Patterns of Persian Living

1970s, Ann Turkel, Henry Clarke, Inspirational Images, interior design, interiors, Michael Szell, thea porter, Vogue
Michael Szell in the bedroom of his London flat. The rolls of fabric, his new collection of Persian prints for Thea Porter. The dress, simply one length from the range worn like a caftan.

Michael Szell is the Hungarian fabric designer who is introducing Iran to London via a new collection of designs, taken up by Thea Porter for her romantic and ravishing evening dresses. His own bedroom, opposite, is in rich emerald, turquoise and brown arabesqued linen, cool and grand by day but rich and warm by electric light, with 18th-century Eng-lish paintings and mirrors. His drawing-room, below, is turquoise with brilliant Persian prayer mats colouring the walls, 18th-century English botanical china, and a mixed forest of hyacinth and growing orchids, later bluebells and orchids. Iran runs through Michael Szell’s life like a thread. He began to visit friends and connections there while he was still a child, used every possible holiday to get there while he studied economics at Aberystwyth University, and later when he worked with Sir Nicholas Sekers. His love for Persian ceramics, buildings and woven carpets developed into a passion for early Islamic art in its formal, random, asymmetric period before it came to represent life in the 19th-century : a passion culminating in his opening his own furnishing fabric showrooms at 47 Sloane Avenue. He began selling silk signature scarves to Henri Bendel of New York in 1969 and has just produced his new Persian collection of fabrics. Thea Porter asked him to print his designs onto silk chiffon for her and made them in flowing evening dresses with yards of floating sleeve and skirt.

For the coronation of the Shahanshah and the Empress of Iran, Michael Szell designed curtains, chair-fabrics and an entire state banquet for the Golestan Palace. He has been asked again to help with the decorations for the great October celebrations—the twenty-fifth centenary of the founding of the Persian Empire. He will contribute designs for the interiors of houses and for some of the 500 tents that are planned, with their own marble bathrooms, for the royal and distinguished guests who will take part in the celebrations at Persepolis, the ruined city and ancient capital.

Mr Szell has also been asked to provide the fabrics for all the palace sets in the new Universal film Mary, Queen of Scots, starring Vanessa Redgrave as Mary and Glenda Jackson as Elizabeth. He has an unrealised ambition to produce an absolutely modern collection of very cheap fabrics “from chair covers to plastic shower curtains”.

Model is Ann Turkel.

Photographed by Henry Clarke.

Scanned from Vogue, July 1971.

Midnight blue Persian curlicues on azure silk chiffon. Sleeves dipping to the ground and gathered at the wrists, the bodice fitted, skirt soft and gathered. £78, at Thea Porter, 8 Greek St. Persian necklaces, both pages, from Michael Szell’s own collection.

Well Stacked

19 magazine, 1970s, interior design, interiors

I’d like to climb straight into 1977 please.

Scanned from 19 Magazine, June 1977.

Babe Rainbow

1970s, cosmopolitan, interior design, interiors, peter blake, Vintage Adverts

Advert for Faber Edition venetian blinds, designed by Claudia Keller. Featuring a print of Peter Blake’s ‘Babe Rainbow’.

Scanned from Cosmopolitan, May 1978.

Come up and see me sometime

19 magazine, 1970s, barbara hulanicki, Barbara Hulanicki, biba, Inspirational Images, interior design, interiors, Manfred Vogelsanger, platforms
Wallpaper, 10p. a 2ft. x 3ft. sheet. Each sheet has a border which can be trimmed off with a Stanley knife and steel rule and used for edging. Butterfly mirror from a junk Shop. Plywood boxes, painted with Biba Brown Flat Oil Paint, £1-80 per litre, and edged with wallpaper border, used as table. On table: feathers, 65p. each. Brown velvet shade, with gold bead fringe, £7-50. Gilt lady lamp, £5-05. Lacquered basket, full of beads, from 55p. Brown velvet wastepaper basket, £3-60. Satin and velvet cushions: small £2.10 each, large £2.95 each. Brown velvet used as bed-cover, £2.35 per square yard. Huge terracotta plant pot and dish from any good nursery. Both painted with Biba Brown Flat Oil and Biba Gold, £1.25 a litre, and varnished with clear polyurethane, from hardware stores. Old wardrobe was given a coat of Biba Brown Flat Oil Paint and edged with wallpaper border. Foreground: table and seat both made out of plywood, as before. On table: brass mirror tray, £4-50. Long-lasting candles, 60p. each. Brown mirror glass cigarette box, £5.50. Sundae glasses, £1.15 each. Crockery: cups 35p. each, saucers, 20p. each. Brown felt on floor, 95p. per yard.

How do you turn your bed-sitter into a cosy, welcoming den, with a seductive hint to it, so that a friend would love to come back with you after an evening out on the town? 19 asked Barbara Hulanicki of Biba for her expert advice on this and here are some of her easily imitated ideas to jazz up your pad.

Choice of colour schemes is very much a question of taste, but we chose Biba’s beautiful brown and gold paper and brown paint because they’re warm and intimate to live with and neutral enough to display favourite bits and pieces. Brown floor felt is a cheap alternative to carpet, but it is difficult to keep clean. If you can stand doing it, sanding tt-e floor gives a beautiful surface. pywood pieces, cut to size by your frendly local do-it-yourself shop and glued or nailed together, form excellent boxes for tables and seats. If yoire clever with a screwdriver, you night even manage to hinge one side and use the boxes for storage.

Painted and edged with wallpaper border and then varnished with clear polyurethane. they make effective and decorative furniture, which will tie in beautifully with your room scheme. An alternative to expensive antique plant pots is to buy terracotta ones and again paint with colour and seal with clear polyurethane.

A pegboard livens up a dull wall and when painted and bordered with paper looks as if it’s meant to be there. Half-inch thick insulating board—again cut to required size— is super stuff for pinning notices on.

The bed is covered in brown velvet and scatter cushions. Everyone knows it’s a bed, but it doesn’t have to look like one and this way successfully forms an integral part of the room. An ugly wardrobe can dominate a bed-sitter, but is usually a necessary evil. Given the same treatment —paint, wallpaper trim — it actually looks pleasant and merges effectively with the wall.

Judging by the jumble of sticks and pots in most girls’ bedrooms, storage space for jewellery and make-up is also a problem. Barbara’s cheap, chic and neat answer to this is a tin tool-box, stocked by most hardware shops. Painted and varnished, it looks really effective.

Text by Gwenda Saar.

All items from Biba, unless otherwise stated. Model’s clothes from Biba.

Photographs by Manfred Vogelsanger.

Scanned from 19 Magazine, February 1973.

Bamboo hat-stand from a junk shop. Dried grasses from a selection at Harrods. Tin tool chest, with plastic drawers, from Woolworth or Biba, £1.75, painted with Biba Brown Flat Oil, £1.80 per litre, and coated with clear varnish.
Noticeboard made from half-inch thick insulating board, cut to size, painted with Biba Brown Flat Oil, £1.80 per litre, edged with wallpaper border.

Flat Power

1970s, Barbara Carrera, cosmopolitan, Elyse Lewin, interior design, interiors

You might be short on space, but that’s no reason to skimp on imagination in doing up your own place. “Studio flat, one bed, kitchen and bath, ch, pleasant aspect.” That’s the kind of accommodation most of us want when we look for somewhere to live in the big city. And the metal windows, featureless walls and skimpy dimensions are liable to be standard whether you call it a flat and you’re in London, or Liverpool, or it’s pronounced “apartment” and the address is Beverly Hills, Los Angeles. Case in point is the one-bedroom pad, shown on these pages, of Barbara Carrera, Nicaraguan-born model and actress. The plethora of ruffled pillows, jungle of greenery and vast coffee table indicates the Hollywood influence, but you don’t need to be Liz Taylor to aspire to mirror tiles on your wall to expand a poky bedroom. The Californian passion for pale colours, low sofas and casual arrangements of objects suits the English climate, too. Wicker mania is also rampant here in the UK, hence the boom in shops that sell basketware of every kind. Barbara must have bought a job lot of laundry baskets which she mounted in two tiers. These now hold her TV set, record player, art books and some of the jungle greenery. The mirror walls make the basket shelves look double the amount, but the initial investment in six strong cane baskets is a fraction of shelving bought by the yard. Bonus: you can take the baskets with you when you decide to move elsewhere.

Barbara is celebrating her first part in a film—she plays Victoria in Embryo opposite Rock Hudson—hence the purchase of the wall-hanging “TAKE ME TO YOUR LEDA” seen over her bed. But if, like Barbara, you can handle a paint brush, why not splash out your own abstract art like Barbara’s picture hanging over the sofa ? Most working girls don’t have the space for a dining area. Barbara gives intimate dinners—never more than four—in the corner of her living-room where two peacock chairs flank a small round table. Make one yourself from a round plywood top balanced on a metal plinth finished off with fabric skirt.

The all-over printed batiks have the freshest look in printed fabrics with the correct ethnic feeling. Models like Barbara who jet round the world can pick up Indonesian sarongs, embroidered Greek cushions and Navaho rugs in the Country of origin at airport shops as well as in the authentic souks and bazaars. Happily, anyone with a day ticket can find the same merchandise in the clutch of ethnic shops in Pimlico, Covent Garden and Hampstead. Beautiful kangas, batiks, or baskets, shells. Oriental china and wall-hangings can be seen at one of the newest sources, Rain (late Klong and Roots and Shoots), Pimlico Road, London SW1. A wind-bell to tinkle at the window and a dozen or so green plants (don’t forget a decorative watering-can and plant mister are available at Conran, Draycott Avenue, SW3, which also stocks handsome cane furniture) will complete your private Oriental fantasy. We can’t all be movie stars, but we can all afford some of the comforts of Hollywood.

Photographed by Elyse Lewin.

Scanned from Cosmopolitan, November 1976.

The British style at Heals

1970s, Heals, interior design, interiors, Vogue

Scanned from Vogue, September 15th 1971.

Chester and Sandy Jones

1970s, chester jones, Colefax & Fowler, interior design, interiors, Ruan O'Lochlainn, sandy jones, Vogue, zandra rhodes

Chester Jones is design director of Colefax & Fowler. He makes furniture of extraordinary craftsmanship, all dependent on handmade techniques, reminiscent of thirties’ decorative skill. Here, with his wife, Sandy, his chest-professionally sprayed silver, bolted together, stencilled in patterns of pinks and blues. Neon cloud scuplture. Gentle pattern carpet made by V’soske. Walls stippled beige on white by hand, stencilled simply, oil paint through heavy paper. Ceiling in silver gilt rubbed by hand. Sandy’s dress is by Zandra Rhodes.

Photographed by Ruan O’Lochlainn.

Scanned from Vogue, July 1970.

The Airbrushed Room

1970s, airbrushing, Illustrations, interior design, interiors

Airbrushed mural decoration in an apartment belonging to the Tubes pop group.

Photographer and artist both uncredited.

Scanned from The Airbrush Book by Seng-gye Tombs Curtis and Christopher Hunt, 1980.

Some Like It Cluttered

1970s, cosmopolitan, david bowie, interior design, interiors, kevin whitney, Lorenz Zatecky, luciana martinez de la rosa
It takes more nerve than money to achieve this level of decorative clutter: Kevin and Luciana at home.

Contessa Luciana Martinez dela Rosa and Kevin Whitney, Esquire don’t sound like your average suburban couple. So it’s not sur-prising that they don’t live like one. And unless you share their passion for flea market decor, feathers around as well as under the bed, lace curtains that make for romantic gloom, and a bed that is bigger and obviously better used than the kitchen, you might not fancy their life-style either. You cannot but admire it, though. This talented couple clearly thrive in the hot-house atmosphere; they are not married, though Kevin couldn’t be more domestic : “He’s the cleaning lady,” says Luciana firmly. Better still, he also does the cooking.

Kevin, a painter, has exhibited in Turin and New York, as well as in London; his pictures are in a vivid, realistic style which fetch approximately £1,500 each. The subject is, as often as not, Luciana; her portrait, ranging from life- to poster-size, is the focal point of every room.

Luciana designs in beads which she makes into shimmering mermaid hats, wigs and exquisite pictures. She also draws in a strong style of her own. “Kevin works in oils, I work in pastels,” she explains. Two people with such a definite life-style clearly have a great deal in common. Kevin says: “We’re each other’s best inspiration.”

Luciana, as the model-in-residence, can pose at a moment’s notice; her walk-in wardrobe of flea market and second-hand clothes is hung in racks with gloves, scarves and hats carefully arranged on top. Black stockings tangle with lace shawls on the testers of the brass bed. “I wear black or red, turquoise in the summer, and when I’m tanned I’ll wear my purple silk Scarlett O’Hara crinoline gown. I like feathers and poppies in my hair, adore hats, and ‘Thirties satin nightgowns, but I don’t bother with underwear.”

Each room is carefully arranged around its use. Luciana’s museum of clothes forms a shifting collage in the blood-red bed-room (Kevin says: “She woke up one morning and said I’m going red—I got up a ladder . . . and we did”). They have a studio each and the materials of their work are laid out in patterns. On one wall is pinned the front page of the Daily Express showing them making a stylish entrance to an Andy Warhol party.

Everywhere there are notes, scraps and photographs of their almost equally decorative friends; David Bowie, for instance, who is a chum as well as patron. A shell on a shelf, the placing of a peacock feather, the way a length of silk is thrown over a lamp makes a statement. Even when claustrophobia sets in, the eye is caught by new ways of presenting objects. The flat has been put together on a modest budget; Woolworth’s kitsch co-exists with arts deco and nouveau. Nothing costs more than a few pounds, except for the bed which cost £50.

Although Luciana explains the enclosed atmosphere (the lace that keeps out the views of West London) with the remark that she doesn’t much like the world outside, there are times when they long to escape the trendy gloom and clutter. Then they go. He to New York or Italy, she to the Seychelles. Says Luciana: “I need some tropicality in my life. When I’m away I love the out-doors, riding a motor-bike, lying in the sun. But I always come home . . .” Home is where the dust is, even for this exotic pair.

Photographed by Lorenz Zatecky.

Scanned from Cosmopolitan, May 1976.

Portrait-in-progress of Luciana dominates Kevin’s studio.
Luciana’s hats double as decoration.
..and her brass bed displays her shawls.
Hot-house living-room with arch, poppies and shawl – all in red.

Make Wicker Work

1970s, cosmopolitan, Inspirational Images, interior design, interiors
Turn your bedroom into a garden-room with plants piled into a wired jardiniere, flowers parked on bamboo tables and a white cotton coverlet on the bed. Do as the Edwardians did – place your sofa at the foot of the bed and enjoy the fine art of lolling.

Take the summer indoors with conservatory furniture that gives the garden feeling to any room.

The merest breath of a heat-wave brings out the Southern Belle in our souls. Hot afternoons and long, sunlit evenings make you long to loll about on wicker chaises, sipping lemon tea. The dry, woody smell, the evocative creak of wicker and cane furniture is the essence of summer and, unlike some summer passions, cane and wicker survive and work in winter, too. Annick Clavier, a young French designer, chooses her wicker well—painting some junk-shop finds in white enamel, oiling other pieces of wicker and bamboo to a fine Oriental shine. Her taste runs to airy, lacy furniture and rush matting, set off by many green plants, small jugs of flowers and reproductions of romantic paintings. The fact that she has a garden helps the tropical feeling. Wicker freaks look for decorative pieces in junk shops and markets. They learn to mend broken furniture but avoid bamboo or cane pieces that are very rickety, and watch for the pinholes—a sign that the dreaded woodworm is in residence. Secondhand shops in coastal towns and the remote parts of Scotland and Wales are good places to find Victorian and Edwardian garden and nursery furniture. London has the best selection of shops with modern cane and rattan furniture, mostly imported: Conran, 77 Fulham Road, SW3 imports from China; Cane, 170 Walton Street, SW3 imports from India, as does The Warehouse, 39 Neal Street, London, WC2.

Photographs by Phillippe Leroy.

Scanned from Cosmopolitan, July 1976.