Traveling With A Decorator – Day 2 The Louvre

M and I woke up with only mild Jet- Lag and took ourselves off for the best fix – Tea and Baked Goods.

We somehow managed to get down the 6 flights of stairs…

Sated, we headed off to the Musee De Louvre  (an obvious first stop for a set, and museum designer). It was early and the lines weren’t as bad as we expected but the shortest by far was the Richelieu Wing, so off we went (Hint: It’s the one to the Left). I should mention that we purchased a 4 day museum pass which was well worth it given all the museums we went to.

This particular wing of the Museum houses the rooms of Napoleon III, the Emperor of the Second French Empire and the nephew to Napoleon I. The Louvre describes the Salon thus: “The large drawing-room of the Napoleon III Apartments typifies the taste of the period for opulent interiors. The ceiling features Charles-Raphaël Maréchal’s painting of The Reuniting of the Louvre and the Tuileries by Napoleon III. The lavish stucco decorations are by Tranchant.” (Hint: Click on the images to enlarge).

The rest of the rooms were equally opulent.

We continued on to the Marie Antoinette Rooms. The almost Tiffany Blue had been a popular color during her time in France and the rooms reflected this.

Having worked up an appetite we headed back to the center of the museum to grab a bite at their restaurant. But not before passing a few more grand rooms along the way!

“Winged Victory” in all her glory.
This room was full of jewels and details about the artists who had worked for the Kings of France.

After lunch we checked out the Vermeer exhibit which looked at his art in relation to other artists of his time. The exhibit was interesting but packed, and we had to wait an hour just to get in. We left the museum and strolled down the Jardin Des Tuileries grabbing some ice cream along the way. At the Octagonal lake we took a right and headed up Rue Cambon, past the Église Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption and turned right along the Rue Saint Honoré which is one of the main, high-end shopping streets in Paris. Taking a Right on Place Vendôme we passed by the Vendôme Column, of which Balzac once said “The city of Paris has a great mast, made entirely of bronze, with sculpted Victories and Napoleon as its lookout”.

At this point we were starving so we turned to Google to direct us to some food. A few moments later we were sitting at Razowski’s in a lovely square, chowing down on some of the best burgers I’ve ever had (they were also accommodating to my food allergy  – making a few adjustments to the meal so I could have what I wanted – I was very happy with the service).  We sat outside and watched the rain fall and people walk home while we decided what to do next. fullsizeoutput_607IMG_9950

As it turned out the Musée D’Orsay was open late on Thursdays so we headed over. Passing back through the gardens we crossed the bridge and headed in.

Paris at Dusk is lovely
Musee D’Orsay Clock

The museum had a special exhibit “Beyond the Stars: The Mystical Landscape from Monet to Kandinsky” about the nature of the humanity in relation to the cosmos. Some of the work was quite brilliant and unexpected. (click on images for more information).

Red Hills, Lake George by Georgia O’Keeffe 1927
Decorative Landscape by Lawren Steward Harris 1917
Sky by Emily Car 1935-1936

We did a fast tour through their first floor and then were promptly kicked out of the museum at 9:15 (not before seeing some Sassy AF women portrayed in the paintings including Sarah Burnhardt!).

Femme à L’orchidée by Edgard Maxence 1900
Portrait de Sarah Bernhardt by Georges Clairin between 1884 and 1902
Madame Pasca by Léon Bonnat 1874

At this point we were beat, so we headed back to the 16th to unwind with our host over a glass of wine!

Traveling with a Decorator – Europe Day 1

Kings Cross St. Pancras Station, London

M. and I (hereby renamed M&M) are on a tour of Europe. We once designed theater projects together in College and now work in two different design fields. This is our account of the trip.

Day 1: We arrived in London late on Tuesday night and headed to our hotel, a nondescript little hole in the wall on a row of similarly tiny hotels next to Kings Cross St. Pancras Station. Upon waking the next morning to a rather dreary, rainy day I promptly blew up my hair-dryer (but managed not to light the room on fire or blow out the electricity so I count it as a win). Appealing to the better natures of the hotel staff I managed to wrangle a new hair-dryer and proceeded with M. in tow to meet my old flatmates, C&C, in Kensington.

We headed to The Muffin Man for a delightful tea with scones & jam. It was a great traditional place with cozy seating and a great tea selection.

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Tea and Scones from The Muffin Man – Photo by Olivier De Man

Then we hailed a black cab and headed over to the Victoria and Albert Museum. The V&A is by far one of my favorite museums, and houses everything from clothes and costumes, to marble statues, old tiles, pottery, stained glass etc. It’s huge and we hardly had enough time to begin but we gave it a go anyway. C&C led us through the Cast Room which I discovered back in 2004 during my study abroad years. One sections was being remodeled but the other was just as I remembered it. Then, we headed to the theater exhibit rooms (filled with costumes and set models) and the stained glass rooms (which were beautifully laid out).

Before we had even begun to take it all in it was time to head off. We bid a cheerful goodbye to C&C and went back to the hotel to grab our bags and catch the train to Paris! The train was exceptionally fast and not too crowded (4:30 on a Wednesday isn’t the most popular time for travel) so we were able to spread out a bit. By 11pm we were happily tucked into bed at our Friend’s apartment in the 16th and passed out. It was quite the start to our Europe Adventure.

Paper Props

One of the many jobs that prop designers have in creating realistic looking paper goods for the actors in a play. This can be anything from letters, to newspapers, to large scrolls. It can be quite fun to do the research, but often takes a ton of time to find exactly the right thing. Recently I decided to move these paper files off my computer and onto a public folder on Flicker.

An actress reading a newspaper I created for her in the musical “Evita"
An actress reading a newspaper I created for her in the musical “Evita”

Before making this decision I did a bit of research and asked around about which file-sharing websites were the best. Flicker now provides a full terabyte of storage for free (which is just a ridiculous amount of space). And while the website does not support .psd files it does allow for folders and categories – and I do like to organize.

You can check out some of my files below but also head over to my flicker account to see more. So far I’ve only uploaded WWII files but there will be many more to come.

Post Card fro Egypt 1893
Post Card from  Egypt 1893
Edward Wright - Map for Sailing to Azores-1599
Edward Wright – Map for Sailing to Azores-1599
War Department Envelope Stamped 1950
War Department Envelope Stamped 1950

Halloween Costume 2014 – Fish Mooney, Gotham

A simple but effective costume for Halloween this year. Complete with Mooney’s weapon of choice – a baseball bat. This villain stays classy in gold, red and black but keeps it edgy with dangerous looking shoes and accessories. Don’t forget the pointed nails or the red and black wig.
Halloween Costume 2014 - Fish Mooney, Gotham

“Evita” at the John W. Engeman Theater

Hi folks! It’s been a crazy couple of weeks at work. Just about a week ago I opened “Evita” at the John W. Engeman theater in Long Island. The show is currently having several revivals including a national tour and a short stint in the West End to celebrate it’s 35th Anniversary (It opened September 25th, 1979 (See The Playbill Vault for more info).

Our version featured a strong cast of Broadway and Long Island notables as well as an exceptional creative team.  Our concept was to create a sepia-toned stage in which “Eva” would be the brightest spot and focus point.  The show was directed by Igor Goldin, Scenic Design was done by Daniel T Willis, Costume & Wig Design was by Kurt Alger, Lighting Design was by Zach Blane  and I did the prop design.  To read more about the show check out our review on Broadway World and photos of the show below!  All were taken by  Daniel T Willis, Michael DeCristofaro and myself.

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Spotlight on Kyle Fisher

I’m going into tech for “Evita” tomorrow so I’m a bit crazed at the moment but as it is fashion week I wanted to take a second to highlight the photography of my dear friend Kyle Fisher.

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Designed by Mimi Tran

Kyle has been on the front line of Fashion Week here in NYC and has a great eye for detail. He hails from a film background but has been uploading stills all week and I’m so excited to see more. Check out his work below or on his website.

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Garments hanging backstage
Kyle Fisher Photography
Design by Sofia Arana NYFW 2015
Details of a dress from the Czar by Cesar Galindo show
Details of a dress from the Czar by Cesar Galindo show NYFW 2015
A dress from the Czar by Cesar Galindo show
A dress and jumper from the Czar by Cesar Galindo show NYFW 2015
A spectator Sketches at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in NYC
A spectator Sketches at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in NYC  2015
Detail Shot of a dress from the Czar by Cesar Galindo Show
Detail Shot of a dress from the Czar by Cesar Galindo Show NYFW 2015
Fashion week 2015 hat
A Monstruosite design NYFW 2015
Fashion week 2015 butterfly hat
A model looks to the audience on the Monstruosite runway NYFW 2015


Hollywood Regency Part 1 – The Past

I’m an old-fashioned kind of girl. I grew up watching Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, learned to swing dance when I was a teen and often wear vintage attire if I can get away with it. So when I started designing my new room I was looking to create a space that would reference the Hollywood Regency style of interior design. As I was searching for furnishings that might help highlight the look, I realized that more and more flash sale sites were carrying gold and white furnishings. Clearly I was not the only one loving the vintage style.

William Haines

Hollywood Regency became popular in the 1930’s with the explosion of the movie industry. The style utilized Georgian and Edwardian furniture and modern Art Deco architectural lines; geometric shapes, chinoiserie, metallic and reflective surfaces, as well as luxe materials were highly favored. The style was frequently featured in the homes of the Hollywood stars as well as in film set and popularized by designers William Haines and Dorothy Draper.

Ginger Rogers in Top Hat
Ginger Rogers in Top Hat

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers films often featured the style in their sets. In the above photo Ginger perches on a newer style of bed that features clean lines and cut decals (the star) while behind the bed the tufted satin headboard adds a feeling of an older, aristocratic time.

Old Hollywood Mirrors Old Hollywood Mirrors

Mirrors and highly reflective surfaces pepper the sets and homes of this time. Often they were elaborately framed such as the image on the above right. In the later 30’s and early 40’s cleaner lines for mirrors started to be favored as in the image above left and below but they were often then flanked by more ornate furnishings such as the chinoiserie wall paper in Rita Hayworth’s Dressing Room.

Rita Hayworth’s Dressing Table
Rita Hayworth’s Dressing Table

While we may think of Hollywood Regency as being a more feminine style today it was considered appropriate for both men and women’s rooms during the 1930’s. In this scene below, Fred Astaire’s apartment features the large mirrors and tufted furniture (you can just make out the dressing-room screen in the mirror. However the roman bust, Egyptian style phoenixes in the fireplace, and the darker colored table and lamp lend a more masculine air to the room. Fred Astair singing "Needle in A Haystack"Fred Astaire singing “Needle in A Haystack”

Above all Hollywood Regency was about high drama. Tall ceilings, large drapes or furnishings and rich materials were key to making this style a success. Next week I’ll go into more detail about how this style is once again sweeping the design scene. But for now I leave you with this exquisite set of a “Hotel Suit” to feast your eyes on. Hollywood Style