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Favourite retro movie set designs

Favourite retro movie set designs

I love retro interiors, my own place is an eclectic mix of ‘50s, ‘60s, and a touch of classic design in the way of Persian rugs for the floors.

The movies are a great inspiration, you can see what the top set designers have been able to collect, borrow or copy to make you believe the people on screen are living in the period depicted.

Two of my favourites in the last 12 months have been ‘Cheri’, for over the top Belle Epoque Art Nouveau interiors and costumes (it helps that Paris has preserved so many of its historical buildings), and Tom Ford’s ‘A Single Man’, set in the Valley district of Los Angeles in the early 1960s.

The treats were enhanced for me in that both films move at a slow pace with the camera lingering so that you pick up every exquisite detail of costume, jewelry and interior design.

Cheri is filled with art nouveau swirls, from Michelle Pfeiffer’s hats to the bedroom’s wallpaper and the wrought iron balcony railings. The sense of period is enhanced by the interminable high teas taken by the protagonists, set in beautifully designed gardens and lofty glazed conservatories, all set designed with Edwardian splendour.

Being a classic car tragic, A Single Man was a slice of heaven, with several scenes featuring Colin Firth’s character driving a late 50s Mercedes-Benz 220s coupe, hand built, and with a classic fifties designed timber and Bakelite dashboard.

Firth’s co-star Julianne Moore is dressed in striking designer clothes and jewelry, her character lives in a house which has the most opulent of 60s interiors, with an orangerie to dine in, but it is Firth’s George who lives in a very simple large glass and timber house that made me think ” I could live there “. I even liked the kitchen.
I guess the set designers did their job if they can make you want to move in.

Yours in design,


Belinda Vesey-Brown About the author
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