Style Court

Eight Years of Textiles, History, Art, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes

8.22.2006

Billy Haines




This cheerfully glamorous Billy Haines brass table and chair set recently sold through Todd Merrill Antiques, but I like to think it found a happy home in a chic, sunny breakfast room. In fact, I hope the new owners have a beautiful turquoise vase filled with fresh flowers on the table, to bring out that crisp turquoise blue piping on the original canary-yellow upholstery.

If you aren't familiar with Billy Haines, he was a silent film star who became a highly successful decorator associated with Hollywood Regency style. To grasp Hollywood Regency, think Jane Austen's Emma with a posh, theatrical spin.

Originating in Southern California in the 1930s, Hollywood Regency was a bit of a reaction against stark Modernism. Elegant English Regency and Greek Revival forms of the early 19th century were often reinterpreted in an exaggerated, camera-ready way. For example, the yellow chairs above resemble classic Greek klismos chairs with curved saber-like legs and broad concave backrests, but the Technicolor vinyl upholstery and white laminated tabletop are pure 20th-century.

For more on Haines see Class Act: William Haines Legendary Hollywood Decorator

2 comments:

maditi said...

love those sunny chairs and the story behind the man: silent film star who became a decorator - really fascinating :)

Sara said...

The turquoise piping was the first thing I noticed about these chairs. Such a great detail. I also like the proportions. The rest of the chair is so spare and delicate in comparison to the cushion. Lovely.