Sunday, June 14, 2009

Home Alone

This Saturday, something momentous occurred. The Divine Italian left for a week in Europe and The Little Prince had a 24 hour sleepover, which meant: empty house! Don't get me wrong, of course I pined for them horribly, but I haven't had a night to myself in I can't remember how long.

Darlings, it was heavenly.

Lest you think there was any "Risky Business" sliding around in socks and underwear, let me emphatically assure you there was not. 

But it did get quite wild.

1. I put in my favorite Noel Coward CD and brazenly turned up the volume.
2. I resolutely attacked the dreaded kitchen junk drawer. And won.
3. I willfully threw away a stack of old magazines that I had sworn I would read.
4. I rearranged my scarves.
5. I sauntered from room to room, dithered, vacillated and stared at nothing in particular. 

(I know, I know, you've gone positively weak in the knees, haven't you?)

But the undisputed highlight of the evening was watching "Women in Love", Ken Russell's 1969 adaptation of D. H. Lawrence's 1920 classic novel. I've been waiting to unleash it from its little Netflix envelope for practically ever, but it's not The Divine Italian's oeuvre. (He still hasn't forgiven me for making him sit through "Howard's End.")

Have you seen it? If not, I highly recommend that you do. Not only does Russell visually capture the lush lyricism of Lawrence's prose, the film is gorgeous and sexy and bohemian and a must for anyone who appreciates color and design. 

Some personal highlights follow.

Jennie Linden's outfit reminded me of Sonia Delaunay's paintings in the 1920's, which were noted for their geometric abstractions.

("Electric Prisms", 1914)

Delaunay also designed clothes, a few sketches of which can be seen here.
I've always been fascinated by Sonia. When I pulled up this photo of her on the Internet, I was struck by the realization that her almost identical to the one which Glenda Jackson wears in the film's opening.
In terms of production design, the ramshackle cottage that Alan Bates lives in struck me as very John Derian-like (in the best possible way).
Here's Derian's apartment as featured in Elle Decor in March 2006.

The reds and blues of the set design also brought to mind John Robshaw's Kalil bedding which I seriously am coveting. I may have to stop by Living Room, one of my favorite local haunts, because they carry his line.
The homespun furnishings also reminded me of a display I saw recently at Dan Marty's showroom.

When this outfit popped up onscreen (the one in the middle, worn by Eleanor Bron), three words popped into my head: Dries. Van. Noten.

Here are three photos from Van Noten's past runway shows (not sure which season.) The feeling is the same, don't you think?  Lots of vibrant prints, colors, unusual fabrics and layering.

Here, his coat exactly picks up the peacocky hue of the cape in the movie.

Another example of Dries' multilayered, non-matching approach. Not for everyone, I know, but definitely for me. 

In this scene, I was floored by the jolt of color coming from Glenda's mango-colored dress when set against the mauve bricks and green gate. I think the colors are so striking together, another example of the brilliant art direction of the movie.

The palette reminded me of Farrow and Ball's "Rosslyn Papers" wallpaper in the following two colorways.

I must say, I finally understood the appeal of Oliver Reed in this movie. It's those naughty eyes. But in this luncheon scene, it was his jacket which held my gaze.

Isn't it the spitting image of this 19th century French chair upholstered in Peter Dunham's velvet Almont Stripe? Available at 1st Dibs.
Last but not least, there was the legendary naked wrestling scene between Oliver and Alan Bates. When they finally collapsed onto the floor, I gasped, not because of the scene's undeniable homoeroticism, but because...
...that rug was almost the spitting image of the one I snapped on Friday from Fort Street Studios! 

Oh, what a movie. Oh, what a night.


Sesame Jones said...

Lisa, I'm so jealous! I haven't had a night to myself ever since my son, now 19 months, was born! Thank you for sharing - now I can live vicariously through you...

I have been trying - unsuccessfully - to locate the wallpaper in your dining room. I found Deborah Bowness website with her contact information on it, and I emailed her, twice, and never heard back. How did you buy yours? Did you pick it up on one of your trips to London? Is yours a custom installation or a regular pattern? Which one? I'm so sorry to bug you about this, but I don't know where else to turn...

pve design said...

Well, when the cat's are away, look at that mouse play!
I like your "home alone" evening. I really enjoyed how the evening morphed.
I thought I was the only one who associated colors, patterns, and designs into something more than they really are. I feel better knowing I am not alone.

Blue said...

That is one hell of a piece of good writing! This piece was perfect to read with the morning coffee. I shared it with my Divine Italian (actually a divine scot) and we laughed together about you noticing the rug in the wrestling scene. Thank you for the best beginning to Monday in a while!

A Super Dilettante said...

What a literary and artistic banquet in here... as always, if something comes from you, it's always colourful, eloquent and elegant! Your eyes for attention in details and subtlety of expression and association are magnificent! You should be a priestess of the arts like Lady Ottoline Morrell!

You just inspire me to find my Noel Coward CD (have you ever heard Ian Bostridge's interpretation of Coward's songs?)and sing along "I Went To A Marvelous Party"! I adore Glenda Jackson in "Women in Love" adaptation film. But a famous nude wrestling scene between Reed and Bates was quite an eye opener for me when I firt saw it during my Prep School years.

Recommendation: "Married to Genius: A Fascinating Insight Into the Married Lives of Nine Modern Writers" by Jeffrey Meyers. If you haven't read it, I'd highly recommend it. Meyers's account on the relationship between Frieda and Lawrence is just fascinating. Thanks again for sharing your passion. As always, I remain your devoted reader, ASD x

Mary said...

Always said the ultimate luxury was being alone in my own home. You sure packed alot into those twenty hours - bravo!

Can't wait to order the movie !

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

Sesame: Deborah is tricky to get hold of. She's a one-woman operation (makes all the wallpaper at her cottage in Devon, England) and it can take a long time to track her down. All told, I think we waited 6 months for the wallpaper. She handtints it all herself (you can choose the colors). We bought "Genuine Fake Bookcase" and she shipped it to us and had it installed here. She's absolutely lovely, but like many great artists, hard to grasp(!)

She also sells limited quantities of the wallpaper in stores, but mostly at Colette in Paris and other such places. Hmmm...I'd say, maybe not the best choice if you are in a hurry to decorate. But definitely worth the wait if you can stand it. She will email you back...eventually!

PVE: You should have been here. I'm sure you would have added many more design references and fascinating artist tidbits to the equation!

Blue: Thank you so much, lovely one! You made my Monday, too! xx

Super: What can I continue to say? The admiration is mutual. And you know how I feel about Ottoline Morrell. I will order "Married to Genius" today. Thanks, as always!

Mary: Oooh, you're in for a treat. Read the book, too. If you haven't tackled Lawrence yet, I especially loved "Sons and Lovers."

amypink said...

Genius post-Absolutely love your blog! Can't wait to get my hands on the movie

home before dark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laura said...

That does sound positively luxurious! I can certainly relate to the Netflix struggles...I think my gruff englishman and your divine italian must have very similar "discussions" over film choices with their significant others. Love all of the Dries by the way...I still remember trying on my first piece of at Barneys and falling possitively in love. The sales associate rolled his eyes good naturedly at my excitement and said "Well darling, it IS Dries."

ArchitectDesign™ said...

oh what a delightful day that was! I'm going right now to add that movie to my queue!

jezebel said...

Women in Love is one of the very few DVDs I own! The palette is amazing, and as I am a serious toast enthusiast, I love Gudrun and Ursula waxing philosophic while buttering their bread.

Clarity said...

I remember watching "Women in Love" at the age of 11, I know! I must review it sometime, especially as Bates was a rare talent.

Your mind is an encyclopaedia... what vitamins have you been taking?

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...


One of my all-time favorite blogs--which its great sublimation. I read it and your wonderful style interpretation...waiting for your mention of Alan Bates (swoon) wrestling with Oliver Reed...which a few years ago was about as much of any nakedness as might see, aesthetically speaking.
Too bad. Both of them are now dead.
Their wrestling scene lingers on.

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

Amy Pink: I hope you love it as much as I did. And then read the book...We're pro-book on this blog! :)

HomeBeforeDark: Wow. Is all I can say. Thank you for your utterly rhapsodical compliment! xx

Laura(What I Like): I love your Dries comment. I think I know that very same sales associate! My favorite coat is a Dries that I call the Enchanted Forest: it's wool, semi-conservative cut, with a multi-colored forest print on it. I feel like I'm inside Narnia whenever I wear it.

Architect Design: Let me know what you think of the film. Your opinions are always valued over here! xx

Jezebel: Of course you own it. You're one UBER cool chick. Yes, love the toast scene, too. And the names Ursula and Gudrun!

Clarity: Umm, this post was written from 10pm to midnight last night on a single Diet Coke (which I recently started drinking again after a 10 year hiatus). Is it healthy? No. Does it do the trick? Unfortunately, the answer is yes.

Diane: As always, I am SO honored that you make it over here. I know, it's so tragic that they're both not alive. I forgot that Bates died a while ago. As for Reed I remember it happened during the making of "Gladiator." They certainly were two fine specimens...ribald, witty, bad and brilliant, my favorite combination!

Prairie Girl Studio said...

oh my gosh girl ... you totally captured me with 'stared at nothing in particular' ... i so like and associate with that ... but keep reading and you've got one treat after another! what a night is right! but i nearly 'snorted tea out my nose' (something my niece did once when i made her laugh) when i got to the part with the wrestlers and the rugs ... you always write with such delight ...
thanks thanks!

Susan's Snippets said...

Lisa....a couple of things:

1. I LOVE being home alone;

2. I could never wear those mismatched outfits;

3. I definitely would put the Farrow and Ball paper in my house; and

4. Like you I would so look past the man-on-man wrestling to admire the rug underneath their bodies covered in sweat.

noel coward cd i have to get

Unknown said...

Lisa, yes, I know how it feels, with 4 kids between 22 and 9, evenings alone are simply rare and blissfull highlights!!! Sometimes I wish nothing more then no one speaking to that I can think!
Well, you made obviously the best out of your time and observed the spiraling movement of fashion, art and design...we always react to the past, we can't get away from that and to be truthfull I enjoy the new birth of old concepts, filled in with the wisdom, that passing time brings. Our creativity is always based on where we come from, nothing getting really lost.

You recommend great stuff, love it always, books, movies, places to see...Thank you!

Sesame Jones said...

Thank you Lisa! I heard back from Deborah - can't wait for my wallpaper to arrive. Six months is not too long to wait for a beauty like this. Thank you for inspiring me!

wild thyme flowers said...

Lisa, you are so much fun to read ! The list is hilarious, particularily 4 and 5. I love the Farrow and Ball wallpaper and the
Dries Van Noten connection. Fabulous!

Miss Cavendish said...

Love this kind of cinematic/historical/contemporary textile post. The ticking stripes on the couch are divine!

Ree Childs / Realtor / Shop owner said...

I will have to get that movie on my next Netflix order - sounds very interesting....
When I'm "home alone" I stay up until 2 and 3 in the morning reading magazines that have "piled" up. I love magazines and always have a stack of "unread" ones.
I absolutley love this blogging stuff - so many wonderful blogs out there and it's much fun to sit and read them. Only wish I had more time to go through them all.
I am new at blogging and only hope I can make mine a fraction as interesting as some of time, maybe?
I'm not even sure if I have mine set up for people to follow - maybe I should get some professional help with this...
Any advice?

Brabourne Farm said...

What a truly fabulous movie review - love it!

Jen West Design said...

I would give my right arm for that. Lucky.

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

Prairie Girl: Ooh, snorting tea out of your nose is painful. I did it once!

Susan: Please tell me you compile all your little are SO adorable.

Victoria: So many lovely insights from you. There's an old saying, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." I prefer the converse: "Those who recycle the past enjoy twice the pleasure!"

Sesame: Truly excellent news. You will be soo happy. I expect photos after installation.

Wild Thyme:I think you are a woman after my own heart. F and B and DVN are sacred words in my house.

Miss Cavendish: Oh, aren't those stripes amazing? So modern and yet so 1920's boating up the Thames...

Tropical Chateau: I don't think you need any professional help with blogging. It's pretty intuitive. If you want to add sidebar content, click on "Customize" and "Add gadget." I think Blogger also has a tutorial'll figure it out. Have fun!

Brabourne Farm: Your name intrigues sounds so gentleman/woman farmer. Tell me, do you make posh jams like elderberry champagne or black currant port?!

Jen West: I'd give my right arm...and left!

Unknown said...

I adore that Farrow and Ball's "Rosslyn Papers" wallpaper! In both color patterns! -e

Biotech69 said...

Thank you for the lovely post. I have added Women in Love to my Netflix queue. Also thank you for the book discussion...I'm reading "Good Behavior" very good recommendation by another reader. Your one of my favorite bloggers. I also loved the Vegas trip with your son. I have two boys so I was laughing out loud. Thank you.

Style Court said...

Lisa, you are on fire. I love how you brought Sonia Delaunay's work into this!

Denise said...

Rewatched this movie this year too to show my photographer son, who was stunned by the wrestling scene, apparently lit by candlelight. I was worried the movie would seem fusty, but not at all. And isn't the Bron/Hermione character based on Lady Ott Morrell, whom Lawrence despised?

Can't wait til your house empties out again...this was fun!

Unknown said...

Wow! Reading your post seems make me watch a movie too. You are very lucky to have time for yourself. It's like a love for ourselves and pour it to others after.
Lucky enough to watch "Women in Love"

~~ True love of Filipino women ~~

Victoria said...

Hold on. Alan Bates??? I have not seen this movie, but I am moving it up to Number 1 on my Netflix list.

Did you ever see Far from the Madding Crowd? Alan Bates AND Julie Christie. Amazing.

Obviously you have seen Carrington. Many times.

Unknown said...

Great post! Filipino loves "Women In Love" movie. Thanks much for sharing!


Blog Widget by LinkWithin