Saturday, April 17, 2010

Divorce, French Style

Every now and then a little film comes along that doesn't necessarily enjoy major box office success but is high on style and an all star cast.  From director James Ivory (who has a new film I will be reporting on soon - The City of Your Final Destination), Le Divorce (Merchant Ivory, 2003) is the tale of a pregnant American wife (Naomi Watts) who gets dumped in Paris by her French husband. Kate Hudson plays her visiting sister who has an affair (and gets a red crocodile Kelly bag as a reward), Leslie Caron a chic yet meddling mother in law along with supporting roles by Glenn Close, Stockard Channing and Sam Waterston.

French production designer Frederic Bernard created the wonderfully French appointed interiors and costume designer Carol Ramsey did the wardrobe. Based on Diane Johnson's novel of the same name, it's love, betrayal, crimes of passion and the great divide between French and American culture..... and did I mention great sights of Paris? Besides the Louvre and Eiffel Tower, you might recognize Cafe de Flore. and Le Georges.

Hudson's character gets a French update to her looks post - affair

Caron's pattern on pattern bedroom. Note the charming doghouse!

While I won't ruin the plot the aforementioned Kelly bag, a priceless painting and a Chanel scarf play a role. Only in France...

Diane Johnson's book is available on Amazon.

Photo credits: Merchant Ivory Productions

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Movie & a Makeover and a few questions...

I  had the pleasure of meeting the very enigmatic Brian Patrick Flynn while in Los Angeles recently when he was on the panel with me at the Schumacher "It's Not Complicated" event. Brian is the on-air talent of the fun and right-down-my-alley TBS show Movie & a Makeover which shows makeover tips - fashion, beauty and of course, interior design. The movies range from our favorite Something's Gotta Give to this month's schedule that includes Legally Blonde, Miss Congeniality 2, Jerry MacGuire and Bewitched.

I asked Brian a few questions about his interesting design career:

Cinema Style: You have one of the more interesting design careers, tell me about how you got started.

BPF: I started my career as a news producer, then moved to the TV department working on home makeover show. Eventually I got in front of the camera and at the same time I started taking on residential clients as a decorator. When people ask what my occupation is it's easiest to say TV producer -- everything I do is somewhat of a production: upholstery, draperies, kitchen build outs, etc.

For the past seven years I have been Associate Producer AND the on-air talent for Movie & a Makeover. This past year I also launched Decor Demon (great product, innovative interiors and behind the scenes looks at TV and set design).

CS: What is the difference between designing furniture for home versus a television set?

BPF: While homes are meant for comfort and self-expression, sets are a workplace with a ticking clock. Dimensions need to fit the task at hand -- the Chesterfield inspired sofa from our set is only 17.5 inches deep for our small framed host Mia Butler to sit astute and quickly deliver her talking points. (In reality the sofa should be between 22-23 inches deep to allow for comfy lounging).

A set from Movie & a Makoever 

 CS: Are there certain patterns that work better on camera versus residential interiors?

BPF: Designing for the camera and designing for real life are two completely different worlds in relation to textiles. Tight, busy patterns confuse the camera -- large scale graphic patterns are the way to go. If you chose a pattern too large, it becomes too prominent in a scene, taking the focus off your subject.

70's inspired graphic wallpaper

CS: Is there an element you use in your residential interiors that we might not find on your sets?

BPF: Texture! My affinity for texture comes into play more so with residential interiors because texture doesn't always translate too well to video. When designing for TV, color trumps texture, however in the home of real people, it's vice versa.

Brian notes that "Accessorizing is at its best here as I stuck with my routine of large, graphic objects with different textures. This is an example that would translate exceptionally well on TV."

CS: And lastly, what is your overall style?

BPF: Theatrically liveable. A mashup of eras riding the line between masculine and feminine. There is always something theatrical to very space I do which can be scale, accent color, pattern or finishes.

Basically when you walk into any of my spaces, there is a moment of "I feel like I am on a Hollywood set but I also have the urge to take off my shoes and lay down on the floor."  Every time I hear that, it totally makes my day.

Brian's insistence on working with flea market finds started out of necessity due to tight TV set budgets. Now he's turned it into his calling card. On Movie & a Makeover, Brian showed viewers how orphaned dining chairs can quickly become designer grade with sandpaper, glossy spray paint and professionally made cushions. Below is a bachelor pad gets an updated  50's diner look.

Flynn's fresh take on a classic black and white Hollywood look for a bar area. "The strong contrast adds interest to an otherwise bland space, then punched up drama and glamour with a rococo mirror finished in bold cherry red."

For Brian's new series Decor Demon, he stuck to his Hollywood-inspired roots to design a bachelor loft for writer/producer roommates. One of his signature styles is the masculine approach to glamour. To achieve this look, he used graphic wallpapers, rich fabrics (think velvet or mohair) and added a few touches of femininity with curved furniture lines such as this Victorian inspired sofa (below) that was, which he found in the trash and spray painted!

Photos courtesy of Brian Patrick Flynn 

Photo credits: Sarah Dorio