Frivolity and Glamour.

By Alison July 14, 2005 5 Comments 5 Min Read


All of a sudden I’m grown up and anyone who knows anything about interiors knows that grown up means WHITE. But I’m kind of thinking that white might be going too far. Its such a responsibility and lets face it, haven’t we got enough on our plates?

Bear with me, I’m thinking (out loud). Out Loud and Radical.

See the thing is this: the women I want to be don’t do  pattern. Those women– you know the ones- the ones who can wear white without getting fake tan on the collar, the ones who look suitably calm and collected at the school gates and serve something suitably fabulous at their soirees, those women don’t do pattern.

No shabby chic cabbage roses for them, Mrs!

Maybe the slightest hint of a delicate dove grey toile. Or a single ticking striped cushion to remind them of Provence. But no to big fat hydrangeas. No, no, no to busy, busy roses. And absolutely, not a cat in hells chance, for anything remotely shabby…

So hows about we strip it back? Not to bare basics. Me and John Pawson would probably kill each other, but enough so that there’s room to think. Space to breathe. You know what I mean. You know where you’ve gone too far. You know when theres one (ironic) Virgin Mary too many on that mantel. You know. So go hide it in the cupboard under the stairs. NOW.

Lets do away with the stuff and nonsense and lets pretend we are elegant. Lets polish till we can see our faces. Lets light mercury glass candlesticks and serve tea in bone china. Throw pale throws over busy chairs and starch creases into our tablecloths.

Shhhhhhh. It’s time to hush the visual noise.

To pad about in slipper shod feet. Lets hang too many gilt mirrors. Remind ourselves what we look like and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! Let’s throw a bit of light around. Hang white lace nets to snoop on our neighbours and eat breakfast in a bed piled with feathery stiff pillows. Remake the beds in white linen and drape lacy cloths over tired old lampshades. Throw away coloured towels. Decant cosmetics into crystal and edge curtains with pompoms.

Lets add feathers to our flowers. Seek out gilt edged plates and hotel monograms. Lets think peach (Is pink dead?), the palest sage and a very particular shade of tobacco. Throw in too many metallics. Look for oddities. Teeny hints of a sense of humour. Wit not Hilariaty please .Too much mercury and  not enough gilt. And lets paint anything ugly, pearly white. 

Oh I like pearls!  Lets string them over mirrors, and stuff sepia photos into the frame. And then well all is said and pale and oh so glamorous, pot a minature palm, add something startling and bright, choose a shockingly beautiful painting ,(Make her wantonly nude like the Egon Schiele above) in an ludicrously decorative white frame and swap your lightbulbs to the peachiest ones you can find for the most flattering light around.

Add ruffles to your chairs and big silky ribboned bows, in the most unlikely places. Serve raspberry bonbons and lemon tea and let the wind waft your floaty curtains into the room…

Think elegant. Think Hollywood. Think Glamour.

Think pale.

And if you are more grown up than me, think white.


  1. Nancy says:

    How are we defined if we do white AND fluffy cabbage roses in the same room? All over the house? 🙂 I cannot ever tell anyone my decorating "style" since it is merely a hodge podge of everything, EVERY single thing, I love. I love reading your blog and say a prayer little Finn….best of luck and happy health. ~Nancy

  2. Savannah says:

    Ah, Alison… you are indeed overstressed, overfussed, a sick baby and a TV crew the same week as those terrible attacks… pale and streamlined sound so cool and refreshing and Daisy Buchanan and Gatsby…. I understand. Alas, I cannot do pale, but I do understand… I crave pale, but only for a few days or weeks, then I have to take a huge dive in deep hues…. burgundies, navies, even reds and dark plums…. My soul understands, though… and I'm with you on those "women" in the white… My front is a magnet for ketchup or tea stains, and I am allergic to looking fine in white… but I crave it too, sometimes… Love you… I'll think pale for you, my dear….

  3. kali says:

    Eeekkk! Stop frightening me woman! (lol)

  4. Suzie says:

    First of all – pink is definitely NOT dead – at least not in my home LOL. I do declare that you can be pale and interesting (no fake tan here), but I would never want to be one of those women – they look to me as if they lead extremely uninteresting lives, if they can look that immaculate all the time, they can't be doing much of note. (Is that terribly judgmental of me?) I'll go with white (no gloss please) and lots of pale pink roses and lace and bows and all things feminine and frilly ~not frothy~ the shabbier the better! Alison, you will get over this phase LOL

  5. Kerry says:

    OH Ali … which do you want to be … badly behaved or immaculately pale??? Or maybe just a bit of both. (Remember 'Immaculate women lead dull lives' whilst 'Well Behaved women rarely make history').

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