AD Today – American Chic

Author: Grazia d’Annunzio
Posted on May 13, 2014, translation from Italian



“One of the most common mistakes is to furnish a room in a certain style trying to make it perfect in every detail, which inevitably leads to a result impersonal and plaster.” So ‘sentenziava George Stacey , grand vizier of interior decoration that reigned unchallenged from the 30s to the 60s in New York and surrounding area, a cote of satisfying customers and friends like Diana Vreeland and Grace Kelly and inspiring, that combined with his flair glamor and understated, a long list of future colleagues. The fact that his name is now finished on the back burner, enters un’ormai sad routine: traveling the world (too) quickly and perennial thirst for novelty tends to ignore and / or forget all that and ‘state. Fortunately remedies to black out of the collective memory still exist, and in our case it came providential “George Stacey and the Creation of the American Chic”, richly illustrated and documented that Maureen Footer has recently written by Rizzoli New York.

We are so ‘to know the traits of his aesthetics: total and unconditional aversion against the trends of the moment, a fondness for painted furniture, the bright colors and symmetrical compositions, and a refined eclecticism that news-especially for times-led him to important pieces mix of French, Italian and English with eccentric trouvailles unearthed the best bric-a-brac. No wonder then that for a certain period, as noted Footer, “in almost every issue of Vogue appeared a socialite photographed in a living room decorated by him.”

A native of Connecticut, a diploma at the Parsons School of Design and a long stay in Paris, where he began to specialize in the antique market, Stacey, stands on the stage of interior design with the design of the house on Long Island by Frances Cheney, the en girl of the 30’s which will establish ‘a long creative partnership: the combination of Venetian mirrors, rugs and beds of glass does go into raptures a group of ladies headed by Diana Vreeland, who recruits him to his apartment in 400 Park Avenue – ah the idea of a Venetian mirror framed with braids spotted! – followed by Babe Pailey, which often will travel to Europe in search of antiques and Grace Kelly, in the aftermath of the shooting of Rear Window , entrust the the makeover of his pied-a-terre opposite the Metropolitan Museum. The actress was also linked to Stacey when she becomes Princess of Monaco, and he will decorate the room before the first daughter Caroline in a shrill tones of yellow, then Roc Angel, the Provencal mas where the royal family loved to escape, and then, in the ’70s , Palazzo Grimaldi in Monaco. Ava Gardner was also sensitive to its style: the flat in Madrid and London will be flooded with a color scheme “very Stacey”-red, brown, sunflower, mauve, bottle green, burgundy and ivory-and period pieces mixed with art .

It goes without saying that beauty and comfort, refinement and easiness are part of the legacy left to a large group of designers and estimators. Without him, writes Footer, Sister Parrish “would not have been able to couple petit point cushions in antique furniture,” while Mario Buatta, in the introduction to the volume, states that “when people have absorbed the classical principles of design, then it can change the rules and create something new. Stacey did it even before the others knew the rules. He had a great aesthetic sensibility, not to speak of his teachings, which are never dated. And I should know: I’m still putting them into practice. “