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02 April 2009

Letter to Vanity Fair: The Unexpurgated Version


Indeed, I did greatly enjoy Mr. Tyrnauer's piece on Hollywood Regency architect John Woolf in the February issue of Vanity Fair, but the abbreviated version of my letter to the editor made me think - they can certainly dish it, but can they take it?

What you didn't read:

"Woolf, who as Tyrnauer notes had a star-studded and very productive career, was so derided by the architecture community that his application to secure an architect's license in California in 1956 was denied! [Surely the VF researcher should have uncovered this important fact!] To offer a more balanced perspective of taste by casting light on those architects and designers who mined from the past was one of my main motivations for writing the book Regency Redux, which devotes several pages to Woolf's work. [Can you blame me for a little self promotion?]

"May I also gently suggest that Mr. Tyrnauer might benefit from reading my book so as to fully understand why the phrase "French Regency" is so wrong and sends shudders down the back of any student of design history."


"French Regency"?! Oh dear. Maybe Mr. Trynauer should stick to fashion reporting - his documentary Valentino: The Last Emperor is a sensitive and even-handed portrayal of the legendary designer and is worthy of high praise - no ifs, ands, or buts.

Letter printed in May 2009 issue of Vanity Fair.

8 comments:

Toby Worthington said...

Pity the letter wasn't printed in its entirety: it had a delicious "edge" to it ; and the bit about John Woolf being denied an architect's license ought to have appealed to Vanity Fair on some level, as it supplied a much needed perspective on how he fit into the scene despite obstacles.

Anonymous said...

Your recap of the truth is exactly why I like your
work and your Blog. Honesty and integrity and loving the fun of a little intellectual sparing!

I must say that many, many of the other Design
Bloggers handle "ideas" like they were all in some sort of old fashioned Ladies Aid Society... SO dull SO safe SO nothing!

Keep up the good work.

Rose C'est La Vie said...

Emily, I was fascinated by this post and have revisted your book to look at Woolf's work. Please enlarge on/explain the 'French Regency' solecism!

I have just posted about Winfield House - maybe a couple images you are unfamiliar with unless you have seen Maria Tuttles book.

Emily Evans Eerdmans said...

My head is spinning getting ready to go to LA in the early am tomorrow. Rose, will definitely bring you up to speed on the non-existent French Regency style when I get back AND so looking forward to finding out more about Winfield - I know Brian McCarthy redecorated it for the Tuttles but haven't seen pix - what a treat!

Janet said...

Tisk, tisk, Vanity Fair. That is some editing job! Have a good trip to LA. Let's catch up when you get back. xo.

Rose C'est La Vie said...

Emily, my latest post is about Robert Harling, former editor of House & Garden who clearly internalised the Regency aesthetic of Brighton during his childhood. Based on May issue of World of Interiors I confess!

Karena said...

Emily, excellent post and yes I think letters to the editor should not be edited out , especially when you have such worthy bits a factual information to add!

John Tackett said...

O.k., you convinced me. You know what you are talking about. I will buy REGENCY REDUX. Better late than never, no?