she notes that younger consumers also may be attracted to the dressed-up look as an alternative to laid-back living.

"It's a natural time to rebound from the ultimate casual," Hirschaut says. "Upholstered furniture in this genre is very comfortable, truly sophisticated, not at all gaudy. There is a sense of luxury, with fabrics soft to the touch."

"Everyone loves a bit of glamour," says Cristina Ferrare, talk show host, author and former supermodel. Her Sunset Blvd. furniture collection made its debut for Magnussen Home in April.

Part of the enchantment that characterizes the Hollywood glam look is expressed in exotic hardwoods and veneers. While espresso-stained wood has enjoyed a wave of popularity for a few years, now a wider range of hues and grains are showing off the inner beauty of the material.

Ferrare drew inspiration from art deco styling and chose beautiful figured woods for her collection. One signature piece is a graceful sleigh bed whose rosewood veneers are matched to create a V pattern on the headboard and footboard, which are bordered in mappa, a burled wood veneer that Mercedes Benz uses to craft some of its steering wheels.

Figured wood also is what distinguishes a simple round cocktail table from Stanley Furniture. Crafted from zebrano, an exotic wood with distinctive stripes placed to create a chevronlike pattern, the table is polished to a high gloss and shows strong Biedermeier influences.

Painted, textured and lacquered surfaces also have taken on fresh interpretations. New Yorker Jonathan Adler, known for his contemporary pottery, introduced his first furniture collection in April, and each grouping is named for a character in a movie whose style inspired him.

Simplicity is the hallmark of the pieces. The Channing Buffet (named for Carol Channing) sports a high-gloss dove-white lacquer finish and is punctuated with seriously scaled ball pulls in glass set in polished nickel.

Shape is a prominent feature. Perhaps the best examples for sheer presence are beds, typically queen-sized. New York designer Alexa Hampton's cool blue-green upholstered bed for Hickory Chair is a standout, with its curvy scrolls and tufting and off-white tapered feet with a spiral twist. Embroidered silk pillows underscore the sexy boudoir look. It so feels Hollywood glam.

Cristina Ferrare also designed a knockout bed, with a scallop-shell headboard and footboard and upholstered in a silvery pewter metallic leather. And one outstanding piece by Los Angeles designer Barbara Barry, in her premiere collection for Henredon, is a creamy vanity with faceted drawers and pretty, delicate metal pulls. Designing women also pay more attention to glamorous details such as felt-lined jewelry and silverware drawers.

Metal or metallic accents also lend more than decorative elements to pieces. A handsome chest in Stanley's Beau Nouveau collection appears to be made up of 72 individual drawers. In fact, there are four paneled doors, detailed with silvery molding and dotted with carved, purely decorative pulls that stand out against a platinum-painted surface.

Mirrored surfaces are favored for their reflective qualities as well as a little glitz that they add to a room. Chests, bureaus, tables and lamps, as well as mirrors, are part of the mix.

Barbara Berry drew from a palette that shifts from her signature moody green to cool pale blue and translated it to simple-lined sapphire-blue mirrored tables. These are reminiscent of peachy and blue mirrored pieces that were part of art deco styling in the 30s and 40s.

That era, with its silver-screen inspirations, seems right for the moment, Hirschaut says.

"It's true sophistication," she says.


* Jonathan Adler Furniture, 800-657-7752 or www.jonathanadler.com

* Robin Bruce, 877-290-1502 or www.robinbruce.com

* Henredon Furniture Industries, 800-444-3682 or www.henredon.com

* Hickory Chair Co., 800-349-4579 or www.hickorychair.com

* Magnussen Home Furnishings, 519-662-3040 or www.magnussen.com

* Stanley Furniture Co., 276-627-2540 or www.stanleyfurniture.com

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