As you know by now, we are in the countdown to Nashville's Antique and Garden Show 2011. The accomplished journalist and interior designer, Cathy Whitlock, will grace this year's show as one of the featured lecturers. Whitlock is the author of the newly released book Designs on Film: A Century of Hollywood Art Direction. She also happens to have one of the most successful blogs in the biz: wwwcinemastyle.blogspot.com. Whitlock has been published internationally by some of the most influential publications and it was our pleasure to catch up with her and ask a few questions.
FYI, Cathy Whitlock will be signing her new book at the Antique and Garden Show on February 12 at 2:00pm. If you live in the area we hope to see you there!
If you would like a copy of her book, please click on the link above and it will send you directly to the site! We HIGHLY recommend you do!
You are a local Nashvillian. What do you love most about our great city?
Nashville is a beautiful city and it's an easy way of life here and a well-kept secret (although you wouldn't know it with the traffic on West End and Hillsboro). And I love Vanderbilt basketball as my family has had season tickets since I was a child!
What propelled you to start a design blog that centers around design and film?
I have been covering the subject for the magazines for many years and with the book coming out, I thought it would be a great tie-in.
How would you sum up the influence of film and media on today's design world?
Hollywood has long been an arbiter of taste both good and bad and has been such an influence on our fashion, design and even mores whether we realize it or not. The cinema has historically set fashion trends -- just look at the popularity of Julia Robert's polka dot dress in Pretty Woman and Katherine Hepburn put women's pants on the map for example -- and interior design has followed suit. The beach house in Something's Gotta Give has been one of the most copied and talked about interiors in movie history.
What film(s) have most influenced your personal style?
In terms of fashion, I am a child of the sixties and love anything from that era, particularly the Doris Day films. I loved Faye Dunaway's style in the Thomas Crown Affair was pretty memorable. (We are now seeing a resurgence of that period on television with Mad Men). In terms of film interiors, I could move in to Thomas Crown's townhouse (the sequel), A Perfect Murder's penthouse or the Los Angeles Wallace Neff bungalow in The Holiday. My favorite interiors from older films would include Laura, The Fountainhead and Indiscreet just to name a few.
Do any of the films that are up for Oscars this year stand out in your mind as having memorable set design?
The King's Speech sets were incredible as they were done on a shoestring budget and not the typical over the top costume drama designs. I predict the fresco wall in Logue's studio will be copied over and over again. From a technical standpoint, Inception used a combination of live action shots and CGI (computer generated imagery) and made it so believable!
Your book Redesign takes a close look at the new and expanded role of the interior designer. What do you see as the biggest difference between the role of the interior designer of today with the role of the designer 20 years ago?
Designers today are expanding their practices past the tried and true areas of residential and contract. While this has been going on for years -- Dorothy Draper had a magazine column, books and even designed cosmetic packaging and the interiors for the Packard automobile back in the her heyday -- it is even more important now due to the economy. Today the name of the game is branding and everyone can take a page from Martha Stewart's playbook!
Who are your personal design icons?
For icons -- Jackie O, Grace Kelly and Catherine Deneuve hands down. For fashion designers - Bury me in Balenciaga and line my coffin in Hermes scarves! And for interiors, Billy Baldwin and David Hicks. I also love William Haines as he was the true designer of Hollywood Regency.