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Sunday, December 14, 2008

A poverty of design

Le freak, c'est chic.

To prove that these recessionary depressionary times need not affect your fabulousness, the Los Angeles Times sent designers Kelly WORSTler and Philippe Starck to Cost Plus World Market and Big Lots, respectively, to channel their (long-dead) frugal ingenuity.

WORSTler imagines a beach-y picnic which includes $5.99 bamboo rakes to "create textural patterns in the sand, a high-impact way to delineate a space for entertaining." It sounds even funnier if you mimic her "I can't be bothered" faux-WASP monotone in your head.

Her sage advice? "'Go for the simple and understated. Bright colors and wild patterns can tend to look on the cheap side.'" And girlfriend knows from cheap, just Google her Playboy pictorial.

WORSTler fondles synthetic-blend textiles.

Beach blanket bingo, WORSTler style.

Lifestyle designer Philippe Starck was given free rein at Big Lots, a significantly more difficult challenge in my opinion.

"Mais non! Ow do I shooze? Zay are so deeferant!"

Digging through aisles and piles of junque, Starck suggests "'try[ing] to find the essence, the most iconic or simple representation of a thing. Look for the bowl that looks most like a bowl. That means we must avoid colors and patterns, and everything that can be trendy.'" And tacky (my two cents).

Starck's deeply thrilling tabletop selections.

Starck does leave us with a decidely visual analogy summing up the new world order: "'We have been sticking our money into the fan,' he says, miming a stack of bills being shredded by the blades of a ceiling fan. 'We must be more intelligent now.'"

An interesting choice of words for a man who designed $315 garden gnomes and $410 plastic chairs.


hello gorgeous said...

I've always wondered what Phillip Stark looked like? I imagine him saying that very thing, yo. That tabletop selection is crap, tho. My cat could put together something better than that and I don't even have a cat.

I need to know. Did Wearstler steal your grade school boyfriend? You have such an intense hate for her. There is steam rising from this post.

I like her. Can't explain it. Sorry she did Playboy but still. She's kooky. I admire that in a person. Makes you able to scoot right into "Crazy cat lady" without raising nary an eyebrow.

woodley park-zoo said...

Somehow I can't imagine that doing Playboy would be the part that Decorno would have any issue over. Not that I even sense 'intense hate' here, just good ol' poke-fun.

The Nerdy Fashionista said...

I am hazarding a guess that she pisses Raina off because the acclaim she has received is inversely proportionate to her originality as a designer. Great post, Raina love.

Raina said...

"Steam rising," really? I thought I gave her and Starck equal treatment.

I don't hate her, just the media machine that produced her. Wearstler wouldn't be where she is today if she looked like Barbara Bush (either one).

And her last name is just too irresistible.

Decorina said...

Pretty funny Raina. I didn't see any steam and thought you were pretty even handed with the two of them.

Love the bowl "most like a bowl line", it is priceless, even at Cost Plus.

David said...

I like Kelly's rooms sometimes, but I can't get past the hair and wardrobe. I've never seen her when I didn't say "what the hell?"

I like a lot of Starck's designs as well, but "Look for the bowl that looks most like a bowl" just makes him sound like a dip.

Raina said...

Hi ya David and welcome to this deliciousness! Your comments at HG's always make me laugh. Fab of you to stop by!

karly / design crisis said...

What the hell is happening in that beach blanket bingo picture? Why are there so many tufted things and rakes? Am I supposed to put a rake in my living room now? What are we calling this movement?

I think we should tape a picture of hello gorgeous's non-existent cat to stark's head. Admittedly, Big Lots is BAD, but his advice is almost insultingly condescending.

nkp said...

I am doubled over with laughter, that was a really good post! In the photo with the rugs(?), the look on Starck's face screams vile, filthy things. It's as if someone handed him two dirty diapers. Someone get that man a giant super-sized pump bottle of Purell. (down aisle 5, I think) Holy cow, they get paid for this sh*t!?

magpiesandmagnolias said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
magpiesandmagnolias said...

I think this whole concept is funny and a little condescending. Its like they are taking pity on all of us poor, lowly "normal" people who dont buy $15,000 sofas and $5,000 vases by giving us common sense shopping tips. Regardless of whether we shop at Target or ABC Home, I think we all can figure out that black and white work well together.

And his quote "we must be more intelligent now" is really funny. As if he will be filling his home with "designer" wares from Big Lots.

I love it Raina! Great post!

hello gorgeous said...

You know I was just kidding, right?

I don't know why I always defend her. I bought both of her books from Amazon one time and returned them both. Ouch, Kells.

I just love how she dresses. It reminds me of my daughter when she was little and she dressed herself. It makes me laugh out loud when she show up to Top Design with a pile of fruit on her head and Margaret Russell has a banana up her ass and is always so pissed off at her.

Word verif: Praingem, the reindeer they don't discuss.

erin@designcrisis said...

Wearstler's set up looks like a tornado landed trailer park trash on top of a zen garden.

And George Lucas, with Big Lots you have to go WEIRDER. I expected more from the man who made gnome tables, which are *obviously* representations of the Platonic form of A Gnome. Like, the gnomiest gnome that can be.

I still want one.

nkp said...

Me too Erin, but ONLY the GNOMIEST gnome, we don't take no regular gnomes around here!

gracie o said...

Worstler, hahahaha... say what you will about her designs, but that bitch is hot!

PutzFrau said...

Do you think that Kelly had to scrub herself clean with a silkwood shower after she got home from this shopping trip? I do.

Raina said...

Putzy - Perhaps the best comment ever left on Lamp Shade.