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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Some seriously unfashionable set design

Is anyone watching the ABC Family series "Jane by Design"? More importantly, did anyone know ABC Family was a television channel? The show's season one series finale airs tonight and its set design must be addressed.

"Jane by Design" stars Andie MacDowell in somewhat familiar territory. The 1980s model-turned-wooden actress plays an "Anna Wintour-like" exec (improbably coiffed like "Seinfeld"'s Elaine Benes) who runs Donovan Decker, a "hip fashion house." A high school student hired as an intern is mistaken for an adult and hilarity ensues.

The show's creator April Blair gave set decorator Richard C. Walker a simple brief: "Make it look like Domino." The man who created one of the worst-looking domiciles ever to grace the small screen delivered to Blair "interiors [that] are an eyeful: orange mohair-topped footstools, Moroccan lamps, bright lacquered armoires, zebra print chairs and elegant wall treatments." Oh my.

Let's see what Walker came up with...

Sweet Baby Jesus on hot buttered toast. Has Walker ever even read an issue of Domino?!

Let's check out the real-life offices of some well-known fashion designers...

William Waldron for Elle Decor.

Wunderkind Jason Wu.

Bryan Derballa for The Wall Street Journal.

Jet set chic maestro Michael Kors.

T-shirt impresario Alexander Wang.

And Anna Wintour's Vogue office as seen in the documentary "The September Issue"...

Nope, not one of these looks to be furnished from the scratch-and-dent aisle of HomeGoods. So what gives? Is the set of "Jane by Design" Middle America's idea of "hip" and "eclectic"? Do sitcom set decorators think the flyover states can't handle truly good design? Does the tween audience whose fashion sense has been weened on Bratz Dolls and Skank-It-Up Barbie believe fine design is defined by gerbera daisies and shiny poly fabrics?

Dumplings, what do you think is going on here?

All "Jane by Design" photos courtesy of ABC Family.

Jane by Design [ABC Family]
Set decoration: the fashionable world of 'Jane by Design' [LA Times Home blog]


Robin said...

I can't comment on the horrid design because I am still trying to get over the fact that someone actually took the time to create a freaking wiki for "Friends".

Peeke said...

"furnished from the scratch-and-dent aisle of HomeGoods" - I am so glad you are back in Blogland. Not enough funny out there...

I am sure the well tasted crowd of the early 80's thought the same thing about Dynasty and Dallas and Flamingo Road and Falcon Crest and Knotts Landing and....Crap. I just realized I'm old! I still have Sartre-esque nightmares that hell is decorated like Southfork Ranch.

littlebadwolf said...

oy, vey, what happens when the martians come down and find a hard drive with this terrible design on it. i suppose it will just
scare them off to some other planet.

tml said...

omg i love you. back during the reign of the purple walled nightmare i was a set dec and every f-ing season some producer wanted me to use the friends set as "inspiration" for their pilot. my heart goes out to the decorators still tilling the soil in sitcom land should this show become a hit. may god have mercy on them.

Margaret said...

It's worse than Season 3 of "Veronica's Closet" when Widow/Barbie, Jane, redecorates.

David said...

To me, those sets say "someone likes wallpaper!" more than anything else.

Set design I love? Castle, on ABC. Rick Castle's loft and Kate Beckett's rarely seen apartment are both gorgeous to me. And I swear its not just because I've come to care deeply about every character on the show.

smiffy said...

I love this post! Damn, I'm so glad you are back blogging. It's interesting, honest, smart writing like that is so rare and worth reading. Thank you, Raina.

Alcira Molina-Ali said...

"scratch-and-dent aisle of HomeGoods" -- G-d luv ya ;)
I've had a crush on Wang's working world for quite some time now. Credit where it's due, he did have a little help from everyone's favorite long-locked child of goth, Ryan Korban.
Cheers, Alcira