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Saturday, June 14, 2008

It's her fault

- the natural habitat and standard uniform of an interior designer -

Interior designers often get a bad rap as social dilettantes interested only in the fripperies of making the world look pretty. A recent NY Times article features one such decorator who perpetuates the stereotype. Having grown up "in San Francisco in a 1920s Italianate villa with nine bedrooms, a ballroom and a flower-arranging room," Maureen Footer goes about her work with the "peppy precision of a five-star general in a uniform of a pleated skirt and Manolos." She is given an imaginary summer house to decorate and focuses "on a French theme for her theoretical vacation rental (in deference to the time she spent in graduate school at the Louvre in Paris)."

During the course of a day spent sourcing items, Footer offers up such decorating wisdom as “It shouts summer on the Riviera with Cole Porter” and "Doesn’t summer living revolve around cocktails?” Well, if you're an alcoholic, Ms. Footer, it does. She then passively-aggressively contradicts herself, selecting large Libertini glasses at CB2 on lower Broadway while tossing off "Just right for a one-martini-per-guest party." Who wouldn't want to spend time with a hostess who monitors your imbibing like some Martha Stewart-ish hall monitor? At another shop, Footer would have us believe she's eco-minded (so chic now!), as she selects Eiffel Tower-adorned dish towels while stating “And you save on paper towels.” And what does Footer suggest the imaginary assemblage of summer guests does after hitting the one-drink house maximum? "[G]ather the group for a lively game of pétanque." FUN!!!

Footer's website is replete with photos of expensive-looking yet oddly empty rooms and a condescending bio. It's no wonder we're the Rodney Dangerfield of the decorative arts.


The Nerdy Fashionista said...

I feel you, but at least she has seriously educated herself in decorative arts history and went to the trouble to get NCIDQ certified. I am cautiously optimistic that she may not be that vapid in real life; there's definitely a kind of canned, cliched magazine-speak that people often default to when they are the focus of a press piece like that.

But then again, if you ARE going to be the focus of a press piece, only you can make the decision to start talking about petanque.