Sunday, May 15, 2011

Charlotte Moss Lectures on Design Inspiration and Asks "Why Not?"

Ginna Emmet, Allison Hennessy and Tricia Collie with Charlotte Moss.
Last month a few design savvy friends joined me at Atlanta's Piedmont Driving Club for a very ladylike luncheon preceding a lecture and book signing by Charlotte Moss.  Moss talked about the different people, places and interests that have shaped her decorating aesthetic.  She kept the audience entertained with a slide show featuring inspirational photos, many of which she had taken herself, and bits of humor such as, "(as a child) I thought decorating happened only when my father went out of town!"

Ginna Emmet of GDE Calligraphy, Tricia Collie author of Dapperdash Blog, Atlanta decorator Susan Joy McElheney and me at the Charlotte Moss Lecture and Lunch in Atlanta.
Moss shared endless tips for decorating, entertaining and even scrap-booking.  I identified most with her appreciation for old houses and gardens and how much one can learn by visiting them and taking time to study their collections.  Here are a few that Moss likes:
Villa del Balbianello, built in 1787, overlooks Lake Como in Italy. 
Chateau de Malmaison, located outside Paris.
Marie Antionette's Hameau de la Reine (the Queen's Hamlet) was built  just beyond the Petite Trianon (one of my favorite houses) at Versailles.   
 Stylish women also inspire Moss:

Like Billy Baldwin and many top decorators, Madeleine Castaing and her iconic Parisian shop made quite an impression on Moss.
A tented room by Castaing, circa 1960.

One thing that Moss admires most about Gloria Vanderbilt is her ability to turn simple into special.  An example is Vanderbilt's trademark use of gingham; with repetition, volume and scale, Vanderbilt could make this humble fabric look  grand.
In Charlotte Moss Decorates, each chapter concludes with with a "Why Not?" questionnaire.  Moss said this means "why the hell not?" as in "break the design rules."  Moss reminds readers that rules are made to be broken and we should feel free to do as we please in our own houses.   

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