25 January 2012

Leading Ladies of Design

Seriously though.

I have the exciting privilege to be co-chairing a lecture series* dedicated to championing 20th century pioneering women of design.

We are pulling a list of six together and have our own ideas... but would love to hear yours.  Who was a trail-blazer in the applied arts (furniture, textiles, jewelry, silver, etc) AND is still a source of inspiration?

* In 1914 The Decorators Club was organized by 38 charter members who met in the home of Gertrude Gheen Robinson.   The Decorators Club lecture series, which is open to the public, was started in 1991 and benefits the Decorators Club Education Fund which provides scholarships to interior design students.


Renée Finberg said...

oh.....i wish i could go!!
i would thoroughly enjoy every minute of it.

xx ;0

Christa Pirl Interiors said...

What a great opportunity! Congrats on being a part of a great series!

Simply Grand said...

What a great series, Emily. You know if I were in NY--or the series were here in Chicago--I'd be at every single one of those talks. And what a great club. Three cheers for Miss Gheen, a name that doesn't ring many bells these days.

Well, you know who'd be at the top of my own list of influential decorators: Rue Carpenter, who, whether or not other anybody else has heard of her, is still a source of inspiration to me.

And of course I'd add DD, who, after her own period of eclipse, came back big time with her show at the Museum of the City of New York. And Nancy Lancaster, even though she claimed she wasn't a decorator. And even though I never cared much for her designs--too organic for me--Eva Zeisel. Once designers have fallen from current favor, few of them are lucky to live long enough for see a mainstream revival of interest in their work, but Eva beat the odds, with new pieces still going into production when she died at 105. Way to go, Eva.

Elsie de Wolfe didn't live quite that long, but she was a trouper, too, and I think she qualifies as inspiring, not so much for her actual interiors--which, after her early epiphany & subsequent casting out of Victorian gloom, seemed less at the head of the pack than a few well-placed steps back of it, at any given moment--as for her genius for publicity and her knack for grabbing every opportunity that came her way and running with it, come what may. Inspiration comes in many forms.

In the early days after 9-11, David Garrard Lowe gave a talk about Elsie that was inspiring in itself, documenting her 180-degree change in direction from parties to full-time public service during World War I, when she was already past fifty. Talk about a second act!

Magnaverde for Simply Grand

Cathy Whitlock said...

Hey Emily,

Congrats, this looks like a great event. I would nominate Sally Sirkin Lewis for Leading Ladies of Design. So often we think of East Coast (she is obviously on West) but a huge trailblazer with over 150 patents for furnishings-- she is truly incredible.

Emily Evans Eerdmans said...

Thank you Renee and Christa - you must come to NY this fall! Magnaverde, have missed you! As you so rightly point out, it is as essential to have a fascinating subject as to have a mesmerizing speaker. I love your La Zeisel suggestion.

pve design said...

Ray Eames, Eva Zeisel, Coco Chanel.
Elegance, Restraint, Simplicity and all three rebels and sources of inspiration today.
I'd love to come to the lecture.
Hope you are well.

home before dark said...

You need to have a nice long chat with Soodie Beasley. This is a passion of hers as well. Wonderful that your post brought Magnaverde out to play.

Christa Pirl Interiors said...

I imagine you already have a great list going but i might contribute Francis Elkins, Eleanor McMillen, Ruby Ross Wood and Eileen Gray? A bit earlier and i might even through out Isabella Stuart Gardner for her wonderful museum design!

Anonymous said...

not sure if "applied" however in thinking out of the box for new found knowledge:

PAULA SCHER: designed album covers for CBS records

BEATRIX FARRAND : American Landscape Architect

MARY BENSON Pomo Basket weaver

MAUDE ADAMS: lighting designer and actress - developed important lighting

ummmm - thinking it would be good to learn of those not popular, not written up in a book with their name...exploring those creative women who touched the time they lived with innovative ideas and an end result to cherish..

good luck

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Laura Casey Interiors said...

Design has come such a long way!

Dovecote Decor said...

Unquestionably Tony Duquette. My last two posts are on Dawnridge and Hutton's new Casa Contessa. We are obsessed.

Laura Casey Interiors said...

Fantastic! I am actually going to be posting on Great Women Decorators soon!