Jess Hutch.

Monday, October 30, 2006

retro-neo-victorian

I confessed in a recent post to loving the Victorian revival of the 60s and 70s. I mean, I even love the movies Pollyanna and Hello, Dolly primarily for their garish ersatz Victorian costumes and sets. Marvelous.

So of course I was thrilled to find the Fall-Winter 1971 issue of McCall's You-Do-It Decorating magazine on a recent thrift store trip, because the lead story is "How To: Have the Victorian Look." Oh yes, tell me more!

Of course it's just how you imagine it, the height of seventies overkill combined with the excesses of the Victorian period - now THAT'S inspiration. These images just seem like the right thing to show at Halloween - they're like the decor in a Vegas haunted house. Please take a look... if you dare!

The top image is decribed in the magazine as "a typical ante-bellum parlor" that can be reproduced by "aficionados of the opulent look prevalent" in the Victorian era. I like the needlepoint chair upholstery, and the framed photos, but that color scheme - ouch! I think I'd go insane.

The bottom image really takes the neo-Victorian cake, though. Lordy. I can't believe I'm about to admit this, but I kind of dig it. The steel rocking chair is kind of inspired, and the red in that velveteen upholstery on the sofa is pretty fantastic. I even think the shag carpet works.

The article accompanying these images attempts to explore the meaning of the early 70s Victorian revival: "What is it that makes some aspects of Victorian decor so appealing today? ... Could we, perhaps, subconsciously be seeking a return to stability in our own lives by turning to styles and fads from an era when existence was more secure?" Oh, Ms. Seventies McCall's writer, don't overthink it - we love Neo-Victoriana because it's nutty, extreme, and colorful. I say, let's bring back the bars with lots of brass and ferns and flocked wallpaper, and the high-necked polyester dresses. Who's with me?

10 Comments:

At 7:29 PM , Inky said...

You aren't alone. I want to do our bedroom in a deep red victorian bordello flocked wallpaper. And i'm going to, dammit!!

 
At 8:38 PM , Heather said...

I am not sure I would have known what you were talking about without the images, but seeing it, yes - I love it!

 
At 8:45 PM , Green Kitchen said...

I've got tons of that polyester lace for your dresses.

 
At 8:52 PM , Debbie said...

ME! I'm with you! My friend's parent's house had a bathroom that they very accurately described as "Early French-Canadian Whorehouse". They meant it in a bad way, but I LOVED that bathroom. Red flocked wallpaper, pink scalloped sink, pink toilet and red frilly shower curtain. It was fantastic.

It's the same part of me that loves Dolly Parton to smithereens. There's just something so playful and tacky-in-a-good-way about it.

 
At 10:29 PM , shash said...

and have you decorated your house like this?????? ;-)

 
At 12:41 AM , Merle said...

I'm in for all but the polyester high-necked part...you can't sweat in those dresses(or rather you can, but regret it! (but poly lace is another story!!)

 
At 1:18 PM , Anonymous said...

Oh, I am SO with you sister!

 
At 1:34 PM , VictoriaE said...

Totally with you, on all 70s decorating.

 
At 2:23 PM , Michael said...

My retinas - that final image... Crickey!

 
At 8:28 PM , Carson said...

Wow.
Are you sure the bottom photo is not actually from the 70s?
It's just so....
authentic

 

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